the dining room

March 12, 2009 at 6:24 pm | Posted in After, Before, Moving, Organization, Our Dining Room, Our Home, Projects | 5 Comments

We’ve been doing some serious cleaning and organizing around here to prepare our house to go on the market.  Since the kitchen in this house is practically non-existent and the MacGyver-style bathroom is sure not to impress anyone, we decided that the rest of the house needs to look extra-stunning to make up for it.  We’ve pulled out all of the family photos, boxed up the excess nonsense laying around the house, and packed up anything that should be moved to MI with Jason in a few weeks (e.g., my new dishes).  And I’ve been cleaning!  On my hands and knees!  Yikes.  It took me several hours to go through the dining room and the small room behind it that had become overrun with wedding presents (because there was no room in the kitchen for many of our nice, new, shiny, kitchen things).  It’s embarrassing, really, to have all of those things just sitting in boxes, so when we look for somewhere to live in Michigan, I will be on the hunt for a large kitchen!


This picture was taken shortly after we moved in… check out the boxes and whatnot all over that tiny room beyond the dining room – yuck!


And now – nothing but light coming in through the windows!  Look at those floors shine!  Ignore the power cord stretched across the floor (we only have one three-prong outlet in the living room, so we use a power cord to work on our laptops and watch TV simultaneously).

The green CD towers in the background are from Ikea, and we’ll be getting rid of them before we move.  Let us know if you want them…

The view from the kitchen I made the curtains!

Looking towards the kitchen – I love the antique chandelier!  I think it’s probably original to the house, given the amount of dust and dirt I’ve cleaned off of it!

And the little room behind the dining room – yikes.  Anyone have ideas as to what this room may have originally been used for?  We’ve used it primarily for box storage…  Check out the messy Before (I suspect I should be too embarrassed to even post this):

And the After:

We imagined that anyone who bought the house and kept the layout as-is could use this room as a butler’s pantry or mini-bar.  It could also be used as an office (but we don’t have any other desks lying around, so we staged it as a butler’s pantry).  We would have changed the layout of the house, and built in a desk and some shelves here.

What do you think?  Any staging advice?  Stay tuned as we continue to stage and clean, organize and pack…


welcome: new entry way hooks!

February 2, 2009 at 10:43 am | Posted in After, Before, During, Our Back Hall, Our Dining Room, Our Living Room, Projects | 2 Comments

Our entry way has been a constant source of annoyance for us.  There’s just not much space near the door, and we have no closets on the first floor that would be convenient to hang jackets in.  And someday, I hope to change the front door to something a little more 1920s and a little less 1950s.

view from the living room

view from upstairs

Because there is nowhere near the door to hang our jackets, they would usually end up hanging off of dining room chairs.  Resulting in something that looks like this:

Uggh.  No matter how clean the place is, the jackets just make it look messy.  They’re the first thing you see when you walk into the dining room, and they don’t really scream sit down and grab a bite to eat.

The only other coat-hanging option we had rigged up were these two little coats next to our back door.  You know, the back door that we cannot use because we had to rig up a lock system that we can’t unlock from the outside.  The back door is another source of annoyance for yours truly.  Someday everything in this house will work as it should, right?  Sigh. (quietly reminding self why old houses are great.)

It’s not very handy to have the only coat hooks in your house located next to a door you can’t use.  Just so you know.

So, yesterday, after I found out that my deadline on the biggest work project I’ve done yet is postponed until June and I just worked the past 2 weekends without needing to, JT and I went out and engaged in a little retail therapy.  Specifically, we picked up this little beauty from Urban Outfitters.  We had seen it a few weeks ago and both liked it.  And this time, we were especially psyched because it was on sale for $9.99 (compared to it’s original price at $25).  Score!

Here’s our new coat hook in action.  Much better!  No more coats making the dining room look messy!  And everything I need to leave the house (hat, mittens, coat, shoes) are all conveniently located near the door.  Love it!

Now, if only our shoes would stay organized… but that might be another mission for another day…

Christmas Decor: Part 2

December 8, 2008 at 8:03 pm | Posted in Holidays, Our Dining Room | 3 Comments
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And now, for the riveting conclusion to our holiday decorating adventures…

The dining room.

I pulled out the red and green holiday table runner (I think I stole this one from mama Perry a while ago), since we’re going for a fun holiday vibe in the dining room this year.  Maybe we’ll go a little more formal with it next year, when we’ve actually unpacked all of our boxes, and are really using our dining room as a formal place of entertainment (one can dream, right?).  Anyways, I pulled out the little candle holders from our wedding centerpieces and the big glass candle holders we received as wedding gifts, and I planted some little red and green ornaments in them.  So festive.  And super-easy.  I also lined the table with goodies, since we have absolutely no room for them in the kitchen.  From left to right: the chocolate-covered pretzels Sanna and I made, candy canes hanging off of a margarita glass (a fun way to display them), cookies from Saturday’s cookie exchange, and a bucket of Jason’s favorite chocolate treats.

I think I might need to buy some red candlesticks.

I had a great time decorating the built-ins in the dining room with ornaments.  On the right built-in cabinet, I simply placed 3 silver ornaments on the cute pink cookie tray (the tray belonged to my great-grandma Pilling, and apparently, I asked if I could have it when I was younger… so my gramma gave it to me when I grew up and moved into a real house of my very own.  I don’t actually remember asking for the tray, but I love it and it’s so fun to have on display!!).

I also hung a key for Santa on the bottom cabinet door.

In the upper part of the cabinet, I strategically placed silver, red, and green ornaments in some of the glassware that we’ve got on display.  Add a little snowman statue for fun, and an adorable vintage Season’s Greetings sign, and tada!  All done.

I decorated the left built-in similarly.

I put some silver ornaments on our white cake plates (another awesome wedding gift) and added a shimmery ribbon for fun.  I only dropped one glass ornament in the process (and then promptly decided to tie the rest to the platter so that they don’t all fall off).  And check out the sweet nativity that I stole was given by my parents.  I thought it was so cool when I was younger… I loved how the kings and shepherds rotated around Mary, Joseph, and Jesus.  Classic!  (Note that both of these pieces are sitting on a picture of the St. Olaf College class of 1951 photo.  We found it in the basement, cleaned it off and set it here for lack of a better place to put it, but I kind of think it works.)

For the upper cabinet on this side, I once again added red, green, and silver ornaments to a few of our glasses, snuck a Santa into the mix, and added a little hanging sign to the door – a super-easy way to add some holiday cheer to our normal dish display!

Our final dining room decor item is a ribbon that we threw over the curtain rod.  I plan to clip all of the holiday cards we receive on the ribbon, so get working on your holiday cards (orders the girl who has yet to even order wedding thank you cards, much less Christmas cards)!

PS I made my blog snow – do you love it?  I do.

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