Before and After

by Janie Jones

Hello blog friends!  I have been meaning to write this post for a few days now, but various things kept getting in the way.  Anyway, this is now the part where I bombard you all with dodgy photos of my dining room re-do.

This is what it looked like the day I bought my house:

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Can you spot the Rupert?

That, my friends is emerald green carpet.  A lot of emerald green carpet.  All over the main floor of the house and stairs.  In its heyday it was probably a fairly nice medium to long pile.  It has seen, I’m pretty sure, at least 30 years of wear and was now matted down to the point of being nearly a Berber.  You could also tell where previous owners had furniture placed by the different fade marks.

You can’t much tell in the photo, but the baseboards and crown molding (original by the way) were smudged in more than one spot by previous ineptly executed paint jobs.  Furthermore, along the crown molding different color stains were used for different parts of the molding.

So very stylish indeed.  I am not even going to comment on the ugly drapes on the window which don’t match the ugly drapes on the patio door in the adjacent wall.

I borrowed some young burly-man might (two 20 something college guys of my acquaintance), filled a cooler with bottles of craft beer and had a carpet-tearing-up party.

Then my dining room looked like this:

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Yes my friends.  That is original 1 inch maple floor boards some yahoo had splattered white paint all over when the ceiling was glitter popcorned probably circa 1970, give or take decade.  Now, I’m no home reno expert.  Probably when I leave this house the next people will curse my decorating and remodeling choices.  But, I never understand why someone would do this to a beautiful hardwood floor.  Stain it, paint it or cover it, but don’t totally deface it.

Anyway.  Better this than nasty carpet.  This can be fixed.  And finally, last fall, it was transformed in to the beautiful butterfly it was waiting to be:

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As you can see, I actually had all the first floor floors done at the same time (except for the kitchen, which will be a much later project).  Aren’t they beautiful?

Except the massively annoying contractor who did the floors did not stain it the color I told him I wanted.  I gave him a half empty stain can of the same stain used upstairs that I wanted him to match so he had no excuse.  And he put up toe kicks in a totally different color stain from what he used on the floor (also not the color I wanted).

I would have made him re-do it all, but when I hired him at the end of September, I told him I wanted the job done by Thanksgiving so I could bring in furniture and decorate for the holidays.  He finished at 6pm on the day before Thanksgiving.  So, if I wanted it redone I would have had to either skip having a functional living room and dining room for the holidays or pack everything back up after the first of the year and deal with another round of dust and fumes and not being able to get to my kitchen or bathroom.  I could fill a month’s worth of blog posts complaining about contractors, let me tell you.

BUT.  I am trying to put that behind me.  Despite them not doing what I really wanted, the floors still look about a million times better than they did when they had that hideous old green carpet on them.  So, I am satisfied, if not tickled pink.

The dining room then sat basically empty except for a new rug and a card table with a mismatch of chairs.  I wanted to repaint the walls.  And after a long back and forth with myself, I also decided to just paint the baseboards and crown molding instead of trying to sand it down (to get rid of the old paint sploches) and re-stain it all to a matching color.  There are probably a lot of fixer-uppers out their rolling over in their graves when I say I painted 100 year old wood white.  I really felt bad doing it myself.  I normally think that is a sacrilege.  But it makes the room look so much lighter, brighter, cleaner and bigger.  So, as much as I felt naughty doing it, I really like the result.

The walls got a creamy not-quite-white-with-the-barest-hint-of-yellow paint.  Which again, I think is bright, light, clean and welcoming.  I really wanted a rich mossy color velvet drape, but I simply couldn’t find anything in my price range, so I settled on a pale grey.  Turns out, the pale grey looks more like aquamarine when it is dark.  So I almost sent them back.  But, in the end, they were such a good price, and I probably wouldn’t even be able to make drapes from raw fabric for less money, so they stayed.

Once the all the painting was done, I went to work on building china cabinets (which despite being very low budget I think they look pretty good) and refinishing my new budget bargain dining room table and chairs.

The table originally looked like this:

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Unfortunately, you get what you pay for.  It’s not very well made, but as anything I liked was at least $300 more and out of my budget, I decided to try a little cosmetic upgrade.  I didn’t want a white table base, and the country-esque look isn’t my style.  So off to the hardware store I went and for about $35 I did a faux mercury glass finish on the base and re-stained the table surface.

I used a new stain/poly product I’ve never worked with before, and I am not totally thrilled with the end result on the table surface.  It went on really gloopy and was thicker and stickier than other separate stains and polyurethanes I’ve used on projects in the past.  So, when it dried there was a lot of inconsistencies in the color finish and in the texture.  I don’t know if that is a product flaw or operator error due to inexperience.  But perhaps when the weather is nice I can take it outside and hit it with a super fine grit sandpaper and try again.  However, the faux mercury glass finish on the base really pleased me.  It’s delicate, so it may not hold up over time, but hopefully I won’t need to use this cheap-ass table for too may years anyway.

This is the end result:

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The final phase of the project was putting together the new chairs.  I have always wanted upholstered dining room chairs, but they were either out of my budget or totally impractical (as in when my daughter was young).  I found a really good deal I could get coupled with coupons on some grey velvet upholstered chairs.  The legs were wood and painted a really strange metallic color, but hey, I had extra stain, so I just lickity-split sanded and re-stained them to match the surface of the table.

Now, I have put together a lot of bargain basement furniture over the years of stretching every nickel to make a dime.  But I tell you, these chairs were a real bitch to put together.  The problem being you had to screw in the back piece to the base at a strange angle and you couldn’t see if the holes were lining up and the stupid Allen wrench was hard to turn in the tiny corner you were working in.  Gah.  Leif came upon me struggling to get them put together.  I was supposed to have him over for dinner and I really wanted to eat in my new dining room at my new table with the new chairs.  So he lent his hand.  It even took him an hour to screw in 24 bolts to put three chairs together.

But lo and behold.  It was finally all done:

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And, look at that!  The chair fabric is almost the same color as the drapes I thought about sending back!

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Hello Rupert.

 

I do still plan to do a few more things.  But I am out of money.  I absolutely hate the ceiling fan.  So eventually I want to get a new one.  Also, I want to put faux tin tiles on the ceiling to hide the glittery popcorn treatment.  And, I have extra drapes to transform into valances, which I will do at some point, but I still don’t have my sewing table put together so that last finishing touch can sit on the back burner.

Still, the room looks done and now I feel so very elegant.  Even with my cheap, low quality furniture.  I can sit in my living room and look across the way and think, “Gosh, when did I get so posh!”

Now I just have to keep up with vacuuming all the dog hair off the upholstery.

Thanks for visiting!

4 Comments to “Before and After”

  1. Wow, wow and wow!!!! You have done an absolutely amazing job!! I’m really impressed. The floor is amazing! And I really like the chairs. It all looks really homely – warm and inviting!

  2. Thanks so much! I am looking to delve into wallpapering and painting the living room next month, so I’m sure there’ll be more posts in the near future with me whinging and carrying on about that. 🙂

    Hope your house hunt is going well.

  3. Wait! Who are you? BECAUSE I THINK I LOVE YOU. We have a mutual friend and although I’ve seen your comments over there, I haven’t followed the link to this blog before.

    That table is amazing. Bold move and killer results. I must say I like a DIY-er with a lot of nerve.

    • Hello Suzette!

      I think I might have dropped by your place a long time ago, but I’ve sort of fallen off the regular blog following wagon this past few years. Life has been very, let’s say, distracting. Any way, thanks so much for dropping by and for your kind words about my table re-do. The more I look at the faux finish on the base with the dark top the more I like it.

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