An Update on My Dining Room
We’ve made some progress in the house. Nothing is done yet, but certainly due for an update in the dining room. We change things pretty often over here, so there is a lot to tell you about.
When we first moved in it was a pretty great room that really just needed furnishing. The light is amazing and the function of the room is simple – we need to put food in our mouths, comfortably with two toddlers (fine, a toddler and a preschooler). The priorities are comfort, durability … then style. I know what you are thinking ‘You’ve changed, Henderson, you’ve changed‘. Yah. I did. But I still think it’s pretty stylish, it just takes a little more work to successfully check off all of those priorities.
I don’t want to reveal the whole room yet (nor am I ready) so I’ll just go through the list of improvements and tell you the ‘whats’ and ‘whys’.
First – that table. As you might remember, I was searching for the perfect dining table for decades (or so it felt). I finally found a great table on Etsy in Indiana and had it shipped, as you might remember from this post.
Here’s what it looked like from the etsy listing:
When it arrived we realized that the top and the base were two different woods and someone at some point thought they should match so they stained the top to try to match the base and it looked orange and gross.
I was bummed.
I could either scrap the whole thing and sell it and start over, or invest $300 MORE dollars on refinishing it (which was a VERY good price as far as refinishing goes). I chose to keep investing in it. I loved the base and size, and wasn’t ready to start the search over again. At a certain point your time is worth something. When it came back from the refinishers I immediately didn’t like it – they did a great job, but by sanding off the stain, the wear and age of the top was sanded off as well.
Most people thought it was great and told me to live with it, and I did. THANK GOODNESS, because now that we’ve had three weeks to beat it up, I actually LOVE it. Is it my perfect table? No. But it’s really good and I’m happy. If you are wondering what my perfect table would be, it’s my original farmhouse table but one foot bigger in length and width. That first table is perfect (just not for me). I’m hoarding it for now (WHY??? SELL IT YOU DISGUSTING HOARDER) but it will probably be for sale soon. I used it as the food/drink table at Easter outside and it looked so pretty …. but now that I have that marble table I need to get rid of the wood table. Let me know if you are interested. It’s $1200 and so gorgeous.
The chairs have arrived! I know they don’t seem terribly exciting, but here’s the deal – they are a GREAT scale for being club-style dining tables. They are comfortable, petite and calming. They tuck in nicely and work well with that farm table. I love sitting and looking at them and that is a very good thing.
But remember this ask the audience where you all told me what to do?
The other chairs that most of you voted on ultimately weren’t ideal because the side chairs were super narrow, so I would have to put 3 along each side, which is FINE but sounds like a whole lot of chairs (and legs, and mess) on a daily basis. I think they were two dinky for even kids to really feel comfortable on. I loved those king chairs but buying 6 would have been too expensive, and the company Four Hands, was willing to give me a deal but understandably didn’t want me to reupholster them with a more kid friendly fabric.
Wait. I know what you are thinking – WHY WOULD YOU REUPHOLSTER BRAND NEW CHAIRS?? Well, because I found this fabric (Crypton) that you can literally rub smoothie, wine and coffee into and it cleans up SOOOOO nicely. Every mom commented in the last post – ‘you can’t have upholstered chairs with kids!!!’ and while I know it’s not advisable, Brian and I REALLY wanted comfortable chairs for long dinners (and working from home). So the key is to find absolutely stain resistant, nay stain-repellant fabric and we found it (still testing). I tested it by literally taking my smoothie and dumping it on the fabric, then rubbing it in. It wiped up completely in seconds with first water, then a tiny bit of dish soap. Not a trace to be found. They are currently being reupholstered by Calico and I am VERY excited – what color do you think I chose??????
But back to those chairs. I got them on ShopCandelabra for $99 each wholesale (they are being discontinued, don’t know why – but these are very similar). I’m extremely happy with them despite how simple they might seem to you.
The thing is, as annoying as my droning on about comfort is to everyone who knows me, my obsession is working. Every single room is extremely comfortable and every chair is desirable. This is not the case in all of our previous houses. This house is starring to feel just like I want it to – inviting, open, casual and comfortable. Every room is a family room, every room is a lounge and every room is kid-friendly. We entertain probably 3-4 times a week (playdates with friends who have toddlers), and virtually nothing is off limits. There are few rules about where the kids can and can not play/eat and it means they have more freedom and I can just lay on one of 19 sofas/chaises/chairs and share meltdown stories with my friends (don’t worry, out of ear shot of the kids).
I rarely leave this house. It’s my happy place and I think that’s because I’ve designed it to be so easy and comfortable to live in it, despite the chaos of having two young kids and shooting here 3 times a week.
So that’s why those chairs work – comfort, scale, simplicity, and soon to be un-stainable with the new fabric.
Next up are the window treatments.
Those curtains are just stunning. They have a tiny light green/cream stripe that gives it a lovely subtle texture. They warm up the room so much, add so much texture and a layer of happiness. I’ll give you the full story later, but trust me that this fabric is great and that the Calico team did an amazing job.
Oh that pendant. I’ve had a thing for pleated and fluted lampshades for a while and I was perusing a Rejuvenation catalogue the other day and was like THAT IS IT. We had a cheap ikea version ($7!) that was too small but we really liked the vibe of it (see in the photos above). So this is the grownup, higher end, perfectly scaled version. It casts great light (again, wonderful for our long dinners) and has that traditional/modern vibe.
We then put in this Target cabinet for a shoot and it’s actually WILDLY better than the antique one we used to have there in the other photos. Its visually light and yet has more storage. It’s glass from the side so it really feels lighter, and it still reflects the light with the glass (plus is $197!!! … $153 when I bought it because it was on sale).
Next up is stool-gate.
Many of you didn’t think that these stools were perfect. I really like/d them but I heard your comments and kept my eye open for a more perfect stool. I, too, liked the idea of something wood but you can’t find antique counter height stools so I felt limited – I didn’t want anything too modern. (Go here for the full kitchen reveal and sources).
Well, I found them.
We found a company on Etsy, Hedgehouse, that made stools with different finishes of wood and multiple powder coating options. I said, “YES, these are MORE perfect”. We ordered them and man, are they great.
They feel classic and yet modern – without being too modern. Light, yet with the wood that we needed. They were heavy in weight (great for kids) and swiveled which I loved. They had tiny hits of black so they worked with the sconces as well. WAHOO.
So here is where we are now, but things can definitely change:
We still need to show you how I recovered the chairs in some very stain repellant fabric.
It’s coming along. It’s actually the most visually pulled together room in the house. I haven’t shot the most updated room because I’m waiting for the full reveal, but trust me that it’s a lovely room that I rarely leave (seriously – I work from here most days, staring at my pretty patio).
Thoughts? Approval? Criticism? Do you agree with my stool choice? Or do you still think I’m nuts for doing upholstered chairs with kids? (I just … may … be … )