Monday, June 23, 2014

Dining - Many Plates, Few Ideas

My first "grown-up house" had did not have an eat-in kitchen but did have a spacious dining room attached to the kitchen. So, that room was used often. Since I was young and dumb, I bought fancy dining room furniture and filled the cabinet with fine Noritake china, never to be actually used... because that's what you did with dining rooms.

A couple of houses later, I had another eat-in kitchen and roomy dining room. By this time, I had sold the fancy dining room furniture and our kitchen table was centered in the near-empty room. The over-all effect was definitely underwhelming.

Fast forward a dozen or more years and a few more houses (I moved around a lot in my 20s), now the first home that I have actually "owned" (or will after half a lifetime of mortgage payments) has... a Dining Room... BUT also has a roomy Eat-IN kitchen with the perfect table that folds down for our family of four, or opens up to easily sit eight. So the Dining Room gets used... Not... At... All.

Ok, rewind, that's lie.

Our Dining Room is Relay for Life central, a storehouse of purple for weeks- if not months- prior to Relay. That follows weeks of being Key Club District Convention Headquarters, which this year mainly meant a mountain of rotating scrapbook supplies. It's also a great office for extended grading marathons, especially pre-craft room. I am particularly fond of this room during the holidays, from the space to sort decorations and tree adornments, to the china cabinet filled with nutcrackers, to hosting the baked goodness of the Community Cookie Exchange.

Mostly though, I do like when the Dining Room... looks like a Dining Room. I spent the afternoon clearing away the Relay debris, returning Craft Room supplies, and packing away the school project cast-aways (which are in neatly packed boxes, neatly cropped out the picture). Once upon a time, I fantasized about having a dining room table on which the settings changed monthly based on seasons or holidays. That little fantasy right there never moved out of the fleeting fantasy stage.

I saw a table set with these dishes at Pottery Barn shortly after buying the new house and fell in love with the whole setting (a typical Pottery Barn setting that is meant for artistic display and not actual dining). I saw the dishes on the clearance shelves a few months later and grabbed them and the centerpiece then did my best at other odds & ends places to finish the look (my look, not Pottery Barn's, which would have involved way more twigs and leaves and other pieces of earthy nature not belonging on a dining surface). That particular window in the picture is deep-set and houses the few nicer Longaberger baskets that I bought... when I thought buying Longabergers was something important to do.

The thing is I don't think I am so much a Colonial Blue, Birds, and Longaberger kinda gal anymore... or maybe I am somewhat, I really do like birds... and baskets... but not so much the matchy-match stuff and could completely care less about the names on the bottoms of plates, or baskets,  or anything else for that matter.

So, three years after moving into this home, I am really ready to MOVE-IN to this home. The paint throughout the house (except The Craft Room Studio) is still that contractor neutral and there is exactly one picture hung in the total 3600 square feet. There are several pictures leaning on or tucked away near where I think I might want them displayed, but I. just. can't. commit.

I have been contemplating again lately what I would like to do in the Dining Room. It is a very central and visible part of the house, fully visible from the kitchen by one set of entry doors and the living room by another set of entry doors, although both doors have lovely tinted white paneled glass doors that can be slid out of the wall recesses to close it off. Nonetheless, I cannot pick a paint color or d├ęcor scheme that would cause total disharmony with the rest of the house. For example, I have often pictured the room a deep blue... but that is completely disjointed from every other aspect of my house. An eggplant though... maybe?

I like this idea of using the same paint color and tone- painting a flat matte as an undercoat and swirling a design free-hand on top in gloss. I question my artistic ability in being able to "swirl a design free-hand" though and think I may have a far too critical eye to not look into the room and always see every mistake I made.

I am not sure I want curtains in the room. There are two large windows, but again the room is not functional often, there is very large shrubbery in front of the main window, and I could close off the sliding doors if I was worried about general privacy throughout the rest of the house. I think I overall like the exposed windows, but if I came to change my mind, I would look at Roman shades. There are a lot of DIY tutorials all over The Nets I would give a try because the windows are large and odd sized from being a restored home, and the custom blinds it would require could never be worth the expense.

The one element I know that I definitely want to add to the Dining Room is a Plate Wall. I have loved this decorating trend since I saw my first pic. (Love at first plate, I promise.) My coupled fantasy of going to yard sales and finding a large collection of cheap-cheap plates & platters throughout the day that coordinated perfectly has not come true though. I just can't see putting out good money for the sake of this display. I haven't put a lot of effort into doing it though and I have faith that I can find a way to do it on the cheaps. The top three are my favorite. I like the way that the first wraps around a corner. It is a corner in our Dining Room that I am looking to adorn in a similar fashion. The colors of the third I find attractive, but the nonadventurous decorator in me thinks about keeping them all white to maintain harmony, like the middle pic.

If I can't piece (or force) together a collection though, I have these to fall back on. As a matter of fact, I may be looking at these as the START of the project... and not the "fall back." The platter and bowls are LARGE. I would have to carefully consider how to mount them. There is actually a more perfect wall in the kitchen but the area is too high traffic for something so cumbersome. Jason brought these back from a deployment to Turkey and they are one of the most favored things I own... as they sit on top of the china cabinet collecting dust. In the box is a hanging of connected tin bowls that I imagine as an arch over a doorway.

My only hesitation for using these items, which I love and feel much more connected to than serendipitous yard sale finds, is...
What color would I paint the room???

The link-backs to borrowed pictures (plates, painting, shade) can be found on my "Decorating Ideas" Pinterest page.

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