We're off to a great start with our Foresquare's dining room renovation and restoration project. But before I launch into details on the next phase of this room's renovation, let's take a look back at where we started and a look forward at where we're trying to go. 

Where We Started

Ever since we bought our house in 2014 this room has evolved continuously in both form and function. The room was first introduced to us looking like this...

...and sported yellow walls, burgundy and fruit patterned window treatments, a hunter green fruit border, a dark wood and brass ceiling fan, and a window air conditioning unit with its cord stretching the length of the room. Not exactly pin worthy.

Initially we set this room up as our dining room, using folding chairs and other furniture given to us second hand by family and friends. The only new items were the lamps, which I purchased from HomeGoods to use in our future living room.

We lived with the room like this for a time, but when we started our living room renovation in early 2015 this room shifted in purpose and served as our family room for two years while the neighboring space was renovated. By this time we had installed a geothermal central heating and cooling system (so long clunky window unit!) following our whole house disaster. The new heat system is not only much more efficient than the oil fueled boiler that we once had, but it also meant that the new forced air system eliminated the need for the unsightly metal baseboard radiators.

Although we didn't make any cosmetic changes, we brought in our living room furniture, much of it new, and adapted to a state of ignoring the room's envelope, knowing that the blotchy ceiling, unattractive fan, scratched up floors, and lumpy walls would eventually receive some serious TLC. 

Fast forward to last year, when our living room was finished and the room resumed its purpose for dining. By this phase, our original floors had been lovingly restored and refinished, and are now a lighter and more natural shade.

Beyond the flooring, the decor of the room was also slightly improved with the addition of several different pieces that felt more our style, like:

  • new white cross back chairs,
  • a vintage mirror from my parents, 
  • a painting done by my mom, 
  • a new rug from HomeGoods, 
  • and a couple cute hurricanes from Target.

Even with these improvements, the room obviously still needs a lot of work, but we continued to try to ignore its faults and enjoy the space as it was for the time. Even though it's far from what we want it to be, it certainly doesn't stop us from enjoying our new home with friends and family. 

But, as we shared with you last week, we are thrilled to report that the fruit wallpaper border is officially a thing of the past, and our walls no longer sport a layer of drywall over the original plaster. Getting the room to this point was no small feat, but it already feels so great to have bid farewell to the 1990s additions that even in their heyday, didn't feel appropriate in our 1908 home.

Where We're Going

So the big question remains, what sort of look are we going for in our future dining room? 

Summing it up in a single statement I'd say we're going for "neutral and casual waterfront farmhouse."

There are a few things in the most recent "before" photo above that are definitely staying. The antique rustic cabinet that Alex's parents gave us years ago will be remaining in the corner of the room. Its color and look really anchor what we're going for, plus it serves as great storage for linens, chargers, and more.

The wool rug I found at HomeGoods will remain on the floor and the white chairs we picked up from Overstock will be staying in the room as well. We're also planning to add the two upholstered chairs from our Old Town sun porch for either end of the table. Here's a slightly better photo of the rug from a time when it was the rug in one of our guest bedrooms. I really love moving things all over the house to figure out where things seem to work best.

This rug will live beneath the table we don't have yet, but right now we're on the hunt for it. We're searching for a great farmhouse table with tons of character and patina. The table we have currently belonged to Alex's parents, and while we are so grateful we were able to use it the last few years, ultimately it's too formal and precious for the room and it damages very easily. We've been on the hunt for an antique farm table that will seat eight and already has a worn patina so I'm not stressing about scratches and rings on the table. 

At this point we're planning to use the same wall color that we used in the living room, Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray. It's a soothing color that works well with the light floors, white trim, and somewhat dark antique wood accents of the cabinet, table, and other accessories.  

Agreeable Gray in the Living Room

We've also picked up a few interesting salvaged/antique items for the room over the last couple years. First, Alex found two matching rustic antique racks at Forge Industrial in Old Town Alexandria. These two racks came from an old broomstick factory. We'll probably hang these on the wall on either side of the window and it should add some texture and visual interest.

Then we found this really interesting antique machine shop cart at Luckett's just before Christmas. As luck would have it, this just happens to be the perfect size to neatly stack wine bottles on the shelves, and I planto use it as a bar cart in the room. It's fate, I tell you! 

Finally, we bought a large drum shade chandelier with rope hanging cord from the Restoration Hardware outlet. We've had it in our attic for a a year or so and I've been really excited for the day that we install it. It will hang in the center of the room above our eventual table, and we lucked into it for about $45 instead of the typically pricey $350+ they sell for on the website.

 Alex searching the racks at the Restoration Hardware Outlet - Deal Hunting 

There will surely be more accent pieces and art around the room, as well as long white paneled IKEA curtains that will match those in the living room. 

We have a few weeks (who are we kidding, more likely months) of electrical work, plastering, and molding ahead of us before we reach the satisfying point of painting, but we're both really excited about the progress we're making. 

Comments 7


1/24/2018 at 5:09 PM

I'm very interested to see how you tie it in to the kitchen. In the before pictures it seems like a very farmhouse/casual kitchen is plunked onto a more formal dining room. Your plans sound like the rooms will be much more sympathetic to one another!

1/25/2018 at 2:36 AM

Wow! Good to read the journey through the entire transformation from dining to living room to family room and then again dining room. And I'm excited to see how those antique rustic pieces would be placed in the room. Also, It's okay to shift things around the house to know what really works for you and feels great!! Looking Forward to seeing the transformation after including those pieces in the room:)

1/25/2018 at 1:57 PM

Farm on!! franki

1/26/2018 at 11:17 AM

Are you kidding me on those broomstick factory racks? Those are the coolest things I have EVER seen!

2/9/2018 at 2:02 AM

The pictures are just wow and so inspiring; I myself always dreamt about an amazing looking dining room but did not know where to start from. Thanks for sharing your ideas.

Laura Barnes
1/14/2021 at 2:04 PM

Hello, This was posted under how to installing recessed lights. But that isn't covered. Is there another post that covers this? I know I could google it, but your technical explanations are easy to follow - and I like you guys!

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