My Evolving Style - Then & Now - Dining Room

I mentioned yesterday I've been in the process of pulling together photos of the transformations around our home. We first visited this place in August of 2006, then purchased in September 2006 and moved in October 2006. I guess that may be why the move is a little sentimental to me. We actually signed to list for sale five years to the day we signed to close. Needless to say, if these walls could talk, they'd probably say, "Stop putting holes in me!!" from all the times I'd switch wall decor around... And the dining room would probably say, "Stop painting me!!" because of all the coats of paint I experimented with in there. But that's just what this was - an experiment and an experience. The space I like best is how the dining room is now...


After we bought in '06, but before moving in, thankfully the previous owner let us come in to do some work the week of the closing. That week, myself, Jeff, his mom and a friend of hers painted all the rooms and trim. I had selected my colors from Ralph Lauren paints and they were inspired by an image of a west-coast (go figure??) rocky cliff. With the paints pre-selected, it made it easier to coordinate the right "taupe" to replace their carpet with. We went with a waffle Mohawk Berber with the EXTRA padding. It's been SO good to us -  Durable, modern and plush. We wanted to run wood on the first floor and up the stairs, but it was easier at the time to just do the carpet. Now, I'm glad we didn't invest anymore money here since we've lost so much needing to short sell.... Be that as it may, here's a look back at the dining room transformations. hopefully you can be inspired, and also check out several tablescapes that were created in this space (click TABLESCAPE tab above, just below header). I tried to keep the photos at the same point of view. It's come a LONG way, and I can see my style has definitely changed...  But simple changes here and there over the past five years created the big impact that changed the look, feel and mood of the space... without any major renovation...


and the rest is history...

First attempt at "daring to be different" (5 years ago) I had these capiz window panels, but I used them on dowel rods I hung from hooks in the ceiling just in front of the wall...

I think I played it safe in the beginning... plus, we didn't even have a chandelier in the area we were using as the dining room. We added it and added it in Fall 2007. My mom had bought us this dining set as a combo Housewarming - Wedding present.  Since it was too much of a matched set, I eventually donated the end chairs...

Metal candle panels I found on sale online at Target (back in '07). When I got them they were an awesome rustic metal finish... but for holiday I painted them silver and added mirror tile to them for "bling" :)

Red shag rug I picked up at Walmart ($60 5x8) and runners
on the chairs I think were from Homegoods (or Ross)

Then I got into my pillow case chair cover and bamboo poles (from P1) phase...

And then the bench phase... I brought it in from the Living Room, but it actually was the match to our bed. Now it's covered with the drop-cloth slip cover my friend Jose and I made earlier this year...

Tried ottomans, but I think this was a fail...

aaaahhh.... but those pillowcase chair covers - picked up four in black... And switched out the frosted glass shades for lanterns - I just removed the handle and replaced it with a screw long enough to catch the lights bracket...

I liked the look of the lanterns so I kept them for holiday and skipped the bling chandy this year... But graduated to REAL chair covers :) Spotted the velvet beauties on clearance online at Pottery Barn...

And all these changes were without paint - just textiles and accessories. Some changes I don't have photos of. Since '09 was when I was let go of at JCP, I wanted to try something drastically different... so I tried a new paint color on the wall... and LOVED it! Again, from Ralph Lauren, Vintage Masters - Emperor. I did put back the frosted shades for a clean look, but later the Spring of 2010, I added these basket weave hurricane covers I spotted at West Elm...

The turquoise was not only the trend color of the year, it was a wonderful inspiration for several tablescapes I experimented with that year. One was combining pink & red with the turq - LOVEd it! The quad frames were something I had wanted to do and finally got a chance to make: The LOVE were letters I cut from some old Valentines Sale graphics and mounted to poster board, then set in (freebie) discarded fitting room frames... Later to be reused with fabric (earlier this year)...

The red & pink really popped and it was refreshing!

Here's a peek at another fail - tried the grouping of the NYC graphic I framed, but it just looked like a BAD 80's remake... so down it came (QUICK!) and made it's way into the half bath (I posted yesterday)...

I replaced it with the old faithful round mirror and trusty bamboo poles & pillowcase slip covers... Thrifted directors chairs I scored at the Salvation Army (for only $15 for the PAIR!) made their way to the ends of the table... Let the mixing begin - let's LIVE in the space :)

Summer brought on the urge for blue... so I remixed some paints I had in the garage,
and just switched a few accessories for a more minimal look...

Later for Fall, the bamboo poles were replaced with branches I found on the side of the road. I felt like Morticia Addams as I trimmed off all the real leaves from them out in the driveway... then brought them, sitting them inside smaller cylinders inside the urns... and then hot glued Dollar Store Fall leaves to them... Gray pillowcases replaced the white as slipcovers...

I went for GOLD accents last year for Thanksgiving... paired with pheasant feathers, branches and images of horses... I made the centerpiece from an old box planter I had, and used the pheasant feathers & small branches with acorns & moss as filler. I was feeling a winter wilderness moment, paired with the navy wall...  The inspiration came from the wintry white horse image I framed, after finding it in a $1 calendar I picked up at Michael's... But I wasn't feeling the blue wall anymore for Christmas - so I changed it :)

I reused the RL Crosby (chocolate brown) I have on the TV wall in the living room...
Luckily because we have tile downstairs, these little paint changes 
(in the dining room only) go pretty quick!

And for a change - I pulled up the area rug and went bare for a while. I rolled up the area rugs from both the dining room and the living room. They both fit tucked under the bed upstairs... And finally broke down and bought real slipcovers for the chairs, but I never really liked the way they fit (probably because they didn't lol). But they were so inexpensive (I think $40 for all 4) so I overlooked the bad fit and Jose and I were going to fix them... Maybe some other time...

After holiday, I still stayed with the winter whites and added my white blossoms to refresh the space. I painted my Studio trellis panels from black to heirloom white... but I wasn't feelin' this space. It was so crisp and sunny out, and this room just didn't feel sunny ... and more importantly - it wasn't a happy space - After the year I had just had, I needed some happiness, so I painted it a happy color: APPLE GREEN :)

As a matter of fact, I painted it green on
St. Patrick's Day (could ya get anymore green?? lol)
The day after I made the fabric focal point wall art...

The green was surprisingly versatile like the turquoise last year.
I added this years trend color PINK to it for some major doses of happiness...

Ok - Now THIS is HAPPY!
About two months later, after Jeff and I had taken a walk on the beach, I got inspired by the ocean... so I just did a white wash with a hint of last years turquoise over the green... and it worked to transition into Summer... Some fresh cut palm fronds added to my turquoise glass bottles plus my shell & starfish collection and I was feelin' all Calypso!

And after this summer... I did the biggest transition of all for the dining room. After painting the wall the same grey as the others, and then washing it with all three colors used in our home, I built a gallery wall from frames I had collected - mainly through thrift. Not wanting to use anymore photos, and to add some animal print to the space for Fall, I used some scrap book papers I had along with some fabric samples. My beachy wine bottles I painted earlier worked as a cluster on the dining table with a basket full of corks I've collected through the years (some even have dates & notes on them). For the showings through, I removed the cork filled basket and replaced it with one of the larger branches I found last Fall. I also relocated the black wooden candle sconces 9also thrifted) upstairs to the bedroom, to replace two personal photos I removed for the showing - but it still balanced out the smaller gallery wall in our bedroom ~ to be posted later, but you can see now over on HGTV's RateMySpace.

Our home taught me a lot, and helped with content for the blog to also help teach and share with you what I've learned. I would have loved to have done more of other peoples houses, but with Florida being in the top of the worst markets and people losing their homes, people weren't / aren't looking to put anymore money into them. Everyone around here is waiting to see what the next person is doing. In the meantime, paint was a quick fix to update a decor mix. And since this room is the first space you see when you enter our home, it set the tone - season or mood - for what else you would see.

Some I had. Some I mixed on my own from what I had. I think I only bought two colors - the turq (and reused the second year) and the green. I can't take them with me, so they will be here for the next person to "play" with... But I would like to keep our pallet more-or-less the same neutral greys from Ralph Lauren (LOVE his paints!) And after working in retail for 20+ years plus thrifting - yes, I accumulated quite a bit of treasures that also helped set the mood, season or look. But many of them I re-used within other places around the house... It was that "Simple Shift To Shopping Thrift" that kept our home's style evolving to what it became today...

I'm heading out to Arizona on Monday - My first trip out there... So I won't be posting much here on the blog next week. But I'm sure I'll post pictures to Facebook and be tweeting, maybe even get a few moments to make a few pins. Jeff and I will be "House Hunting" out in AZ... I've gotten a few really nice contacts already from people out in AZ, I hope to get back to and maybe even meet up with during this visit... If not now, than during the next visit. We'll be looking for places in Chandler, but we'll be staying in Casa Grande, near Jeff's store. Goin' west - See ya next week!

Thanks for stopping by and enduring the journey...



  1. You know. I remember most of these spaces from RMS. Thats just how long Ive been a fan of yours!

    Mr. Goodwill Hunting

  2. great photo diary. enjoyed every image. thank you for posting. especially love the evolution of your light fixtures, and your 'bench' seating. well done.

  3. This was FUN to read! I can't believe the sheer number of changes you have gone through...makes me feel like I need to be braver about mixing things up ;-)

  4. That's was so fun! I love your dining room now but I actually love just about every other look too.

    Good luck this week! I'll be watching for updates and thinking of you! :)

  5. I think I will show this post to my husband the next time he complains that I redecorate too much! Loved seeing the evolution!

  6. All I can say is, "wow!" You have a lot of energy to do this so often. I love it! I really, really, liked the st. patty's day green ensemble. Those are my colors, though. :) Great job!

  7. Thank you!! People say it was changed a lot, but after working in visual merchandsing for 20+ years, and changing window displays, floor sets and floor moves - This was a walk in the park. Plus, this being my (our) first home together, it took time to learn how to merge our styles together.

    The last two years here were the most experimental because I was also using the content to build my experience to transition from the retail industry into interior design (re-invent myself) ... Which ironically I was studying (3+ years back in early 2000's) but boss I had at the time increased workload so much - I stopped taking classes. Now I'm in the process of getting "life credits" for my experience in floor / space planning & renovations... But I wanted to build a portfolio to demonstrate to people that I'm more than just a "shop girl"... and help share a few inspirational tips along the way :)

    Thanks for stopping by!!
    xo Lynda

  8. Girl I am TIRED just looking at those photos but inspired! You rock it!!!!

  9. I'm a new visitor, popping over from DIY Showoff but WOW, what a fabulous post! So interesting to see the evolution of a room. It's obviously you've always had fantastic style but your vision has obviously become more sophisticated as time has gone on. I love the room as it currently stands but I have to say, the pale green and pink literally made me go, "OH MY GOD!"! So pretty!

    While it's always sad having to say goodbye to our homes, a fresh start with a new place to decorate (WOOHOO!) is terrific consolation ;)

    Now, off to snoop around the rest of your blog!

  10. Love the evolution! Your {current} dinning room is just beautiful! I pinned it! Your newest follower,

  11. You are a brave soul to share the good and the not quite as good. I love your dining area today.. it is quite spectacular! I cannot wait to see your new home in Chandler and how your creativity grows and prospers in your new environment. xo marlis



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