Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Great Big Room

It is time to finally begin some real renovations on the house.  Matt and I sat down and listed every change for every room.  We've had some vague, dreamy notions over the past couple years, but now we're nailing things down (literally and figuratively).  After we had our detailed list, we tried to prioritize the order we'll do things. The chicken coop comes first. 1. because we need to weather-proof that siding, and 2. because we've had the paint since Memorial Day.  Rainy days and chickens have slowed that progress, but I'm hoping to show the finished results SOON.

The second project on our list is the dining room/great room.  Prepare for an onslaught of pictures.

If the reclaimed wood front doors had me at hello, it was the great big dining room that sealed the deal.  Forget the half finished crown moulding, the total lack of electric lights in the kitchen, and four (4!) colors of paint on the outside of the house.  I loved the house's warm brick floors and the soaring wood ceilings.  As Anne Shirley would say, it gave me much "scope for the imagination."

What I failed to imagine was how difficult it would be to change light bulbs.

Here is what the dining room looked like the day after we closed.  Thank you to my FIL for providing me with the picture.

I don't know if the pictures can convey the sheer size of this room.  The previous owners actually sectioned it off and used it as both the dining room and living room and then used the living room as their master bedroom.

Every time I suggest this to Matt, he gives me a look and says "Uh, no."  Can't you see it, though?  Gargantuan Master Bedroom with bay window, door to patio and an attached sitting room and bathroom (aka existing master and bathroom)?  I can.

Here's what the dining room looked like after we moved in our furniture.

There have been some minor changes along the way: Marcia helped me paint the walls, and we bought a light fixture (but never hung it). It has a long ways to go.

I'm mostly happy with the new wall color.  The grey blue works well with the wood and brick, but sometimes it looks purple or periwinkle.  I plan to paint over it with something more green and less red.

The built-ins are made from cheap particle board.  I've since painted them white and hung embossed wall paper in the back.  It's my very own wall of white, and I look forward to showing it off here soon.

I left our rugs at the townhouse while it was listed.  After we moved everything back in, I put a big red and beige rug under the dining room table.  This helps divide up the massive room and add some definition to a dining area.

Here's looking at the other side.

Most importantly, the whole room needs more light.  Don't let those glowing squares fool you.  At night, it's like eating in a cave.

The wood makes things look warm and rustic, but there are actually four different shades going on in one room.  Neither of us have ever worked with wood stain before, but we're going to give it a go.  Any tips would be appreciated!  From what I understand the key is: go slow and wear gloves.

We're working on getting quotes on new siding and windows.  The plan is to add windows to that outside wall and let some views and natural light into the dining room.

I put together this mood board to help us keep our visual goals on track.  The source list and explanations are below.  The main objectives are to finish the mismatched wood, bring more textures and colors for visual interest, and add more light.

1. The blue-grey tone of the wall paint is close to what we were going for, but I want something with less red.  I think Sherwin Williams rain SW 6219 would be a good one to try.

We're going to attempt to have the existing stains matched, but I want to get our natural woods down to just two shades.

2. This Pottery Barn lantern hung in front of our door will create more light and also help give the impression of a foyer.

3.  We already own this Bolten Lantern also from Pottery Barn.  It is big enough to fill the space created by 15 foot (!!) ceilings as well as add definition to the dining area.

4.  I have a cedar bench that I use for storage.  Adding pillows to the top adds visual interest in both the colors and the textures.  I love the feathers on the lumbar pillow from World Market.  It suggests chickens and turkeys to me without being too country.  The orange velvet pillow is from Pottery Barn.

5. A traditional wool rug really pops on those brick floors.  We have one from our old house that we are using.  This one from a local store, Capel Rugs, is just a placeholder on the inspiration board.  But the more I look at it, the more places I think I could put it.

6. These Sango dishes in eggplant are what we got for our wedding and have been using ever since.

7. My friend Emily painted this print available on West Elm.  It is 30" x 40".  I like the idea of using a picture of sky expanse to fill in our tall walls.

8. The existing balusters needed to be replaced like yesterday.  They are cheap 2 x 2 pine boards installed with wood putty (warning: do not lean against them).  We love the simplicity of these metal balusters with just a single knuckle.  Watch us learn how to install them!

9 I'm utterly charmed by these textured mercury vases from West Elm.  I stumbled across them when looking up Emily's painting, and now I'm going to be checking in on them regularly in hopes they go on sale.

Let the home improvements begin!


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