Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Dining Room

I've eaten in my dining room, maybe, three times since moving in over a month ago. I feel like I've been awkwardly avoiding the room, like an unappreciated but necessary roommate.

Until this weekend, the dining room has been basically used as a.) a passageway to the kitchen, b.) a storage place for my sewing equipment and c.) a last full-length mirror checkpoint before leaving the house.

I usually eat out in the fresh air or on the couch while "studying" (ie. watching Netflix), so I've been torn on how to use this space.

I was tempted to turn it into an office/library, but I figure every home needs a table. Every woman (or dude) with a sewing machine also needs a table. And, I can't expect my house guests to all be "couch eaters". (But, if you are... welcome!)

Besides, my younger sister had so generously donated to me an entire free dining set. So, dining room it is!
New addition to the blog: Unrequested cat photobombs with every pic!

I'm not gonna lie, and it's no family secret, that this set has seen better days. It was my brother-in-law's childhood eating place. It saw my sister through her newlywed years, motherhood, and even survived a most unusual fire. (Yes, fire! A strange freak accident involving sunlight and a perfectly/poorly-placed mirror.)

It's not something I'd pick out for myself at the store... but the best DIY projects usually aren't. It's sturdy, solid, and without the leaf, transforms into a perfectly compact round table that's just the right fit.

Now, what do I do with it?! Pinterest plus my imagination had a billion ideas and it took me forever to settle on just one.

First, I had planned to paint the top black, the legs white, and then do the chairs in a bolder hue that would compliment the Disney wall.

But, the white base ended up looking way too stark against my white walls.

Enter, Home Decor's Wood Tint product in walnut. I had bought this out of curiosity and figured I could use it as back up, since I wasn't really sure what I wanted out of this project. Good thing I did, because I ended up loving the results!

Wood Tint is designed to work right on top of chalk paint. This is a miracle product for lazies like me who are vehemently opposed to stripping and sanding before refinishing. Since, I didn't like the result of the white and black chalk paint combo, I simply brushed the Wood Tint right over top of the dried paint and the brush strokes gave it a pretty realistic look of stained wood grain.

I also painted a layer of it on top of the black table top to give more depth to the flat chalky look. Sealed with a clear coat, for protection, and voila! All on one work night. No sanding or stripping required!

My arsenal.

Now what about those chairs?!  It took me almost another week to finally decide on a color.

I wanted something that was fun, but not too juvenile. Something that matched the artwork, but didn't clash with the exposed living room's palette. I settled on either an apple or olive green. (Krylon's "Ivy Leaf" being the final winner.)

Although, I love the ease of chalk paint, I let Pinterest persuade me into thinking that chairs are easier sprayed than brushed.

Fume management 101: If it's a must, at least try to be cute about it.

I hate spray paint (if graffiti's not involved) but fell victim to viral peer pressure. I hate the smell. I hate the mess. And, I especially hate this:

The spray paint "tent".

Apparently, one of my neighbor agrees with me on this, because two chairs in, I received a note on my front door inquiring about the smell. I ended up having to finish the job at my parent's house. Chalk paint wouldn't have done this to me! 

Spray paint tips: 1.) Invest a few dollars in the nozzle. It made spraying so much easier
and I didn't end up with "spray paint fingers". 2.) Remove the cat. 3.) If you don't have a
well-ventilated workspace (or even if you think you do!) spray outdoors. Your neighbors
will thank you. 4.) Chair-painting goes alot smoother working from the legs up. "But paint drips
downward!" Trust me. I did two each way and the Pinterest bloggers are right!

I can still taste the fumes today. Slightly helping me out with neighborly relations is the cinnamon candle I've left endlessly burning right next to the shared wall.

But, in the end... Lookee here!

I really do love how it finally came together!

My favorite thing about this room: Still the Disney wall. But, also the other this 'n thats I found to go with it that make me nostalgic for childhood vacations. And, the chair color still has me swooning! (Or, it may just be the fumes.)

What this room will be used for: Hopefully, not just this.

What I'd still like to do with this space: I'm on the lookout for a long dresser or other such object I can pretend is a buffet, but will secretly be hiding all my sewing stuff. The little left-over dresser pictured below just ain't cuttin' it!

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