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Rustic Spanish California Home

French Industrial Dining Nook

When I first met this dining nook (see back story of project here) I was so excited to get my grubby little hands on it. It’s just so special. You know how on makeover movies (Can’t buy me love, She’s all that, 50 shades, etc) we are all supposed to think they are ugly at first but its all so obvious that they just need some bangs, a cute top, mascara and they’d be beautiful? It was like that. The architecture already made it beautiful, so it was going to make my job look really easy.

The entrance into it (right off the kitchen) wasn’t just an arch, it had these really interesting sharp almost geometric lines to it, which is pretty rare for a Spanish style home which tend to have more curves. The wrought iron on the two windows was so pretty and the ceiling was beamed.

 

California Country French_Dining Nook_Before

It was obviously under construction when I started, but it was still a happy space that was easy to visualize.

There wasn’t a ton to do – paint out the moldings in this dark gray (BM Deep Space) to match the rest of the house, paint the walls (BM Smoke Embers), and paint the built-ins (which I think were painted brown). The beams were also painted  white since they had previously been painted brown  – NOT stained, but painted and that is a massive difference. Never, I say, NEVER paint your beams the color of wood. You are fooling no one. Paint them white, gray, white wash them, stain them to bring out their natural color, OR strip them and leave them raw. Brown-painted beams are a deal breaker for me (and extremely hard to strip).

Click through to see the ‘afters’.

California Country French_Dining Nook_Progress

We picked out and put down these concrete tiles which I’m still dreaming about. These were relatively affordable (of course I don’t know how much now, but concrete tiles aren’t expensive) and they fit the style of the house really well. Technically they might be more Moroccan but Spain is only a hop/skip away from Morocco and they both feel old world and have intricate/ornate patterns so it works for me. The thing about cement floors, however, are that they are really porous and so you must have them sealed, often a couple of times in order to not stain them immediately. We made this mistake. We sealed it once, then a month later it was really beat up (mainly because of the additional construction/installation), so they came out and cleaned it like crazy and sealed it again. Some of the wear and tear was actually sealed into the tile, but it looks good-  like a pretty patina that was original to the house (I’m not talking about the dirt in the photo below … that is actual dirt).

California Country French_Dining Nook_Progress1

We played around with chandeliers because Shana had like a mini-inventory of lighting in her garage from her antiquing years. Originally she wanted the one in the top photos to be in there, and it was beautiful in a more rustic almost folk-artsy kinda of way. She thought the more regency one was too glitzy. I slapped her, despite her being pregnant, and then forced her to install this one only to realize it was the most perfect chandelier for the space. Not only was it the right scale and totally beautiful, but it contrasted so much better with the ornate iron work on the window because it was one large shape rather the other that looked so busy.

Here is the finished dining nook. It’s such a simple little room, but I love it so much.

Emily Henderson_French Rustic Dining Room Crystal Chandelier Concrete Tile California Casual_overall pulled back

Where else are they going to eat their artichokes whilst reading The Times International section and sipping on imported espresso? Don’t you feel more cultured just looking at this room.

Finding the right chairs was a HUGE struggle. I knew we needed something upholstered because there were so many hard finishes in the room (she already had that table). But the scale of that table is pretty big on each side (I think you could probably do 2 small-ish chairs on each side) but it would be VERY tight. And finding four authentic french (or antique) chairs for under $3000 is difficult. So when I found these (at a vintage store on Melrose) I did like a weird monkey sound (‘ooh ooh, ahh ahh’) because I just knew they were right. I texted her the chairs and she was on the fence and I was like, ‘No way. THESE ARE THEM’. So I memo’d them (meaning that you take them for 24 hours to test them out in your space) and sent her some crappy iPhone pictures (she was out-of-town) and she was more into them. Not as into them as I was at the time, but as soon as she got back from her trip and saw them in person, she was psyched.

Emily Henderson_French Rustic Dining Room Crystal Chandelier Concrete Tile California Casual_overall with art

These chairs were already upholstered in a beautiful worn charcoal gray waxed canvas. And look at that little wing that hugs your tiny and tall little shoulders like a little french hug. So cute. I believe they were $1200 for the set, which sounds like a lot but to find a set of FOUR upholstered (and not needing new upholstery) chairs, in a beautiful shape, in our color palette, a large-scale, and authentically antique is a huge feat. I was very proud of myself.

You can see in the above photos how the floor has a patina on it, that is actually really pretty, but now that it is sealed it still wipes up really easily. Just make sure it’s REALLY sealed or else it basically acts like a concrete garage floor – everything can stain it.

Emily Henderson_French Rustic Dining Room Crystal Chandelier Concrete Tile California Casual_overall dining table

We added a few of Shana’s paintings in here to add some warmth, and then of course brought in a strangely sculptural fig tree to break up some of the lines and add some color and greenery.

Emily Henderson_French Rustic Dining Room Crystal Chandelier Concrete Tile California Casual_overall

They have a proper dining room, but this dining nook is right off the kitchen and makes my little french/industrial heart sing.

 

Get the Look Dining Nook_Combined

Get the Look:

1. Plates | 2. Chandelier  | 3. Table Runner | 4. Dining Table | 5. White Pitcher | 6. Landscape Art | 7. Silver Salt and Pepper Shakers  | 8. Linen Napkin | 9. Bread Basket | 10. Silverware | 11. Dining Chairs | 12. Concrete Floor Tile

Look for Less:

1. Plates | 2. Chandelier | 3. Table Runner | 4. Dining Table | 5. White Pitcher  | 6. Landscape Art  | 7. Silver Salt and Pepper Shakers  | 8. Linen Napkin | 9. Bread Basket | 10. Silverware  | 11. Dining Chairs | 12. Concrete Floor Tile

To take a look at the rest of this house click through to the different rooms:

Living Room, Reading Nook, Guest Bedroom, Master Bedroom, Kitchen, Nursery, and Master Bathroom.

*All Photos by Tessa Neustadt

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  1. I think I just swooned (gracefully, of course) just looking at these pictures. So gorgeous, and I’m coveting those chairs like whoa.

  2. Wow, this room really is the epitome of elegance and sophistication! Fabulous daarling!!

    P.s. Never imagined you with ‘grubby little hands’!!! I’m positive you have long slim fingers – squeaky clean and perfectly manicured! 🙂

    1. HA. I assure you. I always say that they are just really muscular because I play piano competitively as a teenager, but really they are just little sausages. When I have to do hand modeling (picking things upon camera, etc) we often have Ginny stand in because she has long slender British fingers with a constant beautiful manicure. xx

  3. This dining room is amazing! The cow artwork really ads casual fun to the room! I pinned this room like a crazy obsessed person. By the way, are you going to do anymore “trolling craigslist” posts?

    1. YES. I should. I had someone helping me (doing a first pass at trolling then i’d edit and write) and she went traveling so I need to find a new CL contributor. xx

      1. Oh, I would love to do that. I’m a craigslist junkie! I noticed your posting about looking for contributors, should I follow that route to apply or send you some information? thx

  4. This rooms just begs for a lingering brunch or dessert after a fancy dinner party. I love the sculptural fig tree and the scale of the room. I have not really seen concrete titles before and love how they make the room look. Beautiful!

    – Jaime

  5. Those chairs are perfection! They make the room. I’d drink my morning coffee in there and let that little hug of a chair allow me to ignore my husband’s morning cheerfulness.

    1. OOh, i meant to mention that. YES. A of all i’m on the fence about rugs under dining tables – they have to be really durable, not easy to move (so chairs don’t get all tied up easily) and often getting the scale right can be tricky ( they need to be big enough that when one is sitting in chair all four legs are still on the rug. This would have been a tricky space for a rug and we thought about a hyde or a vintage kilim or persian but finding a square is tricky and then we thought that the floor is so pretty why cover it up? I think the only thing I would do in here is a white hyde – it could help soften it, the sculptural shape works with the square of the table and size wise hydes don’t have to stick to the usual scale rules. xx

      1. I cant stand rugs under dining tables, and I think you made the right call here. So airy and fresh without being stale. This room is absolutely gorgeous, a modern approach with personality. Love, love, love it.

    2. Visually, a rug would work but I love your case for going sans rug in the dining room. Having kids and being a generally clumsy person, I keep the floor bare under there!

      I think the cow pastoral could go, but it’s probably a matter of personal taste.

  6. So beautiful! That light fixture is ridiculous – I can’t believe she just had it laying around in the garage! On a sadder note, I have to hide your posts from my fiddle leaf fig so as not to give him a complex. He withers away here in the cold, dry east coast winter while his bros are living the high life in California.

    1. That made me laugh. Yes, its an extremely good one and its been thriving for the last year since I put it in there. California, man.

  7. I can’t get enough of the concrete tiles made by Arto! I show them to almost all of my clients and the day that someone actually lets me put them on a floor will by my most favorite day ever. I might have a client talked into doing them as a backsplash for a butler’s pantry- which might be my 2nd most favorite day ever! Beautiful dining space- love those chairs!

  8. This is AMAZING! This house! You did such a beautiful job. Like, how did you make such a sophisticated space look so welcoming and cozy! Gorgeous, as always, but wow, this is reeeeeeally gorgeous!

  9. I like that the beauty of the room feels natural. It’s comfortable but still elegant. I love the chair choice with the tile and table. I probably would have pushed back on the formal chandelier too, but it totally is the perfect choice.

  10. So beautiful! Can I ask, what is the paint color? It seems more gray than the Swiss Coffee that you mentioned you used through the rest of the house. It’s so pretty!

    1. Its in the post! Benjamin Moore ‘Smoke Embers’. It has a tiny bit of red in it making it go a TEEEEEEEENY bit lavender, but so pretty.

  11. Beautiful space, especially the large format cement tile. I love it , but the grout lines are huge…Was that something you guys choose or was that the GC’s doing to save on tile cost? (I’m an architect and you know what our kind likes: we want everything skinnier & more hairlined – not hairbrained.lol )

    1. Ha! We thought that a skinner grout line would make it so the pattern was less noticeable and we wanted it to be proportioned to the large tile. We also tested like 4 different grout colors and went with one that was just slightly darker than the tile.

  12. Great Job as usual! Any chance do you know what is that painting of the nude woman on the wall next to entrance. I love it!

  13. So different from your usual work but I love it too! I see your work popping up online or in mags before I even identify its your work…but I know your work by seeing it. You are leaving your mark. Great job.

    1. That’s so funny. If you can identify why you think its mine i’ll give you 1 million dollars because i’m in the process of trying to figure that out and its super hard to be objective about yourself and your style.

  14. It took me a minute to realize that you step down from the kitchen into the dining nook. I was staring at the floor, wondering, what the heck is going on? It looks like the worst Photoshopping of all time, which I know you wouldn’t do!
    I think I prefer the chandelier when it isn’t lit, but I’m sure being there in person is a totally different experience.
    I’d also like to see how you styled those little built-ins. They’re very sweet!

  15. It’s such a lovely house with so many architectural details..the art deco passageway, iron scrollwork, and built-ins…I like how the floor tiles mimic the corner built-ins. This house evokes that early Hollywood elegance mixed with the relaxed style…you balanced it well. These are the kinds of houses I dream about…vintage Hollywood.

  16. Emily –

    This is gorgeous. It always blows me away how you can really do any style but still put your own spin on it. A lot of designers are not that versatile. It’s either their niche signature look or the highway. OR, they attempt different styles and their work falls flat or doesn’t look cohesive. It’s interesting. I’d love to hear your thoughts marrying the 2: How do you implement a look your client wants (that may not necessarily be your favorite) while staying true to your personal design mantra?

    1. THANK YOU. Good question. I think its partly who is attracted to my style – obviously if they want something totally different then they probably don’t seek me out. But otherwise I don’t really know the answer – i think i can be really convincing with clients 🙂

    1. EH, I think it was Swiss Coffee which is the color of the living room. I think we decided to make the trim color throughout the same white as the wall color in the living room. That sounds about right.

  17. I’m coming over to that dining room. I’m sitting on one of those chairs. Then I’m going to spend hours staring at the other 3 chairs.

  18. Simply beautiful and elegant, Emily, one of my favorite rooms you’ve done yet! Keep up the good (no, GREAT) work; your designs are wondrous!

  19. I love the color scheme of this room, and the combination of casual and formal. By the way—I LOVE the “Get the Look/The Look for Less” feature! Seeing both options gives me the courage to try high-end style in my own low-end way. Sometimes bloggers (from all genres) can seem snooty about the options they recommend, but this is just one more way you are keepin’ it real. Love it!

  20. Love those chairs. The little hug was what sold me. Enveloping without being a big ol’ wing.

    And I adore cement tiles. I finally tracked down a copy of Marian McEvoy’s book on Bill Willis, so I can swoon at my leisure at all the gorgeous Moroccan tile.

  21. You are honestly amazing at what you do. I’m so inspired! I am a wanna-be interior decorator and your posts bring me massive amounts of joy. I live vicariously through you!

  22. Thank you for this! I haven’t known how to do my dining room but this was all the answers I needed. I totally love this!