Category Archives: Farmhouse Chic

Urban Farmhouse: The dining room

This marks the beginning of a potential new series – a little insight into the making of my little farmhouse in the city, as I like to call it. Virtually, you’ve been in my yard. You’ve been out on the patio and even out to the alley, where the compost is. So it’s high time I invite you inside. And really, it’s not a total digression. I’ve been working on creating some unity between the exterior and the interior of the place where I spend so much time, bringing the outside in. The food may grow outside, but it spends quite a bit of time inside in its transformation from living organism to sustenance. Plus, winter is upon us and my weekly garden musings will be few. And frankly, I need a little fall and winter blog inspiration. So, I hope you’ll allow me this little detour.

First, you should know that no wall in my house has ever been white…until now. The dining room has gone through several transformations over the years, usually reflecting my latest passion or interest. I moved into the house after a blissful trip to Antigua, Guatemala and was on a mission to recreate the colorful hacienda feel I experienced there. I painted a hutch that came with the house and my mom’s old table and chairs blue with calla lilies on them to go with my Latin theme. You know I never do anything half-assed. My passion for Spanish most definitely influenced my decorating style and with the help of my very talented Aunty Becky, who has her own interior design business, I always chose the boldest colors. She loved that.

But as time wore on, I yearned for something a little more organic. An ambience that better matched the lifestyle I was embracing. And since food was at the center of that personal transformation, the kitchen and dining room were the place to start. I chose a mostly white and cream pallet to create a sense of openness.

We put up white beadboard, or wainscoting, around the entire dining room, kitchen, and hallway to make the whole space feel like part of one room. I was lucky to already have beautiful, thick white moulding at the floor. A little bit of my aunt’s art work dons the wall to give the look of exposed bricks.

Ultimately, it would become a neutral background for the red, yellow, and blue accents, namely the colbalt tile that dons every countertop surface in my kitchen. And except for a few choice purchases, such as the polka dot pyrex bowls and my caribbean blue dutch oven, most of the details were already mine – they just got a little face lift. Like the hutch, table, and chairs.

The rug was a new purchase and is one of my favorite parts of the room. I love how it defines the space. It makes the room way cozier too.

The chairs got some new cushions, which I made with mismatched, but coordinating red and yellow print fabrics. I love, love, love the color that brought to the room.

My artsy, interior decorator friend, Hollis, helped me rethink what went on the hutch. She had me pull out all my coolest and most colorful kitchen things and put them on the table. Then she went to town and made my things look cheerful and lovely. It’s amazing what color-coding things can do for a previously cluttered space – gives everything a colorful sense of order.

The bottom part of the hutch holds only glassware, mainly the countless empty mason jars that I accumulate until summer. It should be noted that originally, the hutch doors were solid. I remedied that with a quick trip to Al’s Glass. Changing out the knobs for clear glass ones gave the hutch the shabby chic vibe I was going for.

Some reclaimed fence wood from the ReStore became the wood frames for my artwork.

So there you have it – my dining room from start to finish. It’s amazing what a summer vacation and a little paint can do.

Finally Mine

Remember that shelf I posted about a few months ago? You know, the shabby chic-looking one on my Etsy wishlist with the built-in Mason jar vase?

Well, it has finally found its way to my wall thanks to my girl Radhi. And it’s the best birthday present ever! Every time I walk into the dining room and see it, I smile.

I stopped into Maxine’s down the street and bought a few stems, just so I could see what it will look like when it’s filled up with my summer blooms. I think it’s going to work out just fine.

P.S. According to Radhi, the artist that custom builds these shelves is super accommodating and awesome to work with. Did I mention they come in lots of other fun colors too? Just sayin’…

She knows me well

My girl, Radhi, gave me these fantastic placemats. We do have to give her husband, David, some credit though. Apparently, he spotted them while they were out and thought of me. They’re the best and they know me so well. The set of four includes a silhouette of a chicken, cow, sheep, and pig. Eating on those placemats this week made me smile.

When you spend so much time cooking, it’s nice to have a beautiful space to eat in. I made new seat covers for my farm house chairs. This time, instead of using the same fabric for all four chairs, I used a combination of four different coordinating fabrics, with patterns in red and yellow. It looks charming and more visually interesting than the old chairs.

I got all these fantastic fabrics at the fabric store in Portland, Bolt, you know I love. But to my delight, it was recently brought to my attention that we have a fabulous Bolt-like fabric store right here in town. It’s called Fabric Crush and it’s amazing! I felt like a kid in a candy store when I went in. Fabric Crush has all the modern, hip, colorful fabric you could ever want, so check out this amazing local business and craft something beautiful!