Friday, May 3, 2013

Dining room: Update

I've STRUGGLED with my dining room for years, in our last house and this. It's never quite made me go "Ahh..." when I walked in. I don't know why, but something about a room with so few opportunities for textiles had me confounded. I was okay with it, but I didn't love it. Here's where we stood last photo shoot, remember? The document frame was still empty (over the round basket on the wall) and I wasn't liking pink and blue being the only noticeable colors. The rug was falling apart...loosing pieces daily, which we were both tired of. So we decided this last Minnesota trip, our main purpose for swinging by Ikea was to bring back a rug. A real one that didn't cost $7 at Goodwill and barely fit the chairs when pushed in all the way. I'm still grateful for that rug though. It gave me a cheap test drive for natural fiber rugs in a kid-inhabited dining room. 

Then in February, we strung hearts up in the window that had been bare since we moved in. When the season was well over, I was hesitant to take them down. I liked having something in that window. So began the search for curtains. I bought a pair and found a cheaper one that I liked better, so I took the first ones back. This happened again, so pair #2 went back as well. I ended up with these dreamy ones from TJMaxx, at $19.99 for both panels. Oh, yeah. They satisfy my desire for ikat and don't inhibit the sunshine without being regular (a.k.a. boring) sheers.

This got me going, but it was slow going. I wanted an ikat runner too, but getting edgy fabric is  one of the trickiest jobs for the frugal decorator in a smaller town. It has to be special ordered with a minimum of a yard and there's often shipping fees. So I find myself at Target looking through shower curtains, tablecloths and any number of fabric items to find something I can hack apart and make into what I'm after. The bad news for my runner is my sewing machine is out-of-order and since it's an old in-the-table type, I haven't taken it in for repairs. So the hacking had to be kept to a minimum. That's when I met the equivalent of "magic hem" and ironed these Target place mats together. It's not a forever fix. I'll need to run them through a sewing machine before they can be washed.

So now I was looking at a vase of flowers in a beautiful room and thinking, "I wish I could have some flowers in my rooms." Which would be easy enough if my spry ten-year-old cat wouldn't always tip them over to drink the water. He's wonderful, but impossible to train. Long ago, he tipped our Christmas tree over. He is fearless. Anyway, Brian doesn't bring me flowers since they end up another mess to clean. Obviously, there are fake flowers. Ugh. I hate them. But I thought I should give them another chance and see if any could trick me into feeling like I have living flowers around me. Well, take a look at these. 

They even feel real. You pay through the nose for this kind of real-ness, at 16.99 a flower, but I waited until they were half price so the bouquet cost me about 35.00. Ouch! This was a serious splurge for me. I asked Brian, while holding the wire cutters to the first stem, "Do you think it's stupid for me to spend that on flowers?!" He said I make smart decisions, so I squeezed. No going back. It may be cheaper, after all, than buying fresh flowers over the years, right? And it turned out to be so worth it. Putting them on the table was like magic. In a vase I was considering getting rid of because I never used it, my dining room was beautiful and elicited at last, the "ahh..." that I like to come home to. All they need is that fake water and I my fake centerpiece will be complete!

I spray painted candlesticks from Target and printed the poem meant for the document frame. So here's the room one more time before...

And here it is all together. Well, not quite all together. The blue candles and pink bowls are no longer in the mix, but I think I'll actually serve in the bowls now that they're in my kitchen. I'd forget about them out here and when I'd go to use them, they'd be all dusty...

I'm not showing you the buffet because I haven't figured that out yet. At all. I'm just happy that if I sit on the left side of the table, I can have the "ahh..." feeling. Huge improvement. Here's the detail on the doctor's file cabinet that we keep our dishes in. After it was edited, I added a basket from elsewhere and a sweet little hobnail vase I found at Goodwill. 

In the document frame, I finally put this piece of a Navajo prayer where I'll pass by it many times a day. Here's what it says: 

May it be beautiful inside me.
May it be beautiful before me.
May it be beautiful behind me.
May it be beautiful below me.
May it be beautiful above me.
May it be beautiful all around me.
I am restored in beauty.  

The rest of my house is messy, so I think I'll spend my evening here. Hope you find a peaceful place where you're surrounded by beauty this evening. Soak it up. Be restored.