Plans change fast around here.


I told you what I was planning on doing in my dining room, about a month ago, at great length. Had I had the money and time to jump right in on the renovating right then and there, I probably would have done it. It would have been nice. I would have been happy enough with it.


But then I got to working on the credenza, and realized how much I loved the pink against the green, the contrast of warm on (slightly) cool. I realized the green/teal combo of the previous design was safe and would probably work well, but it wasn’t what I truly wanted. I realized that my walls were lacking in color, and that I would probably be happier with a richer, more colorful, different palette. And so I set to thinking about what colors would still work in there, between the kitchen and living room, while bringing in an element of the unexpected.

I decided a lot of the problem was stemming from the fact that everything on the walls (at least looking from the living room) was a bit monochromatic. Let’s look at the old photo my mom took again:


That picture on the wall above the buffet is our wedding guestbook, a framed big version of our save-the-date with a thick mat signed by our guests. I love it, but it wasn’t doing that space any favors, so I moved it. (Eventually it will take up residence in the opposite corner; I’ve just been a bit lazy about actually hanging it for the moment.)

Sometimes, when I get stuck on a color palette, I browse Flickr/Pinterest/Google Images until I find a picture that speaks to me. I came across this bird through a Google Images search, on a desktop wallpaper site (sadly, with no photographer credit—if it’s your photo, please tell me!):


The palette was everything I was looking for—plenty of olive green (like my walls), but made more exciting with the additions of hot pink, red, teal, and butter yellow, in various amounts. I decided to base my new room design around this little bird, starting with some artwork. Our budget is too limited to afford large paintings right now, and I really wanted something on canvas rather than a print (to add some much-needed texture to that corner), so I measured the space, built and stretched a canvas, and got to work myself. (I didn’t take pictures of the canvas-building process because I didn’t know if anyone would be interested. If anybody out there wants a tutorial, let me know and I’ll put one together!)

I sampled out the colors I wanted in Photoshop and played with them, using some oil PS brushes by Kyle Webster, until I liked the composition. (This is usually my process with abstract painting—I hammer out the very basic composition in Photoshop before putting brush to canvas. Some people might find it restrictive, I think it’s much less frustrating. Since I typically paint with oils, the drying time is L-O-N-G if I decide to scrap it and paint over.) Once I had a decent idea of what I more-or-less wanted to do, I primed my canvas, mixed some colors, put on some old episodes of The I.T. Crowd, and started laying down color. I did most of the painting in one sitting, tweaking it a bit with fresh eyes the next day, then let it dry for a long time. Once it was dry, I framed it with simple lattice strips cut to length and attached with brass finishing nails. I didn’t stain the wood, because I wanted it to tie into the natural color of the linen curtains…and another project, which we’ll talk about in a little bit.



It fit the space perfectly, and I think it was just what this corner needed to brighten things up and bring some color to the room. Of course, that necessitated some significant revisions to my first plan…


The rug I’d originally planned to replicate in floor cloth form, while still beautiful, just wasn’t what was needed here. What was needed was more pink. That is a very strange sentence for me to type—I’ve never been a fan of pink at all, avoiding it both in my house and in my wardrobe, but here it just felt right. That rug pictured above is from RugsUSA and is both gorgeous and (while on sale) affordable; however, the reviews seem to agree that it looks much more purple than pink in person. That isn’t going to work for me. Fortunately, I had already planned on doing the floor cloth route with the peacock rug, so this isn’t really much of a change of plans. I’ll do a full tutorial post once the floorcloth is finished; right now I’m in the middle of cutting 50 Swiss crosses out of freezer paper, because I am a perfectionist and the idea of having not-quite-crisp edges on this thing drives me insane.

Oh, and while I was switching things around, I reupholstered the dining room chairs again. I think this is the 4th time since I’ve owned them. Oh well, it’s easy! Ideally in future, we’d like to still get those white Eames-style shells, but that’s something we’re going to have to save for. In the meantime, I said goodbye to the chevrons (I’m kind of over them) and hel-lo to some plush teal velvet.



It’s so comfy and luxurious to sit on, and it ties in to the colors in the painting so well. I had it sitting around from a project I did years ago, so it didn’t even cost me anything, except about 2 hours of time. The same velvet makes a small appearance in the living room—we’ll talk about that another day. Oh, and what’s that fun new thing to the left of the chair?


NBD, just a vintage bamboo bar cart I scored at Goodwill for $9.99. I can’t decide if I want to paint it—and if so, what color—so if you have any thoughts, pass ’em along. The original plan was to definitely paint, but it may be growing on me. (Also, please don’t judge our large and cluttered amount of booze. We’re having a party in a couple weeks and I think a lot of that will go away!) I’m going to get some glass cut for the bottoms of the trays, so everything sits stable—right now it tends to rock a little. But it’s really in great shape, and I was thrilled by the find.


Another view of how things stand currently (please kindly ignore the vacuum I forgot to move). When we get the Sputnik in, you’ll be able to see it glittering from the street. Currently, from the street, you see my obnoxious, crookedly-hanging three-light chandelier, but its time is coming…


It’s gonna be good, guys. Trust me. It’s coming together.