Thursday, July 30, 2009

Room by Room - The Dining "Room"

Our apartment is set up with an open floor plan which means past the unusually high kitchen counter it is one big space for dining, lounging, reading, tv-watching, etc. Personally, I love this type of floor plan but it can take some creativity to get everything to fit without feeling like your dining room chairs are on top of your couch.

After eating at a coffee table since, well, junior year of college, I couldn't believe we were actually going to have a defined place to eat our home-cooked meals! Before moving in we searched and searched through affordable dining room table and chair sets at Target, ValuCity, World Market, Pier 1 and more. Knowing the space, anything bigger than a 4 person table - or 6 if it had a leaf - was ruled out. We found a few good options and loved the idea of a beautiful dark brown wood. All this time, my sister had been pushing us to take their IKEA kitchen table and chairs. We gave in and quickly realized we found the best fit. As much as I wanted dark wood, the clear glass top makes the table seem like its taking up less space in the already tight dining corner. And we couldn’t deny that the modern blue set matches our design scheme. I fought against my aversion to hand-me-downs (I really need to get over that. . .), and we got an extra $400 back in our decorating budget!

Like “The Big Knife” which hangs in our Library area of the living room, I got my Italian Breakfast at Tiffany’s poster from allposters.com. I had been looking at foreign posters – movies, ads, vintage travel – and fell in love with this one. I heart Audrey, but didn’t want the same old Breakfast at Tiffany’s posters you can get in any shop. I also like the placement of this piece in the apartment, a necessity because of the location of the windows, it tops out at just about eye level.

For a table centerpiece, we used a set of 4 blue placemats found at World Market and a hurricane from Crate and Barrel. Instead of filling the hurricane with rocks, glass stones or sand we opted to bring a little bit of green earthiness into the room by taking a fake stem with berries - purchased from Michael’s for about $2 - and bending it around the candle. We’ll be able to change this up for the holidays by switching out the candle and accents. Autumn can't come quick enough for the decorative opportunities alone! The very zen salt & pepper shakers were a housewarming present found at CB2. So cute, thanks Jen!

We wanted a bar cart to hold wine glasses, bottles and other bar accessories, but it was definitely far down on the list when it came to apartment needs. As I looked around the net to gauge prices, I couldn’t help but notice that many of them resembled my bathroom cabinet, a Target purchase for $35 about four years ago. Could we re-purpose and save some cash? One issue is that the cabinet is not quite deep enough to hold a horizontal wine bottle and still shut the door, so we are hard at work at extending the back using some wood pieces from Home Depot. Stay Tuned for that project breakdown. At the Crate and Barrel outlet we found a $20 wine rack that you can configure yourself which fits perfectly in the bottom shelf. Find a similar one here. The top shelf had room for about 10 wine glasses and the drawer is filled with wine charms, bottle openers and extra coasters. We decorated the top with a glass jar filled with corks, an ice bucket Bob inherited from his Uncle and one wine bottle dressed in a Chinatown purchase. We’re going to try to always keep fresh flowers around – lucky for me, I have a nice boy who likes buying them for me! I thought we would need to paint the cabinet to get the image of it holding towels, curling irons and blow driers out of my head, but the white actually works well with the trim in the living room!

If we had a completely separate room for the dining table, I doubt we would be using it every day, but because it is part of the living room with a more casual feel - and I'm deathly afraid of spilling on our new couch - we eat dinner together at the table just about every night!

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