Dining Room Too

Hey everybody! We spent some time in lovely San Diego last week, where I said 1000 times “Ya, I could live here.” It’s going on my Ya I Could Live There List, joining San Luis Obispo (the place where I actually live and fully endorse) and Palm Springs (a questionable addition where 50% of me is positive I could live there and the other 50% is willing to roll the dice). I was born and raised in OC, not far from San Diego, so an exciting part was hitting up old shopping haunts. My lucky shop in Oceanside, where many a treasure have been scored, was not only still in business, but had just what I didn’t know I needed: a 100 pot stash of not perfect but decent white Gainey planters for very cheap. Though tempted, I didn’t come home with 100. Just a very restrained four. We somehow managed to tetris them into our already packed car without breaking them and now all I need is more plants. (This is the process of becoming a crazy plant lady when you don’t even really like plants but pottery is your favorite.)

So, fluffy dumb stuff first: my dining room! Since sharing my family room last time, I figured I should give a look at the other side of the coin, the dining room. They occupy the same space, separated by only a step and a railing. Only a few changes since the last time I shared: the pass-through has been framed, new artwork hung, and the buffet was swapped out for the bookshelf in the last great rearrange.

I’m gonna be honest, this room is a waste of space. We rarely, if ever, eat in here. I really want to change that because my kids are probably old enough to not cover every surface in food mess. And nothing irks me more than keeping things around (especially room sized things!) that you don’t use. But this room isn’t super functional for us. The furniture is tight and heavy, doing the opposite of making you want to linger around the table. While the large rectangular Heywood Wakefield table is one of my favorite pieces that I don’t want to ditch, I’m accepting the fact that it may not be a match for this particular dining room. A round table would work so much better. And while I’m heading down that road, I may as well request a more durable surface, possibly one that is white to lift the blandness currently going on. You see where this is going? A large tulip table. But how many tulips are too many? Do I then need to find a new coffee table? Because I don’t want to. And another concern: generic is never the right choice and I’m seeing tulip tables everywhere lately (or is it only on my dining room pin board, a sign that I love them enough to get one?).

And then there’s the walls themselves stumping me. That odd pass-through wall, which by the way goes to the desk in our kitchen – a very inconvenient point for food passing. Previous owners had a massive china cabinet covering the hole, definitely grounding the space more successfully than I have. But I refuse to lose the light it provides. The bookshelf, though an odd choice for a dining room, offers some welcome lightness and color. That wall is just hard. I still love the grasscloth wallpaper I hung after opting out of the 70’s green floral wallpaper that once graced the walls, but the whole room is suffering from monochromaticity.

In all of these complaints it’s unclear whether contentment or functionality is the right path to choose. Unless a tulip table knocks on my door, which I hope it does, I’m not planning any major changes in here for at least a while. The front yard is calling, and then a string of more pressing projects.

Dining Room To do:

  • Remove carpet
  • Swap out old light for Nelson saucer
  • Paint trim
  • Remove wallpaper
  • Paint ceilings and walls
  • Hang grasscloth wallpaper
  • Frame out pass through
  • Put some weird woodwork in the pass-through
  • Build room divider
  • Walnut curtain cornice boxes?
  • Finish wood floors
  • Baseboards!
  • Paint the pocket doors


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