Our dining room is actually not a dining room. It is also my office, a hallway, a library, the way to the kitchen and where my favorite window seat is in the house. This room works hard. It is the oldest part of our house, so full of old world character, but it was difficult to know how to arrange and organize the room. I had to try to divide the space so that each area worked as I needed it, but I also wanted a natural, coherent feeling. To increase this challenge, there are only windows on one side, so the back of the room can get dark very quickly.
The previous owners used this room in a similar way to us because it was multifunctional for them too. They cleverly installed the double-sided wood burner when they expanded the house, which connected both sides of the wall well. This side is the original fireplace and the logs that were stacked high next to it, but it made more sense to have them in the living room. I had the perfect place to keep my beloved books. Space is tight, but I like that very much. It means that I regularly re-evaluate which books deserve a place and give away a lot to relieve my burden.
I knew I wanted a bright, simple room that felt comfortable, and this job made most of the furniture decisions for me. Adding a mirror to the back of the room reflects the light and reflects the view we are so thankful for. The dining table was the most difficult piece of furniture to find. After choosing a structured wooden farmhouse, I hunted high and low in websites, antique stores, and regular shops. I finally found this at Louisa Grace Interiors.
The legs were originally painted dark, but Louisa was happy to change that for me. I love the weathered patina top, though I’m tempted to lighten it up – but I’m too scared if I ruin it. I wouldn’t even know where to start, to be honest. If you have any tips, please let me know. The dining room chairs are all from HAY design Mixing the colors and styles, however, means that not everything looks too suitable. It was a trial and error to find chairs at the correct height for the table, and in the end we took a couple of inches from the table legs. The ceramic light hanging over the table came with the house and I have no idea who did it, but I’m so happy that we inherited it.
The whole room, stairs and windows are painted Loft white from Little Greene (for whom I received a press discount). I was very happy with the quality of this color and I love how environmentally friendly it is, but the color has always been a bit too blue, if I’m honest with myself. It’s been two years since we decorated this room and I’m ready to try again. I feel like I know the light better and I know my own style better. Although the room faces south and the light is warm, it can get dark quickly due to the light in the north of the UK. I think I’m going to switch to an oyster white instead and I really like the look of Farrow & Balls School house white.
Thanks to my experiments, the floor went through the alarm clock. It was this orange oak stained when we moved in. We sanded it and stained it dark – we all know what a mistake that was – then it was sanded again and stained in a light natural finish and I love it. The room feels so much bigger with a lighter floor. The ceiling beams are original and have been treated equally. Like the floor, I prefer it slightly, but I’m still glad I experimented. The only way to find out what we really like is to try things out.
In an ideal world, my office would be by the window where my desk could bathe in light, but since this is a main corridor and the space is narrow, it doesn’t make sense. I feel a bit like Harry Potter under the stairs, but I can’t deny its cosiness. My desk was difficult to find because the space dictated the size, but I found it on eBay and painted it on Annie Sloan Old white. My whole work lives here with the car on the side, which is filled with additional stationery and art supplies. I’ve added a desk lamp for more focused lighting, but frankly I’m most likely working at the table where I can really spread out and enjoy the view.
The entrance to the cottage is not even classified as a hallway, but we make the most of it by keeping it clear. I think clear entry is super important because it sets the tone of the house and can either welcome you or make you run into the mountains. We keep most of our coats and shoes upstairs to free up this space. The cloakroom on the door was a very cheap eBay find and is now buckled under the weight of coats. I have to replace it with something more stable. I think I’ll choose that Oak rails I love so much in other rooms around the house.
The front door was made of solid oak, but I had a carpenter take out part of the original door and replace it with glass to let in more light. It was a pleasure. I don’t think you can ever have too much light. The orange oak wasn’t really my style, so I painted the door Pavillion Gray and although I love how rural the light gray looks, I wish I had painted it cream-colored now and I think I will do it next time.
Having a separate dining room worried me at first because I really enjoyed an open dinner in our old house, but it didn’t bother me at all. I really like that you can’t see the kitchen clutter, and of course we always eat from our lap shells in the living room anyway. We only eat at the dining table when it is a special occasion or when we have guests.
As much as I love the window seat, it still doesn’t feel completely finished to me. I’m not sure if blinds or curtains are required to frame the view. Part of me thinks that it would benefit from a recess or a custom pillow to make it sit more comfortably. I’m not sure. As I move forward, I want to fill the floor of the room under the stairs with a built-in system that hides clutter and keeps shoes flat. Having shoes in the basket is driving me crazy and I want to keep them out of sight. I also considered an office instead of a desk so I can set up the storage space and let go of the car.
All this tinkering is what I love most about a slow approach to interior design. Nothing is ever finished and there is no rush to get it right. As soon as I realized that a home is never finished and I always want to tinker with things, the whole process became much more pleasant and meditative.
Hope you liked this little update and you’re curious!
If you want to learn more about my approach to interiors, read my e-book A Simplified Home – A Complete Guide To Troubleshoot And Design Your Home could be for you You’ll find more about it here.
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