Monday, May 28, 2012

Tour de Jour: Living & Dining Rooms

We did it!  We painted, furnished, decorated and (almost) finished our living and dining rooms.  Whew!  It only took a year and a half of living here.  And now we get a bonus year to enjoy it.

I say almost because there are still three things I want before I feel fully complete with this room.  1.  This rug, which has been out of stock for months.  Today it’s 60% off!  (Grrrrrrr.)  2.  A soft, begs-you-to-curl-up throw for the couch.  Color:  mustard.  (Does it exist?  Where?!)  3.  A statement chair.  Patterned and mustard.  Ironically, I’ve been on the hunt for this the longest and have yet to find it.  It’s out there.  Likely at Home Goods.  One day, after I exercise enough patience and stalking, we will meet and all will be right with the world.

Since those things are more or less out of my control, I am letting them go for now, calling this room “done enough” and giving the bloggity blog world the Tour de Jour.

BEFORE:  LIVING ROOM (These were taken when we first moved in and Max still used an activity mat.  Wow.)DSC_0014DSC_0012

Remember when I had more pillows than shoes?  Not really, but kind of?


AFTER:  LIVING ROOMDSC_0034DSC_0067Remember how we scored that flat screen for $6?


For 18 months our dining room alternated between an empty space to play and a storage place to paint. The picture below on the left I grabbed off our landlord’s website. We never had those ugly curtains, but you can see the big empty room, just begging for a dining room table. For a year and a half we had no table and only once was this room “dined” in and that was by kids during General Conference.


diningDSC_0143  DSC_0010 Circa October 2010 with some Barnes 2nd cousins.  At this point we were using the dining room to store stuff.  So classy and tasteful, right?  Other thoughts about this random photo:  wow, Lincoln was mad and that couch cover was SUCH a pain.



The transition was a lengthy process.  We shopped and shopped and budgeted and saved our Christmas money and waited for deals and did things ourselves and tried to exercise patience.  This process may not be ideal, but it’s kind of how our home projects roll.  In the end, they feel more like labors of love, which helps me truly appreciate them.

IMG_0874One of the many couches we didn’t buy.

Just before Christmas, we pulled the trigger on a dining room table.


Which my little elves helped assemble. 

When fully expanded this table seats 10. We’re not sure we have that many friends, but if we can round them up, imagine, we could sit down all together!


We painted.  Good thing Anderson is such an awesome helper!


Colonial Red to Yellow Gold.



Blinding White (not what it’s actually called but what it felt like) to Warm Flannel Grey.  Same color we painted the basement.


In February, my Mom helped me transform the legs of these chairs from brown to silver.

DSC_0131 DSC_0132 IMG_0588

We were going to silver leaf them but decided to take the spray paint shortcut instead.  My mom is the queen of spray paint.  They didn’t turn out exactly how I wanted, but I’m generally happy with them; and I love them as our heads of the table chairs. 


The living room re-do upgraded from a want to a need when our couch cover literally started falling apart.  We’d had it for 8+ years, and I was SO sick of making my couch every day.  Tuck, pull, tie, smooth, repeat, kill me.  The couch underneath the cover was a hand me down and still in great condition.  It just wasn’t my taste.  We ended up handing it down to my visiting teacher.


When the couch cover eventually trashed to threadbare state, I knew it was high time for our first set of real, we-actually-bought-them couches.  Oh happy day.


Our new sofa and loveseat are crazy comfortable.  I love them and their herringbone detail.  So much better than hole detail.

DSC_0072DSC_0075IMG_1128 They say grey is the new black.  I totally believe them.

My color and theme inspiration started with this pillow from Target.


I loved the mustard and the flowers and knew I’d design around it the minute I saw it.  It took a long time to settle on the colors I wanted to coordinate with it.  I knew I’d use grey and I kept gravitating towards blue, but I wouldn’t let myself commit to it.  Finally I fell in love with my blue dining chairs and blue -- azure to be exact -- was officially in the mix.  I think I subconsciously patterned my rooms after my diaper bag, which makes sense, because I love my diaper bag.


I enjoyed accessorizing the rooms the most.  Home Goods had my trustworthy hook ups every time.  Man, I love that place!  Everything pictured below, minus the table, came from HG.


Speaking of accessories, how ‘bout a little shout out to my favorite details in the rooms?

My favorite, favorite, FAVORITE part of the rooms is our lantern.  Our old light was a tall black stick lamp.  See the before pictures or just think of every college apartment you’ve ever seen.  I struggled finding affordable lighting I liked.  Then I found this lantern, with two broken glass panes, on clearance at TJ Maxx.


I initially thought it could serve as a coffee table centerpiece, but it was too big.  Harley had the genius idea to turn it into a light and hang it.  After some guidance from my Mom (who is also the queen of watching HGTV and upcycling just about anything), custom cut new glass (cheap at Lowe’s), a lighting kit from Amazon, a white plastic chain I spray painted grey and a trial run through about a dozen different kinds of light bulbs, we’d lit up our masterpiece. 


DSC_0059   DSC_0054  

I found a more suitable coffee table centerpiece.  One that compliments the hanging lantern quite nicely.


The other source of light in the room I also love and it has a tale as well.  The base is from Target (marked down twice) and the shade is from Ikea.  I had to make five trips total to the two stores to get it all right. 


I love my oversized fork and spoon on the dining room wall.  They were thoughtful gifts from my Mom.  No need to leave your giant cereal bowl home when you visit us next time!


I’ve never had a hutch or butler’s pantry until this home and I LOVE it.  Great for storing and displaying.  I rearranged things and added a few new pieces.  All things colorful and fabulous were practically stolen from HG.

BEFORE:                                            AFTER:


Mindy helped me concoct my dining table centerpiece.  Apothecary jar and blue & white balls thanks to HG.  The mustard ones I made with Styrofoam balls and yarn.


This picture of the Salt Lake Temple is incredibly special to us.  For years we have wanted a beautiful picture of the temple or Christ in our home.  Our second year of marriage we set out to buy a spiritual painting for each other as a Christmas gift.  We couldn’t find anything we loved.  I’m a big believer that art should never be just a space filler.  Art needs to speak to you  -- better yet, SING to your soul and move you.  Everything we saw seemed overused and failed to say anything more than “no” to us.  Instead of church art, we came home with a knock-off painting of Van Gogh’s Cafe Terrace at Night, which we love to this day, but oh, brother what did that say about our priorities?  When I saw this picture hanging on my Mom’s wall a year ago it was as though the MoTab itself burst into the “Hallelujah” chorus and proclaimed to me, “THAT is IT!”  I’d never seen a temple picture like it.  For that reason alone, I was moved.  Throw in the vibrant colors, the beautiful lighting, the fresh angle and the fact that it’s OUR temple? Well, it spoke indeed.  The Spoken Word!  I recommitted to never settle for art I don’t love.  The wait always pays off! The hunt just might take a long time.


My Mom purchased this picture at Costco in Utah, which probably means it won’t be unique for long, but it’s still pretty original in Maryland.  It took some finagling to get the Utah Costco special and have it shipped to us in Gaithersburg, but we did it last fall.  We called it an 8 year anniversary gift to ourselves. 


Special shout out to the birds (and Target) who practically sing happiness when you enter the dining room from the deck.


And bonus shout out to my new kitchen tablecloth, even though it’s not technically in my new rooms.  My old, falling apart kitchen table will be my next project.  For now this tablecloth breathes fresh life, and yes, mustard (I’m a bit obsessed) into the kitchen.


So there it is.  Come!  Visit!  Dine!  Sit!  We can rave on how sometimes a looooong, budgeted, do-it-yourself process can eventually pull a room together.


More Tour de Jour:  Basement, Master Bedroom, Travel Wall, Anderson’s Big Boy Room, Max’s Nursery


Pink Panda said...


RRW said...

It looks great! All the work certainly paid off. Are you going in be in town for Lisa's bridal shower at my mom's? I can't wait for you to see what she's done with her house. You have very similar tastes...down to the giant silverware even. Hahaha, congrats on having a highly fashionable interior design!

Summer said...

Awesome job! So fun to see the before and after photos, everything looks great together - you have a good eye. Love your color scheme! It reminds me of a blog I follow ( where the lady nicknamed it "grellow" - gray, yellow and like you she adds splashes of blue too. Maybe she also had a petunia pickle bottom diaper bag she loved ;-)

Mom said...

I am glad I got to travel down this decorating road with you Wendy. You did a great job and it has been fun to see it all come together.

Crystal said...

WOw! looks amazing. My favorites are the herringbone couches (where are they from) and the turqoise chairs (where did you get them) amazing long time pieces.

Lisa Weiler said...

Looks great! My favorite part are the blue end chairs in the dining room, love those! I also love that Salt Lake Temple picture. And I'm impressed with the paint jobs, very nice job Wendy!

Rachel said...

love love love. I am also obsessed with yellow. When can I come visit, please??????????

DC Diva said...

Thanks friends! Crystal, the couches are from Valu City (a chain mostly in the east, I believe). We were a little nervous buying them from a company that doesn't spell correctly (why businesses... why??) but we the price, customer service and quality have been excellent!

The dining chairs are from Home Goods!

Rachel, let's set something up when I'm back in late June. I will want (and need!) to see you. :)

Ali Snow said...

It all looks so great Wendy. It took you a LONG time to get it all together but it looks fantastic. Love the color scheme.

Doug and Leslie said...

I think you need to come decorate my house...

Love the colors, everything looks fabulous!

Ming said...

Love the couches! Good bye making your couch FOREVER!!! Everything came together so nicely. It was fun to be a part of this with you. Everything looks so great. The lantern light turned out so cool! I love the blue coffee table centerpiece. That's new. And yes, coordinates so lovely with the light. That temple pic really is beautiful and adds such light into the space.

I admire your patience and DIYness. Way to go!!!

Ryan and Cheryl Harris said...

Oh Wendy, it looks SO SO Fabulous! Really. Didn't know about/seen the lamp on the side table. Very cool. I just love all of it. The Butler's pantry looks great too. I SO want to redecorate. Maybe in NC. It would be interesting to hear how much it all Could ya mabye add that up for me so I can tell Ryan it's doable for under 500? That's what I'm hoping. Minus the couches and table of course.

Kell's Belles said...

Ooh, so inspiring! Love it all! And that Target pillow that inspired it all? I have it (except in the brown colorway as that went with my colors)! And I love it!

Jess said...

It looks great! And I have to laugh about the story of getting the temple picture. We had the same goal at the beginning of our marriage too, and we finally got a painting of Christ this Christmas--took us almost 10 years! But we found the perfect one. :)

anna banana said...

Love it all! So darling! Hopefully I will see it in person before you move :)

Suzette Selden said...

Love it love it love it. You do amazing things Wendy. You should be featured in Real Simple, for real!

Jill said...

I LOVE the make over. Now can you tell me how to decorate my house?

jenn said...

So lovely dear. I am impressed by it all and LOVE the colors! :)