Category Archives: Dining Room

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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April 24, 2013

Lovin’ on Summer Nights

Last year we whipped up an art solution for the dining room, and as if that entire process wasn’t enough of a headache, we were still on the fence about the end result. I loved the pattern that the stencil brought to the space, but it still seemed a bit boring. The proportions weren’t right either. I had hoped for a piece that was wider, to better fill the space between the open shelves, but we struggled to find large enough paper to fit the bill. And strike three – I love color, but green wasn’t the way to go. I really wanted something deeper, with dimension to draw you into that back wall. Despite all of this, I convinced myself to live with the art for a few months and then regroup.

Dining Room | Cape27Blog.com

I finally just ripped the entire thing off the wall a few weeks ago, forcing myself to either come up with a new solution or stare at a blank wall. When I dislike something, design wise, going back to the blank slate is my best defense. It’s crazy how long I can live with something that I despise, but as long as something is filling the space, I make do. It’s probably not the best for my mental health, but removing the art all together was a new constant reminder to just figure it out already!

So, figure it out I did. SO. MUCH. BETTER.

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

The frames we already had on hand. They’re these from Ikea, which we personalized with a few coats of leftover paint on the mats. I’d been dying to give this a try ever since recommending that a client do something similar in their living space. This was the perfect opportunity! The color is Ben Moore’s Summer Nights and I’m obsessed with it. I’m loving the moodiness that it brings to the space.

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

I debated between using this color or the navy that we used in the hall bath. Honestly, I think either would’ve done the job just fine. Both colors tie in perfectly with the throw pillow on the bench seat.

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

And the frames are exactly what I had in mind as far as proportions go.

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

As for what’s in them, let’s take a closer look! Try to ignore the dust 😉

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

I wanted something graphic, but neutral in color since the mats themselves would demand so much attention. After stumbling upon one of these awesome 20″ x 30″ map prints of Cincinnati, I knew it’d be perfect. I love my city and what better way to display that! I trimmed the larger map down into four smaller squares that fit together a lot like a puzzle. So, when you take a step back they all sort of work together. Probably not the way to go if you’re in need of directions (not to mention these maps date back to 1944).. but for the dining room, it’s beautiful and it works.

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

The squares ended up about 9″x9″ and the extra area within the mat is filled with leftover 12″ x 12″ white scrapbook paper. My favorite section is the lower right, with a large portion of the Ohio River running through it. So pretty. Well, on the map at least. In person? Oh no. Mud-fest.

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

How about you guys? Any art switcheroos going on? Working in the yard? Please tell me you’re experiencing this crazy weather outside of the Cincinnati area.. Shorts one day, heavy jacket the next. Is this spring? I don’t remember spring being like this.. Please, make it stop.

March 26, 2013

Chalk It Up + Giveaway

*** This giveaway is now closed – Check below to see who won! ***

Thank you to those of you that entered! Random.org has selected one lucky winner… Entry # 14, Kristin @ Little Corbin Hill! Congrats :)

Using chalkboards in casual, yet unexpected ways is something that we’ve definitely become well acquainted with. We painted a chalkboard in our last home’s kitchen, and loved the idea so much that oops, we did it again in our current kitchen (I am so sorry for that, so sorry). We even turned to chalking for a temporary fireplace during the holidays.

So, it’s no secret that chalkboards are sweeping across the interwebs (aka. Pinterest) like a crazy airborne virus. And as much as we love the chalk wall fascination, we’ve even spotted chalking incorporated into some super fun products for the home as well! So, when Sarah from Scribble Linens offered to send us a few samples of their adorable chalk cloth table liners to try out, we were all “Oh, heck yes!”.

They arrived, and we’re smitten. We chose a table runner with a reversible side in a yellow damask print and Sarah even threw in a few extra chartreuse placemats! They’re adorable.

Chalk It Up + Giveaway | Cape27Blog.com

You can write on them and wipe it off, just like any other chalkboard surface, which can be really cute for parties and get togethers. And, when play time is over, the runner is reversible with an array of fabric selections!

Chalk It Up + Giveaway | Cape27Blog.com

I dressed ours up for Lizzy’s first birthday.

Chalk It Up + Giveaway | Cape27Blog.com

I can’t wait to give the runner a new look for a dinner party. How cute is this?

Chalk It Up + Giveaway | Cape27Blog.com

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I love leaving the occasional message or inspirational quote on the placements. A great pick-me-up for those early mornings. And as expected, Zoey has been enjoying some chalking of her own with afternoon lunches. We’ve been keeping two of the placemats at the kitchen island. A seriously good distraction for the kiddos when lunch is being served just a few minutes too late.

Now, how many of you are looking to dress up your table with a chalk cloth runner of your own? You’re in luck!

Sarah has also offered to giveaway a matching table runner (like ours, in yellow damask) to one of our readers! More info & entry details below! And don’t forget to check out Scribble Linens for even more chalking accessories!

HOW TO ENTER: Like Scribble Linens on Facebook & leave a comment on this post saying “Scribble Me!”

DEADLINE: Thursday, March 28th at 10pm EST. One random winner will be announced on Friday, March 29th.

You must be at least 18 years of age to enter with a shipping address in the US. Only ONE entry per email. 

March 4, 2013

DIY Upholstered Banquette Seat (part two)

Last week I shared a tutorial covering part one of our upholstered banquette seat in the dining room. Today, I’d planned to share part two. Turns out, I used the exact same process, to a tee. So… that would leave for one incredibly boring and repetitive post if I were to cover it again. Instead, I’ll just share some after shots along with ‘befores’ (dating back to this time last year), and a quick recap of the progress we’ve made so far. And you can check out tips and tricks on how I did all of the upholstering by referring back to this post.

First, the before. Just minutes after closing on our house. (Feb. 2012)

Dining Before & Afters | Cape27Blog.com

Here’s the view looking straight into the dining space from the kitchen (below). Cray-cray.

Dining Before & Afters | Cape27Blog.com

Hours after closing we went into full-on demo mode. It looked a little like this, minus all the electrical wire pulled. Pretty sure this is the point at which Ricky went into a mini panic attack.

Dining Before & Afters | Cape27Blog.com

We had to do some maneuvering of the walls to accommodate our bench seat/built-ins plans, as well as our 8′ long dining table. I know what you’re thinking… Who does that for a piece of furniture? The girl who’s dad built her a kick-a$$ dining table, that’s who.

Dining Before & Afters | Cape27Blog.com

I’m pretty sure I’ve covered the cove ceiling saga before, but just in case, here’s a quick run down. The dining room had them, the kitchen did not. Once we removed the header separating the two spaces, it was either add cove to the kitchen, or remove it from the dining space. Obviously, we chose the latter of the two. I LOVED the cove, and we still have it in the living/entry space and hallway, but it was going to cause more problems than good if we put it in the kitchen too. Moving on.

Painting

Dining Before & Afters | Cape27Blog.com

New flooring and installing the base cabinets for the built-ins.

Dining Before & Afters | Cape27Blog.com

Then we fudged up by installing upper cabinets.

Dining Before & Afters | Cape27Blog.com

But redeemed ourselves by replacing them with open shelving and installing crown molding!

Dining Before & Afters | Cape27Blog.com

I had a great time DIYing a little stencil art.

Dining Before & Afters | Cape27Blog.com

While Ricky began constructing the frame for the banquette seat.

Dining Before & Afters | Cape27Blog.com

Finally, I tackled upholstering the seat cushions.

Dining Before & Afters | Cape27Blog.com

Which leave us with today!

DIY Upholstered Banquette Seat | Cape27Blog.com

And the completed banquette :)

DIY Upholstered Banquette Seat | Cape27Blog.com

DIY Upholstered Banquette Seat | Cape27Blog.com

We still have a few more updates in mind. And you know me, I’ll always be swapping decor in and out.

DIY Upholstered Banquette Seat | Cape27Blog.com

I’m thinking, new rug (this one is just a temporary fill-in from our previous house), DIYing a light fixture someday, and craiglisting our current chairs for others we’ve had our eyes on (hoping to do this sooner rather than later!).

DIY Upholstered Banquette Seat | Cape27Blog.com

So there we are. The evolution (so far) of our dining room. Not a bad place to be in after a year in our home. It sat on the back burner for quite some time, as we tackled other projects in the house. So it feels so good to finally be calling this one mostly done.

February 25, 2013

DIY Upholstered Banquette Seat (part one)

I finally got around to tackling the bench seat in the dining room last week. Read more about the beginning stages here. For such an easy project, I don’t know how it’s taken me so long to check it off the to do list. I’ve been noticing lately how the simplest projects are taking FOREVER. When we first bought our current house (and our last house for that matter) we were knocking out projects left and right. These days.. Notta. It’s weird. It’s like we had another kid or something 😉 Little time suckers.

Before we get into the three-second tutorial (yes, it’s that easy) let’s jump ahead to the good stuff.

DIY Upholstered Banquette Seat

Oh, sweet, sweet fabric under my bum. How I love thee.

You’ll notice we only upholstered the seat, not the backrest just yet. Well, let’s be completely honest here. The backrest is upholstered I just haven’t had a chance to photograph it yet. Part two in good time.

Back to bizness. Here’s a quick look at our materials list below. I won’t repeat myself. I think you guys are capable of reading text within an image.

DIY Upholstered Banquette Seat

Ready go.

Cut down plywood to fit bench (or have an employee do it in-store if you’d rather). Use a serrated knife to cut down the foam to size (again, they’ll do this at Joann’s if you have your dimensions). Secure the plywood and foam with a little spray adhesive.

DIY Upholstered Banquette Seat

Once dry and secure, flip that baby over on top of your quilt batting. Measure and cut down, allowing enough room to wrap around the sides of the foam onto the bottom of the plywood.

DIY Upholstered Banquette Seat

Wrap her up and staple the heck out of it.

DIY Upholstered Banquette Seat

The corners should be smooth, which is easy to do with the batting. No crazy technique, the batting is very forgiving and flexible, just pull it tight to avoid lumps and wrinkles on the top.

DIY Upholstered Banquette Seat

Now, repeat these steps with the fabric. We used this linen in dark gray, which came highly recommend from several others, including Emily Henderson. Oh, heyyy girl. Nope, she has no idea who I am.

DIY Upholstered Banquette Seat

I’ve seen others cover the underside with something “pretty” to disguise all the madness going on, but naturally, we took the lazy time effective route and left it as is.

DIY Upholstered Banquette Seat

Since I’m sure someone will ask, here’s a closeup of the corners. I guess you could say we used somewhat of a “present wrapping” technique. It’s definitely not perfect, but the corners are tight enough and the lines are straight enough for us.

DIY Upholstered Banquette Seat

We plan to attach the cushioned portion to the base of bench seat eventually, but we’re waiting for to finish up the backrest first. I’m thinking some simple velcro strips should do the trick!

DIY Upholstered Banquette Seat

It feels so incredibly cozy, even without the back portion completed. And it’s surprisingly soft, due to the 3-inch foam we went with. I love how the fabric is just a tad darker than the gray wall color. As for the lower cabinets, we’re considering leaving them knob-less. I’m thinking any kind of hardware would just be a nuisance to the back of the legs while sitting. We have a few other options in mind though. More on that when we get there.

DIY Upholstered Banquette Seat

Oh, and although the room is nearing “completion” (which we all know, doesn’t exist in my books) we haven’t really nailed down a color scheme just yet. All the major pieces are pretty neutral still. Gray walls, white cabinetry, neutral rug, wood table. So we still have big plans in mind to inject some color. I picked up this pillow from Homegoods a few weeks ago, and I’m drooling over the color palette. The greens and blues obviously work well with the rest of our home, but I’m really loving the specific shades in particular. A little lime and navy. I’d love to see more navy in this space! Maybe something along the lines of the guest bath wall color? We’ll see!

DIY Upholstered Banquette Seat

I’m shooting to have pics of the finished product, seat and backrest cushions, ready to share with you guys very soon! I can not wait! I’m so in love with this area of the house. Oh, and I guess it’s nice to have somewhere to sit during meals too.