Bold Blue Dining Room: Before and After

For the first time in my adult life, I live in an apartment with a with a dining room. For someone who loves cooking and entertaining as much as me, this is particularly awesome. Our dining room has a few things going for it: Super high ceilings, and doors that open to a small balcony that overlooks a pretty yellow museum right across the street. One wall is all built-in shelves, which would generally be a good thing, but the shelves are an outdated wood and the doorway below the shelves is flanked by these weird sheets of wood that appear to be doors but are not. But alas, we are renters so I can’t paint the shelves or tear out the unnecessary door-like walls.

I decided that a bold blue paint color would be dramatic and elegant, so that was one of my first projects when we moved in. Next, we bought a rustic/industrial farm table from a store called Rustika in Madrid and it’s my absolute favorite thing we own. It is the perfect combination of Brooklyn hipster meets metalworker meets cult member living on a commune in Vermont. It will almost certainly be covered in wine stains within a year, but I think that will add to the patina of the wood. That and the cat hairs. One of the Diplocats has decided it’s her favorite perch, a fact I won’t mention to dinner guests as they pull silky gray hairs out of their soup.

I found some cool dining chairs at a great vintage shop in Madrid called Tu Trato and recovered them with chartreuse velour-looking fabric purchased at a bustling fabric store called Ribes and Casal. I had a lot fun lining the shelves with our knick-knacks, including vintage framed bird prints, replicas of Yemeni houses that were a gift from Mr. Dame’s co-workers in Sana’a, a wooden American flag, and some rusty old metal letters I paid way too much for at the drool-inducing Williamsburg Flea Market this past fall. And I finally made use of the dozens of vintage glass bottles I collected for our wedding.

I like to think I achieved a “Rustic, Elegant, Americana” look.  Which is practically what I was going for.

Before. Ikea table had to go bye-bye.
Dining room before. Ikea table had to go bye-bye.
Getting these chairs home on the subway was not that fun. Recovering them was, surprisingly, quite fun.
Getting these chairs home on the subway was not very fun. Recovering them with a staple gun was, surprisingly, quite fun.
Diningroomsideboard
This wall is a collection of flea-market finds, a few wedding registry gifts, and things I’ve pillaged from my mom and aunt over the years. I recovered the lampshade with hand-painted fabric I bought at a flea market a decade ago.
Diningroom2
I’m keeping my eye out for two chairs for either end of the table. The little black and white ones pictured here were purchased at a flea market in Michigan for $5 each.
Diningroom3
After looking at some seriously expensive light fixtures, I found just what I was looking for at Ikea for super cheap. Here’s a sneak peak into the equally colorful living room.
If you're planning on displaying hardcover books, you might want something less embarrassing than "Scarlett," the sequel to Gone with the Wind.
If you’re planning on displaying hardcover books, you might want something less embarrassing than “Scarlett,” the sequel to Gone with the Wind.
diningroombottles
The hipster motherlode: Scores of vintage bottles.
I am a sucker for vintage paintings and prints of glamorous ladies. Even if their hands are as badly drawn as this one.
I am a sucker for vintage portraits of glamorous ladies. Even if their hands are as badly drawn as this one.
These are replicas of the "gingerbread" houses common in the Old City of Sana'a, Yemen.
These are replicas of the “gingerbread” houses common in the Old City of Sana’a, Yemen.
Diningroomplates
Another old-fashioned glamorous lady. I figured I should balance out that femininity with a plate depicting Mr. Dame’s alma mater. And a fish, just for good measure.

To creating a space you love,

The Dame in Spain

10 thoughts on “Bold Blue Dining Room: Before and After

  1. OK Emily your apartment could not be any cuter. You need to put it on the Apartment Therapy website! Love the blue dining room and glad you left it blue. I noticed a little “Plymouth” chair too, I had totally forgotten about that chair. Mark loved the table and the blue walls (surprised he didn’t comment on the Dartmouth china! You somehow even managed to make the bookshelves look good despite the color. Can’t wait to see it in person! If you are ever free you need to fly to Germany and help Michael and Michelle with their decor!

    1. Thanks Aunt Patty! If my place should be in Apartment Therapy, yours needs to have an entire issue of Elle Decor or some funkier magazine devoted to it. Much of my style inspiration comes from you!

  2. I love the blue wall and the table! Distressed wood is the key to my heart right now… 😉 Lovin’ the blog and congrats on NYU. Looking forward to reading more.

  3. Found your blog on the AFSA website. As an aspiring (early twenties) FSO/chef/crafter extrodinaire/vogue-style-worthy human being, I can solidly say, after seeing this post, that I would like to be you when I grow up (someday, details unclear on when that will be).

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