Thursday, May 7, 2015

Dining Room Transformation

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This is our “dining” room in our house before we moved it. It was a formal space with no storage but very nicely composed. When we moved it, it became a dumping ground for all of the stuff we didn’t have room for in the kitchen. Mrs. Desiree gave us her old china cabinet, which is wonderful, but it isn’t the ideal storage for large platters and crystal serving ware I have accumulated over the years.
Also, the peach walls clash with the yellow-green carpet from days gone by. Even my short self cracks my head into the low hanging chandelier when I walk through. It was designed to be hung over a dining room table, so height wasn’t an issue. Unfortunately, we have never pulled the trigger and purchased a formal dining set.
Justin and I are nothing if not practical. We appreciate working together in the kitchen on various projects and even our spacious countertops get cluttered with kitchen appliances, decorative doo-dads, and snacks. We decided to be more practical than formal and convert our dining room into a butler’s pantry/secondary kitchen.
I picked out a beautiful sea glass blue-green at Lowe’s and got a tester pot made. When I got home I quickly realized that my blue-green was plain old baby blue in the room. I quickly went back to Lowe’s and picked out four varying shades of green. We decided to go darker than we initially wanted.
We are ripping out the dated carpet and staining the underlying concrete floors a rich chocolate brown with green undertones so this should have  been perfect. Jalapeño Pepper Jelly turned out to be our favorite color, which is really ironic since I have worked with two pepper jelly producers at work!
These colors show up a little dark since I was working at night and snapping iPhone photos. I am impressed with the color so far and this is just a first coat.
I’ve had a few people tell me they love our chandelier. It is beautiful we replaced it for a more practical option. I scored this light at our favorite thrift store (3rd Street Thrift Store in Tifton) for $12.84! It is normally $120 at Home Depot. I wanted track lighting and lots of it but Justin is definitely opposed to it. I am of the sort that believes you can never have too much lighting when you’re cooking.
After Justin and my father-in-law Sheldon installed two new outlets (there were none previously!), Justin taped off all of the trim and gave it a bright extra-white glossy coat. We even taped out each individual pane of glass in the French doors. It really made it worth the effort. Everything looked so much cleaner.
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After the paint on the trim and doors was dry, we rolled up the carpet and carpet pad.
Justin spent the next day ripping out carpet tack strips and linoleum. He sprayed on the recommended etching agent that was supposed to open the pores of the concrete up to accept the stain we selected. When that didn’t seem to have any effect, he also spent the majority of the day on his hands and knees with the metal hand-held grinder powered by our air compressor trying to remove the remnants of carpet and linoleum glue. It didn’t work and we broke down and tried this solvent and sweeping compound from Home Depot. This stuff got carpet pad remnants and the glue off but it wouldn’t touch the linoleum glue.
After that, we moved on to plan D: we bought muriatic acid from Sherwin Williams. Aside from the awful chemical-filled air despite having several box fans, the muriatic acid didn’t even make a difference. It definitely cleaned the concrete, but it didn’t etch the surface like it was supposed to for our semi-transparent stain to sink in.
Apparently our final option was to drive all the way to Valdosta and rent a concrete orbital sander but the risks of creating gouges, cost, and time were all too much for us. We decided after four failed attempts to just throw in the towel and give up the dream of stained concrete floors.
Instead I rushed back to Sherwin Williams with only 20 minutes to spare before they closed. Thankfully they were having a big 40% off paint sale. I bought their floor and porch enamel—one gallon of darker brown and one quart of a lighter shade. The first coat was down quickly and I was quite pleased with it.
Justin had the best idea to add a subtle stripe around the edge of the wall and then again around the island. We added a stripe of the lighter color about 1 foot into the room. After that dried completely, we taped off the floors with painters tape. I then went over the lighter color with the original floor color, first over just the light brown and removing the painters tape while it was still wet and then again over the entire center space of the floor.
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After the floor paint cured for a few days, Justin brought in the island and repeated the same process of the stripes. He also had to touch up some of the dark brown color where it hadn’t fully cured and was damaged by the appliance dolly he used.
We let that paint cure again and followed up with two coats of wet look sealer. We then let the floor cure for four or five more days before we were comfortable loading everything back in.
Remember back in economic 101 when your professor said, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”?  The island was given to my dad when some locals were remodeling their kitchen. It ended up not working out for Mama and Daddy to use it in the new house they were building so they gave it to us for our project.
We were feeling the pain of “no free lunch” when we had such incredible difficulty finding a countertop for our 6’ x 3’ island as close to cheap as possible. Home Depot gave us a rough estimate of $500-$800 dollars and butcher block countertops weren’t looking very frugal either. My budget for DIY is always preferably free, which is not practical at all in times like this. Lo and behold, we managed to do the impossible. Justin’s dad had almost an entire sheet of stainless steel in his shop he said we could have. Justin took it to a local metal shop in Cordele and they cut it to size and bent the edges down (no pointy corners!) for $50! We ended up with the perfect surface countertop for an amazing price.
Here it is in all of its glory. The baker’s racks are loaded up, the peg board is hung with care, and we have officially broken it in with Wyatt’s 4th birthday party!
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We still have a little bit of wall art to hang and some vinyl to apply to the walls, but I am so happy it’s done!

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