Katie’s House: Deep Blue Walls in the Dining Room

As you may remember, a couple of weeks ago I shared some plans for painting my dining room. I had hung swatches of four different Benjamin Moore paint colors, and spent more than a week staring at them in different light and from different angles (thanks to Mera for pulling double post duty last week while I deliberated!). I stared until my eyes crossed and I couldn’t remember a color that wasn’t blue, but still I couldn’t pull the trigger. They were too green, too blue, too dark or too light – nothing was feeling quite right.

Dining Room Before

Dining Room Before

Finally – encouraged by my mom who had used their paint and really liked it – I decided to go check out Miller Paint, a company based in Portland who has a store in Eugene, and look what I found! A rich and lovely deep blue:

Red House West - Dining Room_Miller Paint2

The color I chose is Nova in Miller’s Evolution line – I decided on the ‘wipeable matte finish,’ and I love the soft sheen. The way it catches the light makes it look almost like clay.

The plant basket is from Nate Berkus' Target line.

The plant basket is Nate Berkus for Target

Choosing to use this paint was kind of a leap of faith – I usually do a lot of online research to read reviews and see images of the colors I like used in actual rooms. There isn’t very much information available for Evolution paint and – to make it a little more challenging – they don’t sell small sizes of this particular paint formula. What they do have, for $1.99, are 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheets that the color is actually painted on (not printed like regular swatches). I was leery of the accuracy, but in this instance at least the swatch gave a very true representation of the color.

Nova blue paint swatch on the Nova blue wall

Nova blue paint swatch on the Nova blue wall

The paint isn’t cheap – $50 a gallon – but is less expensive than Benjamin Moore’s higher quality lines, and I gotta say that the consistency and coverage of this paint is incredible. Does that sound like hyperbole? Like an advertisement? Don’t worry, no one is paying me to write this; I honestly loved using this paint. It’s thick like yogurt, has almost no smell, and it took just over half a gallon to put two thick coats onto my dining room walls.

Red House West - Dining Room_Miller Paint5

Remember that time RHW reader Carol called me a Chair Champion in the comments? Well I do, fondly and frequently, and I’m doing my best to be deserving of both the moniker and the unitard emblazoned with CC I plan to make. On that note, I was so excited to find these four mid-century teak chairs on Craigslist last week! They go beautifully with the three Bramin chairs I already had – their legs are similarly shaped and they are broad-beamed and comfortable – and that wood grain… be still my heart.

Bunny tested, Bunny approved

Bunny tested, Bunny approved

The chairs don’t have any kind of manufacturer’s mark on them, but I found some pictures of these similar ones (the only difference is the way the back is attached). My guess is that my chairs may be knock-offs of that designer, but I’m not sure. Someone really needs to make a dichotomous key for mid-century modern chairs with characteristics like type of wood, shape of back, etc. If something like that already exists, or if someone has found a good, comprehensive source for identifying mcm designers, I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Red House West - Dining Room Chairs3

The chairs are in really good shape, with only a couple of dings in the wood. I washed them with Murphy’s wood soap and rubbed them down with neutral Restor-a-Finish and Howard’s Feed & Wax. The seat coverings were soiled, so I recovered them in upholstery fabric I got at a local store called Econo Sales, which sells upholstery and outdoor fabrics for really cheap. Mine was only $6.95 a yard (with a width of 54″), so it was an inexpensive makeover – less than two dollars per chair. Initially I’d planned on something monochrome or dark, but ultimately decided light fabric would play better with all the wood and dark paint.

The runner is from World Market, and I added the tassels :)

The runner is from World Market but I added the tassels.  As I do.

The pattern and texture of the fabric are subtle, but really pretty in person.


Red House West - Dining Room Chairs2

I decided to forgo curtains entirely. I love the old original windows and they look into two evergreen bushes – a rhododendron and a camellia – and across our driveway into a laurel hedge (also an evergreen), so privacy isn’t an issue. They are east-facing so there’s no afternoon glare, and I love the natural light that moves through this room during the day.

Red House West - Dining Room_Miller Paint10

Whyyyyyyy is that light fixture so far off center?  No really, why?   I’m hoping that when Cameron and I are back for good at the end of summer we can fix it.  The vintage cast iron light was an eBay bargain last fall. When it arrived it was rusty and sticky with many coats of gold spray paint and the slurry of a thousand cigarettes smoked beneath it. We had it powder coated, and if you live in or near Eugene and have a need to get anything powder coated, send an email and I’ll pass on the guy’s name. It was cheap – like $20 – and he was really helpful and nice.

Any guesses on how many times I bumped my head on that light while I was painting?

Did you guess 100? Well you are wrong! It was only 20, maybe 30 times – luckily it’s a small enough room that I couldn’t get up enough momentum to really brain myself on it.

Getting the dining room to a good place has inspired me to start thinking about painting the living room too. I’d like to go lighter in there – it’s still the green it was when me moved in – and I’m on the hunt for a white or light gray that’s not too yellow or blue or dingy or stark. You know – no problem. If you have any recommendations I’d love to hear them!

A view into the living room and the myriad paint swatches

A view into the living room and the myriad paint swatches

Thanks for reading along and we hope to see you back on Wednesday for a new post! Anybody else do some home improvements this past week?

25 responses on “Katie’s House: Deep Blue Walls in the Dining Room

  1. Susan Glassow

    It’s been a loooooog time since I saw dichotomous in a description — first year university, biology??? The blue paint is luscious and the fabric on the chairs gives them a lift. All look as if they’re “sitting up” and taking notice of their elegant surroundings. You’re right; the light fixture could be swagged to the center of the table. I wonder if when the house was remodeled before your purchase of it, whether the electrical outlet was in the center? Good call on no curtains – windows are beautiful as is. I’d happily take a seat alongside Bunny.

  2. Carol Crump Bryner

    This blue is terrific. And I love the plain window with white trim and the dining room chairs with their light cushions. Can’t wait to see what you do with the living room. When I was a teenager we had a light fixture with a very pointy bottom that hung low over the kitchen table. It was not at the center of the table, but closer to where a guest would sit. All of my friends, boyfriends, and then husband got “initiated” by that darned light. It’s still there.

    1. k80bennett

      I learned the word ‘trepanned’ from an earlier post of Mera’s, and it’s a perfect description of the possible wounds inflicted by these low-hanging lights. Helmets are in order!

  3. dwhmmatthews

    I am not usually a blue person, nor do I trend to dark walls. But you have shown me what I have been missing with that gorgeous color. The room is lovely. The tapestry (and tassels) are wonderful. It’s now a room for happy memory-making.

  4. michellet2013

    Your dining room is gorgeous Katie—thanks for sharing its transformation with us! And the chairs—another great find!

    1. k80bennett

      Thanks Michelle! I am so happy about those chairs – I don’t mind a thrifty, assembled look usually, but I’m loving the simplicity of mostly-matching chairs in there now.

  5. Lynn

    Oh, that blue. I don’t even like deep blue, but your choice is really something. The room with its good bones looks restful and invites conversation, good food, friendship. I love your blog!

    1. k80bennett

      Thanks Lynn! I’m glad the dining room conjures up such nice scenes – I’m looking forward to having friends over to do just that 🙂

    1. k80bennett

      Thanks for the tip Cori! I’ll check it out ~ I had such a good experience with the Miller paint, I’d like to use it again.

  6. melanie

    Hello! I just wanted to suggest a beautiful color to go with the Nova is ColorEvolution Crystal Ball. A lovely neutral gray that plays well with others 🙂

  7. Jen

    Hi Katie, I’m making my way through your archives and really love the fabric you used on your chairs. I know this was long ago, but was there any sort of identifying information on the fabric that you can recall? I’d love to try to find it. Thank you!

    1. Katie Post author

      Hi Jen! I just dug out the remaining fabric and unfortunately there isn’t any marking I can find. Next time I’m over at Econo Sales – the store where I bought it – I’ll do a little sleuthing and let you know.

      1. Jen

        Thank you, Katie! That would be crazy if they still have the fabric over a year later, but I guess stranger things have happened! Grateful that you’re willing to sleuth next time you are there. I really love the blog, by the way, and have been pinning like crazy, which is rare even though I read quite a few design blogs. You and Mera are relatable, but also sophisticated. It’s a good combination 🙂

  8. Yarrow Morgan

    Katie, this is years too late, but the light fixture is probably off center so the people before you could have a buffet on one side, and wanted it centered over the table. Not uncommon in older houses

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