Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I warned you

It's time for the dining room. Here it is:

Obviously, it comes with wainscoting, although it's some odd bead-board-like wainscoting (maybe closer to paneling, the grooves are several inches apart and unevenly spaced). So it's not a very formal look like some wainscoting. And since it's already painted white, going with natural dark wood is probably not an option. We're going to stick with white.

And while we're looking at this shot, a word needs to be said about the flooring. You can't tell super-well from this photo, but that flooring is light wood, low quality, and definitely recent. It extends into the kitchen, where it's warped from water exposure. It will all have to come out. I would try to match the flooring from the living room (the other adjacent room), which is darker and which appears to be original; or at least convincingly old.

Now, as for the wallpaper, I spent hours on (the prudent thing to do is mentally decorate this entire home while it is under contract to someone else. You understand that, right?) and this one just stuck with me as the right one. See if you agree with me as I go through the other things in the room we'll need to match - oh, and keep in mind that I am determined that this is much more dark yellow than tan:

There are a couple of relevant architectural features in the dining room. First of all, the back of the chimney from the living room fireplace:

I mentioned this with the living room: that brick is not original. As with the living room, I'm inclined to paint it, but with all the wainscoting and all, I'm not inclined to bright white. I was thinking either a "brick" color, like this one,

or maybe that aged-whitewashed-brick effect that you see on the exteriors of old houses sometimes, like so:

I thought that would still give the exposed brick look, but dress up the more contemporary color variations in the brick so they don't stand out so much.

Another fixed detail in the room is this rather charmingly rustic built-in. I am afraid that for all white looks so chic in design photos, throughout this home, the white-painted woodwork just gave me a run-down, grubby feel. It might be because it was actually dirty, but I thought that for this piece, we might be wise to sand it (take out some of the unevenness from the underlying layers of paint) and then paint it low-gloss black. It goes without saying that the back would not be pink - white, cream, light yellow, maybe the dark yellow of the wallpaper, but not pink:

I also think a dark paint color could work well because in the opposite corner (near the exposed brick), I would want to put my mother's corner cabinet, which I will go and fetch from storage when I buy a house. It's kind of a light orange-y wood (German antique I think) that doesn't really go with anything. I was thinking some wax with a darker color could take it a few shades darker (without tampering with its design), and go well with the black.

As for the rest of the items in the room, I have four high-backed dark carved wood chairs (not as ornate as that makes them sound) that were my grandmother's. She claims to have two more, but she's in California, so getting them to the East Coast would be a chore. My mother also has two similar ones that are much lighter wood (living in storage with that corner cabinet), and my memory is a little more fuzzy here, but I believe she has a large (eight-person?) dark wood dining room table, and I think the dining room is an adequate size for that.

Generally, I prefer buffets/sideboards to hutches/china cabinets, but since there's already a tall built-in cupboard and my mom has that tall corner cabinet, I think there's neither room nor need for storage in the form of a buffet.

For the overall feel of the room, in my mind, it comes off reminiscent of this:

Less formal, obviously (just compare the chandeliers!). But I do think I could find space to squeeze in a nice grandfather clock if I really had to.


  1. Gorgeous much potential there with all of that built-in architecture! I love the white-washed brick look!

    I had to laugh at the "prudent thing to do" comment. Been there, done that, too! It's just so hard not to!

  2. Warning: I am horrible at decorating so take this with a grain of salt.

    I am really intrigued by the brick red color. It’s just so unique & crisp. I would love to see something like it in person. I like the aged whitewash as well and it would be lovely. My only concern is that it can look “busy” (at least on the fireplaces where I have seen it done before and I am in the South, so I’ve seen a few) which might not matter, but if you have a lot of things on display in 2-toned built-ins coupled with the patterned wallpaper, it could either be too busy or wonderful. Either way, this is a floor-to-ceiling brick exposure with no break so whatever you do will be a big statement in the room.

    Love the wallpaper choice and for that matter, the color - whether wallpaper or paint.

    I don’t know about the cupboards. I had an all-white kitchen 1950s kitchen and I cleaned it like crazy to keep it from getting the dingy look. I don’t think the dining room would be as hard. I do think the black or white would be great, but as to which one would probably depend on what you did with the brick. Are they located across from each other or more diagonal?

    I love the ideas and your inspiration rooms.

  3. The room has quite a bit of potential and your ideas/inspirations are all on the right track. I particularly like the idea of whitewashing the brick FP in the DR. Re: the built-in...consider changing the hardware/doorpulls after you paint it as well. Re: the flooring...we've had pretty good luck with laminate-wood/Pergo'ish flooring. Pretty tough material that stands up to frequent use and several companies now make it in patterns and colors that make it tough to tell that it's not real wood. Much cheaper than the real thing.

    BTW...been meaning to tell you that the picture in your header is positively yummy.

  4. I love the whitewashed brick look with the original brick color showing through for the fireplace. You'd need to do something: that brick doesn't look to be the right age for the house as it is.

  5. I really do think you could take up interior decorating if you got tired of lawyer-ing :).

  6. I'm so hopeless about decorating. Any chance you want to come and help me decorate my house? I look at white walls and see paint colors and then can go no further.

    P.S. Took you to Mass with me for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, and my 10 year old will be offering up his serving on Christmas Eve for your family. We have sort of adopted you and your husband. Just thought you should know that some big family in Oklahoma is thinking of and praying for you.