In every household there is always one room that sees the most action. In our home that is without a doubt our Dining Room. And yep, it’s pink! Technically it’s Peach Bud but we won’t split hairs here. This room is where we congregate when we have family over, it’s the anchor for every game night and party we host, and it’s the breezeway between the living room and the kitchen…so it’s impossible to not end up going through it at least 93 times in a given day. All of that said, this is was the obvious first choice for us to feature when unveiling the interior of our home.
When we bought the house the dining room wasn’t anything special and you essentially couldn’t distinguish it from the rest of the interior. Every room was painted the most awful and drab tan color that was akin to what white walls look like after years of exposure to smoke and dirt. So really not cute. There was one pendant light in the center of room (from IKEA so it wasn’t original) and then there was absolutely nothing else. No trim, baseboards, almost no visual interest and even less character. There were two saving graces though: the coved ceilings which are original to the year the house was built (1939) and the open concept from the living room.
To get started on the room, we focused on the two biggest surface areas – the floors and the walls/ceiling. We tackled the walls first and let me tell ya, that was a far more arduous process than originally intended. We painted them. And then repainted them. And then repainted that repainted coat. I’ll break down that arithmetic for you…that was three times. You might be thinking, “I wonder what the other colors were before they landed on pink?” And the answer to that is, pink. They were all pink. So you know we’re probably pretty high on the scale of legally insane. To be honest I can’t even remember how we landed on that color to begin with. I mean, we’re not unaware of the fact that almost no grown adult paints a room in their house pink unless they are preparing a baby girl’s nursery, let alone painting their dining room with the color. Regardless of how us lunatics ended up on that end of the color wheel I’ll walk you through the metamorphosis that led to those three separate painting sessions. The first shade was a delightfully horrid Pepto Bismal pink that we didn’t realize until we were being swallowed in it. The second shade was on the same paint chip but two degrees lighter. That one was a lovely candy hearts color and still wrong. FINALLY we transitioned closer to the peach side and ended up with Peach Bud which felt much truer to the era of the home and much less visually assaulting than the two predecessors. And I have to say, we LOVE it in a way that only two people who otherwise hate pink but are in the throws of a five year long bout of insanity, can.
A couple of years after nailing down our perfect match paint color we ventured through the neighborhood for the annual historic home tour and we noticed that everyone else in the world had figured out the solution to our coved ceilings problem. We had not been able to solve how to have colored walls without also painting the ceiling and creating a cave like affect. Enter picture rails. At that point we had the trim installed promptly and painted the ceilings our favorite Powdered Snow white and the skies very literally opened up above us. Suddenly we lived a house with 12 foot ceilings – or at least it felt like it. We are forever indebted to our neighbors for giving us blind men, sight.
The floors throughout the house (except in the bathroom and laundry room) were a cherry colored engineered wood that had been newly placed when the house was flipped. While it was a nice color, it was basically a graveyard of deep scratches and ghastly scars after literally one month of two dogs living in it. We tried – in vain – to use the quick fix of a wood pen for the first two years and then we begrudgingly raised the white flag and began budgeting for a long term replacement. When deciding what flooring to install we had several items we needed to check off our list. The first was that it needed to beautiful…because DUH. The second is that it had to be a material that would stand the test of time with our brood of mongrels. And the third was that it needed to feel like it belonged in a house as old as ours. We discovered a gorgeous light brown/gray wood-look tile and we knew it had to be that. In order for the tile to truly embody the look of wood we gave very specific instructions to all three contracting teams that installed it (gotta love flaky contractors) that there was to be a zero grout line. And because we can never just go with the straight forward and easy route, we chose a herringbone pattern that ran perpendicular to the entrance of the house (versus diagonal), which is of course more time and mooore money. The end result was SO worth it, though. And drumroll…the best part is that the pattern and color of the tile is so busy that you can’t EVER SEE DIRT. You can spend a day and a half scrubbin’ these bad boys and they will look absolutely identical to before you started. For a person with three dogs and absolutely no skill or desire to clean can I get an “Amen”?!
Okay so now that I’ve bored you with an Odyssean saga of walls and floors we can move on the fun stuff: fixtures and decor! We came across two gray industrial lights while antiquing one day and while in rough shape we knew we couldn’t pass them up. After having them professionally powder coated in white they were installed and classed up our house in the fixture department by about 10 million percent.
Then came the task of figuring out a layout for the room and a table. When we moved into the house we originally placed a round table off to the left side of the room as to prevent an interruption in traffic flow to the hallway door and the kitchen door. After a couple of years hating the awkwardness and asymmetry of this design we decided, “Screw it,” a few extra steps per day walking around the outside a table wouldn’t kill us. We knew that we wanted a big table that could seat at least six but it had to be just right to fit the scale of the room. After searching around for awhile we landed on a DIY project that involved buying, staining, and polyurethane-ing a butcher block counter top from IKEA and pairing it with brushed steel hair pin legs. After that we bought four barely blush pink industrial navy chairs from our next door neighbor’s front yard patio and sourced a bench online to add a variation in height and texture.
Plugging in the accents and details of the room involved a vintage framed poster of The New Yorker, a mid-century modern grandfather clock (that took two weeks of adult sleep training to get used to), and gauzy curtains for warmth and touch of formality. Our cups, plates, and silverware all came from our wedding registry and we found the rest of the details at local antique shops for a more eclectic and relaxed feel. Throw in a pillow and faux sheep skin for comfort and texture et voila, you have a dining room fit for breakfast at home, low key meal for two, or a full blown dinner party! There is almost nothing I enjoy more than picking out fresh flowers for myself and arranging them in various vases for the dining room table. I instantly feel like my house is cleaner, fresher, and I have my life TOGETHER.
We both love this room so much and all of the time and effort that went into it as well as the mixture of pieces we found over the years truly make it so much sweeter for us. While there are still items on our checklist (possibly switching out the curtains for roman shades, a Norman Rockwell picture to frame and hang, and who knows what else because we’re masochists and love to add on never ending projects) we are very proud of the room as is and can’t wait to see the evolution that will continue to happen over the years.
xoxo Ariel & Rob