The Journey of our Dining Room

Our dining room started life as play room when we moved into our home 20 years ago. The bones of the room were excellent as the house was a new build, so had perfect walls and a solid junkers oak floor. The room was painted a warm yellow (yellow was really big at the time) and was complimented with beautiful navy curtains with colour splashes of orange and yellow. The room was filled with the usual array of children’s toys.

The drama of the Half Door?

This room is adjacent to the kithcen, sitting room and sun room. My thinking at the time, was to have a room where the kids could play close to the kitchen and the sitting room (our sunroom was added later). I even had a half door installed between the dining room and kitchen so I could keep the bottom part shut, ensuring the kids could not come in the kitchen when I was cooking!!  What was I thinking! Best laid plans don’t always work out! It wasn’t long before they caught their fingers  between the top and bottom doors so ultimately, we had to bolt both doors together. (What a waste of a beautiful door feature).

Eventually the play room became a Dining Room

Anyhow I digress, some years later, the room was turned into a dining room and furnished with a dark brown metal and glass dining table, brown leather chairs and a matching shelf unit. I was definitely going for a monochromatic colour scheme at the time. All the walls were painted cream which served as a backdrop to gallery walls featuring family photos in dark frames.

Recycling existing furniture and furnishings

It’s funny how you accumulate things over time and how things can be moved from one room to another.   Last year, we added an island to the kitchen, so there was no longer room for both the island and the kiitchen table

Here’s what happened next

We swapped out the metal glass table for our elm kitchen table and chairs, (my pride and joy) which were handmade by the wonderful Bevel Furniture company from Fethard on Sea in Wexford. I love the design and warmth of the wood and the modern ‘sally chair’. The wood has obviously matured over time (a bit like myself) and the veins of black compliment the darker elements in the room like the metal in display unit, the dark colour of the picture and art frames and lamp shades.  Originally, I just had the table on the oak floor, but did not like wood on wood, so used an older neutral coloured rug from the sitting room to break up the woods as well as adding some texture to the room. 

Current Decor

The feature wall is papered with a textured type metallic brick wallpaper. The walls are painted Dulux Wheatgrass and flow well with the adjacent rooms which are all painted in the same colour.

The colour palette is quite neutral but works well with the warm wood tones of the table, chairs, floor and metal finish of the shelving unit. The next thing to do was to accessorise the room. An interior shop in Waterford was closing down and I managed to pick up some beautiful ceramic artwork.  These pieces have thick dark wooden frames but the ceramics pieces are beautifully glazed in a warm olive green with gold metallic tones. I added some family photos together with a metalic mirror I had in my daughter’s bedroom.

Further accessories included some large green vases with foliage and have kept the shelving unit simple with dark brown wooden, glass and crystal bowls .

I believe I have created a nice natural feeling enviroment with the mixture of woods, metallic finishes and warm green accent colour.

My hope is that this blog highlights that when designing a space, its very important to get the basics right.  You need to take into consideraton the size of the room and the key traffic areas. I think you will agree, there is plenty of space to walk around the table and to pull the chairs out for sitting. The table and chairs themselves are the focal point of the room and function well in the space.

Investing in good flooring has stood the test of time. You can see, the oak flooring is 20 years ago and still looks great.  Moving the table and chairs from the kitchen gave the space a new look. Using green as a accent colour in the artwork and flower vases adds further warmth the room and the dark wood of the artwork and metal shelf compliment the black vein in the table.

Mid-Century Modern Style

Mid-Century Modern Style originated in America in the mid-1930s’ and was very popular to the mid-1960s’   The style originated from earlier styles such as Bauhaus which began in Germany.  After World War II, many Bauhaus architects and designers migrated to America and brought their modern design thinking with them.

Mid-century modern style  is defined by simple forms, clean lines, organic curves, and high functionalit. Rich colours are used together with a mix of different materials and shapes. The style is very versatile and playful. and icentres on open plan and high functionality.

Colour Palette

.The colour palette is generally natural and warm, ranging from bright hues to earthy colours. he style works with many different shades. It is characterized for its use of colours like olive green, mustard, orange, yellow, teal, red or softer shades such as light pink or light blue. 

Source – Curatedinterior.com

Mid-century Modern Designers incorporated relatively new materials like metal, glass, vinyl, and plywood, and balanced these with different natural wooden tones to create novel exciting combinations.

Furniture

The Furniture of these era was characterized by its’ practical design and beautiful craftsmanship. The technological advances of that time led to the production and development of a range of new materials, making it possible for designers to explore and make new sculptural pieces. Consequently, furniture was seen as a piece of art and became a focal point in a room.

Furniture was natural and generally finished in natural dark shades of timber like walnut usually with rounded shapes. Charles and Ray Eame’s Lounge chair and Eileen Gray’s Transat and Bibendum Chair are perfect example of furniture of this time all of which are still produced today.

Accessories

Accessories found in this era consisted of ‘Handmade’ and organic shapes. Ceramics played a big part and varied in size ranging from small and squatty pieces to tall pieces with long necks. Finishes were speckled, earthy and volcanic glass were used.

 Rugs, cushions, and textiles mixed with different solid colors and geometric patterns and ‘kitchy’ and playful designs were used.  This rich mix of textures is one of the fundamental characteristics of this style. Shapes varied in size Designs were ‘Kitchy’ and playful, and also included geometric patterns and design

Plants/Nature

Plants played a big role in Mid-century modern style, plants can be displayed in interesting planters to add character and movement to the space.

Pictures of plants

Lighting

Lighting is bold and creative.  Lighting tends to be hanging fixtures with an artistic purpose. Using multiple lamps is also a good idea, so combine different lighting layers through floor, table, and hanging lamps.

ART

Artwork variedfrom abstract paintings to geometrical sculptures Art from the mid-century modern period was unlike anything people has seen before because of its simplicity,the striking colours and material used.

From my research I realise that the mid-century modern look is still very current today. Reproductions of the vintage min-century designs is very popular today because of its clean lines and timeless look.  These pieces are still fresh and still feel modern and sit well  in a contemporary home or interior.  

Kitchen Renovation – Part 1, 2 & 3

Part 1 – Original Kitchen before Renovation

We are in our house 20 years. Our house was a new build at the time. We moved from a 2 up 2 down terraced house in London to a.4 bed detached house in Tramore, Co. Waterford with everything new and in vogue at that time.

Our kitchen was pine with a green stove, black worktops complimented with cream tiles with a small green fruit detail.  I could not have been happier. I had been pining for a pine kitchen for a long time – (do you get it!). One disadvantage of our kitchen is that it is north facing, so it can be dark on a dull day .

Part 2 – Kitchen Respray and Refurbishment

15 years later, we had the kitchen refurbished. It was spray painted in cream, (mid filament by Dulux). Prodec Coatings a company based in Dungarvan did the refurb.. They were super, we told them the colour paint we wanted, they had it mixed in a special paint they used to spray the doors. and we arranged a date for the painting.

Preparation of the job was very simple. We removed everything from the counter tops and removed the table from the kitchen. Everything else, the painters took care of. They covered everything in all the cupboards and then sprayed the frames, inside the cupboards and doors. They did an excellent job, the finish was superb. Even the plate rack and receding wall within the display unit were excellent. All was completed in the day. The only negative was the smell of chemical mixed paint necessary for the spray paint job, which soon went away. I would certainly recommend having a kitchen or large wooden area spray painted.

Local builder Brendan O’Connor replaced the existing black worktops with oiled oak counter tops. The oak worktops compliment the cream colour chosen for the doors. The sink was replaced with a new ceramic sink and tap. We swapped all the existing wooden door handles for silver knobs to give the kitchen a much lighter feel.

Part 3 – Island Installation

Last year, we installed a navy (Serica Marine Blue) matt island . The doors chosen were similar to the existing cabinet doors. The kitchen was sourced from Morris Hardware Builders and Providers in Waterford. The island is quite substantial in size,1800 mm x 120 mm and contains five cupboards and one drawer unit. Three of the units were 600 mm deep , the others were 300 mm deep, as it provides a free area to store the stools and keep the island unit clean and streamlined.

An oak wooden worktop was added to the island unit which we sourced in one piece from Woodies, Waterford to compliment the existing worktops The central silver light over the unit was from purchased from Next and compliment the silver door knobs

You might ask why I chose a navy island instead of a dark green one as our stove is dark green!. The reason is that we actually plan to make some further changes to the kitchen, and reckon our oven will be end of day soon. We will replace it with a version that will compliment the new colours scheme. So watch out for part 4 of our kitchen journey which should bring the kitchen refurbishment to an end.

Robyn’s Bedroom Makeover

Robyn’s bedroom makeover originally started as two separate rooms (her room and her brothers). The bedroom makeover started with demolition of the partition wall a few years back to make the room bigger. The room is south facing and has the best light in the house. As part of this restructure, we kept one part of the room with the original floorboards and carpeted the other area which is the sleeping area. Below is a before picture of the sleeping area.

Starting Point

For the bedroom makeover there were a number of items that we wanted to keep such as the carpet, wooden floor, a large rug, the pine bed and lockers, and built in cream wardrobes. We settled on a dark blue/taupe/cream colour palette to add more drama and warmth to the room and created this mood board around these elements.

What we did

For the bedroom makeover, end wall was painted in a different colour with a mixture of both Crown and Dulux Paints. The dressing/working areas was painted in Crown’s ‘Liqueur’ and the sleeping area was painted with Dulux’s ‘Great Gatsby Blue’ from a tin of paint that was in the shed. I think I am beginning to see a ‘Gatsby theme’ occurring !! We left the side walls and doors in their existing toasted almond colour (crown paint) as they worked well with the other colours chosen. and split the room nicely into the sleeping and active area.

The Sleeping Area

The pictures below shows the sleeping area completed with the navy feature wall. which works well with the taupe coloured carpet, the pine bed and lockers. The bed is dressed in denim blue bed linen sourced from JYSK , and accompanied with throws in navy and taupe (from Meadows and Byrne and TK Maxx) and cushions of different textures from Next all of which bring the scheme nicely together.

Lightning in this area was kept simple with two black wrought iron side lamps stands and taupe coloured lampshade. A simple single black pendant was used to hang from the ceiling. All light fittings were purchased at IKEA.

A small picture gallery was created with a range of prints purchased from Desino and hung on the Navy feature wall . Another photo gallery of Robyn’s friends was hung on the adjacent toasted almond wall. These comprise of a combination of light blue, dark blue and wooden frames sourced from IKEA and all of which compliment the chosen colour scheme.

The Dressing/Active Area

The dressing area has the pine wooden floor with a large cream, navy and taupe coloured rug which we bought from IKEA. This area contains the built in wardrobe, an old pine drawer set, and dressing table which also doubles as a desk with a lever lamp for task work. There is also a matching black ceiling pendant light identical to the one in the sleep area.

Not forgetting our new ‘ pièce de résistance ‘ a new giant mirror purchased from Kian Furniture in Dublin which adds a sense of light to the room and looks fab against the warm tones of the wall.

All in all. we are delighted with the makeover and have converted a bland bedroom area into two distinct areas both demonstrating how colour and accessories can change the look and feel of an area.

Home Office Makeover

A little background on our Home Office Makeover. Over the past 10 years we have used two rooms interchangeably as a home office and a guestroom in our house. We are back to our original format where the office is located to the right of the hall as you walk in the front door so that it is quite separate from the rest of the house. The room is south facing, has a large window and is generally bright.

The office has had many different uses, it was used as study when the children were doing exams, a computer room, (I used to run computer classes from home), and for a former business that we ran. Today, it is used primarily by my husband Pat who works a couple of days a week from home.

Home Office Objectives

Our objective for the home office makeover was to make a space that would have a old style feel and to have additional seating area, when on long calls. This seating area was to double as a reading area ((we sound like real intellectuals – NOT).

Here’s what we did

Starting out, the office space already has a permanent oak Billy book shelf unit from Ikea in place and an oak wooden floor.

The space already had a big desk with a corner which we we decided to get rid of and replace it with a table that was more original. We managed to locate a unique raw edge beech wood desk with green epoxy resin on. The desk was a good bit narrower than what we were used to, but, it made us think about how Pat worked and streamlined the process

The walls were painted with Crown’s new Elle Decoration Botanical a flat matt paint which lended itself to the old style feel we were looking for.

We set about installing the double screen necessary for Pat’s work in a ergonomic manner. . We complimented the desk with a black fabric chair which works well with the black in the desk.

An existing comfortable couch upholstered in a more traditional type fabric which toned well with the wall colour and the theme we were looking to achieve was set up in the window area.. Rich tones of blue wine and green cushions were used to compliment the subtle colours of the couch fabric.

To finish the look we have created two gallery walls, one we call the ‘Education Gallery’ or our most ‘Expensive Wall’ where we display the family’s achievements and money sent on education to date. We have left two spaces for two more certs to be added to later in the year.!

The second Gallery holds a range of photographs of us and our families of various events taken over the years. We are delighted with how the office turned out. Hope you like it too!.

Lighting

As the room is south facing, there is a good amount of natural light coming into the room. The desk is sitting at right angles to the window which avoids reflection on the computer screen. and a blind which can be pulled down to minimize the glare. A desk light with a low wattage bulb and different levels of output has been set up on the desk for task work.

Some important things to note about the make over, the most important thing is choosing the desk. Make sure it is big enough to hold all you want and what you want to do. Secondly, comfort is key, so the chair you choose should provide support and be ergonomically correctable. Lighting is next, make sure you have appropriate task and overall lighting.

Master Bedroom

Like most projects we start, we already have certain elements in the room. I had cream built in wardrobes and cream lockers and the room was dominated with a large black and white floral wallpaper set off with a large bespoke black headboard all of which worked very well. But sometimes, you want a change but I wanted to utilise the headboard and still keep this wall, as the main focal point in the room.  My initial thought, when decorating this room was to try and get wallpaper that would work with the existing black headboard and that had an urban sort of feel.  

You think it would be easy to choose this type of wallpaper??  Well it isn’t, I looked at numerous versions of grey/cement/texture type wallpaper but felt the room would be too grey for me, so I I was delighted when I stumbled across this beautiful blue tempura wallpaper from Homebase which contained a mish mash of blues, creams, greys and the hint of black vein running through it, which I thought would work well with the headboard.

The room was already painted cream in colour, so I was looking for a change and chose the blue colour (misty cloud by Dulux) to paint the remaining walls.  I also had the same colour mixed to paint the doors to give a more streamlined and contemporary look to the room.   When finished, the black of the headboard appeared too harsh, so I recovered the headboard with a beautiful upholstery fabric called Zephyr Marine sourced from Home Focus.  I also used the same fabric to recover the base of the bed.

Fabric for Headboard
Zaphyr Marine Upholstery Fabric

Happy with what I had chosen, I was ready to accessorise and bring the room together.  See the mood board below based on the choices made so far and what else i needed to help build and give the room a cohesive look

A new light grey carpet (silver crescent) was laid which toned very well with the grey colour from the wallpaper and complimented the misty cloud chosen for the walls and doors. I picked up two beautiful mustard coloured table lamps from the Carolyn Donnelly Collection from Dunnes Stores which worked as a great contrast to the Zephyr Marine colour chosen for the Headboard and Bed base as well toning in well with the mustard highlights in the wallpaper.   I already had the cream lockers and the wardrobes were built in place.

A good design is not only about the aesthetic of the room, its about the different elements in the room and how they work together.  It’s the clever play of al the elements in the room.   In this room I created a focal point with the feature wallpapered wall and headboard which I think is both visually and textually appealing.  The play and texture of the fabric and the wallpaper work well together and the zephyr marine used on the headboard draws out the blues and green in the wallpaper. 

The mustard lamps siting on each bedside locker provide additional balance to the room as delivering a great accent colour to the blue in the headboard and complimenting the mustard in the wallpaper.   Using the Zepyhr marine colour in the base of the bed and headboard continues to keep the eye interested and visually appealing and helps balance the space. 

I alternate between a mixture of grey bed linen/and cream bed linen which work well with the headboard, wallpaper and and grey carpet selected.  Below are some different angles taken of the room which should give you a good idea of the finished makeover.  Hope you enjoyed reading this. I was delighted with the outcome.

Sitting Room

The design of the sitting room was based on the purchase of a new Navy L shape sofa bought from Casey’s in Cork. To be honest when we bought the sofa first, , it seemed huge in the room as it had a higher back compared to our previous three piece brown sofa and the room seemed very vacant compared to the previous room layout.

It took quiet some time to try and decide how to decorate around the room as I wanted to keep roman blinds and wall paint I had (fawn colour). The fireplace in the room consists of a large oak fireplace. First of all I thought about using a monochromatic blue/white colour scheme but decided not to go with it as the previous colour scheme was monochromatic in cream and browns.

Eventually I found a beautiful multi-coloured rug from Next, The colour palette of the rug together with the navy in the couch provided me with a huge colour range to work with.

To balance the room better, I introduced two Queen Ann Chairs which are very different style wise to the couch. However, I had these reupholisted in a beautiful amber and green colour which tone in well with the wool rug. and make them more contemporary looking but still keeping the classic shape. I also had some cushions made in the same fabric which I could use on the couch to bring the colours together. An existing footstool was also reupholstered in the same green fabric.

Rather than put a big coffee table on the coloured rug, I chose two sets of small side table which I could hold beside the chairs.  Two mustard lamps were added to the room. 

To tie the room and colours together better, the main wall together with wall lights was painted in Navy (Dulux Moda Gatsby Blue. The navy colour really complimented the warmth of the oak wood in the fireplace and the wall lights provide a lovely effect at night.

To accessorise the room, I placed a large gold mirror above the fireplace which contrasts beautifully with the dark navy blue on the wall. To the left of the fireplaces is a metal shelf unit where I placed several objects vases, pictures in colours to compliment the colour scheme.

At night time the wall lights also provide a lovely glow or mood lighting.

On holidays last year in Italy, we purchased two beautiful prints, on a beach scene and one a city scene of Manhattan which I have framed in a bronze/gold to tie in mirror . All in all I think i have create a lovely warm contemporary vibrant sitting room .