Dining Room Update by TheNavagePatch.com

Dining Room Update

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Call it the Mother of All Stalls. One day, I’m firing two tiling contractors halfway through the job of brick-facing our dining room walls, and the next day…it’s a year-and-a-quarter later and the job is still unfinished.

How did we get here?

Let’s rewind.

Some of you may recall that one of our first endeavors after buying our Florida home was to remove the absurd and confounding columns in the dining…not room…allotment? Annex? Spur? Subdivision?

dining room with columns

I half expected laureate-crowned Romans to be lurking behind the columns each time I sauntered past.

dining room with columns

After trying and failing to remove the columns myself (it turned out that each was concealing a high-tension cable anchored from the foundation to a ceiling beam), we gave up and hired a contractor to remove them for us and then build a wall with arched openings that my babes had designed.

man removing architectural columns from a dining room

Things went relatively smoothly at first. He did a decent enough job of framing up the walls with only a few minor adjustments needed.

cement board wall construction

When he finished framing and installing cement board, Handan and I ripped out the rest of the carpet, and then we started installing LVP. We wanted to have the new flooring laid down before we brought in a tiling crew to install a brick facade on the walls.

LVP floor install

And before we finished flooring the dining room, we took down the Imperial-Star-Destroyer-masquerading-as-a-chandelier that hung ponderously from the dining room ceiling.

Chandelier Removal - TheNavagePatch.com

I think our roofline gained a few inches in height after this ten-ton tangle was dismantled from its roost.

Chandelier Removal - TheNavagePatch.com

We were ready for the tilers. But were they ready for us?

We were assured by the contractor that this was his best tiling crew. We even waited an extra week for them to become available!

Instead, we got Tom & Jerry, Laurel & Hardy, Abbott & Costello. Call them what you will, they were not bricklayers. They were The Three Stooges condensed into two hapless boobs who botched the brick job so bad we fired them after the fourth day of a job that should have been completed in three.

Here’s one example of their craftsmanship.

uneven brick wall

Each day we’d find a section that had to be removed because these guys couldn’t grasp the idea of a straight line with equal gaps. Here’s my babes marking bricks for extraction.

woman and brick wall

I call them the do-over duo, and not only did they make a mockery of our brick wall, but they also dumped two buckets of grout water on my lawn that hardened into concrete after being instructed to dump the buckets in the woods, they left the work area in utter disarray each night (that I had to clean), and they spilled a 32-ounce gas-station cup of Coke onto our brand new LVP flooring and then…left for the night.

No cleanup. No heads-up. No nothing.

That was the last straw. I called the contractor and told him to tell his mortar-slinging simpletons not to bother showing up that day or any other.

And that left us with an incomplete wall with thoughtful little touches like these beautiful mortar swirls. 🙄

swirly grout haze

This was the state of affairs around the time of The Dismissal.

Over the course of a year and a quarter, we did flesh out the room with a rug, our DIY gothic revival farmhouse dining room table (yes, you read that right, and you can read more about it right here), restored antique china cabinet, DIY console table, other furniture and assorted decor pieces.

It looked pretty good all-in-all, but there were precisely two problems with the room:

  1. The aforementioned aborted brick wall
  2. A gaping hole in the ceiling that periodically rained down insulation like manna from heaven until I patched it up with blue painter’s tape

Well, out of sight, out of mind, but this room was in sight on a daily basis. Still, I did a pretty good job at pretending it didn’t exist. Handan on the other hand…

So it came to be this summer that we vowed to finish the room this year.

And so far, we’re making good on that promise! We’ve already finished bricking in the big arch, and just last week, I hung a new chandelier that my parents gifted us…last Christmas!

Dining Room Update by TheNavagePatch.com
Dining Room Update by TheNavagePatch.com

There will be much more to tell about the brickwork as that nears completion, but for now, you can see the progress we’ve made and how the room looks in its current festive state as we try out our new Halloween decor creations in their very own spooky room!

Dining Room Update by TheNavagePatch.com

It’s good to see bricks on that arch!

Dining Room Update by TheNavagePatch.com

Soon we’ll be filling in the rest of those bricks, adding mortar and then making them all more white.

Dining Room Update by TheNavagePatch.com
Dining Room Update by TheNavagePatch.com
Dining Room Update by TheNavagePatch.com

This room lends itself beautifully to Halloween decor!

Dining Room Update by TheNavagePatch.com
Dining Room Update by TheNavagePatch.com
Dining Room Update by TheNavagePatch.com

The chandelier is perfect for all seasons and holidays!

Dining Room Update by TheNavagePatch.com

A few Halloween details to finish up – you’ll be seeing some of these projects in depth soon!

Dining Room Update by TheNavagePatch.com
Dining Room Update by TheNavagePatch.com
Dining Room Update by TheNavagePatch.com

Stay tuned for more Halloween fun and Home Improvement – there’s still so much to do and show!




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31 Comments

  1. Brick wall and arch looking great. But what really caught my eye were the black witch’s boots/vases/? Is there a source for these? Great job!

  2. Hey Greg, I love this room, the brick is to die for! Your flooring is so pretty, do you know the name/brand/model of it? I am looking to do the floors in my little house. Have you seen any gapping? Lots of questions – sorry!! If you can let me know, otherwise I will poke around the flooring stores 🙂

    1. I’m with you, Jean. Those floors are the show stopper, though I love the brick arches too. But those floors – they probably could’ve made the columns look good! But, not the chandelier. There was never going to be any help for that nightmare haha.

  3. I cannot WAIT to see this project of all projects completed. I’m actually using it as a map to re-doing the brickwork around my fireplace. It will be beautiful!! Handen did a great job with the design.

  4. It is looking great. I love the witches boots vase!! I can’t believe they did the brick like that. I would’ve had a fit as well. You can’t call yourself a pro and do work like that.

  5. Great job on the brick arches, but your post is nearly impossible to read on a phone- too many pop up ads ( & your own video)
    that can’t be closed.

  6. What a difference the brick walls and the arches make! The entire room is gorgeous. Your love of Halloween is terrific and I have to wonder if you entertain a lot, (dinners, parties) so that others get to enjoy your inside decorations. The outside decorations are spectacular. I imagine a lot of people drive by to see. Do you let them wander on your property since there are so many great displays? The winged skeletons are my favourite. Thank you for sharing your art and your skills.

  7. How frustrating to have “inexperienced” and disrespectful boys recommended to install a straight line of bricks. How hard can that be? Obviously, for some, it’s very difficult!
    I love the chandelier that your parents gave you. It fits PERFECTLY! Once everything is done and a few years down the road, hopefully the “sting” of the installation will lessen, and you will have enjoyed a few years of satisfaction of a job well done by you! It is a beautiful space and I love your direction. I would love to add brick in my home. Maybe someday when our home becomes more of a priority to my husband instead of sports! That might be a cold day in hell, but a girl could wish, right? I think instead of waiting for him, I’ll do it myself. I have more patience. 😉 Great job, you too! You never cease to amaze me!!

  8. My husband is a trim/finish carpenter in Louisiana. But he started in Colorado and can/has built houses from the ground up working on multi million dollar homes. He’s is constantly telling me about the ineptitude of people in the business down here. He is originally from Louisiana so he isn’t talking trash about all the people. He said it’s a different beast down here, and it seems that there are a lot of unqualified people faking it til they make it. Or maybe until they think they make it 😉 I imagine it’s probably quite similar in Florida!
    You guys are doing a great job! And it will feel awesome to say it’s something you learned how to do and completed yourselves!

    1. It’s true, Erica. Obviously there are some fantastic contractors here, but the seem to be in the minority, and as you might imagine, they’re busy as heck! There are hordes of untrained workers hired by unscrupulous contractors, especially after hurricanes. From what I understand after talking to some old-school legit contractors, the roofing industry here is probably the shadiest of all. A bunch of guys with pneumatic nail guns and not much clue about anything else! And from the complaints I read in our neighborhood FB page about the new-built houses by the big contractor putting them up makes me glad we’re living in one of the older ones!

  9. I hope you stay in your beautiful Florida home a long, long time after all your hard work! Some day you and Handan will be able to sit around your dining room table and laugh about all the craziness you had to go through to get there. Your dedication and tenacity is admirable!!

  10. Mernin’
    What a nightmare for y’all. It is looking amazing . Is this your “forever” home? (retired military spouse LOL) I can’t wait to see it finished. I have been around for 3 houses and the apartment. I know the whole house will be stunning in a few years. Can’t wait to see it done

    Just FYI Amazon link isn’t working:(

  11. Oh the tales we tell when we hire others to do work. We have had some good ones, and some not so stellar. We hired the number one brick layer in our whole rural area to lay the block when we built our home in 1966. When we looked at the work from the day before we found that there were several rows of block where the motor had not been scored. I am sure it was his hire help, but it wasn’t so great. I do like that rug in your dining room. Had to chuckle/shudder for you on the original chandelier. Our son bought a home several years ago with a massive crystal chandelier that was about that problematic.