A Tale of Two Dining Rooms

It was the best of design, it was the worst of design.

THIS is what gets weird google searchers landing here. I should stop.

We all know I won’t, but if I wanted to knock off with the bizarre search strings sending people to my blog this would be the way to do it.

Disclaimer: The people who owned our house before we did are lovely. They did amazing things to the house by way of a new roof, new windows, new air-conditioner and heater, solar electrical system and one gorgeous bathroom. They figured they’d get around to more cosmetic improvements, but…Dad got transferred and they had to move. A few times when we called to get a little help with something they’d ask what we were working on. “New floor,” we’d say. “Great!” They’d answer, “We hated that floor!” and things like that. So I’m quite certain that they’d be more than happy with our changes.

Ok, now that everyone knows that I am NOT a big meanie who likes to mock people for no reason (except that I often mock people, but with really really good reasons), I present:

Our Eating Spaces: A Story in Two Parts

Part One: The Formal-ish Dining Room

First, let us discuss the formal-ish dining room. I say “formal-ish” because 1)it’s not in the kitchen so it’s a little more substantial, but 2) it’s not its own walled room either, and 3)we don’t pull off formal really well since right next to this room is a home-made, two-story, industrial-quality cat-climber. Sort of ruins the whole formal vibe.

But here it is before:

Here’s the after:

The miniature prison guard-rail is gone (although that’s a load-bearing post so it stayed), we replaced the light fixture and installed new hardwood floor. Oh, and some of you may have noticed that the room is now green instead of white. Not everyone catches that part.

ALSO, because I want major  kudos here, when we ripped out the carpet, we realized that 1) we now had a height differential between the laminate floor in the kitchen and the plywood floor in the dining room, and 2) somewhen, somehow, a carpet pad had been glued down. For the record, it had about as much interest in being pulled up as a previously un-touched bikini line. To deal with those problems, I had to install a whole new subfloor. (And by “I,” I mean my brother and my uncle. But my DNA was involved so I get credit.)

Part Two: The..uhhh…Non-Formal-ish Dining Room:

This is the eat-in dining room in the dysfunctional kitchen space.


For life of me, I have no idea what the heck was up with my camera. I promise it was not fogged-in in the kitchen.

Here’s the after:

Different angle though.

So, same updated flooring, although thankfully without a new subfloor, also new paint, and new light fixture. (In the case of the light fixtures, I get no credit whatsoever as my mother’s gentleman installed them and there’s no DNA in that equation of any kind. To which I say,  “phooey.”)

Note that I have no floor covering here. No rug. No mat. Nothing. Nada. Why?  Because I am an OCD, anal crazy person, and four years into living here I have not found one that I like that I’m willing to fork over the dough for and so cleaning up a dark brown floor under a table where teenagers eat is somehow more appealing to me than settling.

Someday a therapist is going to find me and be a really, really happy person.

Now I know you’re all wondering, “What about the points?? Surely this must be loads and loads of points?”


I can’t really give myself points here. I give myself full credit for design, layout and color choice. But…SO many other people did SOOOOO much work. Without a dozen other people who can handle saws (of at least three different breeds), drill presses, nail guns, electricity and laser levels in ways that I simply cannot, none of this would have happened.

So to my mom, my mom’s gentleman, my brother, my uncle and my amazingly patient and supportive husband (someday I’ll tell you how many times we painted the family room), I give each: +20 Martha Points.

It was a far, far better thing I clean, than I have ever cleaned; it is a far, far better room that I go to, than I have ever known.

This is why people always get me and Charles Dickens mixed up.

This post happily linked to the Before and After Party at Thrifty Decor Chick and at Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch!


  1. love it!

    i think solid surface flooring is the ONLY way to go underneath eating children…unless you own a steam cleaning company or a carpet company and consider your rugs disposable.

    1. It’s the DARK that’s the problem area.

      Otherwise I’d be celebrating the solid surface.

      But…I was not the wisest hen in the house when I picked that flooring color.

    1. We’ve spent the last 4 years moving a chair back and forth so all 5 of us can sit.

      And much like why I don’t have a floor covering under the smaller dining table yet, I haven’t found chairs that I love to add to the main dining room set. (Those same chairs are no longer available.)

      The goal is to have two head chairs in the formal-ish dining room (since that’s where our family dinners happen when all 5 of us are home).


  2. I love your colors and floors. Is that a PB chandelier? I used to have one similar to it, but the larger one, in our dining room in Arizona.

    do you find the dark floors, though, hard to keep looking good? we had dark slate floors in AZ and while I loved them, they showed every dust bunny, hair, fuzz, etc. (didn’t show dirt though!) :)

    good job.

    1. Both light fixtures are from the Home Depot collection.

      By the time the remodel was finished and we actually moved in, people at Home Depot knew me by name. True story.

      And the dark floors are WRETCHED to keep clean.

      In addition to every crumb and clump of cat-fur, ours show….FOOTPRINTS.

      Wrong, wrong, wrong.

      Our kids walk around in bare feet and they leave footprints!

      Do teenagers have particularly sweaty or oily feet? WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?

  3. It all looks great and so much better! Love all the changes. So the checkerboard floor in the formalish dining room, is that a run? Love that rug. You should get a couple of extra points for taking out the railing…huge improvement.

    1. The floor in the formal-ish room is a rug that Himself had in his townhouse and it just worked pretty well there!

      And yes, I was not a fan of the rail. 70’s remnant, but not in any way vintage or charming.

  4. Am I the only one who mainly cares about the bikini line comment? That is a brilliant metaphor.

    I have to say that I am envious of all those talented family members. My family can decorate like Martha but they certainly couldn’t use power tools.

    Someday I will send you a photo of the tile backsplash that I installed in our kitchen while 8 months pregnant with my younger daughter.

    1. Ooooh…I want to see the backsplash.

      I did not try to tile while pregnant, but I did go up and down a ladder a zillion times to paint stars along the ceiling for the nursery.

  5. I’m at a loss to understand why I get points, except maybe for making sure my gentleman actually got there with his electrical acumen.

  6. I love that your mom leaves a comment and refers to her hubby using your choice of blog terms. Made me mist up. I too would like to hold up a literary light to your bikini analogy. Masterful.
    Oh yeah, great formalish and formal dining room redos!

    1. How funny! You’re the second person to think PB.

      Totally Home Depot.

      But I LOVE that people think PB.

      Makes me feel even more martha-y!

      And holy cow that link is hysterical.

      The “Elaine Has Gotten Lazy Party” particularly cracked me up.

    1. The great thing is that that’s all the furniture we had already.

      Although we still didn’t have all the furniture we needed…we had to buy one more couch!

  7. Love the befores and afters at someone else’s house! We did so much remodeling and re-doing and decorating at our last house — it’s a lot of work.

    Now we’re temporarily renting, and I have to say? While there is much about this rental house that I would fix if I could? Not having permission to change those things is actually sort of nice.

    I have a lot more time to do other things.

    Like comment here.

  8. Now THAT is one huge change! You go girl! I love that new flooring and your new light fixtures.

    I would also like to mention that the lovely lady who sold me my home checks my blog regularly. Good thing I know that ’cause I coulda been in big trouble.

    1. LOL…I doubt my former owners are readers, but I would hate them to stumble over here and think I did nothing but criticize.

      They just put all their time and money somewhere else first.

      And we REALLY appreciate those things.

      Solar power? So YAY!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s