Tuesday, October 6, 2015

A Retrospective 5.The Dining Room, 2007 to (early) 2015

To celebrate my blog's eighth anniversary, we're taking a tour through time and looking at the changes I've made to our house over the years. This is the fifth in the series. The last areas to be featured were the Bedrooms, 2007-2014. If you'd like to start at the beginning, go here: The Front and Back Yards, 2007-2014. You can also catch all the retrospective posts under the Prairie Home Tour tab.

This room has been known by many names. The Office. The Scraproom (or, as it is labeled here on the blog, my "creative space.") Recently, I took to calling it "the study." But that just felt pretentious--especially as I decluttered 80 per cent of the books out of here earlier this year!

So. Let's call it the dining room--which it is about three times a year.

The rest of the year it is my sanctuary, my haven.

It wasn't always that way! In fact, it started out quite the opposite.

These posts are quite long, so click through to read through, thanks!

First, the floor plan. The dining room is situated at the front of the house, just in front of the kitchen and across from the living room. (North is at the top.)

Shortly after moving in, in 1997, I sponge painted the walls orange, and painted the trim shrimpy peach. I put a bear skin my husband had on the wall. I thought I had pictures, but sadly, I don't. Then, sometime later, I took the bear down and painted the room red. It looked great until we got furniture.


Back during the Fall Cure of 2007,  Chris and I transformed this room from a loud, hot red mess, to a quieter, softer (though still stuffed) version.

Here is where we started.

The door to the left leads to the hallway, the doorway on the right to the kitchen. We were homeschooling at the time. All those binders held their stuff.

This is the desk wall. I wish I had a better picture for you. I wrote up a mini-retrospective of just this little wall, recently. I sat and planned school, my week, and dinners, I paid bills, read, wrote and looked at this wall for many years.

It was the utter mess of this wall which prompted the makeover.

Ever since we got this cabinet (it belonged to the mother of my mother's third ex-husband) it has sat right here. Those are boxes of photographs up there.

And here is where we ended up.

I loved this room for a long time, just as it was. In fact, it really didn't change that much over the years.


I did the Spring Cure this year--but I focused mainly on my basement. It seems I did take some time to look after the horrible cord situation.


I joined the Fall Cure: but didn't make much headway in the dining room. I'd painted the living room that summer and it seems it just took a long time for everything to settle down.

I remember buying that number scale at a homeschooling conference. It was really neat when the woman demonstrated it for us--but the kids lost interest in it the minute we brought it home.

Just look at that heap of papers! It's been a long time since I've had one that big to go through!

This is a perfect example of curtains too small for the window. I should have bought four panels instead of two. In fact, I did--but I returned the second set because they were from a different dye lot and looked slightly different. There's our old frenemy perfectionism showing up and ruining the party, again.

And so to the breakfront.

And so that was 2009 in all its embarrassing realness.


As I said, the room stayed essentially the same for many years. But it could expand itself into a scraproom, like so:

First, the table:
(This is all cleaned up and tidied, of course)

That rolling cart held 12x12 paper in large hanging file folders. It was a great find at Staples.

For individual pages, I cut everything with an Exacto knife and a ruler. A paper cutter took up too much room!

My supplies were kept in the Expedit behind me.

I did all my journaling on the computer at the desk.

And surprise! Here I am in action, later that year. This was back in the day when I didn't wear make-up and had long, hippie hair (clipped back to keep it out of my face, of course).


I posted a tongue-in-cheek room tour in March. Then, I spent the rest of the year making small but significant changes to make it better. These pictures are from the "new and improved" version of the dining room in November.

I never thought to photograph it before this year, but this is the pine multi-paned glass door leading into the dining room from the hallway.

To the left, the tall bookcase. My daughter is now in public school. (I'm still homeschoolingmy son, though). That's where she created that picture.

Take a good look at the white side supports for this desk. They will be gone, soon. But there's a story.

I just about have this right.

I lengthened those curtains with sheets from Zellers (RIP).

I absolutely love the vignette on top of the breakfront.


Here's a treat: the table set for one of its three meals a year--in this case, Easter. And my daughter who was twelve at the time did a fabulous job.

(I had nothing to do with it.)


The Nester challenged her readers to remove all their accessories and live with their house "nekkid" as it were, for a while.

I took the challenge (even though I didn't think I had that much stuff) and it was wonderful. I believe that experience sparked a lot of the changes I've made to the house since then.

This is what the dining room looked like:


These white drawer units are Alex, from Ikea. My mother bought them for me for Christmas. I resisted assembling them for a long time.

I was terribly attached to the previous units. I'd made them--well, not just me, my housemates, unasked, also helped me--and they were so, so precious because of that. They were my own design. And they held exactly what I needed. I even had a file drawer--which Ikea wasn't offering at the time (though they do now).

But, I'd made a comment to my mother that I was sick and tired of living with "dorm furniture" and that I wanted my house to "grow up." So, she bought me these.

Even though it took me a while--the minute I put these up and in place, I was in love! The sleek lines. The effortless drawers! (I'd been using the same mac-tac covered carboard boxes for twenty years.) Turns out I didn't need as much room for files as I'd thought. And I had more space than I needed! The old units retired to the basement.

Early 2015

Starting in April, this room changed utterly. Ironically, I'd decluttered during the early months of the year and made this quite a pleasant place to be. In fact, I think the old girl was at her absolute best. So, for the record, let's go 'round one last time:

This only lasted a few weeks. Nobody's being home schooled anymore.

I never did get both of those lights to work at the same time for long.
I love this.

Finally got the top of it figured out!

The breakfront is a little full!

And so, there it is.

Hope you enjoyed that! 

No comments :

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...