Sunday, October 20, 2013

Our new dining room

This year will be the first time that Bryan, Annie, and I get to host a holiday! Both sides of our family are coming into town for 4 days of feasting and merriment at Thanksgiving. We feel so lucky to have a home big enough to hold everyone, but one thing we were severely lacking...dining space.

When we bought our house, it technically had three living room-type spaces. A den and formal living room on the main level, and a great big comfy family room downstairs. But we had so little furniture that, while we did lots of living in the den (and eventually bought a sectional for the basement family room, the "formal living room" sat vacant. Like... totally empty. Meanwhile, the adjoined dining room was a small 10'x11' that could barely contain our 4-person table.

So we decided to do a little shuffling and get rid of the formal living room. It would become the new (much bigger) dining space, and the family desk and a couple sitting chairs turned the old dining room into a small office of sorts. The furniture moving part was quite simple--we just also needed to have an electrician come wire some overhead lighting in the new dining room.

I hemmed and hawed over finding the perfect chandelier to fill up the vertical space in the new dining room. There seemed to be hundreds of possibilities, but only one I kept coming back to. The Armonk Chandelier by Pottery Barn. The trouble was, it was $400. So I waited and kept looking, until one day, the lighting gods smiled upon me and Armonk was discounted 25%. Still not the cheapest thing ever, but I went for it knowing I'd be getting exactly what I had envisioned for the space.

Here is Mr. Armonk the night we got him, hanging over the small table that barely fit into the "old dining room." It was almost 9pm by the time it was installed, so you'll have to forgive the photo that looks like it was taken by an iPhone in the dark... because it was.

But obviously, moving our old table into a bigger room wasn't going to provide the eating space we wanted for large groups (and hosting 2 families for Thanksgiving was what sparked this whole switcheroo in the first place). Though I loved the look of a great big farm table, an average $1,000+ retail price was an absolute "no." When I stumbled across the plans for the Farmhouse Table on Ana White, I brought the idea up to Bryan. What did we have to lose? 

We vowed to spend less than $200 on materials, and decided that if the table somehow turned out hideously, we could put it on the back deck as a picnic table and then reevaluate our dining room options. Luckily for us... 6 hours of labor and $120 in materials later, we were standing in front of this beautiful piece of furniture, amazed that somehow WE MADE THIS?!?!

The table came inside last weekend, and we have already enjoyed many meals in our new dining room. I l-o-v-e how massive it is-- the way the big table, big chairs, and the big chandelier look like they were made for each other. And the best part? With a few extra chairs, everyone will have a seat at the table this Thanksgiving!

The room still has a long way to go. I hung some (empty) frames on the back wall to help, but we're hoping to build a hutch for another empty wall, and perhaps find a large jute rug to tie everything together. But those are goals for a different day. For now, we're content to do our happy dance around the beautiful table we made (Did I mention we're crazy proud of this thing?).


  1. Oh I love it!! It looks so good Erin! I have always loved farmhouse tables but never thought I could actually build one. The tutorial makes it seem pretty simple! I may have just been inspired.

    1. Thanks, Laura! It was seriously so much easier than I would have imagined. Plus, Bryan and I discovered a hobby we can do together! You can have them cut all the lumber at Home Depot so all you need to do is assemble it. Let me know if you try!

      <3 Erin