It began to look like an old lady with too many cats and a fondness for crocheted doilies lived there:
I needed to un-fussy it. I was aiming for gracious. Less stuffy. A few contemporary elements.
For the first time in my life, I hired a decorator to help me get it right. She was a friend, and--ta da!!!--she stayed a friend all through the process.
Here are my before-and-afters. I hope you enjoy the dining room's new look. (I sure do.)
Street-Facing Wall, Before: Wall-to-wall, pale carpet spotted with 20+ years' worth of stains. Padded moiré silk walls above decent wainscoting (Really? who does moiré silk right next to a kitchen? Cooking smells burrow into the fabric and never come out. The look of them was very Nancy Reagan-1980s. I must clarify: The silk was there when we moved in.) Geriatric drapes and sheers that the cleaners refused to clean any more, for fear they would fall apart. And an under-used area in front of a big window that only the plants were enjoying:
Street-Facing Wall, During: We painted the walls a beautiful blue-gray from Benjamin Moore called "Nickel." The trim is Benjamin Moore's "Swiss Coffee":
We installed these gorgeous glass-and-metal starburst knobs from Anthropologie on the window seat cabinetry and elsewhere in the room:
Street-Facing Wall, After: Now there's a cozy place for me to read the morning paper and look at the goldfinches marauding the bird feeder just outside the window:
I love the happy mishmash of fabrics on the pillows. All pillowcases zip off for the occasional cleaning:
We filled bookshelves with our silver, and art and photography books (but left some space, so the displays could "breathe"):
Corner with leaded-glass window, Before: Too much stuff crammed into too small a space. Small, splotchy art on the walls. A jumble of undersized plants:
Interior Wall, Before: The pinky-beige wood on our built-in hutch that screamed "Mid-80s!" Fussy, overly formal fabrics on the walls and dining chairs:
Interior Wall, After: Painted hutch and walls, contemporary fabric on seats:
Interior Wall, During: We painted the entire hutch wall the same colors ("Nickel" and "Swiss Coffee") as the rest of the room. We calmed down the formerly pink ceiling with a coat of white. (We added a lot more of those Anthropologie knobs, too, but they're not yet installed in photo below):
(Here's a glimpse at the color the ceiling used to be. Eeek!):
Before, Inside the Built-in Hutch: A dizzying mashup of crystal, china, and gewgaws:
After, Inside the Built-in Hutch: Some objects moved out, remaining things grouped (like objects with like) to calm down the mad jumble:
Built-in Hutch, After: With the cabinet doors closed, the display calms down even more:
North Wall, Before: An antique sideboard with too much stuff on (and in) it, and those damned moiré silk walls again:
North Wall, After: The mirror between the upper and lower pieces of the sideboard unfortunately is reflecting a lot of extraneous stuff in this shot, below. But trust me, the area is much visually quieter now:
Flooring, After: On top of the beautiful flooring, we put down a Pottery Barn rug below the dining table. Here, Pao Pao (l.) and Mu Shu show off the blues, grays, and warm tones that are echoed around the room:
Ceiling, Before: Waaaay too many pot lights, fitted with bulbs that made them look like Alien Bug Eyes. Plus, pink paint. Ugh!:
Ceiling, After: This oversize chandelier. Pot lights fitted with the proper bulbs now. White ceiling. Calm--and a touch of modernism--prevails:
Love it, love it, love it!