Tag Archives: dining room

Heading for Home Plate

Hi everyone, it’s Katie again!  Next week we’ll be back to our regular schedule of each doing one post a week and a collaborative post on Friday, but for this week you not only get a double dose of me, you also get this terrible and punny post title (please forgive me).

I’ve gotta say that I am loving the new color in the dining room.  I’ve spent the last couple of days watching the way the light moves across the blue with an avidity lately reserved for Season 2 of ‘Orange is the New Black.’  Here’s a picture I snapped late in the evening when the walls were deep and inky:

I recently got the nun decanter (is that a thing) at a thrift store for a couple of dollars.  Good score!

I recently got the nun decanter (is that a thing?) at a thrift store for a couple of dollars. Good score!

I’ve always loved the way art looks against dark walls, and long before I painted this room I was daydreaming about what I might hang in there.  Now that I can see the color I’m less interested in the large-scale art and murals I was coveting before–I don’t want to cover up the pretty blue.  So what am I thinking about?  Well here’s a phrase I never thought I’d utter in reference to my own home: decorative plates.

Does that conjure up for you – as it did for me – images of gilt-edged commemorative plates sold on QVC and in ‘Parade’ magazine?  Porcelain souvenirs emblazoned with Mt Rushmore, or the Grand Canyon or Golden Gate Bridge?  Plates painted with the rosy and smiling (or dour, depending)  faces of British Royals?  Well I wouldn’t say no (in fact I’d give an emphatic yes) to a Wills and Kate plate, but the decorative plates I have in mind for my dining room are decidedly more modern, and here are some of my favorite options:

The glaze on these plates is unreal.  I love the colors and think they would look gorgeous on the deep blue walls.  I also love the loose way they have arranged them here.

Pastel glazed plates on wall

Found on toast.co.uk

I am also crazy about these plates – the monochromatic palette and the simple drawings are so charming – and I like the irregular shapes and raw edges.  I’ve been toying with the idea of trying to DIY something in this same vein (maybe with paper mache?).

I’ve been admiring the combination of paintings on traditional chinaware for a while.  I love how cheeky these are.



I particularly like the arrangements of the plates in these next three images–there is something very modern about the way all of these collections are displayed.


Finally, these colorful baskets are also a beautiful option and would add a welcome punch of color and pattern.  I like the mix of sizes and designs.

For now I’m happy just enjoying the blue walls as-is, but down the road it will be fun to experiment with bringing other elements into the room.  What do you think?  Would you (or do you) hang plates as decoration in your own home?  Which of these options is your favorite?



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?

Katie’s House: Paint colors for the dining room and how I dragged home a(nother) chair

I’m home! And covered in cats, just as I’d hoped! I’m attempting to type this post with the use of only one hand, as the other one is currently pinioned beneath the fat and furry body of Dean.  Carl (aka Tiny Tiger)  is here too – shorn like a baboon after a trip to the vet for a bite on his tail (likely from a raccoon).  It’s so good to be back – baboon butt-ed cats, useless limbs and all.

Part One: In Which I Refer to a Chair as a Female Person

Yesterday my mom – who had been visiting us in Walla Walla – and I drove from eastern Washington to Eugene; from the wide open sky of ranch country and into the heavily forested valleys of home.

Through the windshield

A couple hours into our journey we pulled into a tiny, windswept town in search of ice cream, and – by the grace of the generous chair gods high upon their bentwood throne – also found the chair of my dreams. Or maybe a chair of my dreams.

Chair in situ

Ah, she may not look like much.  The poor girl is weathered and worn, and those dirty orange cushions could make even the prettiest lady look dated and dumpy.  She was crying for rescue – hollering that she was better than this one-horse town, that she was gonna be somebody, that she could be a star.  I heard her cries, saw her potential, and decided that this little Norma Jean had a destiny (less tragic, but no less beautiful than her namesake) to fulfill.  It almost didn’t happen–my car was already packed to the gills and she squeezed through the back door with less than a millimeter to spare. It took plenty of willpower and some serious Tetris skills to make everything fit and I really wish I’d taken a photo of the contents of my car strewn about Main Street, but I was so intent on jamming it all back in that I didn’t document it.

So you might be reading this story, looking at that sorry photograph, and thinking I’m a nut.  That the old girl is too far gone. But please take a moment and remember this picture I shared last week of one of my dream rooms:

Take a good look at those chairs, and then take a look at my girl once I got her home and freed her from the orange vinyl:

Side view of road trip chair in front of garage door

Pretty similar, right?  Once I hydrate her parched bones with oil and love, this little honey is going to be the beauty she was meant to be.

Part Two : Turning my Dining Room into a Cerulean Grotto

After I dropped my dear mom off, my chairs and I (the McCobb, ready for its new seat cover, was in there too) stopped by the hardware store to pick up paint samples for my dining room.  I am dreaming of deep blue walls, and – after considerable online research – chose four Benjamin Moore colors to try:

Paint swatches with text copy

As you can see, the dining room walls are already pretty dark.  They are a shade of purple – Benjamin Moore’s Cabernet – painted by the previous owners.  Purple is not my jam, but I’ve now lived with this color for two years and I am confident that this room, and the adjoining kitchen, can not only handle a heavily pigmented color during the relentlessly gray and dreary Oregon winters, but actually look better with it.

The kitchen is currently painted a darker shade of purple – the accurately and evocatively named Dark Purple, also by Benjamin Moore (their creative-name team must’ve been taking a break).  The east wall (on your right in the picture below) has white cabinetry.  The door at the end of the room in this picture leads into the laundry room.

I love the greeny-blue tones of the peculiarly named Gentleman's Gray.

I love the greeny-blue tones of the less accurately named Gentleman’s Gray.

The other side of the dining room leads through an arch into the living room, which will also be getting a coat (or -more realistically- five) of paint soon. I’m looking at whites and very light hues for that room, which I think will contrast nicely with blue in the dining room.


The cabinets in the dining room are cherry, and the countertops are black granite, so any paint color will need to play nice with both of those (because of this I’ve pretty much ruled out Hale Navy, which is too flat and too dark of a color in this context).

comparing color with cabinets and countertops

Cameron's dad built the table as a wedding gift.  He also built the bench which is acting as a dining chair until I can round out our motley crew (if it were Crue the McCobb chair would totally be Vince Neil) of thrifted chairs.

Cameron’s dad built the table as a wedding gift. He also built the bench which is moonlighting as a dining chair until I can round out our motley crew (incidentally, if they were a Motley Crue, the McCobb chair would totally be Vince Neil) of thrifted chairs.

Today, in this overcast light, I am leaning toward either Newburyport Blue (far left in the picture below) or Newburg Green (second from left) for the dining room walls. Tomorrow the sun is supposed to emerge and perhaps a clear paint color winner will emerge with it.

I definitely plan on changing the curtains, but I haven't yet decided to what.

I haven’t yet decided on new curtains, but these will definitely go

It feels so great to be home and I’m excited to be tackling this room! Once I decide on a color I’ll get rolling and will definitely share the result. What do you think? Do any of you have a deep blue color you’d recommend? Mera and I will be back on Friday with some DIY inspiration – thanks for reading along!