This dining room renovation project was the best home improvement project I didn’t even know I needed.
When we were expecting our fifth child, we knew we needed a little bit more space. So, while I was hugely pregnant, we undertook a 10-month renovation project to add a large family room space, a new garage, and a fifth bedroom. I also managed to sneak in a kitchen pantry! (Possibly my favorite part of the whole project!)
Once we settled into our renovation, we realized that we weren’t really using our old living room. We spent all of our time in our new, comfy family room. A family room and a living room seemed redundant – so why not create a new dining room space? Best decision ever!
The OG – Original Dining Room
After talking to just about every person who came through my front door, I realized it might not be so crazy to turn our old living room into a new, larger dining space and convert our old, smaller dining room into a cute, relaxing sitting room. I haven’t looked back once. Pictured below is a photo of our original dining room – full of boxes of local veggies for my neighbors. Every room needs to multi-task! I love it so much more now as a sitting room.
So much light!
So much light! But I knew we needed to add something to break up all the white space. I strategically waited for a sale at Calico Corners and their designer helped me find an amazing cornflower blue linen fabric.
I had Calico Corners make the curtains and install them. So easy. Because this room is facing the back yard, we did not need curtains for privacy so I saved on fabric by having curtains that only look like they can be pulled across … shhh! Don’t tell.
Dining Room Wish List
In our old dining room, we had a table that could seat 8 people max. For most families, that’s perfect. But, for us, a table that seats 8 means that we only have room for one extra person. No dinner parties, no big holiday meals. Even when the kids would have friends stay over, squeezing them in was tricky.
For our new dining room space, I wanted a table that could comfortably seat at least 10 to 12 people every day. I also wanted space to display china, glasses, serving bowls, and other fun dining ware that I have received as gifts or from family over the years. I also wanted space for table cloths, napkins, and dining centerpieces. In short, I wanted it all.
There are a few things I love about our “old” home … I love the dentil molding. I love the pocket doors. And I love the built-ins! When we talked about this renovation, we thought about removing these built-ins, but decided we just loved them too much and they really were part of the character of the house. So, instead of getting rid of them, we gave them a facelift. To update their old look, we had a carpenter build new doors and create a new edge around the large serving area.
My one item on my wish list that is partway to being accomplished is some sort of wine storage or wine bar. That is still a work in progress! The real reason I want wine storage is because I don’t even drink wine. I just want it out of my pantry. True story. Thankfully, we already had a great closet in this room so we cleared out the old shelves, put on a new door, and painted the inside.
I need better photos, but we basically did two things. We had the Container Store install shelves and drawers to this closet and then I ordered wooden wine shelves that my son and I put together and painted white. So easy. So economical!
Every Dining Room Needs A Fireplace
One of the fun perks of moving our dining room into our old living room space is that our dining room now has a fireplace! The original fireplace had a seated ledge and it was white painted brick. I did not love it. I wanted to gain some more floor space and I wanted something a little more modern – but not too modern! Our contractor suggested I think about putting in a cement fireplace. I had never seen a cement fireplace, but I was intrigued. We decided to go for it.
The old fireplace was hammered out and a new cement fireplace was poured. It was a pretty neat process.
We also decided to do something a little different with the gas flame. Why have regular flames when you can have flames coming through river rocks? We use this fireplace all the time.
Our table has so much space that everyone can work on their homework or coloring projects at the same time and enjoy the soothing fireplace. This fireplace gets more use now in the dining room than it ever did before.
We still to need to add a few things to the walls but, for the most part, we are feeling great about our dining room renovation. There isn’t anything I would do differently!