Dining Room Drama and The Domino Effect

I’m sure it’s happened to all of us. You make a decision. You set a course. Then you change one thing… and it changes EVERYTHING. That’s the story of my dining room. Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

For the most part my dining room had remained untouched since we moved into the house about a year ago. I had all the essentials… dining table, chairs, buffet… but nothing that really spoke of my style. I decided to do something dramatic. Being the lover of a good graphic punch, I mocked up this mood board in Photoshop.
dining room mood board That wall is not for the faint of heart, right? For the most part this design used thing I already owned. I would need to have some chairs reupholstered and buy a couple cans of paint. Not bad. And the “Wearstler Wall” was going to be amazing if I had anything to do with it. I wanted to use a blush color for the stripes and an even lighter blush color for the ceiling. I even found some sheers at IKEA in a beige-y blush color that worked perfectly for the windows. At $5 per panel I was able to load up the windows with lots of full fabric. I got to work and ended up with this.
wearstler-wall Not exactly like the mood board, but hey, I was working with what I had. You can see that I have no seat cushions here because all my seats and side chairs were being reupholstered. They came back looking spectacular!
striped-louis-chair For the most part the dining room was done. Ahhh…. don’t you just love the feeling of a room that’s done? Yeah, me too! But no sooner than I had completed this room, these fabulous designer drapes walked into my life and turned it upside down.
drapes The mother lode of designer fabrics in my book… Schumacher’s Chinois Palais designed by the ever-stylish Mary McDonald. I was offered the opportunity to purchase these drapes at the end of a show house event for a fraction of retail cost. I’ll have to admit, I thought of every reason in the book that I should get them even though I didn’t really need them. Things like “they go perfectly with my ceiling color” and “they’re already the exact length I need for the dining room” ran through my head, along with “I really should have a more grown-up design for my dining room.” That last one was a kicker. Being in my early 40s has really taken a toll on my design taste. I’m finally admitting to myself that I need to decorate my age. Ugh.

So I agreed to purchase them and the domino effect ensued. The drapes were way too formal to go with the “Wearstler Wall”, and I’d always felt the room was a bit flat. I love the look of grasscloth so I decided to try it on the main wall.
grasscloth I also switched out the mirror with my Chinese Chippendale Pagoda Mirror that was previously in my foyer. Might as well go full-on chinoiserie, right? I loved all the texture from the grasscloth, but the new lamps were really clunking. This is when I decided that the dining room was just going to have to be “pretty.” I gave up the idea of trying to inject modern elements because they just didn’t work. Another thing that didn’t work was the striped Louis side chairs. So I resurrected the Phyllis Morris chairs with an Ebay score of some Mary McDonald Firenze fabric in a blush colorway.
firenze-fabric LOVE this fabric! It’s pretty but it still has a strong graphic feel to it, which is one of the things I like so much about it. And of course it works perfectly with the drapes I’d be getting from the show house. Ebay can be an amazing source for designer fabrics. You can find remnants and end-of-roll quantities at deep discounts. My little bamboo chairs came back from the upholsterer looking ah-mazing!
chair At this point I started to get excited. I finally picked up my drapes at the close of the show house and hung them. After finding the perfect pair of Uttermost buffet lamps, the room was finally done!
dining-room Whew! Was that not the longest dining room story ever? I finished it just in time for the holidays and have been enjoying it ever since. One dinner party and Thanksgiving meal down, and hopefully many more to go.

So has the domino effect ever sent your decorating into a tailspin? I’d love to hear your stories!

  • modfrugal

    It looks so elegant… Beautiful job Gina!