Our Dining Room Makeover is finished, and we are floored by how well it turned out. We can’t wait to start entertaining in this beautiful room!
Welp, we finally did it! We finally have the dining room we’ve always wanted.
Handan and I struggled for years in our old house to cobble together a workable and decent-looking dining room. The space was just weird.
A chandelier centered on precisely nothing (until we moved it).
And the space was the nexus of almost every room in the house. The master bedroom, the old office/sitting room, the kitchen, the living room, the foyer, the sliding door to the deck and the front door – they all spilled into the dining room! If the house weren’t so secluded, dinner would be a very public affair.
One of our requirements when we were house hunting was that our new house had to be more….ummmm….normal.
We were tired of weird angles and odd spaces and hey, look! Where’d that wall come from?
The funkiness of The Navage Patch V1.0 was all well and good when there wasn’t a Navage Patch yet, but once we started blogging, we started noticing how hard it was to photograph certain rooms or scenes and have them look as good as what we were seeing on all the other blogs.
We were trying to keep up with the Joneses of blogging, but it felt like they were all driving Ferraris, and we were puttering along in a smoke-belching Yugo.
Ever wonder why we never did those cutesy front door/entrance seasonal displays with pumpkins and leaves?
Well, it’s hard to get your Happy Fall Y’all on when your glass front door is buried deep within a gray cave of vinyl siding and concrete!
I know, I know, all the odd angles and elbows of our old house made some of our projects unique…and they taught us how to think way outside the box when it came to decorating and interior design.
But we want back in the box. At least a little.
At least with the dining room.
And sister, we got what we wanted.
Now, there are room makeovers, and then there are Room Makeovers.
You’ll know when you’ve graduated from little “r” and little “m” to Big “R” and Big “M,” because the first words out of your mouth when gazing upon your New Room will likely be “Holy Shit!” or something similar. The more pious among you may gasp and whisper “Oh my!”
This exclamation is often followed by tears of joy, happy dancing, and the celebratory pouring of martinis and spiced rum (at least in this house).
When I first looked upon our finished Dining Room Makeover, I blurted out, “Jeezum Crow, my babes! I never knew this room had so much potential!”
Everything has it.
People have it. Hey, I was a wayward dipstick before Handan put me on a proper patch to success. She saw the potential that I had squandered and abandoned. I can’t imagine where I’d be if our paths hadn’t crossed in cyberspace back in 2008.
Old furniture has it. As DIYers, we’re all well aware of that! Even the most beaten up and ugly beast can have a pearl of beauty locked within. The trick is to see that pearl and tease it out.
And rooms have it. They are just spaces delimited by a floor, a ceiling and 4 walls, but they are defined by so much more. Our rooms speak to who we are and where we’ve been. They showcase our sense of style and tell tales of past adventures.
I think our rooms are the truest representations of ourselves – far more so than clothing or a hairstyle or the music we listen to.
So when I looked at what my babes and I had accomplished with this Dining Room Makeover, I knew that not only had we graduated from little “r” and little “m” to Big “R” and Big “M,” but we had created a space that told the tale of a Turkish girl and a Yankee boy and all the places they’ve called home.
The Big Bad Before
The basis of any good Room Makeover post is the before shot, so here ya go.
This was the “before us.”
And this was our “before.” This is what we moved into.
The carpets were trashed and the walls were extraordinarily….red? Rouge? Victorian? I don’t know, but they were something, alright.
Our very first order of business was to give that nasty old carpet the heave-ho and put in some proper hardwood floors.
You can read all about that adventure in our Hardwood Floor Installation & Refinish post.
If you’ve already read it, here’s a little refresher on the goodies we found underneath the carpet.
Nothing says Eat in Here like a floor full of mysterious brown powder!
The Dining Room Makeover Begins
But soon the carpet and all its horrors were whisked out of the house, and the new flooring was laid in its place.
We love the new color, though Handan did manage to spot a few flaws that were soon fixed.
Our next task was to pick a color to replace that, erm, unusual choice. What do you call that color and mottled style? It makes me think of Victorian brothels.
Not that I’ve ever been to a Victorian Era brothel, mind you. I’m far too young for that.
But “Brothel Red” sounds a little too tawdry. How about “Burgundy Boudoir?”
Yeah, I think that’s a little better.
So what to slap on the walls to hide the Burgundy Boudoir?
We went to Lowe’s, Home Depot and Ace Hardware to collect paint chips.
We looked at hundreds of colors – all variations of blue/gray and green/gray. As we narrowed our choices, Handan would prop them up against the wall, so we could see how they looked against the white wainscotting.
Normally, I’m not one for sitting on floors. After a time my old hips start screaming, my knees lock up and I start groaning like a walrus, but I actually really enjoyed this time spent on our empty dining room floor with my babes!
I think this is the point at which I started to see the potential in our new dining room. I knew that changing the wall color from Burgundy Boudoir to something a little less brothelly would pay the highest dividends – even higher than the new floor.
Eventually, a winner became clear.
Well, at least for me.
Handan has such a hard time with choices like these. She simply can’t choose a clear favorite among so many choices, so ultimately the deciding vote is cast by me.
There was one color I kept coming back to, and when that happens, I know it’s the right one.
**Side note: big shakeup in the kitchen remodel! We fired our granite subcontractor and made a last minute change. The new slab I just selected for our island was picked in the same way I chose the dining room color – I just kept coming back to it. More details soon!**
The color I chose is called Software, by Sherwin Williams, and it is the perfect blue/gray for our dining room.
As I’ve been mentioning over and over in the past couple of months, painting has kinda become my thing. I’m single-handedly painting every room in this house, often the ceilings and trim, too.
And I was really looking forward to painting the dining room!
No other room in this house would give as much satisfaction!
So you can imagine my irritation when I walked in on my babes painting the room!
The nerve of the woman!
There I was busting my ass painting some floor-level trim, crawling around the ground on all fours like a dog, and what did I get for my hard work and fidelity?
She goes sneaking around behind my back and paints the one room I’d been so looking forward to paint!
But karma’s a bitch, and her little unauthorized painting tryst turned into a bit of a messy nightmare.
After I had busted her and stormed off to carry on with my gloriless trim painting, I started to hear some muttering from the dining room.
Soon, the muttering became swearing.
And then it happened.
“BABES!!!!” There was real anger in that voice.
I dropped my brush and heaved my sweating carcass off the floor.
“Coming!” I said.
I walked into the dining room and found my dearest wife glaring at the wall, roller in one hand, rag in the other.
She was furious.
I looked at the unfortunate recipient of that withering look.
“The paint won’t stick!” She said.
At this point, I hadn’t yet started the chandelier makeover, so I couldn’t have known how much grease was trapped in that room.
Oil is the sworn enemy of latex paint.
We wiped off the paint she had already applied, and I filled a small plastic tub with warm water and a bit of TSP.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: nothing cuts grease like TSP! It is the sworn enemy of french fries and pizza.
After a quick wipe-down with a TSP-soaked cloth, we were back in business.
I allowed my babes to continue painting the first coat, but when she took a break, I dashed in and finished the job.
Hehehe. I told you – painting is my job in this house!
With the Burgundy Boudoir on the outs and the Software in, our Dining Room Makeover was really shaping up!
My next job was to freshen up the wainscotting with some ultra-white. It was painted an off-white before, but we really love the clean look of ultra-white for trim and wainscotting.
But oh, look at that chandelier in the picture above! It just wouldn’t do!
Most of you know how that turned out, but if you haven’t done so already, please read our Chandelier Makeover post for a quick and easy way to update an old builder-grade classic.
The room was showing its potential. I walked by one evening, as the setting sun shone through the blinds.
It was beautiful.
I couldn’t wait to carry more furniture in from our endless procession of PODs.
Paint and carry. Paint and carry. Paint and carry. For a couple of months, that was life around here.
But we were building our dream, so every time I felt the enormity of the job ahead crashing down on me, I just reminded myself to take it one piece of furniture at a time. One trip at a time. One room at a time. One wall at a time.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and our new home would not be settled for months. As long as I kept working, we’d keep moving forward, and my goal would keep getting closer.
Oh yeah, and I’d have a very happy wife.
You know what they say, right?
Happy wife, avoid the knife!
Or something like that…
Anyway, we kept plugging away at our Dining Room Makeover – a little bit here, a little bit there.
Once the floors were laid, the walls painted and the chandelier updated and re-hung, the rest was just moving in furniture and decorating.
But since the furniture and decor items from our old dining room were spread among our 5 POD containers, we didn’t finish decorating until just recently.
We were able to put most of the furniture from our old dining room back into use here, except for the vintage buffet that my babes and I made over a couple of years ago.
That post has one of my all-time favorite comments from a reader named Louise:
You ruined it!!! First time I don’t like your makeover. Coulda done better… : – (
Handan and I both had a good chuckle over that comment. We didn’t take it wrong or get offended. I think poor Louise was legitimately dismayed at the makeover and just had to let us know. Of course we love all the positive comments we get, but comments like Louise’s keep me grounded. Keep ’em coming, Louise!
To this day, my babes and I will still call out to each other at random times from across the house.
“You ruined it!”
Well, Louise will be happy to learn that the buffet didn’t fit in our new dining room, so it’s cooling its heels in our laundry room until we can find a suitable place for it.
Okay, enough of my yapping (yeah right, like I’ll ever stop!) – let’s get on with the pictures!
Dining Room Makeover
*There’s a source list at the bottom of the post, so just enjoy the ride until then!*
Coming in through the front door, this is our view to the left.
If daddy is doing something, Penny is bound to be nearby. One of her favorite hangouts is under the dining table – she just loves the security of something right over her head! This day, she was content to flop out on the floor like a rag doll.
Here is the overview shot. This is the main view that visitors will first see. This is also the view from my desk in my new office.
The table and chairs are the same ones we used in our old house. If you haven’t read the odyssey of that table, start with this post: A Good Idea Gone Bad: The Antique Victorian Dining Table that Almost Was.
Then read about about how it came to be what it is today: Farmhouse Dining Table with Gothic Revival Legs.
Here’s the view from the other entry off the kitchen hallway.
We ditched the heavy drapes and blinds that came with the house in favor of something lighter. The sheer curtains offer plenty of privacy (you can’t see anything inside when they’re drawn), but they also let in tons of natural light.
We bought the rug secondhand last summer in Glastonbury, CT. It’s a Pottery Barn Delancy kilim rug that sells new for over $1000, but we picked it up for $300. My babes has a nose for bargains!
This is my favorite corner of the room. I love everything about it, from the Pier One chest of drawers (bought just before they declared bankruptcy) to the Pier One vase (bought in-store during post-bankruptcy liquidation) to the Turkish nazar beads that I bought at our Turkish grocery store in Connecticut the day before moving down to Georgia with Baris.
You can’t beat blue, white and orange!
It’s hard to pick a favorite project, but this antique china cabinet that I restored and built doors for has to be right up there near the top. I don’t think I fully appreciated its beauty until seeing it in this new setting. It holds some of our dearest treasures from lands afar: onyx vases and candlesticks from Afghanistan, a carved soapstone elephant from India, an opium pipe from Vietnam, an intricate and exquisite silver lace tea set from Turkey, a gourd flute from India, a statue of the Egyptian goddess Ma’at from a little shop at the very tip of Cape Cod and several more.
We picked up this tree at our local nursery…in the faux plants section. Since moving down South, I’ve wanted something like this for somewhere in the house. I think it looks amazing in the dining room, and the best part is, I don’t have to remember to water it!
Across the kitchen hall entryway from the faux plant is an accent cabinet – another pre-bankruptcy Pier One purchase. Above it hangs a brass platter that Handan bought a year ago from a small antique/secondhand shop in Connecticut while we were on our way to pick up Baris from JFK airport in New York. She’s been dying to put it to use, and I think it looks perfect against this wall color.
Handan has named this the Copper Corner.
Across the main entryway from the Copper Corner sits an identical accent cabinet from Pier One. Did we buy two of them?
The first one they sent was broken. Like broken enough that the average person couldn’t fix it.
But I’m not the average person, heheheh.
Anyway, I got in touch with them and told them the issue. I backed up my claim with plenty of pictures. Instead of telling me to return it, they’d send a new one. Meanwhile, they suggested I dispose of the broken one.
A little wood glue and some clamps, and it was good as new.
Hey, I was willing to return it and get one that I didn’t need to fix. Not my fault they didn’t want to deal with it! 😀
Yeah, so we got two for the price of one. This one holds some Hindi blocks and a pair of soapstone elephants from India and our Bead Garland Candle Holder.
I’m a huge fan of Michaels’ faux florals. Yes, I’m a dude, and I can admit that! While Handan is the main decorator around here, I was responsible for the vase below. I love the dusty purple and green against the white wainscotting.
Here’s another shot of the blue vase – just because I love it so much.
On the dining table sits an old classic – our centerpiece tray.
We’ve got free plans for you if you’re interested in making one for yourself. Check it out right here!
What the tray sits on is another Pier One liquidation find and another pick by Yours Truly.
Handan poo pooed this table runner in the store. She didn’t think it would work with the colors we were planning.
But I had other thoughts.
I felt vindicated when one of the employees told me I had good taste when she saw this runner in my basket. I smiled at her and said, “It’s about time someone noticed!”
Have I told you about this blue vase and the corner I love? Well here’s a picture (or three).
Handan bought these doors years ago from Grandin Road, and she got the birdcages from Homegoods.
A couple of evening shots…
I think our new Dining Room not only shows our style, but it also tells a bit of the story of who we are…where we’ve been…what we’ve done.
I think we’ve unlocked and unleashed this room’s potential.
What do you think?
I know what these two think. The dining room has become their new favorite lookout point!
- Floor bird cage lanterns: we bought them from HomeGoods, but Kirkland also has similar ones.
- Large led pillar candles
- Vintage gate wall art (from Grandin Road)
- Antique china cabinet
- Leather elephant: we got ours from a consignment store, but you can find similar ones on Amazon.
- Pottery Barn Delancy kilim rug: we bought ours on Facebook Marketplace.
- DIY farmhouse dining table
- Smoke blue dining chairs
- Light linen dining chairs (with ring-pulls)
- Dining room decor tips & inexpensive chairs
- Chandelier Makeover
- LED candelabra bulbs
- Centerpiece tray
- Small pillar led candles
- Turkish evil eye
- Chest of drawers: we bought ours from Pier One, but you can find similar ones here.
- Large faux potted philodendron: we bought ours from a local nursery, but Joss & Main has similar large faux plants.
- Accent cabinets: we bought ours from Pier One, but you can find similar ones here.
- Brass decorative metal tray: we bought ours from a thrift store, but Etsy and Pottery Barn have similar ones. This is the one from Pottery Barn and these are from Etsy.
- Glass and Metal architectural candle lanterns (classic European buildings/houses)
- Fairy Lights with adaptor
- White washed carved floral wood wall decor
- Faux flower stems
- Glass floor vase: we bought ours from HomeGoods, but here are some similar ones.
- Bead garland candle holder
- Curtains and curtain rod
- Arched mirror makeover
- Wall Color: Sherwin Williams Software
For those following along, here’s how we stand with the short-term project list.
The Navage Patch Short Term Goals 2020 Checklist
Install radon mitigation system Bring power and light to the basement Install hardwood floors on the first floor Phase 1 Pantry makeover – DIY pantry shelves Install hardwood floors on the first floor Phase 2 Stain the staircase posts and handrails Kitchen remodel Install kitchen backsplash Build workbenches Build dog feeding station Build floating shelves Paint interior walls, trim and bedroom ceilings Dining room chandelier makeover Dining room makeover(this post)
- Change living room fan
- Change foyer chandelier
Paint interior door knobs
- Baris’s room setup & related projects (in progress)
Floating desks for Baris’s study Office setup & related projects Change front door lantern and install a second one Paint front door Remove big shrubs near front door
- Replace the ghost window
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