Finishing this room has been a long time coming! When we moved into our house last September, it was a space that I was very excited about decorating from the get-go. I pictured us throwing lots of dinner parties and hosting friends (lol, little did I know). I pictured it as a bustling hub of our home.
But the pandemic hit and it became very low on our priority list.
After being home for so long last spring/summer, we realized that the wall between our kitchen and dining room was really closing off the flow of the house and we had the idea to knock it down to make our entire first floor feel bigger.
That kicked off a project that ended up being so so so much fun to complete. I know this design is different and not what you usually see everywhere. It’s not for everyone but Anel and I love it so much and feel so lucky that we get to live here. Now that it’s attached to our kitchen and is filled with so many happy colors and patterns, it feels like the true heart of our home.
It’s also the first thing you see when you walk into our house and I love that it tells such a fun story about our family. We love color and design but don’t take ourselves too seriously. We care about our surroundings but we aren’t fussy about it.
Let me take you through the proesss…
The first step was calling our contractor to find out if it was a support wall or not (of course, it was) and what the price would be to knock it down and reinforce. They came up with a really cool solution (I couldn’t explain it if you paid me) to put beams in the walls and keep a beam on top which just looks like a little drop in the ceiling to keep the cost down. Because we haven’t traveled anywhere in so long, we took our 2020 travel budget and moved it to this project and it ended up staying within budget.
We had to move some electricity and refinish a small area of the floor, but it was fairly minimal work. Until Anel had the idea to add a pantry and open up the archway between the front door and the dining room last-minute. We haven’t had a pantry in this house, and he realized that we could cut our coat closet in half (we only used a portion of it) and create a small pantry. That was the best decision ever because now we can store Bootsie’s food and backstock in our kitchen.
So the wall came down, the pantry went in, and it was time to really think about how we wanted to design the space. Dana, who had been helping us with our bedroom (sharing that next week) had some thoughts throughout the process so I brought her in to get the job done. And get it done she did!
The one thing I had in the room that I knew I wanted to keep was the Volim Te artwork that my friend Kerri Rosenthal (a local artist) painted for me and Anel as a housewarming gift. Volim Te means I love you in Bosnian and it’s such a cool, one-of-a-kind piece that I wanted it to be one of the first things you see when you walk into our house. Which now you do!
We designed everything around that piece in a way.
Ceiling & Walls
Originally I wanted to wallpaper the room but with the wall down, there was no good place to end the paper since one of the walls goes directly into the kitchen wall. So instead, Dana had the super cool idea to paint the ceiling the same color light blue as our front door, Curator Paints Strandhill. The paint color can be hard to find, so for anyone local, you can buy the paint at Ring’s End. And if you’re not local, they ship now too!
The walls are painted in Benjamin Moore Decorator’s White which is the white we use throughout our house.
To draw in the ceiling color even further, Dana suggested getting a giant light fixture custom-painted to be the centerpiece of the space. She introduced me to Stray Dog Designs and we picked their Willow light which is one of the most beautiful chandeliers I’ve ever seen. It feels like a true work of art. You can send them any color of paint and they can customize any of their fixtures.
It’s huge but it’s super light so it was easy to install. It’s botanical, whimsical, modern, and very special.
Table & Chairs
I had this weird obsession with finding a white oval table and found this oval table from Pottery Barn on sale for a good price and went for it. It has exceeded my expectations because it doesn’t scratch, it’s super easy to clean, and it’s very sturdy. I highly recommend it as a family table if you have kids.
I had seen a picture of these cane chairs on Instagram and searched high and low but they were sold out everywhere. I eventually found two (with the help of Krista) on Facebook Marketplace and snatched them up. Then four more became available on Target and I snatched them up in a day before they sold out again. It was worth the stress, I love them so much! They’re really comfy and deep but the height of the backs fits perfectly with the table. We might eventually have cushions made for them but for now, they’re great as is.
The pink and blue rug was a vintage find from one of my favorite Instagram follows, New England Loom. They post new rugs every Sunday and I bought this in two seconds when it went up. I had nowhere to put it but I knew it would fit into our home somewhere. When the wall came down, we decided to test it in the dining room and it looked perfect, but a little bit too small.
So Dana had the idea to layer it with another neutral rug underneath to give it more texture and size. Annie Selke generously gifted us a striped jute rug that was the perfect addition in size, color, and texture.
While we’re here with this photo, I have to mention the dog bed that Anel found for Bootsie. He loves to be near us so he spends his time curled up in this sweet basket bed when we’re in the kitchen or dining room.
I previously had a small dresser with low drawers to house things like napkins, plates, vases, etc. It didn’t really fit with the room (we moved it to another space) and I wanted a bigger console for the back wall. I had had my eye on this grasscloth one from Society Social since the day they launched it and finally had an excuse to buy it! It’s couldn’t be more perfect.
It’s beautiful, simple, and holds all of the things I wanted to keep in our dining room.
Curtains were actually the hardest piece of the puzzle to fit in. We had the blue ceiling/light and the blue and pink carpet and I didn’t want to bring in too many other colors because I thought it might start to look a little circusy. Dana and I must have looked at 50 fabric samples before settling on this super cool tiger-print fabric from a sustainably-focused female-owned brand, Pepper Home. We wanted the look of double-wide curtains because it feels more luxe, so we got the fabric and had them made locally.
That said, Pepper Home also sells custom sized curtains for way less than they would be if you had them made yourself. I love their whimsical patterns and the fact that they don’t look like everything else out there these days.
Big thanks to Pepper Home for gifting us their fabric!
I already mentioned the Kerri Rosenthal piece, but there are a few other amazing pieces of art in this room. First up, the vintage prints that used to hang above the fireplace in our family room. They were kind of hidden and tucked away but I always wanted them to be front and center in our home because I love them so much.
They were hanging in a local store owned by a friend of mine (it has since closed) and every time I walked in, I would stare at them longingly. Sadly they were way out of my price range. When she shut down the store, she offered them to me for a majorly discounted price and I immediately went for it. I don’t know what it is that draws me to them but Anel, Amalia, and I all love them.
Last but not least, we have two Gray Malin prints hanging on either side of the window. You guys know by now how much I love him both personally and artistically and I love his art in our home. Both prints are from his Palm Beach collection and the colors work perfectly with the Kerri Rosenthal and everything else in the room.
There is a lot going on in here so I wanted to keep the accents to a minimum. This oversized blue and white bowl is what I keep out on the table when we’re not using it. I needed something low but big enough to feel to scale with the light and it’s a perfect size.
On the console, we used a pretty ginger jar from Cailini Coastal, my favorite candlesticks, and two light blue lamps that Dana found at a flea market that we turned into what look like ginger jars. It’s perfectly simple and clean.
Before & After Photos
First, let’s start with the listing photo for the house. You can really see how blocked off the room was with that wall to the right
This one below I love. You can see how we also opened up that archway that goes between the dining room and the front door which was a last-minute decision that made a world of difference.
Next up you can see the wall from the other side in the kitchen. This was right before we knocked it down. The after photo isn’t the exact same angle but pretty close.
A few notes from Dana
I asked Dana to answer a few quick questions about designing the space just for fun!
What is your favorite part of this room? The use of Julia’s “signature shade” of blue and the way it’s represented in the ceiling color and chandelier and accented in the beautiful drapery and decor.
What was your biggest challenge in designing this room? The seamless flow to the kitchen. While an open floor plan is great, it’s often a challenge to create a definition of space. The decision to paint the ceiling here really gives the space it’s own unique identity while also speaking to the aesethtic of the other rooms in the same sightline.
Anything else you want to add? Don’t be afraid to pivot from your original plan. We initially planned to wallpaper the room but b/c there was no natural “break” into the kitchen, so we switched gears and used color and pattern elsewhere to give it personality. Also, always add something vintage (i.e. the rug!)
All Dining Room Details & Links
Design: Collaboration between Dana of Molly Patton Design and myself
Contractor: Chris from O Living Experience
Pottery Barn Table
Safavieh Cane Chairs (currently back-ordered everywhere)
Vintage Rug via New England Loom
Annie Selke Jute Rug (gifted)
Society Social Console
Stray Dog Designs Chandelier
Ceiling Paint: Curator Paints Strandhill
Wall Paint: Benjamin Moore Decorator’s White
Curtain Fabric: Pepper Home (gifted)
Ballard Designs Curtain Rod
Gray Malin Car Print (gifted)
Gray Malin Pool Print
Vintage Cirus Prints
Kerri Rosenthal Custom Art (gift from the artist)
Blue and White Bowl
Monkey Candlesticks (Bought locally but I found them online here and here)
Vintage Light Blue Ginger Jars (similar here)
Old Caitlin Wilson Pillows (similar from Etsy)
Old Society Social Bar Cart (similar)
Design Dua Dog Bed
Photos by Julia Dags.