RS: before & during: dining room

We did something reckless in order to create this dining room. We turned our three bedroom house into a two bedroom house.

With the help of my house-flipping aunt, we estimated that our target buyers, when we resell, will be younger folks like us. We guess that, if their family gets too big for two bedrooms, they’ll just sell and carry on, as we plan to do.

Here’s what the third bedroom dining room looked like when we first toured the house in December, 2011.

If you’re thinking dark and creepy and that old oriental rug must be breeding monster germs, that makes lots of us.

Old faux wood paneling covered the dining room walls. So we ripped it out.

And so began phase 1 in the dining room: get rid of old stuff.


We rolled away the carpet germs. (That’s our dog. And our friend. We have a friend.)


Ella was a Big Helper when she wasn’t peeing in the bedroom.

(Disclaimer: This was back in October — in the few days when there weren’t nails everywhere and she could hang out with us safely. She now spends Mom & Dad’s renovating times romping at my parents’ house with their two dogs.)


Under the paneling was more plaster.


Below, my brother is smashing a hole through the wall into the bathroom. He and some of his high school friends came over to smash things for us. It was pretty violent. We wore dust masks. We paid them in pizza. Good times were had by all.



Here’s what it looked like this winter, post-high school boys, without plaster, but with old windows and old wiring:


Here’s a picture taken from the center of the room, facing the old doorway, at the same phase of the project. You’re looking at the living room. And lots of Gatorade. And the original mint green color of the wall on that quaint rounded doorway. And an awesome fireplace.


And, this is, um . . .


Never mind.

Here, Josh rocks a dust mask — and is obviously super duper excited to begin PHASE TWO: new stuff.


The first phase of phase 2 was a new doorway.

We toyed with the idea of an almost totally open first-floor plan, and we did rip out one wall (I’ll show you that later). Ultimately we opted for the privacy and convenience of a separate room — giving eventual home owners the option of closing up the room again to use as a bedroom.

Wanting to preserve the open feel, visually expand the first floor, and maximize the natural light in our previously really dark house, we chose glass French doors.

Choosing a French door was a six hundred dollar decision (and we chose just about the cheapest option available — French doors are crazy expensive!), and it meant extra work (building the new frame, installing the door, staining the door). But we’re glad we went for it.

We roped our friends into this one too.


Josh says, “Yaaaaaay, friends.” Actually, probably he says, “It’s a good thing I can do most of the projects needed to finish this house or your ideas would be wicked expensive.”

I love you too.

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It makes me want to sing.


We’ve received the doors; they’re propped up on a wall in the living room and waiting for stain and a finished dining room to grace with their presence.

On the day we picked up the doors, Lowe’s surprised us by saying that our windows also had just arrived. The windows were a wonderful surprise — coming in at about $1,000 less than we expected.

I like those kinds of surprises.

It hurt a little to remove the old wooden frames, but we’ve decided to do something pretty with them, or at least pawn them off on an enthusiastic photographer friend looking for props.

Feast your eyes: windows that actually prevent cold air from seeping into our house AND new wiring so our house won’t blow up.


The outlet is placed at the side of the window because our pastor/friend was thoughtful enough to ask if I’ll someday put candles in the windows. (The plus side to outlets on the sides of windows rather than directly below is that you can more easily hide the wire in other Christmas decorations.) Yes, I think I will.

It makes me warm and fuzzy and hopeful inside to think of Christmas in our home. I love Christmas with a borderline freakish passion. Our first Christmas tree was an evergreen twig that had broken off someone else’s tree . . . which I found in a parking lot and put in a vase on our coffee table in our apartment. Our second Christmas tree was my parents’ Christmas tree. This Christmas tree will be our first Christmas tree.

And this is actually happening. We are making progress.





One thought on “RS: before & during: dining room

  1. Pingback: RS: before & during: bathroom | la corbeille

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