Dining Room…so damn close.

As you might remember, I have been trying to make over the dining room of our house as my first real project.  I dealt with the tortuous painting ordeal, basic furniture pieces, window treatments, even bought a rug.  But that still leaves me with blank walls and very little character.  And it turns out… I don’t know how to decorate a house.  I have never, as an adult, lived in one place long enough to really decorate it.  I made feeble attempts when I would first move in, but never made a real investment in what the hell my “style” might actually be.

I’ve spent the past three months trying to put the pieces together of what my ideal house might look like inside.  I’ve looked at a LOT of pictures.  Working for HGTV.com certainly helps, but I’ve also spent a lot of time on Apartment Therapy, Houzz, and a variety of housey-type blogs (these three are my faves).  Overall, I would say my abstract goal for this house is to keep things appropriate to the cottage style of the house, but keeping all of the lines clean and modern.  After the house purchase we’re not exactly rolling in cash, so this is going to be slow, gradual, thoughtful process.  I can’t just go and buy a houseful of furnishings right now, so it gives me plenty of time to over-analyze each purchase before it happens.

One feature I really love is indoor plants, and I’d like to have as many as possible.  Turns out the cat is not on board with this plan.  Within 5 minutes of setting a new plant down on the table, the cat has snuck up there to chew on the leaves.  I think this is gross cat behavior, and effin’ annoying.  Good thing my brain is bigger, because I outsmarted her with this birdcage/bird house thing I got on a clearance rack for $5.

I stuck a little english ivy plant in there, and evil kitty can’t touch it.  I think it’s cute.  I found a black plastic bowl at target for $1.50 that fits just right in there.  I can only hope that I don’t kill it myself.  Also notice that sweet Liberty of London canister on the table there?  It was also on the clearance rack, and the black and white flower print is incredibly sweet.

I’m very happy with the dining room progress so far, but I want so badly for it to be “finished” so I can move on to another room.  Right now, there’s only one thing that’s not right yet.  The wall to the right of the kitchen entrance is the perfect spot for a large mirror, and that’s the only thing in my mind right now that can fill the space.

So I found this large, oval, somewhat embellished mirror at a rummage sale for $5.  The back of it actually has a Thomasville Furniture stamp on it from 1967.  The frame was previously a yellowed off-white, with a little blue trim.  I thought it would look smart with the black chairs and light fixture if the mirror frame was painted black.  So I picked up another $3 sample can of Valspar paint in “New Black” and went to town on it.  I didn’t feel like sanding it, so I didn’t.  And the paint stuck fine.

The only problem was that the seam of the mirror surface and the frame looked wonky.  You could still see the original white paint reflecting a little bit from the back part that’s mounted to the mirror’s surface.  So it made for ugly spots around most of the edges.  A crafty little friend of mine suggested I get a tube of good ol’ fashioned puffy paint in black and do the inside edges.  And it did the trick!

The edges aren’t perfectly straight, but they’re good enough for me.  And for a total investment of about $9.50, I’m more than happy to hang this thing on the wall.  That’s the problem… “hang this thing on the wall”.

It had little loops on back sides, so I got some picture wire to string them together.  Easy enough there.  But when Danny went to put an anchor in the wall to hang it up, the old plaster wall just sort of crumbled where the anchor went in.  So the plastic anchor just kind of sat there, in a loose, crumbly hole, not looking like it would hold the screw, let alone the 22 pound mirror.  So we need to find a solution.  First logical step is to either borrow or buy a stud finder.  From there, we’ll see if we can find a spot where a screw will hold the damn thing in a somewhat-centered location on the wall.  There’s always something, and this is the one silly thing holding me up right now.  So there it sits, lonely on the floor, teasing me that three months later I’m still not finished with even one room of this house.

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5 thoughts on “Dining Room…so damn close.

  1. I’m really obsessed with sempervivum lately… I don’t know if your cat would eat them, but they are really hearty and have lots of really cool variations. I made a little combo in my hippo planter, and I’m really pleased with it. Might work better in your kitchen than the dining room, but they’re really fun to arrange because of all the variety in the “leaves.

  2. Ooo, yes I like those! And they’ve got to be pretty hard to kill too, right? They remind me a little bit of jade trees. We had a few of those back in NY, and just got a new one last weekend too.

  3. God I love that Liberty of London stuff… I got a cute bag for myself and really wish I could convince John that we should have precious flowery bedding and pillows and everything.
    The mirror looks great — hope you can solve your problem. For some reason I think we have like 2 or 3 stud finders in our tool box(es) and we never use them.
    Everything is looking really great and I am totally jeal!

  4. Rooms are meant to evolve….but I know what you mean, it is a great feeling to feel satisfied with a room. Love the mirror, I believe in mirrors. And plants.

    my number one house plant is called a Z Plant. I have a very dark living room, and I water around twice a month and they always looks as perfect as fake plants. Irecommend!

    Aloe has also done very well and thrived on neglect. I put it outside for a vacation and it shriveled up, oh well.

    Gorgeous house! I am so proud of you.

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