Jan28

Bookshelves lined the walls. Waiting piles of our kids’ “treasures” stacked in corners reminded me to sort and pick a few favorites.

Boxes of pens, pencils, papers and nick knacks cluttered each surface. Marker masterpieces of days gone by whispered stories, stories of those naughty days when walls were much more enticing than paper or coloring books.

And then that carpet, oh my, the carpet.

Laid when the glorious days of Ally McBeal, Teletubbies, Titanic, preppy pink and green and slouch socks worn over sweat pants were all the rage.

Yes, 1997 was a glorious year, but unfortunately, my dining room still held the remnants in every nook and cranny of that time when our house was first built.

I think many of us have at least one room in our home where time stands still. It’s that room that you’ll eventually get to, but days turns to weeks turns to a year (or 17).

With these pictures that I’m about to unveil, I am taking the blinders off.

Any of you who once asked me decorating advice, feel free to point and snicker. I’m closing my ears and guarding my heart. It was bad. How did it get so bad? I like to use the excuse of homeschooling five children for nearly 16 years, with an over the top love of books. Yes, that does elicit a bit of sympathy.

Honestly, life got in the way of this room. Excuses made, new goals set, which didn’t include tackling this.

Every time I would think about clearing it out to paint, those huge bookshelves with the hundreds of books would scoff at me. But if there’s one thing I know now, I wish I would have prioritized this years ago.

A few months ago, I came across this piece at a yard sale and it began a small step towards moving out of the 90s era.

This was in the middle of boxing up those hundreds of books. I called in reinforcements for help.

I know, you are all gasping that I got that gorgeous piece at a yard sale.

Believe it or not, but I walked away initially because they wanted $500. Now, it is well worth $500 because it was from furniture market priced at $2,500.  I had planned on going with more of a French Country Cottage look in that room, so I left my number and told him if he was ready to move, and hadn’t sold it, give me a call.

He called and I got an amazing deal. You gotta love yard sales and did I really want a french country cottage look anyhow? (Ok, yes, I still do, but I know I can sell that piece for what I paid at any time.)

A dramatic difference occurred by just de-cluttering that one wall, and adding the hutch. It started to actually feel like a grown up room, and that was still with my primer white walls.

Some of you are waiting to redo a room due to budgetary constraints.

But don’t wait! Look around. Shop the house.

Are there things you can do right now? Can you de-clutter surfaces, paint a focal wall, remove cluttered furniture, add a gorgeous Mohawk area rug or redo a side table with a fresh coat of paint? (Yes, I give that advice and follow it for many other areas in our home, but not here. I sure wish I had earlier.)

It was a big task to remove all but one of my book shelves, but it allowed me to enjoy it so much more.

Since we knew the floors were coming, I wanted to take advantage of being able to drip right on the carpet and so I spontaneously painted.

Once the walls were painted with a beautiful Sherwin Williams grey/blue, depending on the time of day,  I stood back and gasped at the difference.

I even enjoyed it like that for a full day WITH the nasty pink carpet, and I barely noticed the extra large builder brass chandelier.

I’ve mentioned so many times before what a difference paint can make and this really proved it.

But how would I ever have known that once the carpet was removed and the new flooring put down, it would turn into a showcase room?

I mean seriously. I kept looking at the dining room like I had moved into a new home.

I must have texted the before/after picture to at least ten friends because I knew they would never believe the transformation. Our youngest daughter wanted to keep it as a dance ballroom – it just has that Cinderella effect. The room had doubled in size or so it seemed and my mind soared with all its potential.

Can you even believe how gorgeous those floors are?

As I mentioned in my last post, Tips for Picking out New Flooring, it was a hard decision, but this choice is stunning. The hand scraped laminate mimics a hardwood and to the untrained eye, I think it’s virtually impossible to know that its laminate. I love the width of the planks, and I can’t wait to decorate, but here’s the catch.

Real life isn’t one huge, grand, “I’ve changed every aspect and detail” before/after room reveal.

While that is definitely an amazing amount of fun to watch on HGTV or view on your favorite design blog, it’s not real life for most of us.

I am showing you my big grand reveal that is just as sweet as any of those because in my waiting, I have so much more appreciation for it all. I am so thankful!

I mean, these floors, and this color of wall paint are unbelievable!

This is a reveal that I will revel in and enjoy for months and then maybe this spring, I’ll think about updating my chandelier, mirror and style this hutch. Then during the summer time, I’ll replace or paint one piece of furniture and maybe add a huge rug under the table.

Slow down and enjoy each, tiny, little step of the journey. Encouragement comes from the process, and it’s in those moments when the best of life happens.

And for the many of you that will ask for all my sources, here goes.
I adore the Sherwin William paint sales and stock up when they go 30-40% off. This color started as Evening Shadow, which I love, but once I started painting, it was a tad too similar to my kitchen color, so I brought it back into the store and they lightened it up a bit.

Big Painting tip: If at all in doubt on paint color, start with a lighter shade. It’s much easier for them to darken the paint then it is for them to lighten it like they had to with mine.

I am a huge fan of Purdy Paint tools. We had many dry wall spots that needed to be fixed and their Prep Tools are great for scraping and filling in. I used to buy any roller or brush that was on sale, but I no longer do that. As much as I want to watch my pennies like the next person, investing a few extra dollars in quality brushes that won’t leave little pieces of “hair” on the walls is so important.

Brushes and paint kind of fit into the overwhelming, “What should I purchase?” decision, so by staying with quality products, I know I’m guaranteed good results. I use their Clearcut Angled brush for ease in cutting in with accuracy and recently started using the Mini rollers too. They are perfect for so many little touch ups that I do the second day when I find spots I’ve missed. I hate cleaning big rollers.

The exact Mohawk flooring I had installed is from the Ellington Line: Rustic Saddle Oak Laminate and it’s gorgeous. This style is timeless and I see us enjoying this for decades. It comes with a ScratchGuard™ Advanced Finish Protection finish which will hold up well in all our high traffic areas, essentially 90% of our down stairs flooring.

And since I firmly believe in taking my time and enjoying this whole renovation process, this is a picture I just came across that is nearly identical to our dining room.

Isn’t it gorgeous?

Same floors, same wall color and we have the same windows. It’s a bit fancier than our lifestyle, but it’s fun to envision the potential for this room.

DO you have any plans for redoing one of your rooms soon?

Let’s dream together. What is your next step?

*Mohawk provided flooring as part of the Mohawk Floors me program, while I paid for all installation and labor.

To read this blog post on Beauty and Bedlam, visit The Before and Almost After Dining Room Redo