Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Ranchburger's Dining room

While the renovation is moving along in the rest of the house, I'm working on the ranchburger's dining room. The previous owner used it as an office. 


Here's the old dining room, which will be my living room. Through the French doors, you can see the space. If you squint, you might be able to see the boxed trim on the walls. (This will be an important part of our story in a moment.)

Minus the wide-angle lens, the dining room is a long, narrow space. It has built-in cabinetry on two walls and cabinetry on the right.


At one end of the room, we are adding a wall of Simpson French doors, like these:

Since the room is narrow, I'll only have space for my dining room table and chairs. [Note the paneling on the wall that's beside the draperies.]


I gathered a few inspiration Photos. First, I imagined a neutral space with minimal furniture:

I won't have room for my buffet, but I'll hang the mirror (nothing beneath, for ease of movement) on the long wall.

After going back and forth, I decided to keep the existing bookcases and rework them a bit. Demolition can be expensive, and the bookcases were somehow affixed to the paneled "boxes," so they wouldn't just pop out for an easy demo. Besides, I would not gain that much space by removing the cases, and I really needed the space for my Ironstone. So the cases stayed. (As for the floor, no one knows why the center part is darker...it's a mystery.)

One thing that swayed me was a dining room that Minnie Peters's had styled for a client. I met with my cabinet maker, Jimmy, and we decided that the bookcases should have glass-fronted cabinets on the top shelves and solid doors on the bottom. White ironstone will go in the upper shelves, and glass may (I hope) reduce dust. Also, since my dining room is rather dark, I'm hoping that light will bounce off the glass doors and help brighten the space. 


It didn't take long to decide the fate of the built-in cabinet. It needed to go. This seems counterintuitive. Surely I would need an extra counter and cabinets. Or, just remove the cabinet and tuck in an antique chest. My GC pointed out that the indention/cabinet wasn't original to the house, and it had stolen space from the room behind it: the small laundry room. Mike was afraid I'd barely have room for a stacked washer/dryer. It wasn't an easy decision. But I pulled the trigger. After the cabinet was gone, the space was closed.  [The cabinetry will be used elsewhere, in the dish room or pool house.] In the dining room, boxed paneling already existed on either side of the cabinet, so it was decided that the carpenters would match the "boxed" paneling. But apparently the men were dealing with a pre-defined area and couldn't make the new boxes the same size as the old ones. I didn't notice it right away, but the new boxes are bigger. Bandwidth didn't notice until I pointed it out, so it can't be too bad. He's picky about math-related things. :-)

The mismatched boxes are a tiny problem. But they don't have a quick solution. It would involve tearing out the trim and starting over (and the trim is all over the room). I could just skip the wall trim on that section, or take it all off. But I could see renovation dollars take wing and fly up the chimney. Ripping out and redoing is a slippery slope. During a renovation, little things can feel huge--and later, you barely notice. But I'm not sure how I feel about the different sized boxes. Quite possibly, after the room is painted, everything will fade into a comforting wash of ambient white. Or it could be a white whale, my own personal Moby Dick. I'm trying to imagine how the dining room will look when it's painted BM White Dove--walls, trim, ceiling (in various finishes). The mirror will (probably) go on the wall. I'm imagining the table, slipped chairs, a new chandelier, Ironstone in the cabinets, and pretty French doors.

From a distance, you can see the wall in question.

Would you like to cast your vote? All ideas are welcome!


More Ideas:










Rather than buy the doors/mirrors, I would opt for a DIY project.

1. Rework the boxes
2. It'll be fine with paint and a mirror.
3. Other?

To be shared at the following parties:

49 comments:

  1. Wow, I don't have a clue, I love everything you are doing so far so I can't wait to see what you decide.

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  2. You are going to have SO much space in this house. "During a renovation, little things can feel huge--and later, you barely notice." Truer words were never said. I could kick myself for all the times I've concentrated on something and later I wondered what-was-I-thinking.
    Sam

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    1. I don't know why, but this reno has gone much smoother, and I am totally at peace and happy about the changes. Still, I love getting y'all's input and ideas.

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  3. It will be fine with mirror and paint!

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  4. Instead of hanging a mirror how about adding mirrors inside of the trim work? I am so excited you are taking us on your remodeling journey. It is so much fun!

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    1. That's a good idea. I did that in a bathroom once, and I never tired of it. Thanks.

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  5. I love all your inspiration photos, and the french doors are going to make such a difference!! As for the boxes, I honestly think because they are centered, I would leave them as is...especially if you put a large mirror there. Of course, if they bother you, they bother you and tearing them out and redoing would be the answer. It's going to be a fabulous room either way:-)

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    1. I have really been surprised how the new doors have changed the look of the front elevation. It helped us go in a new and better direction wi/ curb appeal. I agree with you about the boxes. I'm leavin' them "be."

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  6. Ooh all that storage is going to be fabulous!! I love the neutral look that you're going for, Michael Lee. I remember that dreamy DR from another post you did. I vote for #2. I think it's going to look perfect with the mirror in that space. I can't wait to see the results.

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  7. Just my 2cents but I'm going with No. 2! Once you get your room all decorated (which sounds like it will be beautiful btw) I don't think it will be that big a deal.

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  8. Love it! I like the light and bright looks of the rooms.

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  9. I personally love the old bookshelves you are keeping. I think you're idea for updating them is going to be gorgeous, so I'm glad you were stuck with them! :) It's going to be a beautiful remodel.

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    1. Jessica, thanks for your input about the bookshelves. I keep second-guessing myself about them.

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  10. Hi Michael Lee, I love your new house and all your ideas! I'm usually obsessed with symmetry so I notice that the new larger boxes are framed by three smaller columns of boxes on each side, so to me the new larger ones are logical and blend in just fine. As much as I LOVE your mirror I'm not sure you will be happy with it hanging alone there--people bump into them, especially with the large frame and dining chairs moving back and forth. Of course I could find a happy home for it here :) I can't wait to see your shelves all filled and styled. Linda

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    1. I hadn't thought about people bumping into that mirror--it's heavy. Takes many Strong Men to hang it. Liz had an idea to put an 8" cabinet (with trim/molding) beneath it for glassware storage. That would help prevent bumping into the mirror.

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  11. If the mirror actually fits inside the footprint of the "odd boxes" as shown in your mock-up, then I'd say you definitely have a winner. In fact if that's the fit I think its preferred over the other size boxes in the room that would leave the mirror protruding beyond the trim and hanging in "airspace" in the boxed area (if that makes any sense).

    And second to the whole mirror / fit discussion, we always say a home's imperfections prove it was a custom build and not a perfect manufactured prefab ;)

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    1. That's so true about the little quirks--thanks for reminding me.

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  12. How lucky to have all those built in shelves for your dining room! As for the other wall, maybe a giant tapestry or wall hanging, something very light and neutral so as not to overpower the room...I like the idea of a large mirror too, but would it be weird to watch yourself eat? You are so right about the details though, sometimes you can get hung up on one little thing that doesn't matter at all in the end. I think I would paint it all the same color, furnish your room and live with it a while...
    Jenna

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    1. An old, muted tapestry would be awesome. Great idea.

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  13. I like the idea of installing mirrors inside the larger boxes instead of hanging your mirror. Can't wait to see the finished product, love the house, how fun for you!

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    1. I'm def looking into mirrors. I may add sconces, as in the inspiration pic to draw the eye away.

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  14. Once you hang the mirror (s), no one will be 'none the wiser' ! It will not show at all.....In fact, I think if it is noticeable at all, it will look like its meant to be that way. I LOVE these posts on your new home - keep em coming !! And thank you for asking for our input...

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  15. Number 2. It will go unnoticed. Love idea of cabinets and glass doors! Wow! It will be wonderful. Lemonade from lemons. You are so creative! Sheila E

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  16. I think the wall boxes are fine- since they are centered it looks like it was done on purpose. Once they are painted they won't be as noticeable. The miror should bring in more light. Any chance you could have a custom cabinet no more than 8" deep built on that wall beneath the mirror area (could house a lot of stemware!). Trim it on the front corners with decorative molding.

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    1. I really like the idea of a custom cabinet wi/ decorative molding. GREAT idea, Liz!

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  17. Definitely. Number 2. There will be so many other beautiful things to look at! Just be glad that they're in the center of the room and not at one end or the other. That might really drive you crazy! :)

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    1. Yesterday, I looked at the wall from a distance and couldn't even tell. So we moved on to other things, like, figuring out where to put plugs for the Christmas decorations. I'm enjoying this renovation! It's been so smooth.

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  18. I think commenter Zoe has the perfect idea of placing mirrors within the framework! You indicated that the room has limited light, so that would be a great idea of bouncing light around too just as you had mentioned about the glass front cabinet doors. Oh, and you won't even notice the width difference, especially if those panels are treated differently.

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    1. I love the mirror in the inspiration photo, so I will be trying that, along with other great options that have been suggested here. Thanks!

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  19. I think once the walls are painted they will be lovely and livable. I adore all the cubbies, the ironstone will be beautifully displayed and you can use other elements if you feel you need a bit of color. Happy renovating!

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    1. Love the idea of adding other colorful elements.

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  20. Hang artwork in the six different sized panels in the dining room (botanical prints or something similar) and it will look as if it's intentional.

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  21. Hi there- Yolie weighing in here. Here's another idea. You could remove the trim that forms the four upper panels and create one large square. Mirror it (beveled, of course.) Choose some fabulous gilt picture frame molding to create a new built in mirror.
    You will enlarge the room and you won't be able to bump into it. As it is, I personally find the trim protruding over the top of your arched mirror to be slightly uncomfortable. Or, you could also use your existing mirror by hanging it on top of the the newly created mirrored square - a mirror on a mirror. In this case I would not surround the larger mirror with gilded framing but let your beautiful piece take center stage. A clean space with lots of reflected light.

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  22. Hey, I had another idea. You could also choose to hang a lovely large painting with a picture light in the newly created blank space.

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    1. I am looking at one in my den right now. It would work!

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  23. Look at Attic Mag and scroll down a couple of posts to the one on flat screen tvs. There is a wall just like yours and they put a tv where you plan to use your mirror. It looks great and will make you feel better. Enjoying your remodel!

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  24. Another thought - if you took out the cross pieces from the narrower adjacent panels you would be able to flank your mirror or painting with large sconces. They would look framed in place. This would keep you from having to wire them onto trim if you plan to add accent lighting there. You would also automatically create wainscoting in those areas. Just another thought to add to the pile of great ideas. :)

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    1. I like that, too. Sconces would be pretty and functional. I have been playing with configurations on Ribbet. I'll add them to this post. I have even thought about beadboarding over the whole thing.

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