July 9, 2013

A Different Approach & Dining Chairs

Feel free to skip through this rambling to the good stuff :)

I’ve been doing quite a bit of self reflection over the past few weeks spent away from blogging, and I’ve made a few new notes to myself that I think are worth sharing.. or maybe rather, I’ve accepted a few realities. It should probably be fairly obvious at this point, but I’m just beginning to acknowledge something. I will forever be tweaking our home. Even as a room nears a finished stage, it’s in my nature to make it “better”. What I’ve also learned is that better today is a FAR cry from what better will be next week (at least in my mind). My personal style will never stop evolving and I am certain that I’ll NEVER settle.

A contributing factor in my across the board style is my background. Most DIY/home bloggers play off this whole “I’m not a design expert, I have no idea what I’m doing” thing. And that’s cool, and true for many. But that’s not me. Now, for the record, an expert I am not. However, I did go to design school, I come from a family of designers, and I’ve been soaking this stuff up since I was five. At this point, I would like to consider myself fairly well seasoned in the interior design world. I live and breathe this shit.

My point – I know what I love.. which is almost everything. I have an immense appreciation for each and every design style, so I must accept that it’s okay if it takes me a millennium to nail down just exactly how I want my own home to feel. It’s not because I’m totally lost and should throw in the towel. I just love it all. So, there’s no rush. I’m going to finish it. AND eventually, I’m also going to change it.

This recognition was HUGE. And such a relief. My brain had been at war with itself for the past few months after suddenly realizing that messed up. I mean, I really fudged up.

After moving into our new home, just over a year ago, I’ve been attempting to work around all of our existing furniture. And about 90% of it, I despise. Crazy right? Not just the working around decor that you don’t love, but the mere fact that after owning the vast majority of our home decor for only, I don’t know, 4-5 years, I can’t stand to look at 90% of it. How did that happen?

For a long time, I thought I’d failed. I felt like, as a designer, I must have seriously messed up to have decorated my entire home, only to turn around several years later and no longer love it. Not true. Let’s take a closer look. Our dining space.

Paint Basic Frame Mats with a Bold Color | Cape27Blog.com

Here are my initial thoughts on a daily basis: Change the light fixture, re-stain the dining table in another tone, replace the rug, and replace the dining chairs. Major changes, right? I mean, yes, the structure of the room stays, the layout stays, but pretty much ALL furniture pieces are changing. Here’s the issue. I actually really love everything about this room, down the very last detail. Just not in my house. In my house, it makes me cringe. Turns out, I’ve been decorating for someone else. This room just isn’t “me”. So, it’s time to make some changes. And that goes for our entire house.

I’m taking a new approach. I’ve always been a big believer in decorating by purchasing things you love and everything else will fall in place. Well, that doesn’t work for someone who loves and appreciates ALL styles. You end up with a beautiful room, with finishes you like, but nothing that you really LOVE. You know, heart beating fast, goo-goo eyes, can’t stop starring, in LOVE. I want that back.

So, to kick off this new approach, we replaced the dining chairs. Again, I adore our old dining chairs. They’re super modern, contrast beautifully with the dark, rustic dining table, both in style and in color. They were a good choice, just not for my house. Outside of everything that they do well for the space, I’m not drawn to them. Nothing speaks to me. A chair that does speak to me?

Three of these mid century modern, dowel-leg chairs with their gorgeous molded backs. They’re an Eames knockoff, a classic in any home. Which, while on topic, let’s clarify. I’d be more than happy to splurge on the real deal if we had the extra cash floating around. Unfortunately, dropping $1200+ on the real Eames chairs would not be a good financial choice for our family right now ;) Instead, we scored four of these replicas on Amazon for $300 total (the fourth is living in the entryway).

Rustic Mid Century Dining Space with Bright Pops of Color | Cape27Blog.com

I draped a few sheepskins over them to soften everything up and I’m crazy obsessed. And not in my typical, “this is good” lust, but more of a “yes.. finally, this is me“. Mid century modern furniture has been on my radar since I was a kid and I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of it popping up in our house. My grandpa was an architect and had the sweetest pad. Which I remember down to the details, most of which were super contemporary and mid century pieces. I would give my right hand for a virtual tour of that home now.

Rustic Mid Century Dining Space with Bright Pops of Color | Cape27Blog.com

I’m playing around with the idea of giving the dowel legs a new finish. Nothing dramatic, but maybe a wood stain that’s a little richer. We’re hoping to get a better idea as we live with them for the time being.

Rustic Mid Century Dining Space with Bright Pops of Color | Cape27Blog.com

I’m soaking up the view from the kitchen. Aka.. where I spend 60% of my day as a personal chef for the girls ;)

Rustic Mid Century Dining Space with Bright Pops of Color | Cape27Blog.com

And a fun little swap that I couldn’t help but share.

Give a Tray a Quick Facelift by Lining the Bottom with a Pretty Fabric | Cape27Blog.com

 I picked up this yellow bamboo tray several months back (online from OKL or J&M?) and lined the bottom with some extra fabric that I had on hand. A quick little pick-me-up. It’s not secured down or anything, just folded up to fit and easy to swap out when I tire of it (tomorrow, haha).

Give a Tray a Quick Facelift by Lining the Bottom with a Pretty Fabric | Cape27Blog.com

So, we’re one step closer to a room that I truly love. Really love. And it’s okay that I had to replace major purchases. Yes, it’s money down the drain and time wasted and energy spent, but it’s a lesson learned. And a good one. I feel like I finally have a grip on where I want our house to be. Which, ironically, is an unexplored and unknown place. Does that make sense? I’m guess I’m just accepting that I my style is all over the face of the earth and may not fit in, but it’s me and it will all get there in good time. Whew… such a sigh of relief.

Rustic Mid Century Dining Space with Bright Pops of Color | Cape27Blog.com

As for the rest of the room, re-staining the dining table may be next on the t0-do list for this particular room. If I go light enough to have contrast between the table and the dark floors I may even nix the rug altogether. It’s never been my favorite to have a rug in an eating space, but the nubby texture of current one works really well. We’ll see.

Rustic Mid Century Dining Space with Bright Pops of Color | Cape27Blog.com

Or.. we may tackle the lighting situation. Meaning this guy above would be up for grabs. Any takers? :) I’m thinking either an industrial DIY’ed fixture, or maybe something vintage as a replacement. Thoughts?

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51 thoughts on “A Different Approach & Dining Chairs

  1. Catherine

    I am so very inspired by your post today! I have had so many of the same feelings you have had about decorating with things that are actually very nice and modern or classic, but I have largely made purchases based upon what is “in” or “acceptable” decor for my house. As I have looked over home blogs and Pinterest for the past year or so, I have discovered that there is nothing wrong with expressing myself in the furniture and accessories that live in my house and that they can actually give me a sense of peace and excitement all at the same time. I have always worried about what this or that person would say if they see my decor and don’t like it, so I have made sooooooo many purchases (which my home is now filled with) that I cannot stand. It’s going to take a while to get my home where I want it, but it will get there. Thanks for writing the words I was alreading feeling and for insporing others to break through the mold! :)

    Reply
    1. Jessie R. Post author

      Thanks, Heather! Yes, the dining table was a gift that my dad made for us based on the Ana White farmhouse table plans.
      xo,
      Jessie

      Reply
  2. Sherry @ theimpatientremodelers

    I agree completely! I have just realized this myself too. I keep working around pieces of furniture that I don’t love and only purchased in a rush with my hubby because I had no idea what I liked. Now we have a ton of dark brown leather (main floor and in the basement) as well as matching brown coffee tables & end tables. I loath them everyday.
    When I show my hubby something new he says “our friends wouldn’t buy that”. I don’t care, I have to live with it, not them! Or adding board & Batten, bead board or wood planks scare my hubby because not everyone has that or loves it. This is our fourth house now (and the one we stay in forever) and I want this one to feel like me and not be “neutral & ready for sale” all the time.

    Reply
  3. Brittney O.

    I just bought a house and I’ve been living in it for a little over a week now. I am in the same position as you. If I had it my way I would sell everything I own and start over. Two years ago I bought a dark leather couch and I loved it for about 6 months. I wish so badly I had an upholstered couch! I really want my home to be light and airy, right now it feels like a Kirkland’s graveyard (I cringe). If you decide to sell your rug let us know! I’ve been on the hunt for a jute rug and yours is really pretty! :-)

    Reply
    1. Megan Sloan

      I’d trade you my couch for your leather couch, except I think my 90 lb dog may rip the leather. Good luck making it your home! I have lived in my house for 6 years and am still changing things around whenever I have time and money, and of course, when I find the perfect things.

      Reply
  4. Shavonda@AHomeFullOfColor

    Loved this post. I’m with you on just about everything in it right down to the fact that though I’m not an expert I, too, went to school for interior design and am pretty well versed in many facets of design. I define my style as eclectic and it’s safe to say I have an appreciation of darn near every style of design. As a blogger and design lover it’s hard to watch other bloggers move from project to project extremely quickly while I often painfully trug along incredibly slowly making decisions on our spaces. I know for me it’s because I tend to want to settle and ill want to change my mind with the wind. So I’ve learned to appreciate the process of making decisions based on investment rather than trying to keep up with everyone else. I adore the Eames chairs in the space. I finally got my hands on a tulip table (knock off) and I’m patiently waiting to purchase either those or the wishbone chairs to pair with it. All in good time. I can’t wait to see the other changes you make throughout your home now.

    Reply
  5. Megan Sloan

    I agree with you on having problems! I think that’s my issue too. I have an art background (art major and always a lover of most art…there are a few things I almost despise but can still see the beauty in them) but I also have a carpenter as a father and a mom with good taste. My grandfather also had a great house (with an amazing view of a lake) and although his tastes varied, it was always a beautiful, put together space. I feel that my house, even when I love certain things, is never really me. So I get you completely. One of my biggest problems right now is the dark green (avocado-ish) living room furniture. It’s super comfy and it came with the house. We don’t have the money to replace it but I look at it every day and try to figure out how to make it disappear more. It’s tough, especially because my husband says we’re not replacing it until it’s necessary (and I agree) but it’s ugly! I’m slowly changing things in my house and I REALLY wish I could do my kitchen right now. It’s the biggest eyesore in my entire house and so I just have to pretend on a daily basis that it’s my dream kitchen. It’ll happen some day but for now I’m stuck with the ugly. Good luck finding new pieces that you adore. I can totally see a fun, vintage chandelier or something with more personality than the one you have. I like what you have but can see why you’d want something different.

    Reply
  6. cindy

    You were able to put into words exactly what I struggle with! I think Pinterest only adds to that problem as well! Don’t be afraid to change things, it is fun to see a room evolve and that is why we keep coming back to your blog everyday! I love the changes you’ve made to the dining rooma and can’t wait to see how other rooms evolve as well.

    Reply
  7. Chrissy

    Love the post and glad to have you back. Love the chairs. No pro here, and I never would have thought something wasn’t right with the space (proof I’m no pro), but I sure do like the look of the new chairs better—but I don’t know why! Ha! I crack myself up. I’d love the light fixture but I’m 2 hours north of you and not headed to my beloved Ikea for another month. Cannot wait to see the new fixture!

    Reply
  8. Jennifer

    I have been following your blog with interest since we bought a 1950′s ranch in December. I am especially inspired by your dining space since we are thinking a setee under the window might be in our future. I absolutely understand being frustrated when trying to work around existing furniture. I usually end up selling it on Craigslist and then using the money for another purchase. I love that pendant light! It is so simple and symmetrical. I hate the drum pendants that are tapered,

    Reply
  9. Julie @ Living on the Ledge

    I agree completely! And oh, if money wasn’t an issue, right? I’m dealing with green couches at the moment, as well. Comfortable as hell, but can’t stand the color. I love what you did with the chairs in the dining room!

    Reply
  10. Andrea

    I love those chairs. I too lust after mid century. My husband however does not. I found a similar chair at a thrift shop, actually two of them, and love them. I would love to put them to use in my dining room. I’ve convinced my husband to let me build an awesome new dining table and move our counter height into the play room to use for game night. Now if I can convince him these chairs will be perfect. And maybe a bench for the kids. I always have projects I want to do and my style has changed a lot as we move from place to place, and as I’ve gone over to being closer to 40 than 30 (yikes!).

    Reply
  11. Laura @ Lulu Belle Design

    I love the Eames chairs SO much better! And the sheepskins add such a softness that the room needed.
    I think it would look amazing to either use a vintage-glam chandelier like this:
    http://makingitlovely.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/389_5_7g.jpg
    or a bubble pendant or exposed bulbs, kind of along this idea
    http://bohochicbride.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/1618549835563094_fqzcaktn_c.jpg

    good luck, I can’t wait to see how everything turns out!

    Reply
    1. Jessie R. Post author

      Laura, you just read our minds with those recommendations. So weird! I’ve had my eye on the second option for at least a year and the vintage chandy is GORGEOUS. Decisions, decisions ;)

      xo,
      Jessie

      Reply
  12. Alana

    Glad to see you’re back! I so enjoy your blog. I guess the plus side to changing up your design is that you could easily sell your current household decor to any of us! I’d love to come shopping in your home! I oh and ahh over every picture! :) Glad you’re finding what fits you best! Can’t wait to see what’s next. :)

    Reply
  13. Jenn @ Home Style Report

    Oh geez – so much to say!
    First – welcome back!
    Second – thank you for writing this post. It’s been a very powerful and motivating one for me!
    Third – Holy smokes, I’m ordering those chairs. I haven’t been able to find them for a decent price everywhere I’ve looked.

    Reply
  14. Adrienne

    I could have written your post. I feel the very same way about my house. I’m currently hating all of our furniture and living room paint. I can’t afford new furniture right now, so I haven’t painted b/c I don’t know what the new furniture will be. We also live in a 50s ranch, but without the room on the back. I totally want to add a family room on the back and maybe even bump out the back corner bedroom to make a master. I’m dying to see where you go with your addition. What do you want for your pendant light??

    Reply
  15. Madeline

    Thank you for sharing this! I have been feeling the same way for a while now and I found this post very inspiring!

    Reply
  16. Sharon

    So nice to have you back! I hope you’re having a fantastic summer with your family. :)
    I feel exactly the same way. I love so many different styles and my taste seems to constantly be evolving so fast that I can’t keep up with myself. Even before I’m done with a room, I’m already thinking of how I want to change it. Kind of drive myself crazy with it, but love to design and decorate so much that I can’t help myself. Loved your post.

    Reply
  17. Kim

    It’s hard to admit when you make “mistakes”, so to speak, with big purchases. 3 years ago just before our son was born we made some major purchases in our home – new couch and chair, tv cabinet, and then also added french doors and new railing to the loft bedroom upstairs. Well guess what – HATE the couch and chair as well as the doors and railing. Our style has changed – or actually we’re finally letting our style dictate our purchases/design decisions. So….hubby has said if I can sell the “old” couch and chair I can get new…but I think I’m going to need months and months to find that perfect new couch! It’s so hard to admit to making major spending mistakes…but thankfully there’s Craigslist now which makes getting some money back so much easier!

    Reply
  18. kristy

    So glad to see you back! I love your light fixture, I live in Cincinnati and would like to buy it if you decide to sell!

    Reply
  19. Shannon Baker

    Great post. It’s hard for people who don’t have the “need to design” to understand replacing perfectly good furniture/accessories/etc., but I’m a firm believer in loving your space, and if that means changing it- do it! :)

    Reply
  20. Kathleen

    Thank you for permission to frequently change my mind on our home décor ;) I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to hear someone with your background and design sense (that I heart) has “frequent” changes of heart too! I look forward to seeing what you come up with next.
    (great to see you back!)

    Reply
  21. Stephanie

    I love the chairs. I actually have them with the metal base. But I need to replace them because my 2 and 4 year olds tip them over when they climb up! I hope the wood legs are more sturdy for your girls!

    As for the ceiling fixture I like searching the flea markets for industrial finds. I however do not have an electrician for a hubs! So your totally lucking out!

    Reply
    1. Jessie R. Post author

      So far, so good with the wooden legs, but only time will tell! And we’ll definitely be hitting up the flea markets for a new chandy, maybe Ricky can rig something up for me ;)

      xo,
      Jessie

      Reply
  22. Natalie

    My home is an ongoing project, think when you love design and interiors your never going to be happy with a space long term, they evolve and change all the time in my house!! Anyway, how boring would it be to live with things the same year after year!!

    Reply
  23. kristy

    This. Is. Awesome.

    Can you maybe provide some insight as to how to make a loving husband understand the need for a switch when it comes to decor? We bought some new furniture pieces six years ago, and I’ve hated them since they came through the front door. But, my husband sees nothing wrong with them!

    Reply
    1. Jessie R. Post author

      Haha, that may an entire post of it’s own. Although, I’m not sure I have many answers. One factor that is a HUGE help for me though – Craigslist. While Ricky may not always see why I feel the need to switch things out, he’s usually down for the change if we can get our money back by selling the old items on Craigslist. Plus, it’s money towards something new! Maybe I can write a dedicated post to the topic in the future :)

      xo,
      Jessie

      Reply
  24. Jessica@homewithbaxter

    Hi there. I think you put into words what I’ve been feeling recently about my own home. I’ll admit that when I started decorating I had no experience and no real deign aesthetic. Over the past year or so I’ve grown in my design skill and developed a real appreciation for what I like in my own home and what I appreciate in other people’s homes (sometimes two very different things). An anonymous commenter recently called me out for my ever changing design changes and made me feel a bit shameful and wasteful for wanting to changing things up in my house. While the comment made me reflect about purchases I had made and not letting them go to waste, it also helped me realize why I was unhappy with my home. While I think your home looked great with both sets of chairs I admire your desire to make sure your home is a reflection of you and not just a pretty picture for a blog or magazine. You are very talented. Keep at it!

    Reply
  25. Jessie R. Post author

    A huge thank you to everyone who commented here :) I’m so glad to see that I’m not the only one struggling with these decisions and it’s AMAZING to hear that we may have inspired some of you to move forward with design, even if you’ve fallen into a slump!

    xoxo,
    Jessie

    Reply
  26. Erin Sanderson

    I’m pretty new to your blog and LOVE that you posted this! I feel the same.exact.way! I need to come to terms with the fact that what I “LOVE” changes constantly and that there is nothing wrong with that! That’s life! We grow, we learn, we change… since my home is a reflection of who I am, of course that is going to change along with me… mirroring Kristy’s sentiment above… if only I could make my sweet hubby understand that this is why we need a different sofa and a new color in the family room. Again ;)

    Reply
  27. erinpatriciafay

    That’s what craigslist is for! Sometimes you just have to make a switch. Love the new chairs. I vote for a vintage sputnik light fixture to funk it up a bit! My husband and I have a mid century modern booth at Riverside Antique mall on Kellogg in Cincinnati (not terribly far from you, I suspect)… there are about 7 mcm dealers there with lots of good stuff and really reasonable prices. I would highly recommend it! Good luck with your changes :-)

    Reply
  28. [email protected]

    Just found you….Love your style! I too will be forever tweaking my home. We built our home 7 years ago and today I feel like I built it for someone else. Such a strange feeling that I could have changed so much. I have started a blog about my changed style and fixing up our home if you would like to check it out. It is VERY new. ;) thebarefoothome.blogspot.com. Looking forward to following your progress and reading more of your blog!

    Reply
  29. Kimberly

    I love your new chairs! I am obsessed with the midcentury modern style. Can’t wait to have a real home so I can decorate it with all of my favourite stuff! But $300 for 4 chairs sounds sooo tempting right now…

    Reply
  30. Pingback: Laugh It Up | Cape 27

  31. jasileet

    sometimes people spend endless time and money revamping their home and fashion style over and over again.. is it an attempt to hide from family? friends? to bury something else? there’s playing with a doll house and real time/money expenditure that makes “playing” a symptom of something else. just be sure it’s for fun and not something more desperate. you know?

    Reply

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