Hello and happy pretend winter! It's so wonderful I'm almost afraid to talk about it in case it isn't real--but its been spring-like so far this winter. I believe in magic and unicorns now. This totally reminds me of the ultra-mild New Orleans winters and it's blissing me out. I know it probably means the world is ending but is it bad if I still like it?
On with the show...If you're a reader of this blog then you probably know that I love entertaining. I love planning the menu, I love a thematic cocktail, I love cooking and all kitchen doo-dads and accessories, I love setting the table and dishes and linens and silverware and glasses and mixing and matching all the goodies involved. So when we moved to our new house in September in the Hudson Valley, the very first room I focused on--of my absolutely epic To-Do list for allll my Re-Do projects--was the dining room. I think most people would probably start with a bedroom or a living room and that would make much more sense. But subconsciously I think I felt that if I could have a dinner party--just knowing it was a possibility however unfinished the house was--it would start to feel like a home for me.
I think I've also mentioned that we were doing this on a Budget Among Budgets. As in, the ideal price was $0. And while I did score a bunch of free stuff on Craigslist and other sources (which you'll be seeing soon), this set was not quite free. But it was close! We got the 8-foot table (including the leaf), a buffet and 6 chairs for $100. We had to drive to the Poconos but let's just label that an adventure and call it a day. One does what one must :)
Hideous. It's not completely clear from the picture but unlike the table top (because why would you ever want to match the table top to the bottom of the table?), the legs are a light yellow/cream with green edging. (Those are the terrifying chairs in the background, btw.)
And the buffet. All I knew was it had potential, and it was within our budget. The only two things I could afford to care about!
Holes refilled, both pieces completely sanded, both pieces painted 2-3 coats and both pieces polyurethaned (3 coats), hardware replaced, and many days later--our new dining room.
Both pieces were painted in Benjamin Moore's "Soot." I have to admit, I wasn't expecting the navy aspects of this color. Though I love it--I did expect more of an off-black or charcoal color. I love the calm, moodiness of it. Especially with the light art on the walls and the colorful glassware popping off the darker surface...
Strangely enough (or perhaps not), the look I have been into is what I'm calling "Victorian Gothic Natural History Museum Vintage Glam." Ahem :) I know, I know, it's a little on the nose...but you can't be anywhere other than where you're at! And here's where I'm at!
Most everything you see was thrifted, or found at an estate sale. Terrarium made by me (whole post to come on those later)...
...vintage juice glasses (which we use for wine) given to me by my parents, cocktail glasses found at a thrift store...
...and a mix of wedding gifts and thrift store finds.
I started to paint the chairs from the set the same color and reupholster them but not only were they incredibly hard to cover, I could't find any fabric that I liked that was affordable. I still have an idea of what I'd like and one day might get back around to doing them, but for now, we have 4 different mismatched wooden chairs which I quite like, and two incredible cast iron chairs scored for free from a movie set!
I love these guys. I'd love them if I paid for them! I love them at either end of the dining table but they'll probably one day be replaced by some high back upholstered chairs. Either way they'll always be somewhere in my house.
The lantern (below) is a work in progress as well. I saw a fancy, high-end version on Apartment Therapy and have been slooowly aquiring vintage crocheted doilies to make my version. I deeply, deeply hate track lighting so my plan is to distract your eye away from it somehow (and maybe one day replace it). I'm thinking this lantern isn't quite right for this space but it'll probably work somewhere else in the house once I'm done...
The "bar" as it were is a shelf that we found on the sidewalk in Brooklyn and painted, then added some hardware to hold glasses upside down (what are those called??). The fur box holds table linens. I'm on the lookout for something fun to go on top of it...any ideas welcome!
And the centerpiece(s)...
...are constantly evolving and changing but for now its thrifted lace pieces, thrifted mixed glass candlesticks, an amethyst cluster, lotus root flowers in a vintage ball jar, and antlers. The beautiful silver branch candlesticks were a wedding gift--one of my very favorites...
I'd love to one day get a rug for underneath the table but until then--we've had numerous dinners with friends here and it all works beautifully. It gives me such a crazy-good feeling because we re-used and recycled and worked within our limitations, we saved a bunch of money and though it was hard work--multiple coats of both paint and polyurethane isn't as easy as I had hoped!--I absolutely love that feeling of looking at something and knowing I did it, I'm the only one who will have it just like this, and it's personalized in a way nothing mass-produced from a store could ever be.
That said I am so sick of painting/gluing/stapling things the thought makes me want to start crying.
Coming up: a successful re-upholstery project! (...Of which there sadly weren't many...live and learn!) Also: pickling! And art!