Robin Flies South...

A blog about decorating and tablescaping with an emphasis on creativity and smart shopping over cash!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Builders Box to "Tropical Spice" Dining Room

Welcome to my first post on Metamorphosis Monday hosted by Susan at Between Naps on the Porch.  Almost a year ago, my husband and I bought a new construction single story home in Florida.  This is the fourth house we have purchased and the only one that is brand spanking new.  What a treat not to have to undo other people's questionable tastes and upgrades.   A blank slate to start fresh!

Today I am showing you the changes we made to the Formal Dining Room.  It's at the front of the house off an arched entrance way and has ten foot ceilings.  According to the builder's floor plan, this 12' by 14' room was supposed to be the living room. The dimensions are small but it's just big enough for us.   While we were house hunting we saw a house decorated in what I call the colors of spices.   My husband (wait a minute, this is blogland so is he Mr. Flies South?) and I agreed we would use those colors in our new house.  I had a pillow from our old house that had all the colors we wanted to use.  An inspiration is born!

I know what you're saying "I've seen that pattern at Walmart!".  I have several pillows in this pattern and 4 curtain panels, bought  at Ross for substantially less.  Only I would knock-off Walmart!  They were bought to stage our previous house and had all the right colors.  We chose to paint the walls "Woodland" by Valspar but the painter used Sherwin Williams paint.  We had 4 rooms painted before we even closed on the house.  I highly recommend painting before moving in, if at all possible.  I also recommend  finding an inspiration piece before you start decorating.  I can take this pillow into any room in my house and it coordinates nicely.   You don't have to use fabric. Use a piece of art, or as some designers suggest,  look at your wardrobe to see what colors you are drawn to and will want to live with everyday.  It's tempting to use the "it" color but this can make a house look dated eventually.  Use the trendy colors for accents that can be changed down the road.

Now we needed furniture.  Here is my suggestion on dining room furniture, especially if it won't be used often.  Unless you have the budget for a quality new set,  see what you can find used.  Even if you would never consider buying used this should be your one exception.  Remember that it doesn't all have to match either.  It's more interesting that way.  We looked at new and it was very expensive and not particularly well made but it did give us a chance to find a style we could agree on.  I started pouring over the Craigslist Ads and one popped up on a Friday afternoon.  We called right away, went to see it and left a deposit that evening.  The woman was asking $750 for a table with leaf, 6 armchairs, a lighted china cabinet and a side table(and yes, it does all match but that's what she was selling!)  If people are asking a reasonable amount, I offer to pay them full price.  If not, I will certainly negotiate.  More times than not, it works.  We didn't even measure it but I suggest you do since it's not really returnable. 

Next we needed a chandelier.  I fell in love with this one from Pottery Barn.

But my budget sent me to this one from Ebay for around $80!

Time for some artwork. I was able to use a plaque from our old house and a new purchase from Beall's Outlet.
I like to have another light source in the dining room so I found this lamp at Tuesday Morning for less than $30 and added a tassel to the switch (because I can't leave well enough alone!)
Remember I mentioned I had curtain panels?  They were 84" long and I wanted to hang the rod close to the ceiling to accentuate the height of the room.  I don't sew but I can fabric glue with the best of them.  First I hung a small rod so that the first panel would puddle nicely on the floor.  Then I took the second panel and folded it in half and glued it together (not only do I not sew I don't really like scissors either!).  I bought an inexpensive rod and hung the folded piece as a valance covering the top of the bottom piece.  I didn't want to cover the window and I have 2" wood blinds for privacy and light control. 

I had a wooden piece that I spray painted Oil Rubbed Bronze (of course) and hung it below the rod to fill the space above the top of the window. 

This wine rack is similar to the chandelier with the leaves and "crystals"  It's from Ross and was around $8. 

I love having a china cabinet and changing around the display in it.  All you need are some plate holders to achieve a pleasing display of your favorite things.  The white soup tureen in the middle was from a thrift store for $4!

Finally, the after!  I picked up a silk tree (I have bad luck with real plants!) off Craigslist for $25 and a bronze metal folding tray from Ross for under $20 for extra serving space (important if you like to tablescape!)
Thanks for stopping by and thank you to Susan for hosting this event.  As you can see it doesn't take a lot of money to capture the "tropical" look I was after,  We have had several dinners here in the past 6 months and look forward to more with family and friends.  And of course, there are more things I would like to do in this room.  Maybe plantation shutters?  Crown molding?  Or how about this for the ceiling? Let me know what you think.

**I am obviously not a professional decorator (and I never played one on TV either) but I am trying to share my experiences with those who may be interested.  I rarely have an original idea but happily borrow from any source I can.  I would love to hear your comments and tell me what inspires you and where you get your ideas from.  Have a great week!

 I am also linking to the Newbie Party at

I am joining Thrifty Decor Chick for Show Us Your Dining Rooms!


Patti said...

Beautiful! Love the color and the drapery fabric is stunning!

Carrie said...

You have done a terific job of decorating your new home! Your dining room furniture was a wonderful find, as was the chandilier. I had to keep looking back and forth at the two pictures to detect any difference between the two chandilier designs--truly a great buy.
Thanks for stopping by my blog and for your lovely comment.

Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

Great job, Robin! It looks fantastic! I have a similar color in my current dining room {we are prepping to move}. Love the chandelier and what a great substitute for the PB one you really liked. You can't beat the price.

visiting from Met Monday. : )

⚜ ↁℯℬℬᴵℰ⚜@ Debbiedoos blogging and blabbing said...

Welcome to blogging! Glad you found my newbie party. PLEASE add my link or button as well. I love your dining room. Very warm and has that tuscan feel.

Anonymous said...

Love the chandelier! Great find! Found you via Debbiedoo's. Tootles, Kathryn

Mandy P said...

Absolutely beautiful! Love your taste and how you do everything low cost. Very inspirational! :)