Dining Room Version 4.0

Hey, remember that time I had a house and used to blog about the great strides I was making in renovating and decorating?

I almost titled this post “Everything Sucks… At My House,” but I’m trying this new positive energy, positive life THING, so lets just discuss what I’ve got going on now and all the room I have to grow with my home.  The dining room has been a real challenge for me.  Mainly because I have these great vintage pieces that are all in bad shape.  I’m frozen in indecision about putting in time, effort and  money to fix what I’ve got, or scrapping it all and taking it a whole new direction.  Do you feel me?  Are you totally stuck in any area of your own home?

Here’s what I’ve got going on now.  From far away, while squinting, I really love it.  Like when I walk in the door, I get all giddy.  I love the dark floors mixed with the light, organic shape of the cowhide.  The traditional wood table pairs so nicely with the sculptural white tulip chairs.  And my pendant… still love my pendant.  So in theory, its all good.

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The problem is when you inspect things closely or attempt to sit down.

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The chairs have no cushions and are in desperate need to a lacquer paint job.  (IE $$$ automotive paint job I can’t do myself.)  The table is too short, so If your legs have a circumference of more than 15″, they are not fitting under there comfortably.  No big deal, just need to get some casters to raise it up a bit.  What is a bigger deal is the scratched and burnt table-top.  Sanding it down and refinishing it is like #107 on my want-to-do-list.

Oh and just ignore that bottle of Jack.  I’m not a raging alcoholic, it was just a necessary accessory for watching the Bachelor the other night.

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In other furniture news, I love my vintage chrome console table but I really need closed storage over here. I have a serious storage problem in my little cottage.  So I’m thinking I may move my console table to under the stairs.  Right now I have two black lacquer cabinets there, but they will be headed out soon to my clients home.

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 presetThinking the chrome console and stools could look good along this wall.

So that means I need to find a credenza for under the window. ($$$)  And once that happens I can relocate my Nana’s server that’s been pissing me off ever since the table has arrived.  The two woods of the table and server just don’t play nice with each other.  Also, there is no shelf on the inside, so the storage is not functional anyway.

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This is literally the only spot on my first floor where I have open wall space, so I really want to put a bookshelf here.  Where else can I store my ridiculous brass menagerie collection?

So that’s the plan.  Sort of.  Still not sure about the table and chairs.  Or the new pieces I need.  So basically I’m at square one.  Decorator decorating her own house = shit show.

  1. This is the story of my life, too. For us, the issue has been art. We have lived in our apartment for 6 months, and literally, we have three things hanging on the walls — in a 2 bedroom apartment! Our issue is our ceilings are really high (positive), but we’re handcuffed by indecision because there’s that fear we won’t live here a long time. We’re also in a stage of life where we want to buy artwork we really love, is super meaningful, and we can have forever…all of which slows down the process a lot. For what it’s worth, I think the cottage is looking incredible!

    • Naomi

      Thanks Victoria! I think it makes sense to take your time with art. A one of a kind piece is worth more than a hundred prints!

  2. Unedited photos are too damn revealing! I just posted a, “here’s where it gets real” photo myself. It’s nice to see that my blog-models have design crisis on their hands from time-to-time too. But let’s get real, YOU have made some tremendous strides as a designer in the last few years. I love watching you re-vamp your home. P.S. I dig the fur pillow in the chair.

  3. Maggie

    I am the same way with my own house – worse perhaps because we’re still renting and I don’t want to sink any money into pieces that won’t potentially work in another home down the line (still splurged on a new sofa and soon a great club chair, but otherwise…). My parents are visiting in a couple weeks (and staying with us) so that has forced a few decisions to be made and while I’m hemorrhaging money and actually making decisions I might as well nail a few other things down, right??

    I like the idea of the Pantone chairs (tulip chairs always seem wildly uncomfortable to me, and sounds like to you too), as well as refinishing the table and adding casters. I’d put a closed credenza where the client’s chests are now – something sleek and lacquered, maybe even black? Stop me if I’m crazy there. I like the chrome table in front of the window because it doesn’t add any darkness or bulk to the window. Then I’d swap out Nana’s server (which is gorgeous and I’m sure you’d have another use for upstairs) for a bookcase with closed storage at the bottom.

    • Naomi

      Yes, I’m thinking black for the closed storage too! Would love lacquer, but this may be something I build with my guys, so we don’t have that ability. At least a coat of semi gloss paint 🙂

  4. I was just reading Decorology blog and saw a photo in her post about Dining Room redo’s. I thought of you immediately! This room could inspire you perhaps….even down to the casters on the dining room table legs! (it has your chairs with cushions, similar table and wood floors:

    • Naomi

      Thanks, Katie! I’ve always loved that dining room.

  5. Leah

    so glad you’re back! am speaking to myself too as I write this; be patient (so much easier said than done!) vintage pieces are the best, but also often require some work and are huge decisions–you’ll get there and figure out all of it with time. you’ve come so far with your home in such a short time and it is amazing! I can’t imagine working so much and redoing my home at the same time. I also think the tulip chairs are awesome, but I’ve heard they’re hard to move around. can’t remember your desk situation, but I have always wanted one for my office!

    • Naomi

      Yes, they are kinda a pain to adjust while sitting in them. I also worry about the bases scratching my new floors.

  6. Ava

    Hi! I am new to your blog and I need to know – where is the pendant from? It is gorgeous!

    • Naomi

      Thanks, Ava. It’s the Edmund by Arteriors. You can find it here- http://bit.ly/13eVhdo

  7. Jordan

    Someone may have already recommended this so I apologize if I’m repeating, but didn’t you have a suzanni over the table in your loft? I seem to remember some sort of rendition of a beautiful table cloth. That could possibly solve the problem of the table-woes for the time being. Also might add a little liveliness to the room & bring in a bit more colour (unless you are going for a more neutral tone.) I have my own design-woe of my beautiful sofa w/my Moroccan blanket over it having to share a room w/my boyfriends 60’s olive green acid wash leather hyda bed sofa that he just won’t get rid of. If you know a way to make that happen that doesn’t involve me lighting a match I’d love to hear! Best of luck!

  8. Such a fun post – love the starring role the bottle of JD played. You make such good point about functionality – something I need to think more about. Could your planned bookcase have closed storage on the bottom?

  9. I am so busy decorating other people’s homes that sometimes I think I should pay someone to decorate my own, and I know that you are way busier than me.

    So, I am going to be ruthless. I have a thing against those chairs. I had a set myself and sold them because I didn’t find them comfortable and they are heavy and hard to pull to the table. New pantons or whatever else all the way.

    I like the table, and I think function is important. It seems to me that you know a certain furniture expert who you might be able to barter with for a table redo… if you are sure casters will give you enough clearance. I don’t think it will be a tough job. Maybe he won’t ask for too much in return 🙂

    You are awesome and your house is awesome. Never doubt.

    • Naomi

      Thanks, Erin. Definitely leaning toward some Pantons. I love the look of the tulips, but watching my guests squirm when trying to adjust them makes me a little sad.

  10. I have them same problem in my house! It’s tiny and need lots of storage which dictates what can go where. And since I’m always buying and selling pieces I think, should I invest in fixing it up or will I just get bored? I had an enormous brass mastercraft buffet that I didn’t want to pay to relacquer so I sold it and now I am kicking myself big time! Good luck deciding!

    • Naomi

      Oh mastercraft!!! How divine. I totally understand.

  11. Wait so it’s not just me? I feel your pain. I have some pieces I like well enough to use but they need work and I don’t have the time for lots of diy projects but not sure I like them enough to pay someone to fix them up for me. And then you’ve got money in these pieces and bam the perfect piece of your dreams shows up but you’ve already invested in the “for right now” pieces. Commitment issues. Looking forward to following along on your journey to fabulous.

  12. patty blaettler

    Barter! You know a ton of tradesmen. Offer to do a little design work for them or their wife, and have them refinish your table (more compatible wood tone as well as a new finish) and spray your chairs.

  13. Kate Ann

    If water stains are white on wood, use nail polish remover on a cotton ball and they will wipe off. Love your style and blog!

    • Naomi

      Thank you!

  14. Tanya

    I totally can commiserate, because it seems like A LOT of little (and not so little) things and none of them are a raging priority (that needs to be done ASAP).
    But really, I think these are more of an attitude-related problem than “can’t be done in my situation” problems – and I don’t mean to say that you have an attitude problem!!! It’s just that I’ve been there myself (and still am sometimes), and when you’re in the middle of “everything!”, it is overwhelming, and so the brain just shuts down all like “not dealing with it!” Plus, since it’s for your own space, there is no deadline pressure, forcing you to make decisions whether you’re ready or not and making you tackle projects that you need an extra push on.
    In this case, an outside opinion might help get you out of your rut.
    For example, I think that with your chairs needing professional finish, you may possibly get a decent enough result with a paint sprayer/compressor. (I think Jenny over at Little Green Book has a good recommendation for a brand/model she used). And with the table, I wonder if refinishing just the table top is an acceptable option. Sure, it might look weird with a tone change between top and legs, but then again, it might not, and it might give you enough motivation if you tell yourself that you’re tackling everything in small batches.
    I did our bedroom that way and at some point it featured not two, but three different wood tones (and we still don’t have curtains, but we sure have a huge bolt of muslin waiting to be converted to said curtains). But once I stopped worrying about what to do and just started chipping away (sometimes with not so good results), things started to kind of working out. (Although currently I’m paralyzed about reupholstering my son’s bed, so it’s not like I have high moral ground here ^_^ )

    Good luck!

    • Naomi

      Thanks Tanya,

      I will probably tackle the table-top first.
      Still not sure the chairs are worth it. I found some cheapo pantons that could give me the a similar look for less money… so we will see.

  15. Heather

    Always makes me feel better to hear other designer’s trouble spots in their own homes, and to know that no one has a magic wand of genius and talent to make it solved on the spot! (In addition to genius and talent we need dollars and/or time, which , yes, makes decisions tough.) I have been struggling with my living room forever. Every time I change the “one thing” that will make “everything work,” something else bugs me. Ugh!

    It will get there….

    Happy New Year!

  16. erin

    Ack! I feel your pain! My dining room decor is completely eluding me. I have been through multiple tables and chair sets ($$!) and is is still not pretty and now I am terrified of making more wrong decisions. Ugh. The pieces themselves are nice but it just isn’t working! Good luck. Hopefully you’ll inspire me!

  17. I often feel like I have to be forced into a solution – e.g., guests are coming to stay and where will they hang their towels?, or I want to put my feet up but how?, or I want to bake bread but only have 30″ of combined counter space – before my brain will open up and find one for me. Once you reach your breaking point, you’ll be struck with inspiration. You might need to give yourself some rules, like a definitive budget, or a timeline, to give yourself (and your brain) the push it needs to feel forced into solution-mode. Or just keep the bottle of Jack out and hope that prompts some creative thinking. 😉

  18. Kim Macumber

    Oh the details! But it truly does look warm and welcoming! You’ll get it done! xo

  19. Meghan

    Ugh, I empathize. Seem like lots of your problems come from the dining table itself (too short, clashing wood tones, etc). What if you moved that to your upstairs lounge as kind of a library table and got a different table for the dining room? Is it possible to add a shelf to the inside of your Nanna’s server for better storage? I really loved those chrome and leather chairs too…gahhh you have so much great stuff!

    • Naomi

      Thanks, Meghan! I moved the tulip table and leather chairs upstairs… and I like them there. The reason I’m stuck on this wood table is that it has leaves, so I can seat more people, but it’s not always too big

  20. jackie

    glad i’m not the only one who feels this way! I feel like a lot of my spaces are “almost” there. and it will cost money/time to make the spaces better. it’s always a work in progress!
    — jackie @ jade and oak

  21. Liza Meacham

    My mom and I always feel this way in the winter. I wish I lived near you because I would totally redo your table for you. And I think you should pair ghost chairs($$$) with it!

    • Naomi

      Oh Liza, thats so nice! I thought of ghost chairs, but I have the ghost stools in my kitchen, and I think that’s enough acrylic for me 🙂

  22. I’m poor which equals no fun to try and decorate, I work full time and have a 7 year old daughter. I considered myself ‘inspired’, or maybe just half drunk, when I whipped out a sharpie and drew on my dirty ivory shag rug to make it look like a vintage Moroccan. LOL. you’re not alone!!!

  23. How true is that? Decorating a client’s home- no problem. Attempting to do your own space- impossible. I am on my second rug for the living room and I still don’t love it. If you truly love your dining room set, then it’s worth investing the money. But if your iffy on it, then I say sell and buy something else. Good luck – excited to see what you decide on!

  24. I feel the same way about my home…plus i have three boys, six and under who destroy it all anyway. 🙂

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