Showing posts with label dining room. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dining room. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Oh happy day!

A couple of weeks ago Greg and I went down to Restoration Hardware to see the farmhouse table we've been eyeing in person. My secret hope was that I'd be like, "Meh. I liked it better online."

They didn't have any farmhouse tables in the store, so my plan backfired a bit. We ended up talking to one of the sales reps for a long time and looking at wood samples. Toward the end she asked us if we'd ever considered the Boulangerie table. It's about $1500 less than the farmhouse table and the extra leaf stores away in the center of the table. It still has that rustic farmhouse feel. Restoration charges you a lot of money to give you a mass-produced product that looks like you built it yourself.

Turns out I don't care. We liked it and we really liked how much cheaper it was. And you know what? IT CAME ALREADY ASSEMBLED. This is the first new piece of furniture I've bought in over 15 years that didn't come from Ikea. Everything else I own was bought off of craigslist, thrift shops, or vintage stores. Even the couch from my reveal was from craigslist.

It arrived the morning of our earthquake party, right on time. Whoever RH contracts with to do their delivery is great. When we expand the table it stretches to 120 inches, very comfortably fitting 12 people.

I freaking love it.

Of course our chairs were all falling apart. I found a woman on craigslist selling an Indonesian table and seven teak chairs (that didn't match the table) for $250. I asked her if she'd be willing to split the table from the chairs, since they weren't a set. She graciously agreed to sell me the chairs for $25 apiece. And guys, we fit all seven of them in my two-door Honda Civic. It took thirty minutes of the craziest live Tetris game ever, but we did it.

These chairs are not our forever chairs. They need to be recovered (I almost attempted to do that prior to the party before I remembered candle light hides all sins) and one of them is totally busted, which I didn't realize until I got it home and into the light. The two yellow end chairs are on loan from my friend Ryan, who took pity on my chair situation when I moved into my house. Someday I really want wishbone chairs. They have a much lower profile so you'd see more of the table and less of the chair backs, like you do now. And that's a sexy chair.

But man, you can't beat the price of the ones we have right now. It's very difficult to find more than four matching chairs on craigslist, let alone 6 or 8. I think we'll be able to recoup our money should we ever get different chairs and need to sell these.

Now we need to do some creative rearranging of the other furniture in the room. We don't know what to do about Greg's armchair.

It's too big to fit in the basement or bedrooms and we have no place for it in the living room. It's sort of out of place in the dining room but we don't want to get rid of it. It's very comfortable even if it's not my style. And I have been such a decor autocrat that I want to incorporate as much of Greg's stuff as possible.

Last up, we need to get some place mats so we don't ruin our new table with food stains.  I like looking at our table so I don't want to cover it with a tablecloth but I grew up in a house that didn't use place mats. As a result, they seem really fussy to me. I guess I'll just need to get over that.

Blah blah, TL;DR. New pretty table!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Me and curtain panel sewing are breaking up.

Our dining room has always been a design nightmare with half wood floors and half ugly carpeting and a mishmash of furniture. It's such a fucking nightmare that of the 40,000 pictures I have taken of the house, there are about four of the dining room.

Shortly after I moved in.
Dirty, broken, plastic blinds

Now it's a fucking nightmare WITH DRAPES! And Ikea Enje shades.

The Enje blinds let in a ton more light during the day, while allowing us to keep our privacy. Ask me about the time I wandered out to the kitchen in my underwear and spotted Greg's step-dad outside my kitchen window, hefting a rocking chair over his head. It's not as weird as it sounds but it was super embarrassing.

I've been searching craigslist for three years, trying to find a large scale table (preferably something in the farmhouse family) to fill this room. This one woman has been listing her Restoration Hardware table, which currently sells for $2395, for $1900.

She's had the listing up for two months. That makes me crazy. Why would I buy your used table that I can't return to RH if it ever develops a defect or doesn't look right in the space? Why not save an extra $500 toward a brand new one that comes with delivery to my house? I don't believe that you should ever ask more than half the cost of a brand new item that is available online, especially from a mass producer like Restoration Hardware. The table isn't special or unique or an antique. I tried to negotiate her down but she wouldn't go for it. So I guess she'll just keep listing her table that no one will buy and we'll keep watching for sales.

This kills me because I hate consumer culture and I always prefer to buy used, preferably older stuff that wasn't produced in a factory in China where the employees are treated terribly. Someone recently remarked that we are horrified when we hear about slavery in the south. How could people do that? We would never do that! But we buy cheap consumer goods knowing full-well that the factory workers are operating under inhumane conditions. Future generations will frown on us.

But that lady on craigslist really makes me dig in my heels. I don't want to buy from her and I don't want to buy new because it will get assembled by underpaid workers, shipped from somewhere very far away, and jammed full of chemicals that will off-gas in my house. And whoa Heather, why don't you talk about feline AIDS as long you're bumming everyone out?

But yeah, curtains! I finished the curtains. They took days to make and I never want to make another panel again.

I think they make the room look closer to finished and I'm pleased that I can finally cross them off the list. Now we just have to find a table and chairs that don't fall apart when you sit on them. Chairs are so pricey, you guys! When did it get so expensive to sit?

Sorry about that shame spiral detour in the middle there. Sometimes I feel embarrassed by the abundance of riches in my life. Then I have a glass of wine and I make fun of The Bachelor and everything is okay again.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Little improvements

When I decided to make curtains for the front rooms of the house I bought the entire bolt of fabric, or 20 yards. If I'm going to go to the trouble of making curtains that I'm just "meh" about, well I'm going to make 600 of them, damn it. You don't change course mid-stream or something.

I finally got around to making panels for the big window in the dining room and hanging an Ikea Enje blind. I ordered more hardware from JC Penny but screwed up and ordered one fewer than I needed. I also ran out of fabric, so this corner still has ugly, broken, dirty blinds.

Even though the room looks a little silly with just one set of curtains, the amount of extra light that pours through the Enje blind is dramatic. Our house is south-facing and having extra sunshine during the winter (when we can get it) is fantastic.

I think I might actually dye the curtains in this room, even if just to an off-white. I know, exciting times 'round here.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Much better

Our dining room is kind of a mess. When Greg moved in we put his dresser in our bedroom and transferred mine to the dining room where it served as a buffet. It worked great for storing table linens and big bowls, but it couldn't store any of our alcohol out of site. 

We already have a lot of bottles of random stuff that we rarely use but might need for cocktails down the line. Then our friends moved to India and left their bar supplies with us, so we suddenly looked like full blown alcoholics. You can sort of see that in these two photos, which show the state of our dining room on a daily basis. Computers! Shoes! Cans of paint for no reason!

Boxes! More paint! Oh my god.

Enter the new bar storage and my attempt to style a shot.

I found this deco-styled buffet on craigslist for $100. I waited and watched and the price dropped to $80 and, miracle of miracles, Greg actually liked it. Guys, we never agree on furniture. Ever.

I want to replace the hardware, but otherwise it's exactly what we need. All of the extraneous bottles got tucked underneath and we can keep just a couple of bottles handy up top. I know, the carpet is fabulous. Someday that will go away.

Then my dresser could go where I really wanted it: in the living room. Previously we had a mid-century style corner table and a cheap pressboard TV stand.


Ignoring the fact that I'm still waiting on the delivery of the last rod for the left-hand window, this is making me like the curtains I made much more. They don't take center stage, they provide some contrast and texture, and they don't offend me. I also hung Enje blinds from Ikea, which give the room a wonderful gauzy light during the day.

I know the TV is awful. We only watch it if people come over for a movie night, or I'd huck it. I prefer to watch TV in bed, like a fat, lazy American.

One! million! pillows!

Now I just need a big-ass farmhouse style table for the dining room, some curtains (*sigh*), and to refinish the floors and maybe I'll be happy with that room. It'll still look like a tornado hit it, but it will be a stylish tornado.

Dream table, from Restoration Hardware

Monday, March 14, 2011

Wherein the boy should get a medal too.

Just a warning on this post: BAD PHOTOS, AHOY. I was working in low-light/flash situations and they look terrible.

I was doing some research on my house and I decided to ask for help from the Multnomah County librarians. I always feel a little sneaky doing that, being that I'm a librarian and all, but nobody knows how to use their resources better than them. They found this newspaper clipping:

One of the houses I blacked out is mine. My house is modern! Hell yeah it is.

I also found this historic map that showed the proposed design of my house. It doesn't match the way my house looks now.

My house actually looks like this, with no nose at the front of the house.

The boy checks pretty frequently on Zillow to see how my house is doing. I don't do that because it's depressing (and I don't think it's accurate). It turns out one of the OTHER houses mentioned in that newspaper clipping is currently for sale.  And from the pictures it looks EXACTLY like mine on the inside. The boy got megapoints for that find.

I've written before that I don't believe my dining room has always been this big. I think it used to be two rooms.

Exhibit A: the hardwoods in this room inexplicably end about six inches past where the carpeting begins. There's only subfloor under the grody, grody carpet.

Exhibit B: this window in the basement looks into a very small square crawlspace that runs underneath the far corner of the dining room where the windows are. It meets the main crawlspace only via a small ventilation hole. That's not normal. I think it used to see daylight.

Exhibit C: there's a high spot on the dining room floor where that wall with the window to the crawlspace hits. Something is amiss.

Exhibit D: variegation in the finish on the wall . . .

 . . . which makes me think a wall used to be here. 

I really wanted to look inside that house for sale, so I sent an email to the realtor and asked. We pretended we were househunting and I have such a terrible memory, would he mind if I took photos? Playing spies is FUN. I was worried that Greg wouldn't be able to play the part because he's an enginerd but he was awesome. He totally kept the guy involved while I measured and took photos.

Their living room is identical to mine. They have the same fireplace tile (many people told me mine wasn't original, *coughDADcough*), except that they have twelve tiles across where I have ten.


Oh, looky here. They have half as much dining room as I do. Their dining room ends right about where my wood flooring runs out. Hmmm.



We both have excellent taste in living room paint colors!

Into the kitchen we go. They didn't retain any of the original tile or fixtures, sadly.


Mine. We win because we have Gatorade.

That light fixture above the sink is going SOON. So what's on the other side of that dining room wall?

A breakfast nook!



We measured the depth of their breakfast nook, which was 78", corresponding exactly to the high point on my dining room floor.

Their house was really dilapidated and sadly had lost a lot of the original charm. They bumped out their attic, adding two bedrooms upstairs (but no bathroom). This is good food for thought, should we ever want to add on.

We also discovered in the basement that they have the original oil tank!

Their window looks into their front yard.

This is excellent news for me. I had assumed that the tank was buried on my property, which makes it a hugely expensive pain in the ass to decommission and remove. If the tank has leaked (and they always leak) they have to bring in a back hoe to remove ALL the contaminated soil. My neighbors three doors down did this and spent $15,000. $15,000 for something that doesn't even look pretty or improve the function of your house. $15,000 to basically mess up your yard.

I looked at the historical permits and theirs look the same as mine. Both are labeled as underground yard units.



It might explain what this random pipe in the side of my house is. Maybe where they used to fill the tank?

So, to recap, here's what I think happened. My house used to look like this in the front, with a separate dining room and breakfast nook.

They knocked down the interior wall between the dining room and the nook and brought the exterior nook wall out so it was flush with the outer wall of the dining room, creating a dining room on steroids and an exterior that looks like this.

Clear as mud? Am I crazy to think this or even care about it? Don't answer that.

I had so much fun being sneaky with Greg that I think we should quit our jobs and become grifters. Just think of how much more interesting this blog would be.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Experimenting with the dining room table

I've always wanted to refinish furniture but I've never really known how to do it.  I found this site where a woman in Alaska actually builds and finishes her own furniture.  She writes up and shares her plans and, man, do I ever have the fever to build something now. Especially this:

Image from Knock Off Wood

She's so inspiring!  I've bought a number of crappy pieces of furniture on criagslist, thinking I'd refinish them.

I never refinished them.  I bet this happens to a lot of people.

As I was getting furniture-making fever an episode of Ask This Old House about sprucing up old furniture.  I'm not one to ignore a sign (Tivo knows!) so I bought a little can of wood conditioner and a can of polyurethane.  I grabbed the leaf from my dining room table, which was pretty banged up.  I never put in the leaf without putting on a table cloth, so I figured if I screwed it up no one would ever know.  And if it went well I'd have some experience when it came to finishing the table I'm going to build.

First you sand the surface.  I used an ultra-fine grit but I think I should have gone rougher.  It didn't get rid of the scratches.

Then you vacuum up all the dust and wipe it down very very thoroughly with a damp rag. Grit is the enemy of smooth refinishing.

Then you apply a layer of wood conditioner.  Leave it on for 1-5 minutes then wipe off the extra.

You'll want to let this dry for 15-30 minutes.

Then you get to lightly sand, vacuum, and wipe the surface again.

Using a foam brush, apply a coat of polyurethane.  Be sure to think, "Why wear gloves?" and get this stuff on your hands. It smells bad AND it never comes off.  I NEVER LEARN.

Let it dry for at least 4 hours (I waited overnight since it's so wet out) and then sand, vacuum, wipe, and coat again.  Wait overnight and then repeat again.

It's certainly shinier.

It looks a lot better, though there are a lot of scratched still visible.  It's enough of an improvement that I'd like to try and refinish the rest of the table, but in the summer, when it's warm.  That's a lot of sanding and a lot of fumes to endure; I might as well enjoy some sun on my face while I do it.  And then?  I'm building two of those tables, making them nine feet long, and having dinner parties inside AND out.  And then this old table can go in the basement.