Friday, March 2, 2012

Project: Dining Room Fast Forward

I haven't posted in a long time - probably because we've been so busy working on the house and planning a wedding... and probably a little bit because I'm not a very committed blogger.  I'll have to work on that.

This post is dedicated to updating the progress we've made on the dining room.  Sadly, I don't have a nice "before" picture from the living room perspective.  Probably because it was so awful. Seriously - awful.  The living and dining area is one big, long room, and the previous owners made the distinction between the two areas by putting up dark wood paneling on the walls in the dining area, and lighter wood paneling on the ceiling.  And, come to find out, those pretty beams that you see in the next picture are also just pieces of paneling. Yeesh.   This was the very first project that we took on as new homeowners.

I know what you're thinking - you love that chandelier.
J and I made a lot of progress that weekend by getting all of the panelling down and the boards off of the ceiling - which actually proved to be the hardest and most annoying part. It even required the purchase of a new tool!

My handyman!

When we got the paneling off the ceiling we discovered that there had been some moisture problems at one time that led to some mold growth.  We treated it with a bleach/water mixture and crossed our fingers. Thankfully the next morning it appeared to have been killed off and after checking above the drywall to confirm it wasn't up there too, we painted over it with some Kilz.

There was a spot next to this one where the water had done so much damage that it wasn't savable. So I had to figure out how to do my first large drywall patch. Thanks YouTube!

Shortly after that weekend my dad swooped in to save the day with his drywall mudding skills over Memorial Day weekend.  We literally spent 5 days putting up layers of drywall mud and sanding it back down. There were so many holes from the paneling. And then it was complicated by the fact that all of the paint was peeling off of the walls in chunks. We don't know why. But that meant smoothing over the edges of the paint along with filling in the holes in the walls and the ceiling. It was the most awful project we've taken on yet.
Peeling paint off the wall

Dad's Working Weekend!
Since we lost the distinction between the living and dining area by taking down the paneling, we thought that putting in a wide arch would do the job better than the paneling!  We ended up hiring an old contractor friend-of-a-friend type of guy.  He was nice enough, but ended up doing an awful job.  So we paid him and then tore it down and J figured out how to do it himself! Again - thanks YouTube!

 After all of that time spent on demo and drywall, we took equally as long to decide what color to paint the room!
Blue? Green? Orange? Gah! So many choices!
 We did finally make a descion and painted it "Pumpkin Butter" from Martha Stewart's line. Strangely I don't have a nice "after" picture - but you can see the color in some of the next pictures.

One of the best changes to the room (at least in my opinion!) was changing out that awful fake-crystal-actually-plastic chandelier.  I found a nice, sleek replacement on Craigslist for $30 and brought it home to coat it with a couple of layers of ORB.
Then, when my dad came to visit again, we finally got around to installing it! Yay!
Thanks Dad!
It's still a work in progress, but it's SUCH an improvement over what we started with! Currently I'm working on window treatments. And last year we finally switched out the old 70s retro dining room table with one I purchased on Craigslist and completely refinished!  I'm excited to take some good pictures of the room once I have the curtains up!  But until then, this is the most recent picture that I have of the room - from when I was taking a "before" shot with the old dining room table.

One room down! Only... the entire house to go!

UPDATE: Here is a new shot now that we have curtains, a rug,  and the new (at least to us!) dining room table and chairs in place.

It's never REALLY done... always a work in progress, right? :)
UPDATE x2: The orange wore on us after a few years and had to go. You can read about the redo here:


  1. I found your blog through a comment on Young House Love - LOVE this room! The arch is fantastic - it looks so classy! I am majorly impressed that you fixed all the drywall yourself, especially the patching.

    1. Thanks Colleen! We definitely had to have a crash course in just about everything when we did this room!

  2. Oh No! sorry to hear that you had to pay for something you went happy with with the archway. What exactly happened? Nice afterward, love how the curtains make the room seem taller :D

    1. Ugh. Long story short - he free-handed drawing the arch and it came out looking more like a slightly curvy triangle cut. And then he didn't use plywood to support the drywall of the arch, so when he screwed the drywall into the support pieces, it bowed the drywall, so when you were looking up at it from beneath it almost looked like an hourglass at each screw where the drywall bowed in and then back out until the next screw where it would bow in again. MAJOR disappointment - and major money hole. We learned our lesson though, and now we're definitely more apt to give stuff a try ourselves before hiring someone else to do it (or wait for my dad to come for a visit!!). :)