Once upon a time, there was a boy named Aaron, who wanted to take his girlfriend out of town, propose , and surprise her with a completed dining room makeover upon their return. True story, it happened, the end. I’m not really a love story kind of writer, so I’m sorry that I led everyone on with my blog post title. I wish I could say more about this “love story” that I claimed I would be writing about. Just know, that it was the sweetest thing ever, and I’m super happy for them. I love that I could play a role in designing the space, to unify the styles of two people, and create a space that would become an important place, as they spend their lives together. Seriously, we all know, that food is the center of our hearts. Or something like that. Most of my memories, are tied to food, or events with meals. As most peoples are. In that dining room, they will celebrate with friends, eat anniversary meals together, and their future children will probably make all kinds of food messes there. And everywhere else.
The dining room had nothing in it. Well, it had a lot in it actually, as you can see from the first before photo, but none of it was dining room related. Basically, just storage. Plus, when I started, nothing was there. NOTHING. My job, in this case, was to provide Aaron and Anna with a functional dining room, that fit within their style, and budget. Budget was key in this design, I wanted to provide the best looking space, with the smartest use of the budget. They needed everything, obviously. Including a dining table, chairs, hardware, accessories, storage, so on and on and on. You see those plants in the first photo, sitting by the window? Those were my inspiration. Aaron told me through the design questionnaire that I sent him, that he wanted to be able to keep some of those plants within the space, that he liked calm relaxing colors, and nothing too bright or over the top. Also, the fan needed to stay, as well as the paint color. And, no long curtains (because like a lot of us, they have a crazy pet). FYI, I didn’t take any photographs with the fan. I wanted to incorporate lots of cool colors, earthy tones, and a hint of a cottage vibe. I wanted to also make sure to find items with personality, and beauty. Plants, like I said, influenced ideas within this space.
The dining table was my first priority. It would essentially dictate the entire budget, being that it would probably be the biggest expense, and anchor the entire room. Like, no dining table, means no dining room. I came up with a generalized budget before hand, but it was vital, that I find a quality dining table that fit within that, or very close, so that all other aspects of the design/budget could be cared for as well. Obviously, I sourced craigslist. For hours and hours and hours. I can’t express how awesome of a client Aaron was to work with. When sourcing craigslist, it’s a very fast process, needing a lot of communication from everyone. So, I would source a table, email Aaron an image, he would give feedback, and I would see if it was available, and on and on in circles we went. Often, we found great tables, that were no longer available. Or, a seller wouldn’t respond within 24 hours. If you know me, you know that I’m very opinionated about craigslist, so you could imagine how annoyed I was, when sellers didn’t use correct craigslist etiquette. Aaron was great at getting back with me ASAP. Making my job very easy. We ended up finding a couple, who built farm house tables, at a very reasonable price. I actually found them on craigslist. So, that’s who we went with. They were very nice, quick to respond, local, and seemed to really enjoy what they do. Email : HuntWoodWorking@gmail.com . Note, that if you do contact them, clarify the height of the table you want. Most handmade farm tables, are meant for medium to tall benches. It’s just the nature of farm tables.
I love symmetry, you know that. Especially with larger items, followed by a lack of symmetry within. The bookshelves gave symmetry to the space, therefore, in my mind, creating importance, structure, and intention. The bookshelves needed to be white, or off white (in the end, I went with off white), to bounce light around the space, and balance the dark floor and dark wood table. Aaron is a quirky guy, and needed some very cool bookshelf accessories. Nothing over the top, but just unique, tasteful decor. I started with some “splurge” items. Giving Aaron and Anna some key pieces, that they could have for always, was important. Like, pottery, and vases, for future plants. Then, I went to the peddlers mall. My goal at the peddlers mall, was to find books. All of the items you see in the photos, were sourced by me (except for the clock). Bookshelves need books, and nobody has time for brand new books, right? I looked first for simple books, hardback, and fitting within the color realm of purples, greens, and blues. I finally found a few booths, with some treasures. Some even a dollar. Whats up dollar books. I think over the years, they will add things to those shelves, but I gave them a great starting point.
I kept the artwork simple, and nature inspired. I love artwork, that is displayed in simple, minimal, white frames. Always. But, for their space, I felt like a touch of a forest green was needed in the framing process. So, I glued pre-cut, green matte board in the center of the white frames, to give a bold look, and to tie in other colors within the space.
The centerpiece is my favorite part of the space. First of all, the very center of their dining table is the perfect place for plants to flourish. Direct natural light hits the center of the table from two directions. Perfect. I wanted to enhance the plants, by putting them on some sort of pedestal. Not necessarily an actual pedestal, but some sort of structure, that gave importance to the plants. I found these candle lanterns, with wood frames, gold handles, square shaped, and glass sides. One tall, and one medium height, would make the perfect centerpiece for these mini cactus and succulents to be stored in.
I just want to say again, how crazy great it was to work with such nice and supportive people. They totally trusted my design concept and budget breakdown, and reassures me that this is the job for me. I find happiness in all moments of the process.
* An E-Design service provides the client with accessible design advice that sets the framework for a single room, for a set fee. All work is completed via telephone and email. All that is needed from the client is a completed design questionnaire, a budget, and images and dimensions of your room. Returned to the client will be a design concept, mood board (which is what you see above), a complete shopping guide which includes non-urgent and urgent items (usually sale items or items found on ebay/craigslist),and a detailed floorplan
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“Aaron and Anna | Dining Room Makeover” is published in the “design & decor” category of Dahl House Blog.