Dining Room & Entryway — Finally Ready To Get Started!

Hello, all!  It’s been a slow DIY week around the house, which is why it’s been a slow week on the blog.  These soaring temperatures (up to 107 degrees on Monday and Tuesday, with the heat index up to 109 degrees) has really zapped my energy and motivation.  But I still managed to get my piano almost finished.  I should be able to get the last three parts painted today.  I can’t wait to show you how it turned out next week!  I think you’ll be surprised.  😉

Now that I’ve had a week to just focus on something fun, I think I’m about ready to jump into my entryway and dining room projects with both feet.  I stuck my toe into the shallow end of the water with my buffet makeover, but now it’s time to dive into the deep end.  It’s time to get serious and start getting things done.

Unfortunately, that means starting with the not-so-fun projects, like taping and mudding my ceiling, and repairing my walls.

dining room ceiling 6

Ugh.  Words cannot adequately express how much I loathe taping and mudding drywall, but it must be done.  And since I’m not willing to pay someone else to do it, that only leaves one option — I do it myself.

When it comes to projects I hate doing, I always try to motivate myself with some sort of reward, and that generally has to do with decorating since that’s my favorite part of the process. So I keep telling myself that I just need to get in there and take care of the ceiling, because as soon as I do that, I can hang my dining room chandelier.  Remember my chandelier?

It’s been sitting in a box for months, just waiting to be installed. So finally getting to hang this chandelier in my dining room will be my reward for tackling the dreaded job of taping and mudding.  That makes it just a tiny bit less awful.

Anyway, my dining room and entryway plan are pretty much in place, but I do keep going back and forth on what to do with the entryway wall.  Remember the original four ideas I had?  All of the stripe options are out because I decided to use stripes on my draperies.  Anaglypta is out because when it came right down to it, I just didn’t like it enough to actually spend money on it.  My favorite was the Schumacher Bird & Butterflies wallpaper, which I almost decided on, but then decided I actually like it too much to just put it on the upper part of the entryway wall.  So as you know by now, I’ve decided to use that design on all of my music room walls.

So I’m back to the drawing board on the entryway wall.  I’ve decided that whatever goes there, I do want it to be more on the subtle side, rather than something really eye-catching, like the black and white stripes would have been.  And the more I think about it, the more I’m really leaning towards the recessed panels on the whole wall, not just the lower part like I did in the bathroom.  So it would look more like the sections on either side of the fireplace in this picture, with the lower section coming up to about chair rail height, and the upper section going to the ceiling (you have to imagine it without the vaulted ceiling, of course)…

Traditional Living Room by Kennesaw Interior Designers & Decorators Kandrac & Kole Interior Designs, Inc.

Here’s another example.  That same concept was used on the walls of this dining room, but you can more easily see it on the left wall…

Traditional Dining Room by Roswell Home Builders Ashton Woods

So that’s pretty much what I have my heart set on.  It’s pretty, and will set that wall apart from the others, but won’t be so busy or eye-catching that it’ll be too much with the birds and trees on my music room walls.

But rather than have it all painted white, I’d like to do something different inside the recessed panels.  I’ve been thinking that all of the walls in the dining room and entry will be painted white, but I’m reconsidering.  Now I’m thinking it might be nice to use a very light/bright neutral color — something with just enough color so that it’s still light, but doesn’t look white, so that it offers some contrast from my white moulding and trim.  And then on the entryway wall, I’ll use that wall color inside the recessed panels.  Again, it’ll be very neutral and subtle, but just enough to so that it’s not just a big white wall.  I’d still love to find a grasscloth that will work inside those recessed panels, but I’ve been to Sherwin Williams twice now, with all of my fabric and paint samples in tow, and looked through all of their grasscloth books, but I still can’t find anything that will work.  I did find one at Lowe’s, but it was really expensive.  I might just have to splurge on that, since I’ve had my heart set on using grasscloth somewhere in that room since the day we closed on our house.

I’m so looking forward to seeing these rooms come together.  And if it looks anything like the image in my mind, I think I’ll be really happy with it.  I was searching for something the other day on my blog, and came across the pictures of my first attempt in this room, back when I wanted to turn it into a living room.

living room with all big projects finished - 1

It’s so strange to look at that room.  It just isn’t me at all.  It’s like I was decorating for someone else, but certainly not for myself.  Once the new design is in place, it’ll be interesting to go back and see how it compares to this first attempt.  I’m pretty sure it’ll be a night and day difference. The new design is certain to be much more me.



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  1. I thought it looked great when you did the painted “faux” grass cloth; you might consider it again. Just doing it inside the moulding would mean not having to do “seams”.

  2. Hi Kristi: I sent you a link the other day of a treatment that I think you will love. I sent it through your ask a question link. I can’t remember the link or I would just post it here. Hopefully you can find it and take a look. It is sooooo you. Looking forward to the next projects.

    1. You enter through the entryway and the dining room is off to the right. I’ve seen this configuration over and over on Houzz, so it doesn’t seem strange to me at all any more.

  3. Just a thought on the dreaded mud and tape…have you used the quick dry mud? 3 coats can be finished in one day. Awesome stuff.

  4. I’m so excited to see the piano and then the music room with that gorgeous paper! Love your newest idea for the entry. I think maybe I’d initially go ahead and paint it out all in one color – I think you’ll be surprised at it’s understated elegance and there’ll be no fighting with all that you have going on in the DR and music room and those beautiful doors. Gives the eye a place to rest while it takes in the adjoining rooms. Just my two cents – I know that in the end, you’ll come up with something stunning!

  5. You had made such an amazing work on your attempt to paint a fake grasscloth wall – is that out of the picture?

  6. Can’t wait to see the finished product, especially the piano. Don’t have any suggestions for you. I’m not good with color but am learning from you and Thrift Diving, and am giving a lot of thought to my next project. You two are so brave with color and I think it’s rubbing off on me! Thanks.

  7. Kristi, it’s nice to see that you are decorating for yourself again! Since this is the first room you will enter, you want it to bring happy feelings:). I really look forward to seeing your vision unfold in this room.

        1. I actually said a little blurb at the end of a post, and said something on my Facebook page. So there’s not an entire post about it. 🙂 It’s under contract right now, so we’re just waiting for closing day and hoping everything goes smoothly until then.

  8. Grasscloth suggestion; once upon a time I used really cheap, thin, matchstick blinds in place of grasscloth wallpaper. I glued them up and then painted over them, it looked pretty good.
    You remind me of my youthful enthusiasm and ambition…I wanted “the look” but didn’t have the money.

  9. I “just” saw another blogger earlier this week who re-did her whole main living area similar to the very first inspiration photo. It was stunning. I’m sure your soft neutral color will be a lovely accent (because I’ve yet to see you decorate a room I haven’t been inspired by!).

    Your living room photo seems so formal. Again, it is very pretty, but you don’t come across as a terribly formal person on your blog. 🙂

  10. Kristi, speaking of stripes, what is going on with the big square “hallway” that you were painting stripes in?

    1. That’s what I refer to as the music room, and where my piano sits. I had so much fun doing that striped wall treatment, but sadly I decided I didn’t like it. I think it was just a bit too formal looking. I prefer lighthearted and colorful. So that’s where I’ll do my DIY version of the Schumacher wallpaper with the birds and trees (no butterflies).

    1. Oh goodness, that couch is indestructible. 😀 I know people thought I was crazy for painting that sofa, but it’s amazingly easy to keep clean, and it’s incredibly durable.

      1. I thought it was a great idea from the get go.. I was worried about a possible bleed through because of your light color but apparently that wasn’t a problem. I rescued a huge salmon colored faux suede ottoman from the sidewalk, very 80s and am going to give the painting idea a try. Since it was a freebie, it’s super low risk and great for a starter project. It will probably end up being a cozy spot for cats so they are very accepting of anything comfy!

  11. I may be opening a can of worms here, but if grasscloth wallpaper is textured, could you just buy white and paint it whatever color you want?

    1. I could, but I think part of the appeal of grasscloth for me isn’t just the texture, but also all of the very subtle (or not so subtle, depending on the particular grasscloth) color variations throughout, since it’s actually made from natural fibers. It’s hard to replicate that with paint.

  12. Kristi,
    Here is a great hint on drywalling, given to us by a pro.

    Use wet/damp burlap to smooth your drywall mud instead of sanding.

    We nearly drowned in drywall mud dust when we mud and taped ourselves. This hint made all the difference in the world.. when the burlap “fills” just rinse it in a five gallon bucket with water in it and it is ready to go. You get a satin smooth finish with no imperfections.
    Good luck!

  13. How about another wood ceiling? If you are concerned that it will be too dark, use an treatment on it.

  14. Just throwing this out there in the mix of ideas – Use the same color paint with different finishes (i.e. matte, satin, glossy) for subtleness on the entryway recessed panel walls.

  15. Excited to see the piano! I think your entry, dining and music room will turn out great! So excited to watch it all unfold.

    1. What an odd thing to say!

      You’ve obviously just stumbled across this blog and decided to make an off the cuff remark without any real insight or background information to base it on.

    2. That comment is so uncalled for, how about you? Why are you reading this blog? A blog isn’t for the negative people of the world, they are for those who want to learn about the person who is writing the blog, not only the subject at hand, but the personality, character, the person him or herself, the author of the blog.
      What your comment says about you is that it seems like your life is surrounded by giving negative comments on the internet… so the same thing applies to you… get a life….

  16. I absolutely love the floor to ceiling done in recessed molding and white. Truly understated elegance that is so versatile. I agree with another’s comment to wait after you paint it out before adding another color. I like someone else’s idea of a different finish in same color … what about a suede paint? Never worked with it, but looks pretty cool. Obviously I have no original ideas since another mentioned planking the ceiling and after seeing your bathroom ceiling, that’s another awesome look!

  17. Slightly off the subject but curious…when I try to paint in high heat and off the chart humidity my paint sets up way too quickly and stays tacky forever. Did you do something special when painting your piano?