Thursday, September 22, 2011

Worth the wait

All forms of indoor decorating ceased over the summer while we slaved away on our fence but now that we are wrapping up and Fall is setting in, I'm beginning to think about the inside of the house again. Really there has been zero point in putting nice things inside thus far because they either get covered in drywall dust from upstairs or mud from our backyard. It's been a year of living with ugly things & I'm so over it so I'm working on a plan of action that will be ready to go when it's finally time to pull the trigger.

Since our dining room is the center point of our somewhat open first floor, I'm starting in there. French doors connect it to the living room and it can also be seen from the kitchen. In general I feel like dining rooms are a difficult place to incorporate pattern. There are typically 3 options in which it can come into play - the walls, the rug or the windows. At our house it's going to be the windows.

Back when we moved in we had a 5 foot high white wainscoting installed to enhance the bungalow look of our home and a few months later we painted the upper portion of the wall a deep greige. It's Benjamin Moore Eagle Rock at 200% so it ended up being just a tad shy of Bear Creek. It flows nicely from our kitchen which is one shade lighter - Willow Creek. The contrast between the white wainscoting and dark walls is great - I love contrast.

Since we are using the Heywood-Wakefield dining set I inherited from my grandparents which is very different from our typical style, I wanted to use a color that complimented the wheat wood tone of the furniture while staying true to what we naturally gravitate toward.

Then to offset the furniture's wheat wood tone with the warm grain our of floors we brought the wall color back into the floor in the form of Pottery Barn's Heather Chenille Jute Rug in Espresso. Normally I wouldn't recommend a jute rug for areas where there may be spills, but the dark color of this one will camouflage any accident we may have! And quite honestly, my discount is what really talked me into it.

So far we're looking pretty neutral Nelly, right?

Well, knowing that we would never find a buffet to match Heywood-Wakefield's wheat, we sought out in search of something with a mid-century feel that needed a little TLC in the form of paint. Luck have it we stumbled on this guy for about $100 at the Salvation Army down the street.

It's really dresser that someone used as a media unit (there's a giant hole cut out of the back), but it fit the style we wanted. Ben said repairing the hole was an easy fix, so home it came with us. Honestly, price aside, I really like it. It's solid wood with great lines and is going to look amazing painted a bright bold color. I'm thinking something like this......I'll explain why in a minute.

So then I was left with the real hunt - fabric for drapery panels. Who would have guess it would ever be so hard? There have been dozens of samples brought home and taped to the wall. Let me show you just a few of the early contenders.....keeping in mind that the turquoise for the dresser was not yet finalized during the hunt.

{Iman Home from Calico Corners}
Ben hated it...and so did I.
You can't tell in this photo, but the turquoise is actually furry.

{An ikat found at Mary Jo's}
Not enough color.

{Another ikat}
Too blah.

{Thomas Paul by Duralee}
Getting closer - a good match, but still not enough color.

Finally I came across these premade panels at World Market that were just what I was looking for and looked great with the walls & furniture, so I bought them.

As time went on though, I couldn't get over the "cheap" quality of the fabric. They weren't lined, but I felt certain that was an easy fix. The real problem though was the quality of the pattern. It was screen printed on and just looked sloppy up close. While browsing in the store one day I realized that the same print was available in a table cloth and for some strange reason the quality of the fabric & pattern seemed to much better. It took forever but I was able to track down the largest size with hopes of making my own lined drapes. So I brought them home and let them marinate in the space for a while, but still something just didn't feel right.

You see, I had a secret. In the mean time had secretly fallen in love with a designer fabric that I was comparing all the rest to.

{Schumacher's Chiang Mai Dragon in Alabaster}

The only problem was the price per yard - too high for me to even mention! Why is it that I have a knack for falling for the most expensive thing in a store without even looking at the tags? I'm cursed with fabulous taste, I guess!

I wouldn't even let myself consider something so pricey, so I kept going back to the World Market near miss. Still though, I couldn't live with them! But then I got some advice from a designer friend of mine. Yes, she agreed, it would be a splurge, but it could also be the stepping stone that we've been searching for to set the tone for our whole home. Plus it's a quality fabric in a timeless print that could always be sold or repurposed in another home. Not to mention, she added, we only had 1 window - luckily not more! While I heard what she said and knew she was right, the budget still lingered on my mind. Feeling overwhelmed and stressed out I mentioned my dilemma to Ben one evening and much to my dismay, he agreed with my friend. Yes, it will be a ridiculously expensive splurge but we loved it and needed an inspiration piece for the rest of the house.

So here I am today, slowly but surely saving up my pennies to splurge on the fabric of my dreams. Since we've got so many other projects going, it's going to take a while, but when I finally save up enough, I know it will make our dining room the design center piece that we will use as inspiration for our entire first floor.

Now on to accessorizing.......... ;)