Monday, July 05, 2010

Monday - Day 13 of Summer Vacation

My dining room is mostly finished.
The painter/contractor (my lovely neighbor) just (just! ha!) has to re-install the double-hung 6-over-1 original window he found miraculously sandwiched between plywood plugs, and then deal with the giant bay window with coffered ceiling. Which is a big job - but most of the furniture can be put back.

The room itself was a huge job - the linear feet of moulding alone made me want to weep with despair. Not to mention the plaster ceiling that needed patching, the uneven plaster on the walls, and the ornate fireplace mantel. He did an amazing job. I can't believe it's the same room.

It is now a warm pumpkin-y, terra cotta-y color, with a white ceiling and cream woodwork, except for the mantel cabinet doors which were stripped down to their original oak so he could find the hinges and glass leading. They look so lovely that I am contemplating stripping the whole mantel, because F assures me that it's oak.
But one insanity at a time, thank you very much.

I need REAL dining room furniture.
Our table and chairs are pale, Shaker-style IKEA pieces, which are just fine. They are sturdy, easy to keep presentable, and have clean, stark lines.

I have a glass-fronted cherry Mission-style cabinet that I use as a china cabinet. Yes, the boys cracked one of the panes of glass, but that's fairly easily fixable.

My grandmother's old cedar chest holds all my table linens. It's pretty, but there's no obvious place for it to sit; however, it has huge sentimental value so I refuse to store it away or get rid of it.

But the main china cabinet is a cast-off from my brother- and sister-in-law that I thought was hideous when they had it in their dining room, yet when they were going to throw it out in favor of a new (even more hideous) set, for some reason H and I said, Sure, we'll take it. It's almost as if we don't believe we deserve new, nice furniture, in our taste. I DESPISE this thing. It's flimsy and battered, and is way too small for our embarrassingly palatial dining room. The room screams for a big, chunky, solid piece anchoring the sconce wall. Instead, this thing wobbles and teeters on its ridiculous little legs and rattles every time someone walks by it.


To that end, I have spoken to the man who built the bookcases in the bedroom,and we are designing a cabinet/set of shelves, with maybe glass doors and with drawers for all the linens, to fit into the space between the outside wall and the fireplace. It's as if that space was made for some sort of built-in, and if he does even half as beautiful a job as he did in my bedroom, I will be delighted. Besides, think of all that storage space!

But, you know, now that you mention it? You know what else I hate?
All the crap plates and bowls and tureens and jugs and glasses various relatives have pawned off on me when they were clearing out *their* basements.

So I arranged my pretty, beloved things - my grandmother's Depression glass, the Czech crystal friends gave us as a wedding gift or my brother brought back for me from his travels, my treasured and oft-used wine glasses, hand-thrown and glazed pottery we have picked up and been given here and there - in the cabinets and am packing away in the basement, wrapped carefully and labeled, the stuff that I hate but can't in good conscience give to Goodwill because, well, what if my mother-in-law asks someday where the crystal urn Great-great Aunt Ethel gave us is?

As soon as I convince H that a dining room without an ugly green polka dotted area rug is a) easier to clean, and b) much more attractive and elegant, I will be quite pleased with the one grown-up room in my house.

If only I could get the boys to stop sticking things to the walls.
I threatened to beat any child who thought they must attached sticky foam letters to my freshly-painted walls.
Even if those letters spell "MOM."


Janet said...

Pictures! We need pictures.

Beth said...

Pretty, pretty please pictures.

Loretta a/k/a Mrs. Pom said...

Your dining room sounds gorgeous. I love big, capacious dining rooms that can hold tons of people, but do double duty as a library or den.

Exciting home renovations.

Sarah Louise said...

I was just about to say that!

Babs, it sounds lovely (um, except for the insanity part.) And I love that you brought out your lovelies. I too hate that my dishes are all cast-offs, it was nice of my mom to get me some at thrift shops that *she* liked, but that I don't really. But I have new drinking glasses, they make me very happy.

And it makes me happy that you are decorating. Please, pictures!!

(Can you have a son-dedicated portion of wall--HERE is where you may festoon the wall with "MOM")


I have been reading Eat Cake, just got to the part where she makes the pistachio cake you and I tried.

MsCellania said...

It's SO GOOD to get your good stuff out and on display. If you actually use it, you'll really be happy.
Our dining room doubles as our music room. We have a keyboard and seat in there, and all the guitars, stands and music stands are in there. The dining chairs are turned out to be used for daily music practice. This does mean that I keep the beautiful table covered with table pads as it's a workhorse vs. decoration. But it means we use every single room in this big house. Even the living room has been turned into Lego Central. Why keep a huge, bright room for looking at?! This way, we can actually walk through the family room without ruining someone's creation that has been left on the floor, and the Wii is available for all of us. Plus, for some reason I can turn a blind eye to the messy living room, but the family room (visible and open to the kitchen) used to chap my hide every time I looked at a zillion lego works in process.

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