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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Dining Rooms and Draperies and Decisions, Oh My!

Once upon a time we bought an old house; among its charms was a dining room of gracious proportions and great possibilities. That was eleven months ago, and the dining room is still an unfinished work.

Below, early days. Walls a sort of pinky-beige, overprinted with a stamped design, with deep maroon woodwork and heavy curtains. There's a patch of test paint; I really wanted this room yellow, but the room just wouldn't cooperate.

It insisted on being painted red. I chose Benjamin Moore "Tuscan Red," blissfully unaware that the color is actually "Tucson Red" (#1300) until daughter Anne told me.

Kids are useful. They are very good at pointing out our mistakes.

Painting progress, below. Tinted oil primer, and lots of plaster wounds being repaired. We used professional painters, first time ever, and they were good. Bless their hearts.

Jump ahead a couple of months, to May of 2008, and we are moving in: boxes everywhere,
and swatches of possible drapery fabrics blue-taped up on the window moldings.

The room's breakfront is an Ebay find, and I learned a valuable lesson -- never bid on two similar things at once, no matter how much you need furniture, because you may end up with One Breakfront Too Many.

The former chandelier was perfectly fine -- a rusty finish and opalescent glass shades --
but the room said it wanted crystal. Swarovski crystal (well, I wanted Swarovski; it's so sparkly).
As usual, I obeyed the house.

I found this crystal chandelier online, and am still somewhat startled by its size and brilliance when lit, but it's become a member of the family. The old fixture is looking for a new home.

A few months ago, and things still all a mish-mash, the front hall and parlor still full of boxes. That's an old buffet (above) -- a Craigslist treasure -- with a lovely old marble top. It critically needed refinishing and repair, and again I used a pro. Getting lazy in my old age.
No rug, no curtains. But progress goes on....
Voila! A rug, switched from our study, and what appear to be draperies. Ha. Fooled you. We installed drapery rods and, the night before Thanksgiving, my girls and I cut 9-foot lengths of fabric and lining and just clipped the raw fabric to the curtain rings.
I blush to admit that the fabric panels are still there. No proper draperies yet. And I can't make up my mind. . . .

I have the gold-colored "faux" silk (budget doesn't run to the real stuff!), which is hanging there temporarily and goes well with the rug (which is reds and olives and golds), but I also have the same fabric in a beautiful red which is a spot-on match for the walls of Tucson Red.
We are having a House Blessing party on March 14, and I want something at my windows by then, so (left) is a picture of both colors of fabric. I am leaning toward using the red, perhaps because I am so tickled that it is such a good match to the paint. Annie says the gold is best, for a bit of contrast.

(The red fabric is still uncut, and is just tossed over the drapery rod!)

Which color?
What do you think?

My sewing machine awaits!


  1. Good morning. You have a lovely dining room. I really love that marble top buffet, a great find. Now, for the drapes: I think both colors are good choices. I would use the gold drapes in spring and summer....and switch to the red in fall and winter. I guess I am a 'seasonal decorator' and I tend to get tired of looking at the same thing for too long. Which ever you choose, your room will be stunning.

  2. Hello! This is my first visit to your blog and I love your dining room!

    I agree with Teresa, I would consider changing the drapes for the seasons. I'm a seasonal decorator, too! (I even change the colors of my blog design with the seasons!)

    I'll look forward to seeing your decision. Follow your instincts and you'll be fine!


  3. I just love your beautiful dining room! I think you've done such a good job so far, that either way with the drapes will look good. Cindy

  4. Thank you for such kind comments! I like the idea of using both fabrics. Seasonal decorating is wonderful. My Mom had white terrycloth slipcovers for sofas and club chairs, so little children in summer shorts with grubby hands could sit, and she could relax and not worry about their ruining the upholstery fabrics! I think I will indeed follow my instincts (red for now!) and see what happens. Thanks again! -- Cass

  5. Whoa. I LOVE your house! Yup. Totally adore it! I am so glad I opooed in today and now I have found another wonderful blog and bloggy friend! I have really enjoyed my visit here and, if it is alright with you, I will add you to my blog roll. I will be back often!

    Have a wonderful weekend!


  6. Hi - I found your blog by doing a blog search for "house blessing." I'm going to have one in a few weeks and I'm looking for what customs are typically done in conjunction with the blessing. I don't know many people who have done this.

    From the Seattle area,

  7. Hi Jenny,
    I think it's a wonderful idea to bless a house. In our case, our Pastor is doing it, and all he told me is that I should provide him with a fresh pine branch, and a bowl of water!

    If you like, I will get more information from him and let you know. You can email me at and I can then answer you and send you what I know.

    Best of luck, and thanks for stopping by! -- Cass
    (My husband's sister and her family used to live on Mercer Island -- we like Seattle!)


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