Tag Archives: dining room

Getting Lucky on Craigslist

If you have been following my blog for a bit you know that I love Jonathan Adler, a love originating with his Chinese Chippendale chair.

adlerchippendaleI’ve been coveting these chairs for my dining room for at least three years: a bit of a pipe dream at $700 US a pop. We will likely always be small space dwellers and I love the airiness of the open backs and how they help to increase visual space in a dining room. They have traditional lines which looks gorgeous in both formal and informal settings, with modern or traditional decor.

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chinesechippdiningroomI gave up on finding a vintage version of these chairs a while back. Those kind of killer finds seem to be more common in cities like Toronto. However, whenever I turn on my computer Craigslist comes up automatically. I normally ignore it but last week my eyes flew to the words “vintage Chippendale chairs”. Cue chorus of angels!

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Seriously! Scan back to the Adler picture! The lines are identical, only the cushion is different!

Almost identical to the Adler chairs, I scored these vintage 70’s Chinese Chippendale chairs for $80 a pop. In solid condition, all I need to do is pick some gorgeous fabric and sew up some new (removable and washable) seat cushions. Charlie has already put his blueberry and tomato sauce signature on one of the cushions so I will certainly be going for a darker, more kid friendly fabric. However, I figure if these chairs lasted the last 45 years, they will be able to withstand whatever my kids can meat out. Can’t wait to pick up fabric and show you how they look with some new cushions!

In your face Jonathan Adler! (okay, not really, I still love you, but the savings!!!)

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Mirror, Mirror on my Wall

After moving into our new home in April, despite having a two month old and a rambunctious two year old, I went project wild. I unpacked within a couple of days and started sewing up a storm: a headboard for the master bedroom, roman shades for the little guy’s windows, a table runner for Sofia’s bookshelf, shower curtains for the bathrooms etc. And then I crashed. Like started going to bed at eight in the evening crashed. Like couldn’t DIY to save my life crashed.

A few months later…I am finally getting my DIY mojo back. Now it’s just a matter of channeling that energy into one project, one space, at a time.

I have several projects sitting in the wings at the moment but I have decided to focus in on my dining area. First step, amp up the pretty (see Copy Cat: My Wall of China). My second step was to shed a little light on the area and bring in some bling. Fancy art and intricate mirrors are not in the budget so I’ve fallen back on an old time favorite for DIY projects: beveled mirror tiles.

With nine foot high ceilings throughout our townhouse’s main floor I decided we needed something big and beautiful on our dining room wall. I love how mirrors increase visual space and I knew that a large mirror in this area would brighten things up by reflecting light from the window opposite.

Voila!

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Step 3: Buy a new dining set, this one is falling apart, literally. Ah tax return, how I look forward to you in the new year.

What you need for this project is 12 inch beveled mirrors (available in six packs at Lowes), a flat mount hanger (also at Lowes), 1/4 inch mdf, construction adhesive and caulking gun, black spray paint, a couple extra small pieces of 1/4 inch mdf, a drill, and a glass of wine.

Why a glass of wine? Because with beveled mirror tiles plans never go perfectly so you just need to take a deep breath (or gulp) and work with what you have. Part of DIY being therapeutic is to roll with the punches and accept imperfection.

Step 1: Get mdf cut to one inch less in length and width than your desired size of end product (for me, 3 feet 11 inches by 2 feet 11 inches). Having the mirror be larger than the mdf makes it so that you don’t end up seeing the mdf at the corners when it is hanging.

Step 2: Use a long narrow piece of 1/4 mdf and glue it with construction adhesive to the back of the large piece of mdf, flush with the top edge. A 1/2 inch board of mdf for the whole mirror would be too visible and heavy once it is mounted, so I added that second layer at the top to provide enough grab for the screws used with the mounting hardware.  Also glue two small random pieces near the bottom of the board so it will hang straight.

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This shows the two pieces of mdf that I put at the bottom to keep the board flat when hanging

This shows the two pieces of mdf that I put at the bottom to keep the board flat when hanging

Step 3: Place mounting hardware flush at the top of the piece of mdf on top of the added piece and use a marker to mark where the screw holes are.

Step 4: Pre-drill holes to prevent mdf from splitting then screw hardware into place (it’s fine if you drill all the way through the mdf, you won’t see it when the mirror is finished).

Step 5: Screw mounting hardware into pre-drilled holes.

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Step 6: Line up the first row of mirrors flush with the top edge of the mdf. Draw a grid to show approximately where your mirrors will be placed.

Step 7: Use black paint, spray or other, to paint the lines you have drawn. This is to make the space between the mirrors, that despite your best efforts you cannot eliminate, less obvious.

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Step 8: Have a glass of wine and let the paint dry

Step 9: Apply a moderate amount of construction adhesive to each square at the top edge of the board. For this row set up the mirror tiles so they are flush with the top of the board. This will give you a straight line for the rest of your tiles. Have the first and last tile in the row hang a half inch over the side of the board.

The construction adhesive takes a while to dry so you have lots of time to get the tiles where you want them to be.

The construction adhesive takes a while to dry so you have lots of time to get the tiles where you want them to be.

Step 10: Allow the construction adhesive time to do its thing. It is best to do the next rows once the previous row is solidly in place so you don’t mess up your straight line. You can also use books or other heavy-ish objects to keep the sides and corners of the mirrors flat against the mdf while the adhesive sets.

Step 11: Continue with the second row in the same manner, lining up as best as possible. It will not be perfect and there will be gaps, but with the black paint in between the mirrors the gaps are not obvious once hung. Continue with each row once the previous has adhered.

Step 12: Attach the other half of the flush mount hanger to the wall then hang the mirror up and you’re done!

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Copy Cat: My Wall of China

Space is a blessing but takes money to fill. Now that we have so much more wall space in our townhouse I’ve been trying to find inexpensive ways to beautify the walls.  As Fall rapidly approaches I have particularly been looking for ways to brighten up the two walls that compose our dining area.

I love DIY but I’m not really one to come up with my own ideas. One of the great things about following other bloggers in the inspiration I glean from their projects. One blog I follow is Kate’s Creative Space. I firmly believe this woman is a creative genius. I was recently inspired by her “Great Wall of China” and decided to try something similar in an awkward little nook in our dining area. I am not quite as adventurous as she is so it is a tamed version of her project.

Kate's "Great Wall of China"

Kate’s “Great Wall of China”

I spent several days this week dragging my children through Salvation Army in order to find old china dishes (and two dollar kid’s puzzles). My goal was to look past any unsightly designs and look for beautiful shapes since I planned on spray painting them all white for a uniform look. I scored with some “gorgeous” and inexpensive pieces.

Savings for me and money for the Salvation Army. It's a good deal.

Some of the plates before being painted. I ended up buying many more to fill the space.

I loved the way the looked stacked like this. I was almost tempted to glue them together and put them in a shadow box. A different idea for a different project.

I loved the way they look stacked like this. I was almost tempted to glue them together and put them in a shadow box. A different idea for a different project.

I have always thought that hanging china on walls looked lovely but felt that it was a bit too traditional or country in style for my home which is a bit more modern eclectic. However, I feel that painting the china white and hanging it on a white wall modernizes the look and fits into the overall decor of my home.

We tried out our "new" dining room on some friends for a dinner party.

We tried out our “new” dining room on some friends for a dinner party.

A close up of some of my favorite plates.

A close up of some of my favorite plates.

Having the plates go so far up the wall really visually increases the height of the ceilings in the dining area and makes it feel special.

Having the plates go so far up the wall really visually increases the height of the ceilings in the dining area and makes it feel special.

The total cost of this project was about $100. I expected it to be less but there was much more wall to fill than I originally realized. If I had realized I would need so many plates, I would have bought more inexpensive pieces to start with. None-the-less, I’m impressed with the amount of impact I was able to get based on the money spent. Thank you Kate!

If you are interested in doing a similar project all you need is plates, matte spray paint, and 3M Command velcro strips. Check out Kate’s Creative Space  for more directions.

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