Once the kitchen renovation was finished, I had the reno-bug.  And anyone who has renovated before knows that when you start renovating an older home it becomes hard to find a good stopping point.  Literally, one project leads to another.  In the case of our kitchen remodel, we had to move the doorway leading into the formal dining room.  The old doorway was patched up with sheet rock and left.  That hideous wall was a glaring eye sore when you entered our home. It was accentuated by the dark floral wallpaper that surrounded the unfinished spot.  So I was very eager to have this room updated.

Original dining room, with new doorway and patched up wall

For my daughter’s birthday party, I decorated the blank spot on the wall, and used it as a backdrop for photos with her friends

My mother-in-law decided to leave the beautiful mahogany dining set, hutch, antique grandfather clock, and a marble topped buffet table, as she did not have a need for it in her new home.  I was glad to accept it since we did not have a formal dining set. In addition, I love old family furniture because they come with memories and stories of times and people of the past: Christmas dinners, birthday celebrations, and important guests.

Antique buffet

Antique grandfather clock restored by my husband’s grandfather

As you can see from the photo the original room, it had a traditional brass chandelier, dark floral paper above the chair rail and a lighter vinyl paper on the lower part of the wall.  The doorway into the room was narrow and low.  My vision for the room was light, bright, and soft.  I again engaged Margie Moss from the Joplin Decorating Center for help bringing my vision to light, as well as Steve Willey from Willey Construction.

The face lift started with opening up the doorway to elevate the height and expand the width of the opening to give a more open airy feel as you enter the home.  I planned to add two custom leaded sidelights I had designed on either side of the opening.  Then we added paneled wainscoting to the lower portion of the walls, light boxes in the corners of the room, and new crown molding all around the perimeter of the ceiling.

Margie and I coordinated the color scheme for the room: soft blues and earthy greens and burnt oranges.  We picked a rug and coordinated the grass cloth for the walls, the ceiling color, and fabrics for the window treatments and reupholstered chairs.  I just absolutely love the fabric for the armed chairs.   I picked a beautiful, handmade, oblong chandelier with a warm, muted, gold leaf finish from the Fine Art Lamps Beveled Arcs Collection.  It was a pricey selection, but after looking at it for 4 years, I still love it! It is like an ornament I get to leave up year round!

Today the room is still not completely finished.  I decided to wait on art for the walls until my husband and I found the perfect pieces from our travels, art shows, or gallery openings.  I believe whole heartedly in collecting for our home over a lifetime instead of buying it all at once. So we are still looking.  However, we have added some family portraits, including a beautiful portrait of my grandmother, and a unique sculpture by Linda Ganstrom we bought at a local gallery.  The portrait of my grandmother, was taken in former Yugoslavia at the beginning of World War II.  I had the original frame restored but also added another frame around it to jazz it up.  Isn’t she beautiful?   Our sculpture, titled Aimee, has perfect coloring for our room, and her attitude is a hilarious way to welcome guest’s into our formal dining room!

Danica Oksevski, year 1940

Aimee by Linda Granstrom

More to come for the Brown House in the Woods including:

– renovation and expansion of our back deck with a towering fireplace, multiple level, sprial staircase, and a built in hot tub in the tree tops!

– redecorating additional rooms including our living room and kids’ rooms

– renovation of our front entryway both interior and exterior.

– major landscaping renovation including a tiered playground, waterfalls, walking paths with stone bridges, and a water wheel.

– the addition of two buildings: a luxurious master retreat and a rustic man barn.

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