Monday, August 1, 2011

Kitchen/Dining Room Spruce up... Part 1

I'm back!!!

First off, I would like to blame my lack of posting on Mr. Husband. This has been in the works for the past couple of months, but he said I wasn't allowed to blog about it until his parents saw it. Mr. Husband is from Atlanta (the source of all of my inspiration), so we're super lucky when his parents get to come see us because we don't get to see them quite often...

So he wanted to have this be a big surprise, which means I've been having to hold it in. Do you know how hard that's been?!?!?!?

It all started out when we were eating dinner at the table, and we had just finished watching HGTV. The dining room/kitchen had always felt a bit lackluster.

Case. In. Point.
I felt like we were stuck in a constant "autumn" state, and always thought to myself "come one D, we can do much better than this"...

I knew what I wanted to do in here but still needed the go ahead from Mr. Husband to do it. Well, who knew a little HGTV watching would give Mr. Husband the swift kick in the butt he needed to realized we HAD to do something with the dining room.

From what I remember, the conversation went a little like this:

Mr. Husband: "Babe?"
Me: "Yes Mr. Husband"
Mr. Husband: "I think you should call around and get quotes for crown molding"
Me: "And for Wainscoting too?!?!?!?!"
Mr. Husband: "Okay :) "

I was on freaking cloud nine... I was finally going to have what we Arizonans typically don't have... crown molding and wainscoting! But what Mr. Husband didn't know was that we weren't going to get typical Wainscoting he was used to having in Georgia, we were going to get Stills and Rails :) I first wanted this particular look when we were building our house. The model homes had the look in their bedrooms, but at the time it was just too much for our budget as we were planning our wedding at the same time.

I learned SOOO much through the whole process, from getting quotes, to the actual construction itself. First off, getting this stuff put up apparently costs a premium out here because there aren't too many companies that do it. I had 3 different company's come out (mostly because that's all I could find, or else I would have done more)... 2 of them over bid... like, over bid to the point that I was p'd off, and the third company came in just right :) It's what we expected to pay and they even negotiated with us a little bit.

You know it's a good deal when EVERYONE feels like they're getting a good deal.

Now, I know there are a lot of people out there that would prefer to do this themselves, which is perfectly fine, and it would be a huge money saver... so more power to you!!! But for us, I feel like there are some things I want to look absolutely perfect, and this was one of them.

Mr. Husband had to talk me out of that one by the way, the whole "do it yourself" thing... I totally thought I could have done this myself and could have made it look perfect, but I would have been OH. SO. WRONG.....

Here's a picture below at the halfway point with some helpful tips if you do plan on tackling something like this yourself:

1. The boxes: Every wall you "wainscot" on is going to be different in width, which means not all of your boxes are going to be the exact same size... and it's Okay. This is something that would have drove me absolutely insane. None of the boxes match on any of the walls, and you wouldn't have been able to tell unless I pointed it out.

2. To add to point 1, watch for your light switches... You don't want any of the "stills" or "rails" to fall on the light switches, or it would just look extremely awkward... another reason your boxes will likely not be the same on all of your walls.

3. For those of you that have texture on your wall, and want the smooth look: The company used plywood behind the stills and rails to do just that. I would have done that, but what I wouldn't have planned for was not having the seams be visible. You won't see ONE seam in the entire dining room because all of the seams are hidden underneath the stills...

4. This one is for the molding: Yes, we all know that walls are not 90 degrees in their corners. What they did was put the corners of the crown molding together first with super speedy wood glue (that dried in literally seconds, but apparently is very expensive). Then once dry, they simply butt it up against the corners and the ceiling, then nailed. They then caulked the spaces that needed to be filled in because of the wall not being straight. I never would have known.

5. TAKE YOUR TIME. It took the company 2 full days with 3 guys to complete everything, most of which was just planning and taking measurements to make sure everything was going to be absolutely perfect.

And for my final tip... Painting. Once they put a primer on, they had one guy paint (with a paintbrush) on the semi gloss, and then another guy follow with one of those skinny rollers. There was no additional paint on the roller, he was just going over what the first guy did to basically get rid of the paint brush marks and it ends up giving it a super pretty texture.

Here is something I'm most proud of. See, we don't have a fire place, which means I have no where to hang stockings come Christmas.... So I wanted a little faux fire place :) I can't take all the credit. I found a picture online when I was researching Wainscoting and I new it would look awesome for our little wall.

And we just HAD to get rid of the Autumn theme... so Mr. Husband opted for Navy blue.

Waiting for the paint to dry....

And here's how it turned out!

Mr. Husband deserves credit for the mirror above our faux mantle. I was completely against it at first, but have to say, it is one of my favorite parts of the new dining room.

We agonized, and agonized, and agonized over this print. Mostly because it was a special order fabric from Joann's, which means it wasn't going to be cheap, which then means you better get it right on the first try. The busy pattern made me the most nervous, but thankfully it turned out perfect.
So one more before,
and After!!

I'm so glad we did this... It's like we fell in love with Ms. Amber all over again. I would also like to give a GINORMOUS shot out to The Crown Molding Company in AZ for being awesome at what they do, and just plain FUN to hang out with all day.... and for putting up with me. Believe me, I asked lots and lots of questions :)

My Final Tip? Turn on HGTV so your husband can catch the decorating bug :) The possibilities are endless!!

P.S... Part 2 to follow soon!

Linking up to Thrifty Decor Chics Before and After Party!