The written language is amazing. With it we can communicate thoughts, plans, fears, joy, love, pain, almost anything. We can communicate the angst Roquentin , the kindness of Dorcas, and the mind of Hawking. Through the centuries it had liberated the slave, incited wars, inspired poetry, and united peoples. Alas, there are some things that the written language cannot do. Primarily, it cannot convey to you the mix of joy and mirth with with which I write this post. I had dreams baby! Not dreams of fame and fortune, I had not deluded myself into dreaming of such unattainables as being an astronaut, playing for the Yankees, or even overthrowing every government to be king of the world (no - get that DiCaprio image out of your head). No, my dreams, for this post anyway, was to have the dining room DONE! I mean, fat lady singing, fork sticking out D-O-N-E! Instead it's just ... done. It all started in the winter with waking up one morning and deciding 173 needed a dining room table...
It was a Craigslist find...Hey wait - I think I might even have a screenshot:
Of course 173 needed more than one. Off to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, and I think $20 later...
You're right! It doesn't match in color or style, but believe-it-or-not, the style mismatch was part of the master plan (as if there's really a master plan)! You see, I wanted a dining room, but I didn't want a brand new, perfect condition, perfectly uniformly matching dining room. Actually, that's part of the reason I painted all this stuff. And, the mismatched chairs were inspired by (sing in your head, "y'all ready for this?") a little known TV show called Friends - check out their kitchen:
I loved the idea of different styles of chairs, but quite frankly I didn't have the (mom will be reading this so I'll go with...) "nerve" to paint them different colors. After all, life does need a bit of uniformity! Here's how they all turned out...
One of the things I always felt 173 needed was a good old-fashioned hutch. When I was at the ReStore I saw this incredible hutch. It was a significant piece, a little old-school, and had some interesting architecture. But when I first saw it they wanted something like $300 for the thing. Just seemed a little much for a second-hand hutch, so I walked away. A couple weeks later I went back for something else and found that the hutch was still there. I thought that was crazy because of its sheer beauty, but I guess maybe it's that whole "eye of the beholder" thing. Or maybe it was just meant to be! Anyway, there it was - and for something like $85!
You know how it is when you find something new and you want to learn a little about it? Check out what I learned!
Right?? I was cracking up!! Either this guy was gouging some poor sap or I got a hell of a deal! Well, now it was time to get to work on it! And this thing was a beast! I really don't know how many man-hours it took to finish the hutch, but I'd say easily 20 hours. Sanding, priming, painting, antiquing...easily 20! I used the same products and methods as when I did the table, you can see all that here. I'll show the whole thing a little later in this post, but here's a closeup of some of the detail work:
I also rewired the hutch lighting, found new shelf plugs, and had to replace the glass shelves. I think the shelves cost more than the hutch and the chair combined!
Then there was the secretary. An old friend, whose name I sadly can't recall, gave this piece to me many years ago. It was kinda beat up, but I never really had a good idea what to do with it.
I loved the style, but it really was in rough shape. After the table and hutch were painted Polar Star by Valspar, and the chairs were painted Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal, I figured the dining room was going to need just a little pop of color. So a few years ago I was at a little shop in Bethany Beach and saw this piece:
I have no idea why, but I absolutely loved that color and waited those few years, regularly spying this picture in my "House Ideas" folder on my phone, and waiting for the day I'd find a use for the color. That day finally came! Using Sherwin Williams Ardent Coral, and antiquing glaze, the secretary came out as a great little pop of color!
It really is a great color, but it's virtually impossible to capture on camera. It either comes out bright pink or orange. Here's a shot that's pretty close to showing the actual color:
Thinking (or wishing) it's over aren't you!? Well, not yet because then there was this. My place of employ a number of years ago was going to discard this typing table:
For maybe eight years I had the perfect use for this thing - it was the stand in my workshop for the drill press! It was perfect! Well, because there was no space in the dining room for a buffet, and after seeing what they did over at the Red Hen Home blog, the old wheels got turning. After sanding, priming, three coats of paint, adding a bottom shelf, and creating my own stencil:
Another shot, and while you're at it take a look at the hutch!
Now, before we go any further, just a quick reminder of what the dining room was looking like when the table was bought off Craigslist:
And here's the same view, or close to it:
And here's the other end of the room. Notice the secretary, still kinda pink-looking on camera but really adds that little pop!
And if you noticed, there's a rug! And here's a picture with the rug, table, a chair and the hutch:
So waaay back at the beginning of this post I waxed philosophic about the inadequacies of the written language. I've tried to express my joy in the transformation of the dining room. But it's difficult to express the mirth part. Like I said - I wanted it DONE! But with summer here there's just too much outdoor stuff to do so the rest will have to wait 'til winter (which here in NY comes mighty soon!). Come winter, there'll be a fresh coat of paint on the walls, I'd like to build a radiator cover, get new curtains, and maybe even new book shelves! Until then...time to get outside!