Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Mini "Eating Area" Makeover

Our growing family has prompted us to make quite a few changes around our home in the last few years.  We put french doors on what was once our formal dining room and made it into an office/guest room.  We HAD to have a guest room because when Gage went away to college, his room became Milo's nursery.  When Gage comes home he can't very well sleep in the crib with Milo or on the couch for weeks on end so a temporary guest room was in order.  That worked out well for a while...sorta.  The issue came when we moved our dining table and hutch into the breakfast area of our kitchen.

We had to put the hutch in front of one of the windows - there wasn't an open wall.  I wasn't crazy about this set-up because a) we lost a window and it's light and b) it was really crowded.  When all of us sat around the table it took some finagling, actually it was near impossible.  I finally decided a few weeks ago (especially with holiday family dinners planned...) to move the hutch out to the garage.  We'll be moving in the next year, so essentially we'll just store it out there.  Hopefully it will have a place in our next home.  I added our table leaf that had been in the attic and a bench to one side of the table so that we could seat at least 5 now.  I also decided to take down our thick dark curtains to allow more light in...  Unfortunately, when I took down the curtains it revealed our horrible mini-blinds.  All of the bottoms were missing slats and had rips from a dog that we had staying at our house at one time. They were also covered in a thick dust that no matter how much I scrubbed wouldn't come off.  I think when the kitchen walls were re-textured many years ago, the contractors just left the blinds up.  

As you can see, this is MUCH better.  Look at all that natural light and space around the table!  The old blinds went in the trash and the old curtains were replaced with neutral panels.  The eat-in area stayed this way for a few weeks and then two NEW things started to bother me.  1...I missed my dishes from the hutch.  They are my grandmothers wedding dishes and there was just something comforting about having them near the dining table.  2...While I loved all the light and open windows, there was no privacy!  Our laundry room is located just off the area and there are quite a few times in a week that I need to make a naked dash there to grab something I'm looking for to wear.  I'm sure the neighbors were unimpressed...

I searched online for cheap blinds or roman shades, but there wasn't really anything in our price range that worked.  Our big window is also not a standard size, so blinds would need to be custom ordered.  I know from blinds that we've ordered in the past that this isn't cheap. I also searched pinterest for an easy DIY shade of some sort but didn't really find anything I liked there either.  Queue my amazon search.  That's when I found these fabric temporary shades.  They were $8 a piece and could be cut down (with scissors or utility knife!) to fit our windows.  You can get them as low as $3 depending on the size you need.

The reviews were really good so I decided to give it a try.  So far, so good.  They were super easy to cut and then install.  I think it took less than 5 minutes.

The next thing I tackled was some sort of shelving so I could display a few things.  I knew it needed to be very non-invasive as space is precious in this area.  Initially I thought I'd get Matt to DIY me some skinny shelves.  You could totally buy a few 1x4s and then some "L" brackets and hang them on your own... Only thing was, he'd have to find time to build them... and he'd have to also build in some type of lip so that I could put plates on them if I wanted.  Then I'd need to prime and paint them and then he'd need to install them. The benefit to all that is we most likely could have done it for $20.  I decided to check amazon for grins and came across these.  I wanted them to be varying sizes and these would be perfect for plates because of the lip.  They also looked really nice and finished.  I'm amazon prime so shipping would be free and they'd get here in 2 days, so I went with it - it was worth the extra $15.  Matt installed them the day they came in and I think they turned out adorable!

And I know I'll be able to add little holiday touches here and there.

 The shelves take up zero room so we didn't lose any space.  The fabric blinds were inexpensive, easy to install and still let in all of our natural light.  Yay!  Problems solved. Best part of this mini-makeover is all the extra space we'll have around the table now - makes me ready for a turkey dinner!

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