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dining room interiors projects

dining room update: colour detour

January 21, 2014

We finally painted the dining room + kitchen this weekend!  You may recall my big plans to paint things a dark, deep blue.  After trying out a patchwork of colours on top of the recent dark green, things took a dramatic turn … for the brighter.

Yep, it’s WHITE.

I decided to go for white after some very, very deep reflection, a.k.a., browsing my pins.  I have to admit I’ve been having some bright white envy after seeing the homes of Emily Henderson and fellow Eichler owner Traci Yau of 45wall design.  And I rather enjoy treating my home as a sort of lab for design experiments!  I’m starting to scheme about painting out all of our dark brown beams and brightening the ceilings, which are currently really off-white.

Anyway, back to the space itself:  To keep things light, I flipped the Nate Berkus rug to its reverse side.  The credenza is now off to the side, just to mix things up a bit, and the art is obviously a bit scattered for now.  I’m pretty keen on getting a huge art piece for the white wall.  I’m in love with the work of Samantha French – her large-scale underwater portraits are stunning, but I might let my eye wander a bit first.  Suggestions for big, abstract-ish art are welcomed!

I’ll update on the kitchen and breakfast nook once I’ve had some time to style them a bit more.  In the meantime, I’d love to hear what you all think.

dining room interiors

i did a thing.

October 28, 2013

Hey guys.  I realize I haven’t been a very entertaining blogger, pinner, or instagram-er lately.  I got sucked into a sort of alternate universe on tumblr, in addition to the usual life things.  Alas, for those who follow me on Instagram, I thought I’d do a little reveal of my latest experiment at home:  repainting our dining room.

Hint:  It’s very green.  Why did I do this?  Boredom, I suppose.  I wanted to change something, and I’ve been inspired by all of these greens lately:

Photo sources:  1 | 2 | 3

I love the way that white, wood, and gold play off of the greens above.

Here’s the result.  (More or less, because it’s impossible for this green to look the same in any two pictures!)

I thought I’d share this as I feel it’s not a very successful experiment, and I am quite likely to repaint.  But you, dear blog follower, get the inside scoop before this disappears!

The problem is two-fold.

One:  the green doesn’t exactly play nice with our wood paneling.  As my mother warned me not to “make it look too much like a forest”, I managed exactly that.  It’s intensely woodsy.  Maybe this is good, I’m not convinced yet.  The worst part is the mahogany trim that runs along the bottom of the wall.  I feel like this makes things look dated.

Two:  it is hella dark at night.  And I can say that because I live in California.  The person who I happen to co-own the house with does not approve.  The mahogany paneling is dark enough, with the green it is now (his words) “cave-like”.

Still, I am enjoying how the white chairs (now adorned with sheepskins) and the bubble lamp stand out against the green.  It might grow on me.  Stay tuned.

dining room

dining room update

June 3, 2013

So, yeah.  It’s been slow.  Sorry to have left you all with that Miyazaki monster for so long.

Progress:  we have a rug!

Anti-progress:  I am having cold feet about the wall colour.

This last weekend, I got a piece of foam-core board and painted a big piece with the Admiral Blue paint that I’ve been pining after.  It’s an awesome deep indigo blue.

Look how great a backdrop it makes:

But it looks almost black in low light.  I’m a bit concerned that with all the mahogany paneling, it might be too dark.

I have also turned our kitchen into a paint-chip laboratory.  I am constantly walking by squinting my eyes at all the chips, trying to get a feel for what they’d be like on a larger scale, in case I want to try a variation of dark blue.  And I’m still not sold.

I just might go white for the walls.  Or light grey.  My brain is going to explode, people.  Please send your decision-making energies my way.  Thanks.

While you do that, here’s a bonus shot of some peonies because it’s peony time!  I love these.  Most of all, because if I ever wonder which peonies to get, the answer is usually ‘just get ALL the peonies’.  I had two bunches in my house this past week (one white, one super dark pink), and I’m thinking I might pick up a few more.

You should too.  I’m pretty sure they’re proven to lift the even most decision-burdened of spirits.

dining room

getting started on our dining room refresh

May 23, 2013

As I alluded to in an earlier post, I’m planning to change up our living + dining space.  I’d like to go in a more mid-century Scandinavian direction, but not with the entirely black and white colour palette typical of Nordic styles, because, hey, we’re in California!  And California knows how to party, I’m told.  Let’s get started.

In the “woe is me, I own an Eichler” department, I will say that having a huge open space makes it challenging to design the dining room.  Because it’s not just one room.  It’s all of the rooms!  Our living room, dining room, kitchen, and breakfast nook are quite continuous, with one wall connecting the spaces.  Currently that wall is a teal-ish blue chosen, I’m sure, by the staging company which prepped the house for sale, for maximum universal appeal to buyers.  I really want to put my stamp on the house, so even though it’s not at all offensive, the blue is definitely going.

As I look around the space now, I find my eye rests on the white elements (Eames chairs, white ceramic pots, fluffy sheepskin pillows) and I enjoy that.  I’m hoping to add more white and pare things down a bit by restricting the number of colours.  Sorry, multi-coloured kilim rug and orange pops of colour, you will have to go along with the teal.

I also want to add more drama.  Somehow.  Perhaps, a big swatch of colour with an animal staring you down while you eat dinner?

Source:  Dwell via Design Milk

Yeah, just like that.  A touch of insanity whimsy!

I think my vegetarian husband would find this deeply disturbing (and heck, me too — doesn’t that creature look kind of angry?) so I’m keeping this concept in mind but will probably skip the actual taxidermy.

Here’s a possible direction in terms of colours and textures:

And the run-down:

1.  Untitled 12.1.12 by Richard Blanco
I found out about Cureeo from Emily Henderson’s blog (this lady is so talented and I really appreciate seeing how she does things).  It’s a site where you can buy reasonably-priced, original art work that is nicely curated for you, so it’s very easy to shop and pick out something cool and one-of-a-kind.  This piece is bright and fresh and just serious enough, but I’m not 100% sold on it yet.  Deciding on the art is a challenge.  Do I go bold and colourful or maybe neutral and texture-y?  I may wait and play the ‘Art Goes Here’ game after painting the blue wall.  In fact, I’m pretty darn sure of it.  Stay tuned.

2.  George Nelson Saucer Lamp
The mid-century geek favourite.  This is already in the room and it has a great sculptural quality which I want to repeat…

3.  Assorted Danish candleholders via Etsy
Yes!  The cute lady is a candleholder.  I’m going to need some tall pieces to sit on top of our teak credenza, as I currently have mostly short things that are too small.

4.  Atollo Table Lamp
This is my dream lamp.  I think it would do splendidly in helping to continue the sculptural theme here.  The Atollo is an iconic lamp designed by Vico Magistretti for Oluce, a long-standing Italian lighting company.  It’s a piece of art in itself, as you can gather by reading the product description on the Oluce website.  I challenge you to read that description and not be moved!

5.  Benjamin Moore’s Admiral Blue
This would be the new colour for the wall that connects our living, dining, and kitchen areas.  I think this should pair well with the mahogany paneled walls which account for two of the dining room’s three walls.  It’s dramatic but cozy.

6.  Nate Berkus Arrowhead Rug
A nice black and white foundation to keep things sane while adding some Scandinavian-ness and woven wooly texture.  It seems this rug is everywhere these days, but I really like the pattern and the very reasonable price point offsets the potential dream lamp purchase.  It’s perfect!
What do you think?  Any art suggestions out there?

dining room house tour living room

house tour: living and dining room

April 25, 2013

I originally meant for this post to be a set of ‘before’ pictures, but I got a little carried away.  Sorry guys.  Our current living-dining situation has gotten a bit tired to my eyes, even if it makes for some pretty pictures.  It’s the most finished part of the house, however the furniture is mostly an accumulation of stuff from our previous apartments.

It’s fun enough, but not like ‘OMG SOOOO SUPER FUN I CAN’T GET ENOUGH’ fun.  I need more of that in my life.  And I’m hard to please.

In the process of rearranging things around here, I realized I need to step up my vignetting skills in a big way.  I find it challenging to style such a big open space without any nooks or even window sills to organize around.  I’m trying to decide if it’s that I need more things, or perhaps fewer, bigger things.  I think it’s bigger things, if I recall AB’s advice.

So, please enjoy …

Sources:  Room & Board sofa (a few years ago), rug from West Elm, slat bench from MCMF.  The crazy wood lamp was a basement shopping find and came from Dave’s spinster great-aunt Beezer who got it in Bermuda (doesn’t she sound awesome?)  The Noguchi table is a knock-off and one of the first pieces of non-IKEA furniture that Dave and I purchased together back in Toronto, when we were straight out of school and, admittedly, not very knowledgeable about furniture.  Oh, the memories of getting that thing home on the subway!

The woven textile hanging is made in Colombia, from Etsy seller syn AND dig, and found its spot above the fireplace somewhat by chance, as I never managed to carry it beyond the living room after unpacking it.

And this is what I get to see when I come home every day.  (Albeit with a large scattering wood chips and dog toys over all over the place.)

I really love that the reflections make it look like there’s a hole in our living room ceiling.  Optical illusions abound here, friends, especially at night.

Despite the glorious daylight, having two walls of your living room made of single-pane glass doesn’t exactly make for a cozy room.  It also gets quite dark at night, since we don’t have walls reflecting light as you would normally in your home.

This brings me to the cozier and brighter end of the room:  the dining area.

I love our George Nelson Saucer lamp, and glitter-potted cacti.  The cacti are obscuring my attempt at styling the sideboard with larger objects.  I kinda lost my confidence there with the giant ceramic horse head – I promise I’ll do better next time.

That’s how things look now.  And they will be changing.  I find that I’m currently annoyed by the matchiness of the paint colour, the paint-by-numbers art, dining room rug, and various pops of orange.  That, and I need to replace that IKEA rattan lamp with something much more sexy.  It was fun a while ago but is no longer working for me.

What do you think?  If the Palm Springs house was “organic earthy modern”,  I’m thinking the current style of this space is more like “random earthy modern”.

Looks like we have some evolving to do.  I will keep you posted!

photos: Karolina Buchner
layouts: Pugly Pixel