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!

The Great Color Conundrum

I’ve got a huge confession to make. We have lived in this house for almost a year now, and about six months into it, I got tired of living with so much bright color. There. I said it. It’s good to get that off my chest.

It’s not that I don’t like color or appreciate what it can do for one’s mood, but there was just so much of it all around me. After a while it no longer seemed to reflect mine and my husband’s personal taste. And let’s face it, the eye does need a rest after a while. Am I crazy for having a change of heart so quickly? For me, bright color is like the guy you thought you’d marry and love forever, but turns out you just want to date him on the weekends.

So about a month ago I made the decision to start removing the bright color from our main living spaces and injecting more neutral tones into the home.

First up was the living room. Here’s where we started.
colorful-living-room Nice and bright! The teal overdyed rug is was obviously the major source of color in the room (besides The Walken).  Step number one was to replace the rug with something that had a little more texture and neutral colors. Enter the Beni rug…
eric-on-beni-rug I purchased this rug on sale at RugsUSA.com and it’s honestly one of the best purchases I’ve made for our home. I knew it instantly when we rolled it out on the floor. It made the room feel so much warmer and more like home. Perhaps it’s because I had a cream shag rug in my last house and I just missed it. I don’t know why, but I love this rug. And obviously Eric does, too!

After replacing the rug I noticed that the wall color seemed a bit on the colder side of gray. It was the only gray color the builder offered at the time, and to tell the truth I think it really worked well with the brighter colors. But now that the color was gone the gray-blue hue stuck out like a sore thumb. The room looked cold and I needed to warm it up. So I turned to my Sherwin Williams fan deck and picked out a warm greige color called Alpaca. It had the exact same tonal value as the original gray, but the hue was slightly different. If I hadn’t told anyone that I repainted the room, they probably would have never noticed. Here’s a photo of the color as it was going on the wall. Can you see the difference?
paint-colors Even if no one else noticed the change, I noticed and it made me very happy. Michael requested that we keep the back of the house light and bright since we have all those lovely windows, and I think SW Alpaca was a perfect fit. So then the room looked like this.
painted-walls Ahhhh! Much better. So clean and fresh and full of possibilities! You may have noticed I switched out my colorful pillow covers for more neutral covers and some furry lumbars from Arhaus. When going neutral it’s important to add more texture. Texture gives a room life and keeps it from looking flat and boring.

The coffee table tray got a little makeover as well. It went from this…
coffee-table-tray-color To this.
coffee-table-tray The oversized tray is from West Elm and I love how large it is. It’s the perfect scale for my ginormous coffee table. I purchased a new one in the silver leaf finish because I have so much brass and gold in the room already, and this girl likes to mix her metals. The Kate Spade hot pink crystal vase was switched out with a vintage tortoise shell vase from Flair Vintage Decor, a new grouping of books were stacked up, and my little faux marble black and white Target tray was added for another layer of texture. Topping it all off are my vintage antelope figurines and my mother-in-law’s crystal votive holders which add an element of sparkle to the mix. Whether you’re creating an entire room or a simple vignette, it’s important to bring in a good mix of materials so that you have a variety of finishes. This grouping is great because I have elements of glass, metal (silver and gold tones), wood tones (in the vase) and paper.

So there you have it… The living room is well on its way to being a cozy retreat for the Julians. There are only two things left on the to-do list for this room: 1) install a larger light fixture, and 2) create different artwork. Both of which are in the works as I type. I hope to be posting on those updates in the next few days. Can’t wait to have photos of a finished room! Hope everyone has a great week!