Things are looking up in the dining room

While standing in the cashier line at the home improvement store earlier this month, I found myself behind two guys wearing tool belts who looked like they knew what they were doing.

I was standing there in high heels holding yet another gallon of paint I probably should have purchased the first time I was there. I didn’t know what I was doing, but these two sounded like they spent their days measuring twice and cutting once rather than the other way around.

“Thank God I talked her out of the crown molding,” said one guy who seemed to be referring to his wife.

“Yeah, crown molding is a pain in the butt,” agreed the other guy (only he didn’t say “butt”).

I just shifted my weight from side to side. “Hmm, we’re putting up crown molding,” I thought silently. “Huh. That guy’s wife lost the battle. Too bad.”

It never dawned on my that crown molding isn’t exactly a DIY project anyone can accomplish.

Top of the column after painting but before crown molding.

Over the course of a several more visits to the home improvement store, I learned a lot more about crown molding. It’s a flat board, not a triangular chunk of wood. Installing crown molding requires more than a little geometry. And you tend to need more of it than you think.

But thanks to my dad, I got the crown molding I wanted, and it brings sophistication and class to the plain old columns separating my dining room and living room. Originally, they were painted a reddish purple, but we chose to paint them in Raindrop to match one of the walls in the dining room; the very faint aqua color looks more like marble and the crown molding lends a Greek air to the columns. Here’s the after shot:

The column featuring Dad's crown molding.

Crown molding brings the eye up, and our nine-foot ceilings weren’t emphasized enough in the old decor.

The dining room before.

Why not highlight all that space up there? Besides dressing up the columns, we chose 95-inch curtains instead of the standard 84-inch type, and we hung them outside and above the windows so they frame the windows rather than cover them and cover the outside woodwork. We found fancy finials that echoed the detailing on our dining room table and buffet, and instead of expensive valances, we added a stunning (but much less expensive) wrought iron wall hanging above the rod.

The dining room after.

Check out that Pumpernickel wall color! We dumped the lampshade light fixture for a more suitable, elegant option, too.

While Dad’s muttering while he worked on the crown molding taught me how challenging crown molding can be, it didn’t come close to being as tough as ordering area rugs online and returning them.

Our old rugs on the hardwood were way too red to fit in our new decor. My Beloved orders everything online and though I hesitated, I went along with some rugs described as “tan, ivory and blue.” When they arrived, we discovered they were brown, tan and red, with a smidge of blue. Not at all what I wanted, even when Tyler managed to get the online retailer to offer a discount. After much wrangling (7-by-9-foot area rugs don’t just go back in the box), we returned the wrong-color rugs. We ended up paying $35 in shipping to return them, and we’re still awaiting the arrival of the promised refund in our checking account. Despite all that, we ordered more rugs online — this time from Home Depot, so we could return them there if necessary.

Front entryway conversation area: After.

We’re still waiting on the largest rug for under the dining room table, but the second rug design sets just the right blue tone under the conversation area at the front door.

Makes me want to sit down and enjoy a cup of tea. Ahh.

Tomorrow: A clever repurposing of old things in the living room.

7 responses to “Things are looking up in the dining room

  1. LOVE it! Can’t wait to see more! 🙂

  2. I just love what you’ve done with the place. Did you guys get the crown moulding where it’s got the design on both sides so that you don’t have to think of it upside down and backwards? I saw it on HGTV and thought HUH! Why didn’t I think of that??

    I think my favorite parts (aside from the columns) are the 94″ drapes (love the design) and the color you picked for the stairwell.

    The pumpernickle brown looks gorgeous with your blue accents! I don’t know if I would be brave enough to do that because I would have to consider re-painting because the blue + brown look might be trendy and the dark color may not re-sell well. On the other hand, though, I LOVE brown and blue and should enjoy the house I live in 🙂 So good for you for going after what you want.

    Thanks for sharing your remodeling projects with us.

  3. You were wise to have your Dad use his many wood working skills do the crown molding. That is a hard thing to do!

    Looks great, all of it!

  4. The crown molding did have to be thought of upside down and backwards and Minnesota Transplant’s dad says he did a lot more than just mutter when he was doing it. It does look great though.

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