The slab finally became a table and the dining room is almost done

When we started the process of condensing our lives to move across the country, we did a lot of paring down. We hosted an epic garage sale that helped whittle down Aaron’s massive camera collection. We sold furniture to friends and the new firehouse owners. We donated an entire carload of items. Even after that, we moved lots of things with a “We’ll see if this works in the new house” mentality. One of those things, was the enormous slab that was intended for the firehouse dining room.

This beauty was sourced specifically for the large-roomed, tall ceiling-ed firehouse. Clocking in at around 110″ long and nearly 4′ in one section, we honestly had no idea if it would fit anywhere in (or outside of) our new house. After settling in, we realized the amount of space we’d have in our future outdoor dining room would accommodate a table of this scale. Although leaving such a nice piece of wood outside in the elements (we do get occasional rain), didn’t seem like the best idea, we slated the slab for that space due to lack of options.

Once the renovation was underway and we had a better idea of the space we’d assigned in the front room for the dining area, we took some more measurements. Taking about a foot off the end of the slab would make it a sizable, but not overwhelmingly so, table for inside. Done and done.

We ordered some heaving duty legs from Etsy, bought some heavy duty saw horses, and asked a neighbor for help moving  the slab to our patio.

Time in the sun was not kind to this piece.

But, thanks to sanding (so much sanding), natural Danish oil and several coats of furniture wax, Aaron was able to revive the wood into this showstopper:

It is SOOOO pretty!

I’m particularly obsessed with the swirl.

8 of the 10 vintage chairs we’ve been hoarding longer than the slab now have a permanent home!

We have actually made a ton of progress in this front room… even going so far as to break out some decor items! Here are a few before and after comparisons

The next set isn’t a perfect match up because I’m refusing to show the kitchen in this post. (I’m the worst.) But you do get a sneak peek at the wall of cabinets and hidden pantry.

Let’s start with the basics. This space got

  • White walls
  • Smoothed ceiling and white (duh) paint
  • Overhead lighting thanks to a bunch of LED can lights
  • Contemporary crown molding (which I forgot to photograph)
  • New floors

We’re injecting doses of jewel tones in this home and we opted for an emerald green to accent the corner windows. Then we filled this super sunny spot with bunch of succulents. Basically I am in plant heaven over here.

Against the pantry wall, we added a small banquet area for extra storage and serving space.

We paired glossy white Ikea cabinets with a section of their Barkaboda walnut countertop and some undercabinet lighting for ambiance. This has been the perfect spot to store our wireless router, adult beverage glasses and some backup bar gear.

The shelf was kismet in the form of a Design Within Reach Outlet store just down the highway in Oxnard. The outlet pricing puts the beautiful designer pieces much more within reach (har har!). One our first visit, we easily talked ourselves into this ladder shelf for 300 bones. We knew we’d need something for this space and it fills it perfectly! The walnut ties into the countertop, and I was finally able to pull out some of our favorite decor pieces.

The other side of this space is still a work in progress, but you can see where we’re headed. We’re planning a casual seating area (for pre- or post-dinner drinks and games). The Ikea shelves (longtime bedside tables that we FINALLY retired) are now serving as a “for now” bar area until Aaron builds a custom piece for the space. We also have a cool plan for a unique coffee table for this area.

  This space is SOOO close to being done. It needs a chandelier (in progress, just waiting for the correct hanging hardware to come in) and some art. I love everything about it, but the table is definitely the superstar, as it should be.

Captain’s bedroom – Art and Afters

After putting everything in place in the captain’s bathroom turned closet/bar, we were both ready to close the book on this makeover and finish this space for our first house guests who are coming this weekend! That meant getting the art up on the wall and digging through the boxes of accessories that have been patiently waiting for a home.

In the dresser area, we bought a simple black frame from PictureFrames.com for our $10 map and opted for UV glass to guard against fading. Then I pulled in some driftwood (which we dragged home during this photo session, I love how white it looks against these walls.) A little radio tube lamp my dad fashioned for us and some old sign holders round out the accessories. I tried to keep the flat surfaces pretty clear so guests have a place to set things. The big mother-in-law’s tongue (some people call it a snake plant) is still hanging out nearby, but eventually we might get something with more height or bring in a plant stand.

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I also pulled all of our books out of storage and decided that this section of the dresser was a perfect spot for a hidden library. I left a few out on the desk, and the rest are tucked here for easy access for us or our guests.

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Over the Mr. Chair we hung a black and white St Louis map that Aaron gave me for Christmas a few years ago. We considered a few pieces for this area, but loved how the black and white popped against the brick. We still want to find a small side table and maybe a lamp for this area.

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Over the desk, we finally hung this huge piece of art we scored at Rocket Century many, many months ago. I layered in some books and a few glass pieces, including two vases with old radio tubes in them. We scored a whole bin of radio tubes at an antique mall for just $20!

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Something about this space feels a little off… so I wouldn’t be surprised if things get tweaked.

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I stuck a few good books between stone book ends (I think we picked these up at the South County Antique Mall.)

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The globe bank was a gift from Aaron, and the air plant and holder was a housewarming gift from a friend. I’m pretty happy that I’ve managed to keep it alive!

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We’re always looking for interesting photo books, especially Ansel Adams. All of these are antique mall finds except the Uelsmann, which we picked up at Powell Books (as you do) on our trek across the Pacific Northwest last summer.

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Here’s a closer look at the vases and radio tubes. I also stuck this cloche-like glass cylinder here to make it an odd set of items. I’m a big fan of odd numbered  pairings. They feel more natural than even numbered ones.

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Getting the art and accessories in place really makes the whole space feel complete. It’s a far cry from where we started this project, and even though I’ve shared a million pictures of this space, I love complete before and after shots.

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I mean, seriously, the transformation is like a breath of fresh air. You don’t even notice the exposed brick in the original shot.

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It’s also nice to corral some of the clutter and give every part of this space a real function.

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Axing the closet is one of my favorite changes in this space.

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So that’s it! It’s DONE! It always feels so good to finalize a space. Sure, we might tweak some accessories and swap out the side tables by the bed, but those adjustments are a pretty natural part of our design process.

In which we look at WAY too many rugs and a few duvet covers

Because we chose such a saturated color for the walls in the captain’s bedroom, we knew that some of the accessories would need to be a bit more neutral. When it came to choosing a rug and a duvet cover, which we did simultaneously, it meant that one could have some green (and maybe other colors) and one would need to stay in the white/gray/black range.

With that in mind, I started my search looking for a rug that had some pop. But, guys, rugs are hard! Or maybe we’re picky? It seems like very few rugs walk the line between “boring one color” and “OMG PATTERN AHHH!” We wanted something in between. Something with some interest. My green rug searches were not delivering that balance so I asked Rugs Direct to show me black/gray options. It responded with more than 3,500 options, and I was like “game on.” Wait, first I was like “I need to get some wine and get comfortable, then game on!” Here were some of the top contenders that I pinned to remember.

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Surya – Gemini from Rugs Direct

When this beauty popped on the screen angels sang. Those tones! That organic texture! It’s BEAutiful! Then I noted the price: $2,500 for an 8′ x 11′ WHAT?! Sure, it’s a gorgeous rug and I’m willing to pay for things of beauty, but for a space like a guestroom that was already blowing the miniscule budget we set, this just wouldn’t fly.

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Safavieh – Retro from Rugs Direct

This one caught my eye for the same reason. Nice tones, a distinct pattern that was interesting, but not too loud. I also liked the organic nature of the design. An 8 x 10 was available for $447, which fit in our imaginary “$500 for a rug” budget for this space.

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Surya – Contempo from Rugs Direct

Another nice, subtle pattern that had more of a dark edge to it.

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Shaggy 3D Gray Area Rug from Wayfair

Much darker, but a thick rug that would surely make guests feel at home.

At some point, Aaron joined in the search. He has accounts for several flash sale sites and he perused the options while I turned my attention to the duvet cover. I don’t remember why, but my first stop was Society 6. Again, I searched through pages of options, pinning a few standouts. I liked both of these neutral options:

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D24 by Georgiana Paraschiv from Society 6

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Water at Night by Marcelo Romero from Society 6

They’re both very directional and could compete with the rug. But more importantly, I wanted green somewhere in this vignette. There were fewer viable options, but I did pin this guy, which would add some nice dimension to the space.

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dryma mynt by Spires from Society 6

At this point, I decided to turn to Etsy and quickly stumbled on the pretty patterns at NikaLim. None of the green options struck a cord, but I showed Aaron a pink/purple option that faded to black and said “Wouldn’t this be cool if it was green?” Well, duh, this is Etsy, land of customization, so I wrote to ask if they would do a custom design. The shop owner, Veronika, was happy to oblige and quickly sent a design that perfectly matches our Pantone June Bug walls.

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I love it and I love that it’s one of a kind. Plus it shipped quick!

But, let’s rewind. When we started this search (on the couch, wine in hand… just setting the scene) Aaron was drawn in and looking for rug options. We knew the duvet cover would have green (either the one from Society 6 of the one from Etsy… because we had not ordered yet) so we felt confident purchasing a gray rug. His search didn’t yield any additional contenders, but he did find the Safavieh – Retro rug at One Kings Lane and it was several dollars cheaper than Rugs Direct.

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In fact, the price difference was so great that we could afford the 9′ x 14′ option for around $500. Sold.

Geez, this is a long post. Who is ready for some room shots?!

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We’re both very happy with our choices. Actually, all three of us are happy because Mojo has decided that the rug is the perfect spot for capturing some morning sun.

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The rug totally softens up the room and makes me want one for our master bedroom.

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The duvet cover matches the walls perfectly! I still need to grab some black pillow cases for the second set of pillows to finish it off.

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These are pretty tight because we’re still finalizing other parts of the space. We moved all of the furniture that was living in this room back in and said “Well, that looks dumb.” Most of it leftover pieces, one from as far back as our house in Kansas City.

So this project spiraled even further. We found some sweet mid century furniture at one of our favorite local shops (more details on that as we clean up the pieces and put them to use).

And a trip to Ikea gave us some of the parts we need for the captain’s bathroom turned closet. So, much more to come!