Next up on the tour of my ultimate DIY "fixer" house is the dining room. Admittedly it's not really a room of its own ... I created a pretty open floor plan when I pulled down interior walls and added wide arches between the kitchen, living, and dining rooms. (See my post about the nitty gritty remodel process here.)
Hands down, the biggest transformation to this space was the addition of tall french doors out onto the garden. Let there be light!
I mean, that "before & after" comparison is just crazy, isn't it? We really lucked out with original wood flooring that was still in good condition underneath the tile.
In the before photo you can faintly see where a small door was drywalled over in order to build a rear apartment onto the back of the house (which we demo'd the moment we bought it.) The spaces were all SO dark and cramped and there was absolutely no connection to the outdoors. Which in California is crazy! For me, the entire point of living (and designing living spaces) here is to maximize the indoor/outdoor flow. We have such ideal weather year-round that it's a no brainer.
Beyond that, I think my second favorite project in here was adding basic molding to bring a little architectural detail to a long, empty wall. It was such a simple little DIY that made such a big difference!
I used this square stick molding from Home Depot because it fit the rather simple, modern direction we were taking (if you have a more traditional home you might choose a curvier, fancier molding profile.) At $3 for an 8' length of molding, I spent less than $30 in materials.
I have this little miter box and saw (under $10) that lets me easily cut angled miter corners (especially on small projects when I don't want to break out my big table saw.) Once you've cut the corners you just use those tiny carpentry nails to tack the molding to the wall, use a bit of wood filler to fill nail holes and any gaps at the joints, and then run a bead of caulking between the wood and the wall. Once it's painted it looks really good!
I like this type of wall molding to be painted the same exact color and sheen as the wall it's going on. The shadow line that is naturally created makes the molding stand out nicely. I chose to frame one large opening in the center of the wall to showcase a nice piece of art, with two rectangles on either side of it.
I've styled and photographed this room a few different ways, so you'll notice different chairs and wall art in some of these photos :) But with both versions of the wall art, I used my old go-to trick of blowing up a photo to the size of a giant thrift store frame. This is such an economical way to create wall art on a very large scale! You all know how costly custom framing can be. Which is why I can never pass up a good looking frame in a thrift store, even if it holds the ugliest art imaginable (which they often do.)
This is a stock image of a magnolia blossom that I enlarged to the size of a big brass thrift store frame for the dining room. I love the drama of the black background and the brass frame, especially with my black and gold dining light! (Unfortunately now I can't remember where I found the stock image, but sites like istockphoto.com, shutterstock.com, and dreamstime.com are all good ones to try. You just have to be creative with your key word searches. I wrote a post about printing affordable overscale wall art here.)
The next photo I enlarged for this spot when I wanted a little more color in there was one of my own ... an image of my little boy dancing in the street in front of a fantastic Shepard Fairey mural. I am absolutely in love with this print. It's so personal, with my baby caught in a joyful moment, and yet so quintessentially LA at the same time (Shepard lives here, so although his iconic murals can be found worldwide, his art is all over our city, which I love!)
Notice that I swapped out my dining chairs in this photo? I got bored with the ivory linen parson chairs, plus they weren't fairing well with a toddler on the scene, so I found these great mid-century x-base chairs, gave them a full makeover which included a brass finish and peacock blue leather (see the before and after here), et voila!
My dining room light was a DIY tweak that I made to a West Elm fixture, inspired by these Tom Dixon "Beat" pendants.
I gold-leafed the inside surface of my West Elm pendant and I think it worked pretty well ... you can find the full tutorial for my dining light DIY here.
Actually since completing that project I've discovered a very reasonably-priced version of these lights that I thought I'd share with you ... made by a company called Eurofase, these 3 pendants are available for under $150 a pop here, here and here.
After my house tour was featured on Domaine Home one of the questions I heard the most from readers was what curtains and window hardware I used throughout the house. The tall ivory linen curtains seen here are one of my favorite design "secrets" ... they are simple Ikea Aina curtains that I accented with a bit of black trim. I only use the Aina curtains when I'm sourcing from Ikea (not crazy about most of the others they have), but I do use them in a lot of projects because they can be made to look great. In fact I like this trick so much that I wrote an entire post about how to customize inexpensive linen curtains.
And does it ever annoy you how expensive curtain hardware can be? Especially for very wide window spans, it can really add up. Another trick I sometimes use is to buy simple metal curtain brackets like these and use them with unfinished wood dowels or closet rod which is sold by the foot at Home Depot. Then the rods can be either painted or stained to match your decor.
You just have to be sure to select a rod that is nice and straight, and not bowing at all. The unfinished wood craft aisle at Michaels or any hobby/craft store will turn up all sorts of options to use as finials.
I used a dab of wood glue to cap the ends of my curtain rods with a couple of simple round discs, and then stained the entire thing. (By the way, this works best when you're using curtain rings, since the unfinished wood can sometime snap on drapes hung directly from the rod.)
In the corner of the dining room is the small bar nook. Because it's nestled on a recessed wall in its own little alcove, I chose to do a "statement" wall treatment here. I've always thought this swirly, marbled, agate-like pattern was gorgeous! It is made as an expensive wallpaper, but (surprise surprise!) I actually did my own DIY version of it with this inexpensive marbled art paper (in the black/gold/silver color combo.)
That's a wrap for the dining room!
You can catch this house on Domaine Home too.
Links for the rest of the home tour:
paint: Pittsburgh Pure Performance "Silver Dollar"
oval dining table: Craigslist (from Lawson-Fenning in LA...major score!)
bar cabinet: JC Penney (no longer sold)
bar accessories: pretty much all vintage
light fixture: West Elm with a DIY tweak
chairs: The ivory parson chair were Craigslisted and then re-upholsered at my furniture factory. The x-base chairs were Craigslisted and then re-done by my furniture makers as well.
curtains: Ikea Aina in white
window hardware: DIY
sunburst mirror: Home Goods
marbled wallpaper: DIY
large photographic wall art: DIY
fiddle leaf fig: Kobata Growers in the wholesale flower market, downtown LA