Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Guest Blogger Before and After: Jennifer from The Newlywed Diaries

Hi everyone, it's Jennifer from The Newlywed Diaries here to show one of my favorite spaces in my house. First off, I just want to say that I am by no means a professional designer. I'm just a young newlywed with a desire to create a beautiful home on a real budget.

We're coming up on two years in our house, and the dining room is just now feeling "done" -- it started out as blank as it could get. It is between the kitchen and the living room, so we spend a lot of time there and wanted it to be multi-use space that was pretty and functional.

My mom found this barley-twist table at auction for a steal and gave it to us has a housewarming gift. Having a table in the room was definitely a step up from the months when our old sofa was against the wall (luckily no pictures of that exist).

Also in the room is a pair of chairs that my great-grandmother bought in the 1960s. They are in a great condition as they sat for years in a living room that was seldom used and then in an out-of-the-way corner in my family's lake cabin. I rescued them from being sent to the Goodwill when the house was redone and I love their French-inspired lines and don't care that they were mass-produced. Before: The pea-green chenille upholstery left a little to be desired.

After: I had the chairs were recovered in a simple linen with blue paisley embroidery and I cannot even express how much I love them now. (Photo by Becky-Luigart Stayner).

The other big piece in the room is a simple dresser (which also came from the lake house -- I'm not one to turn down free furniture!) that we use as a sideboard. Before: It was pretty dingy and the square drawer pulls were strange.

After: I cleaned it up and added a few coats of paint (Benjamin Moore's Stratton Blue -- leftover from my mom's living room). Oh and new hardware, though to be honest, I think I'm ready to replace those already (whoops!).

Having extra storage here has been essential. Our house is without a defined entry, so the table becomes the dumping spot for mail and whatever else. Those drawers hide a multitude of sins, and Lauren, I'm waiting on you to do a drawer clean-out so I can join!

So this is how we lived for a while. Totally fine, just nothing special. The walls are painted the same color as the living room (Benjamin Moore's Grant Beige), and my handy husband even added crown molding (painted BM Bennington Gray). Oh, and there's our dog, Maddie, can't leave her out!

Things really started to come together when we found an old lantern at a local antique shop -- exactly the kind we'd been looking for! The brass had been painted with a steel blue-gray color that went perfectly with the adjoining living room.

We had it rewired and wow! It really made a difference in the room. It was definitely the biggest single expense in the room, but was around what you might pay for a new lantern that size (believe me, I've looked at them all!). For us, its an investment that will definitely be coming with us to the next house (sorry, future home owners). The mirror was a Christmas gift from my mom last year (Brayden Arch by Uttermost, if you're interested).

Here is the room today. I hate to say "finished" because I'm like Lauren -- always moving things around -- but all of the big things are in place and we're quite pleased with how it's come together. The white upholstered chairs are our first Ikea purchase. They are super-comfortable and you really can't beat the price. It was a little scary to eat on white at first (though I actually served a red sauce the first time we used them!) but the slipcovers are machine-washable and can be purchased separately if one gets ruined.

The chairs sit under my "ironstone" platters which came from HomeGoods (my favorite!). The seagrass rug is another great HomeGoods find that really helped the room come together.

The top of the blue chest gets changed with the seasons (and according to my mood) and right now it is holding some meaningful things: the ceramic candle holder was Wes' grandmother's, the books are on my favorite subjects (decorating, collecting, cooking, old houses), the pewter pitcher has some grocery-store tulips, we picked up the old books at yard sales and flea markets, and the ruffled bowl holds Werther's candies -- Wes' favorite! I bought the marble lamp on a shopping trip with Eddie Ross in Atlanta, and the shade is from Martha Stewart's collection at K-Mart, which I dearly miss!

Whew! I think that was the longest post I've ever written -- hope you're still with me! Lauren, thank you so much for including me. I hope to meet lots of new blog friends!

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- goodness.  Jennifer thank you so much for for sharing your gorgeous dining room with us. I think I can safely say that we're all crazy over that chair fabric!!  Your style is so beautiful & I love seeing how your space came together with things you already had & were able to completely renew.  Thank you for sharing!!


ps-  Don't forget to vote for Eddie's Bloomingdale's Window!  ( link at the top of the right sidebar) Dave & I are headed to NYC to celebrate (fingers crossed!) Eddie & Elle Decor's win and I'll be sure to take lots of pictures!