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11 Dec

Steve and I are currently in the midst of our annual end of year push to complete projects in time for Christmas. Last year, it was the wainscoting and crown molding in the hallway. I’m crossing my fingers that next year it will be putting the finishing touches on our screened porch to sunroom conversion. This year however, it’s turning our dining room into an office and our formal living room into a dining room.

I mentioned it before, but we’re making the switch for several reasons. We need an office, a larger dining room would be nice, and we don’t have a need for a formal living room (the family room and eventual sunroon will make for plenty of seating areas). Steve has been drawing (and re-drawing) plans for his office for months. There are a ton of books in our house and not nearly enough storage, so building bookshelves in the office is a big priority. We looked into using the Ikea Billy bookcases and making them look built-in, but in the end Steve decided to build his own from scratch. Here’s a look at the plans he made in google sketch up. The bookcases will run against the entire back wall of the office.


And here’s a reminder of the dining room looked like pre-office conversion:



Before Steve got started building the bookshelves, we cleared out the old dining room and took out the base boards and crown molding on the back wall.


While Steve got started building the first of 4 shelves with his father last weekend, I painted the room. We went with Sherwin Williams Intellectual Gray.

Last night Steve dry fit the first shelf against the wall.



I am so impressed! This one will eventually be moved up against the left wall and the shelves will run wall to wall. He still needs to build cabinet doors for the bottom, a counter top above the base cabinet, and the actual shelves. Rinse and repeat 3 more times. I think we’ll get started priming and painting this week, and he’s hopeful to get the other 3 built this weekend. The cabinet doors and shelves may wait until after Christmas.

The existing seagrass rug that was in this room will stay. Steve will likely build a new desk. We picked up this cute little table from his grandmother’s house when she recently moved which will live here by the window. It needs a few repairs then I think we’ll give it a fresh coat of black paint.


I picked up this leather chair at goodwill years ago. I had no idea what I would do with it, but it was so cute and so cheap (maybe $20) that I couldn’t say no.


It’s in super rough shape and in desperate need of a new upholstery job. In the new year, I’m going to try to re-upholster it on my own. It will require taking it down to the frame and building it back up. Sounds scary, but I’ve been doing a lot of research and reading a lot of books, so I’m hoping it will work out. It will go in a corner of the office, and I think it will make the perfect reading chair.

We will use the office as an opportunity to finally frame and hang our diplomas, and we’ve got some other ideas for wall art. For now, the lantern light fixture will stay here as it’s too small for the new dining room. Steve would ultimately like something else in here. I think it looks great in the office and should stay, but if he finds something else I’ll probably move it to our bedroom.

Finally, I’m going to keep the brown and cream striped curtains in here. I actually already made another set and moved the existing set into the new dining room since there are two windows in there. For consistency sake, I decided I will make yet another set to hang back up in the office.

Moving into the new dining room, converting this room is taking much less work. Here’s where it stood a few months ago.


We had an electrician add an over head light since one didn’t exist before. We purchased this light last weekend at Home Depot to hang over the table (still need to actually hang it):


I also painted in here a couple of weeks ago using Benjamin Moore’s Coastal Fog.


I rolled out the herringbone seagrass rug that used to be in our family room and moved in our pedestal side table and head dining chairs. The lamp was another goodwill find years ago. It originally was filled with seashells. I emptied those out, rewired the lamp, and used rub and buff on the base to freshen it up. The mirror is from the guest room. This room will be wood heavy and I felt like the texture on this mirror would make the room feel a bit more casual.

These shots are from last weekend before I hung the curtains.


Once the curtains were hung the next morning, we emptied the old dining room into here which turned this room into pure chaos.





You may notice 2 dining tables in here. One is our existing table, and the other we got from Steve’s grandmother. The table was her mothers and is from the sixties. We love it. It has 2 leaves and can go from a 4-8 seater. This is exactly what I was looking for in a table to use in the eventual sunroom, so we’re saving it for in there (the idea of eating our casual meals at a table with some much family history makes me very happy). For now, it will probably be used as Steve’s desk until he builds one, and it will be use for extra seating at Christmas which is why it’s here.

Here’s my new Christmas Tree skirt basket! How optimistic to take it out amongst the mess! I got it on Cyber Monday from Terrain (now that I have it, I think it’s overpriced but I love it and I got free shipping so what can you do?).


On the back wall where the chairs are lined up, we will put yet another piece of furniture we received from Steve’s grandmother. Really, she gave us some great pieces, and there’s several more I haven’t shown yet. The caveat is that it needs a bit of work, but I’m hopeful that we’ll get most of that taken care of this weekend. Here’s a truly awful shot of it in the basement, but hopefully you can get an idea of what it looks like.


I’m going to re-hang my arrangement of silver platters that I had in the old dining room above it, and I’ll add my milk glass and green plates to the mix.

As well as some sconces! I purchased these from Ikea last week and spray painted them gold to tie into the ginger jar lamp on the other wall.


Those are the plans and progress as of now! Fortunately, I think we can knock out a lot of the remaining work this weekend (leaving just painting and installing the bookshelves left to do). Plus, we took the week of Christmas off so there will be time for finishing touches then.

This may be delusional, but I’m also hoping to decorate the inside of the house for Christmas this weekend. At the very least, I’d like to get a tree up! I’ll report back next week!

Entry Way Progress

22 Jul

When Steve and I got back from our trip to California, I was pleased to see that the light fixture I ordered from Pottery Barn for our entry way finally came. It took 4 months, but I’d say it was worth the wait.

You can read more about our plans for this space and how it’s progressed already right here.

The entry was empty for a long time until we recently started moving things around in the dining room. I had a skirted table in there that I decided I would like better in this space, so I moved it a few weeks ago.

I originally thought I would like an old wood chest here, but I’m really happy with this set up.

The top of the table is plexi-glass for now. I’ve been meaning to get a piece of glass cut for it for about … two years now. We also need to have an outlet added to the wall behind the table. As it stands, the lamp is for looks only. There’s an outlet on the other side of this wall in the guest room, so I’m assuming it won’t be too difficult to have one added?

Here’s a close up of the fabric I used on the table.

The fabric is Ikat Fretwork in Fossil from Lewis and Sheron Fabrics.

I’m hoping we can get started on adding crown molding and wainscoting soon and get this space finished up!

Let There Be Light!

16 Jan

What a day! At 8am this morning a crew of electricians showed up and didn’t leave until 6pm.

On Christmas day, we noticed one of the outlets in our family room was so hot the receptacle melted. Crazy scary. So we called an electrician and it snow balled from there. A previous owner did a lot of diy electrical work and the melted outlet made it apparent it was time to fix all the bad wiring. And since electricians were going to be here already, we decided to add lighting to our woefully under lit kitchen and family room. My days of cooking in shadows are over! The whole space is fresher and brighter now!

I took these pictures last night with all the lights on while it was dark outside.


And here it is tonight under the same conditions!


Much, much better. Take a look at the difference in the back by the door to the garage. So. Much. Better.


The fireplace side of the family room has always been so dark with the only over head lighting consisting of 3 recessed lights on the other side of the room. The electricians mirrored the 3 lights on the fireplace wall, added 2 lights spaced between, and put it all on a dimmer. The existing recessed lights were updated to halogen to match the fancy new ones.



In the kitchen the center light was taken out in favor of 4 halogen lights. The light over the sink was also updated to a halogen and  the recessed lights over the bar were taken out and replaced with pendants.




We decided to add the simple baby ceiling medallions instead of paying the dry wall guy big bucks to patch the 1 inch gap left from the recessed light hole that wasn’t covered by the pendant mount.

I’m so excited to see these suckers up because I purchased them over 2 years ago. Ballard Designs has a couple of outlets in Atlanta and one was conveniently located near my old office. I would pop in every few weeks and have gotten some great deals there. The very first time I went into the store I found these pendants in the “last call” section for $40 a piece! Down from $200 each! Ballard’s still sells them here. The reason for the steep discount? A few black scuff marks on the shade. I was able to get most of them out, but the remaining ones are virtually undetectable.


I knew that redoing the lights in these rooms would make a big impact, but I didn’t expect it to change the way I feel about the space. The old lights were weaker and let off a very yellow light. The space is much happier now.


In addition to marking “redo electrical in kitchen and family room” off my 2012 to do list, I can also put a big fat check mark next to “add electrical outlet to pantry for microwave.” So excited to get the microwave off my dining room floor (!) and in its proper place once we redo the pantry!

Next up: Painting the ceiling. Excuse me if I don’t get on that right away.