Walking thru our front door, this cozy dining space is likely the first place your eyes will land. Set against french doors that open onto our back deck beneath the ancient oak, to the left is the kitchen, and thru a door to the right is my studio room. (a dreamy space for all things creative which I'll share with you later!)
At our last place we had a huge dining room we rarely used. Both our table and buffet were stained black, fitting for that particular space but definitely not here in such a soft, ethereal room. They both got a paint and distressing job when we moved in, and everyone seems to agree they were made to rock the shabby look vs. the dark, seductive style.
The room fills brilliantly with morning sunlight, the perfect spot to wake slowly over a leisurely brunch. Josh and I often throw open the doors and sit with steamy mugs of coffee or tea, letting the breeze waltz with the curtains while the dogs lounge on the deck in the sunlight and Everyn searches intently for acorns. And in the evening as the sun sets opposite, it dims ever so appropriately for quiet dinners, helping us wind down gently.
It's quaint, one of the features I love most about it. It wasn't made for huge dinner parties or entertaining. It was intended for small gatherings. One on one conversations. Sharing, honesty, depth. It lends itself well to story telling and laughter, the kind where you never have to repeat the punch line because certainly everyone heard it. It makes lovely introductions, the furthest thing from intimidating, it invites you in. Sit, share, ponder, savor. No rush, linger awhile, nibble, indulge in one more cup of coffee. Just one. There's time, always time.
Like a charming little bed & breakfast ready to wrap you in her arms for a cozy weekend of books and blankets... there's never any rush here. Quite the opposite, in fact. Another feature I adore.
Points of interest:
- Our table and chairs (pictured without the leaf) were purchased on Craigslist for $100, a serious steal. Originally it was stained a glossy blonde hue and every single piece covered with loads of hand painted purple grape bunches and vines. The cushions were covered with plaid pink and green fabric. We stripped it, stained it ebony and recovered the cushions, and later painted it creamy white (as I mentioned). Having previously stained it black actually added perfect layered detail once I distressed it.
- The oil painting we brought back from our first trip to France several years ago. I had my dad build a simple frame for it with moulding from the hardware store.
- We replaced the existing chandelier (now painted, distressed, and moved to the guest room) with the one you see here. It was a total splurge, but I wanted a beautiful statement piece for this simple room to add a little drama.
- The solid mahogany buffet was a gift from my mother-in-law. We stumbled upon it at a Swiss Avenue estate sale for a shocking $34! We easily repaired a drawer and sanded her down before adding a coat of black paint to go with the then existing dining room furniture, but were never really happy with the result. Creamy white paint and distressing made all the difference here, too! Now we love it.
- Atop the buffet is a small collection of antique decanters and pitchers collected from flea markets and estate sales, and on the wall above them (not fully pictured) a framed trio of some of our favorite travel photos from Italy, England, and Greece.
- Both the sheer white curtains hung over the archway and heavier pair over the french doors were purchased at Ikea and hung a few inches from the ceiling to add height. (The wonderfully long, extra wide sheers sell for $5 a pair. I use them literally everywhere.)
- All of my table linens are picked up at garage and estate sales or thrift stores. I never pay more than a buck or two at most.
- I rotate inexpensive fresh cut flowers and white table linens every week or so. It changes the feel but also keeps the space feeling fresh and beautiful.
- A couple remaining details in this space will be an elegant rug as soon as I stumble upon something I love, as well as new/different fabric on the seat cushions. It's fine for the moment, but eventually I'll change it out.
So there ya have it, our bright and cozy cottage dining room. Won't you join us for brunch soon??