***Written by Orlando Soria
The ongoing project of furnishing my parents’ house is continuing. We’ve already tackled the outdoor space, the kitchen (reveal coming here VERY soon), and guest bedrooms (this one and this one). The dining room is a perplexing space because it feels HUGE when you’re in there, but actually is pretty tight in terms of the layout. The ceiling is vaulted so that one side of the room is sixteen feet high, the other side is eight.
Here’s the main issue: The table that’s in it is way too wide for the space. To be honest, this has been one of the most frustrating things about designing a space with my parents. They basically took the furniture they had from the house I grew up in and tried to cram it into their new house. Which is fine, as I love furniture that has been collected over time, except for the fact that the size and configuration of their new house is completely different than their previous house.
I’m writing this part as a separate paragraph because I want to be emphatic about it. You can’t necessarily just take the furniture from your old house and smash it into your new house. The scale might not make sense. The style might be wrong. There might not be room for it. If you’re moving, you probably have to buy some new furniture. Getting my parents over this hump has been the most difficult part of helping them furnish their place.
Because this new room is more narrow than the previous dining space, the table my parents were married to was too wide. This meant that people had to squeeze around it in order to get to their seats. It made the whole room totally claustrophobic and stifling, there was literally no room to move. So when my mom hosted dinner, no one could get up to help themselves to anything because they couldn’t move. Another issue with it was that it was very wobbly and didn’t look good with the extra leaf in it because the leaf didn’t have the side detail that the rest of the table had. BUT, there’s a cute caveat with this whole thing. My parents bought it when my dad had just graduated from dental school and they didn’t have much money. It had survived 40 years of use, three kids, three grandkids, multiple family celebrations. It was more than just a table. It was a repository for a lifetime of memories.
My mom was getting tired of how anti-functional the old dining table was (above). She hated using it, hated how creaky it was and didn’t like how it was cracking down the middle. My dad, however, wanted to keep it. My compromise was to propose that we hire a woodworker to chop it down, build a new narrower top, and fix the leaf so that it had the same architectural detail/skirt that the rest of the table had. The only problem with this solution was that it was going to cost a few thousand dollars in labor and material. And one of orlanDAD’s identifying traits is his extreme frugality.
Imagine the fun of designing for one client that wants all new, fun stuff, and another client who wants everything to stay exactly the same and not spend a dime!
You guys know I love my parents to death, but they’re not always the easiest clients. Like many couples, they don’t always see eye to eye on what they want design-wise. Though to orlanDAD’s credit, he’s really been letting orMOMdo take the reigns on a lot of the design decisions, and I think he’s having fun enjoying the results of a cozier, more functional home as a result.
After literally five years of deliberating about this, my parents finally agreed to let me get them a new dining table (HASHTAG SPON). And that’s where this dining room refresh began. The dining room honestly didn’t look bad before. See below:
My mom had made her very own GIANT Orb-Lando, which provides a great focal point for the room. Soon after they moved in, my parents had replaced the previously carpeted flooring throughout the house with a solid maple wood flooring. It took me a bit by surprise because that’s a very Scandinavian vibe, but it really makes the whole house feel brighter and cheerier. Previously to them moving in, it looked like this (not the best quality photo…sorry):
The dining room was one of the only rooms that wasn’t carpeted, but the flooring didn’t match any other flooring in the house. They kept that chandelier for a while but I laughed such a hearty witch laugh when they finally took it down and put up that Orb-Lando. I hate that old chandelier and hope they started a fire with it when they took it down. For the good of all people.
The first item I chose was the table, which is the Shaw table from Rejuvenation. The reason we chose this table was that it seemed simple and traditional enough to suit my dad’s more historic vibe, while also not being so contemporary that it freaked him out. Their home is a 1970s contemporary home that was flipped to look traditional/Spanish/suburban/WHAT-AM-I in 2012, so selecting furniture that feels at home isn’t always easy.
I’m a fan of dining room rugs, but my parents are adamantly opposed to them. They’ve never had one in their house and I’m pretty sure they never will. I didn’t fight them too much on this one even though I knew it would make for prettier photos because they do have three grandkids that are constantly over there doing their very best to throw food as far away from their mouths as possible. I think if you like rugs under dining tables and have no kids, go for it. If you do have kids and are scared of the mess, either deal with the fact that you’re going to have to schlep that thing to a cleaner every six months of just go without one until they go to college.
Another thing my parents aren’t fans of, which I’ve thankfully swayed them on, is window treatments. They didn’t really think they needed any in here because they are never in the street-facing rooms of their house during the evening hours when people could be seeing in and the rear of their home faces a secluded wall of redwood trees that give them ultimate privacy. And they didn’t really see the point in having them if they didn’t plan on using them.
Here’s my two cents on this. Sometimes, it’s nice to have window treatments (drapery, Roman shades, etc.) even if you don’t plan on using them. Here’s why: They add another texture, another material, and quite possibly another pattern to the space. So even if you NEVER close your Romans, they are still there being like “HEY GIRL I’M FABRIC DON’T U LOVE ME GIRL?”
And you’re like “YES GIRL I’M GLAD WE’RE SISTERS!”
I set up my parents with Roman shades from The Shade Store, who come to your house and basically do everything for you so you don’t have to even think about numbers or measuring or anything else that makes your eyes glaze over when you start thinking about it. For the living room and dining room, I’m gonna do something simple/solid but I’m doing something CRAZY BEAUTIFUL in their kitchen/family room.
1. Roman Shade | 2. Orb Lantern DIY | 3. Painting by Jane Culp | 4. Dining Chair | 5. Dining Table | 6. Vintage Curio Cabinet (similar) | 7. Linen Placemats | 8. Linen Tablecloth | 9. Mexican Dinner Plate (similar) | 10. Hey Sosi Print | 11. Display Ledge
This is a pretty simple update and it’s a pretty tight space in general. So in addition to swapping out the dining table and chairs, this is really mostly a re-styling situation. One issue, which we can discuss when I show you the final product, is that there’s too much furniture in here and figuring out where to put it is a challenge. orMOMdo bought a console she stores a lot of dishes in, orlanDAD inherited a huge antique American buffet after my grandfather died, and they already had a curio cabinet in here that doesn’t fit anywhere else in the house.
Will we be able to cram all this furniture into this small dining room? Will the table look as EXTREMELY GLAMOROUS as it does online? Will my parents EVER use the freshly-installed Roman shades I got for them? Stay tuned to find out how I solve all these dining room conundrums!
Check back soon (like…really soon) for the reveal!
More Posts From Orlando:
- A Dark, Depressing Room Becomes a Bright Spot at Casa Soria
- Creating Big Impact at Casa Soria Without Making Any Permanent Changes
- Casa Soria Reveal: Orlando’s Parent’s Deck is Done!
- Intro Post: Orlando’s Designing a New Redwood Deck for His Parents!
- Intro Post: Orlando’s Parents Are Getting a New Kitchen!
- Orlando’s Master Bedroom Reveal