dining room.

I’m very interested to hear what you think of my dining room.  I think you might be a bit surprised by it.  It definitely has a different look than the rest of my house.  You might want to grab a cup of coffee and sit back for this one, I feel like there is a lot of explaining to do in this room.

dining room with barn wood walls

The room that I use as a dining room was added on to the back of my house by the previous owners, probably sometime in the 70’s I think.  They used wood from an old barn that was being torn down for the floors, walls and ceiling.  Yep, that’s a lotta wood.  The walls retain their original barn red finish.  Trust me when I say, I have considered painting them white many times.  Thing is, I could never go back.  The original barn red would be gone forever.  And that makes me hesitate.  Would you do it?

dining room ceiling

This room was intended to be a family room, and we did use it that way for many years.  However, being poorly insulated, it is the coldest room in our house in winter, and the hottest in summer. It just isn’t a room I could get comfy in and watch some TV.  So when I hauled home a baby grand piano for the formal dining room area next to my living room, this room became the dining room.

You can see that I practice what I preach furniture-wise because my waterfall buffet was salvaged by nnK (that’s new neighbor Karen).  She was visiting her parents in Wisconsin and saw it abandoned on the roadside and dragged it home for me.  It is a literal ‘trash to treasure’ story.

waterfall buffet painted black

I painted this black long before I discovered milk paint or chalk paint.  It was missing one drawer in the middle, so I just removed the 2nd middle drawer and added a stack of fab vintage suitcases instead.

vintage suitcases

Are you wondering about the Chinese tea tin lamps?  I purchased them at an auction many years ago.  I’ve actually been working towards toning down the Asian feel to this room, but I can’t seem to part with the lamps.

dining lamp

The “Charles Strand” sign hanging over the clock is the original sign for the general store in Marine, MN when my husband’s great-grandfather owned it in the early 1900’s.  Here is an awesome picture of the store from back then.

strand store

Teddy Bear hunting?  Don’t you love it?

I have some of my painted books next to my giant buddha head,  which was a garage sale find.

painted and stenciled books

I’ve tried to bring more light into the room with a wall full of gold framed mirrors.

dining mirror wall

The door that we use to get in and out of the house is in this room, in the corner opposite the one seen in the very first picture.  Next to the door is my owl dresser, so named because the drawer pulls have the most amazing owl faces on them.

Dresser with owl pulls

I purchased this dresser on craigslist last year.  You can read about the method I used to paint it here.  I didn’t plan to keep the mirror frame because the mirror was long gone, but ultimately I decided it really added a ton of personality and presence to the piece so I asked Ken to cut a piece of hardiboard to fit and I painted it with chalkboard paint.  I suppose I could have replaced the mirror, but I like this better.  I used one of my stencils and a chalk pencil to add the wording.  The bottom two drawers are full of shoes (yeah, I have a problem) and the top two drawers store scarves, hats and gloves.  The little hankie drawers at the top have keys and sunglasses.  In other words, this dresser is really super functional for this spot.

The table in this room, by the way, was made by none other than Mr. Q.  Many years ago a co-worker offered him a bunch of cedar 4×4’s, so he used them to make the table.

dining room table

I made the burlap runner using  a plain runner from Michaels, which I then stenciled.

As for the rug … well, I’m sure most of you have seen this rug before.  I purchased mine from Decor Steals when it was the steal of the day.  My friend Terri spotted it first, and she ordered one too.  It was hard to pass up, and it works perfectly in this room.

Well, there you have it.  My dining room.  Probably not what you expected from me.  I should point out that it is Mr. Q’s favorite room in the house (and he loves the rug), so for now, it stays as is.  It is not even close to the top of the ‘rooms to re-do’ list.

31 thoughts on “dining room.

  1. Such an interesting and gorgeous space! But you’re right, I’m surprised to see how different it is from the rest of your home. It would be amazing in white — but it has such history, such an interesting story, I’d have a hard time painting it, too!


    1. Thanks Michelle! I’ve always said I have a split-personality when it comes to decorating, so I suppose this room is a result of that. One day I might change it up and make it more me. I do think the owl pull dresser would also be amazing painted white. Maybe one day …


  2. I have always liked this room too. The dresser does work perfectly in the room. I say keep the barn red walls. They give the room character and history. Plus it reminds everyone it was a farmhouse.


  3. Wow !!!!!!! What an amazing room. Perhaps the only thing I would change would be the ceiling, maybe a whitewash? I love the wood and a whitewash would still show the gain but lighten it up a tiny bit. (Hummmm, I wonder if it might turn pink from the red barn color. ??????). Or just leave as is, because this room is fantastic !!!
    Thank you for sharing this beautiful dining room and your home with us.


    1. Thanks Vanessa! I never thought about just doing the ceiling, and I bet it would really open up that room. But, you are right, can you imagine if I ended up with a pink ceiling? It’s bad enough when I paint a dresser and it turns pink or orange, I can’t imagine a whole ceiling. I would probably have to be medicated 😉


  4. Love this room – it’s so you and Mr. Q! Very homey feeling …I never knew he made that table! And you already know I love the rug, can’t wait to get mine set up…I just love the black dressers too, but Mr.Beige isn’t partial to black furniture and he doesn’t understand the “distressed” look at all…thinks it just makes it look “old”. LOL I’m trying to slowly bring him around….


  5. My family room is like this. Not quite as much wood as yours but they still used reclaimed wood for wainscoting, trim and ceiling. The ceiling was painted and I’ve debated on painting the rest of wood because it is the one room thats not at all like the rest of my house. It probably won’t ever happen though because I’m too lazy to put all that work into covering stained wood and like you said once its gone its gone. If it was raw wood that would be another story.
    I think your dining room is absolutely beautiful! And maybe its the laziness talking but I don’t think I’d ever paint this unique room. This room decked out for any holiday would be in my opinion just heavenly. I found that in my house it gives me the best of both worlds. I’ve got semi formal going on in the front of the house and rustic farmhouse happening at my back door.


    1. Well … you have hit the nail on the head Debra. I look at this room to and think about how much work it would be to paint it. And that wood would suck up the paint like there was no tomorrow. It would likely take coat after coat after coat to get good coverage. And it would be a ton of brush work with all of those vertical trim pieces! Yep, I’m definitely too lazy to even consider taking that on!


  6. I love this room! I wouldn’t change a thing. The lamps are treasures as are the signs. It’s so nice and unexpected that’s what makes it unique.


  7. I love the room used as a dining room. The last time I was at your house it was a family/TV room. This looks fabulous. When you win the lottery perhaps you could add a lovely gas fireplace to keep it warm in the winter. Probably wouldn’t need to use it to often since you have said in the past that you have to “dust” your kitchen stove. I think you have the perfect balance of rustic and paris. I would love to see how you decorate it for the Chriatmas holidays. Thanks for sharing.


    1. Donna, you must be reading my mind. I have always wanted a fireplace in there! But somehow I always choose to spend my money on trips to Europe instead 😉 I just can’t have it all I guess. Well, that’s two comments now about decorating the room for the holidays. I can see that I am going to have to pursue that!


  8. Oh, it is amazing! How fortunate you are to have such a great piece of history to live with. PLEASE!! I BEG YOU! DO NOT PAINT IT WHITE!! I think in the end you would regret it. You have a such a great eye, I am sure you will figure out a way to bring the room to the look that pleases you without painting those amazing walls. That is, after all, the natural patina of age you replicate so wonderfully in your painted pieces. I would find another home for those Asian lamps. Admittedly, I detest Asian decor, but I would embrace the primitive Americana of the room by using like decor. Keeping all my fingers and toes crossed that you don’t do it!!


    1. Not to worry Vicki, you can uncross your fingers and toes, as I said in my comment to Debra, I am far too lazy to even consider taking on the project of painting it! Why paint walls when there is so much furniture out there calling my name? I hear you on the Asian lamps. I kind of love the patina on them, because they are OLD, but I’m losing my love for the Asian look too. I’m sure they will get cycled out when I find something better that I just can’t resist. Thanks for your comment!


  9. This is a beautiful room, with so much warmth and character! I would definitely leave it the way it is. (Also, the barn wood in that room is worth a fortune!)


  10. Do NOT paint the wood. The juxtaposition of this space to the rest of your home was to say the least a bit surprising but absolutely brilliant! Love the moodiness, it’s like stepping into a speakeasy. The pieces/accessories fit together so seamlessly when one would expect it to read at least eclectic instead I find it to be masterful blend. I used to really dislike waterfall style pieces however painted in what looks to be ” a boot black” it literally knocks me over. Add to all this fabulousness putting an upright dresser ( I mean who does that?) in a dining room never in a million years yet it’s positively wonderful. I think replacing the missing mirror with the stenciled insert took this piece over the top for me. The bits of Asian add to the mystique . And thumbs up to Mr. Q nice job on the table. I could go on but this is already an epistle. Yummy!


    1. Thanks so much for your comment Victoria. It means a lot to me coming from a professional! I have to say, I have never been a huge fan of the waterfall style either, but much like you, I really like it in the black. I am a big proponent of using dressers in unexpected locations, and I think having the chalkboard in place of a mirror is what helps take it out of the bedroom and into the dining room (or any other room for that matter).


  11. It is a very nice room. I have to say that it is a little heavy with all of the wood. I would keep the wood beams but lighten up the walls so it doesn’t feel so heavy as your furniture is also dark. But a nice job non the less.


  12. Please don’t change a thing! You have made rustic work with modern with formal…I would never be as gutsy to do what you did with decorating. It really works somehow. I think you would probably love to change those walls but would kick yourself later on. Also, I LOVE that dresser! I really look forward to your posts. Thanks!


    1. Thanks Jill! You are right, and that is what I am afraid of … I would kick myself later. When you have lived in a house for 27 years (as we have), I think you tend to pay more attention to which decisions you think you might regret down the road (and I have made a few!). Especially the decisions that are irreversible. That dresser is one of my faves as well. I never really intended to keep it, but when it was done I was determined to find a spot for it.


  13. A complete surprise in your house. I really like this room and the only thing I would change is the white box trio of lights over the table and I’d remove the gold frames. Then the room would be perfection.


  14. I read your post this morning and could not wait to try your “secret” painting technique. I just purchased a three drawer nightstand and was wondering how I should paint it. I finished the drawers and, for a first attempt, they don’t look too bad. The top of the piece was in bad shape so I spent the rest of the afternoon sanding that bare. I still have the body of the piece to paint, the top to stain, and the hardware (not sure on that yet.) Will have to send a picture when it is completed. But..my point is, I love your dresser! Thanks for the inspiration and for sharing your technique. This is my practice piece per your suggestion.


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