Shaping Up the Dining Room

We've taken the first half or March off from blogging to do a bit of work on the dining room. Ours was covered in wood paneling - actual natural wood - stained to a dark and dismal coffee brown that has always made our dining room feel like a cave. So this year we decided to do something about it.

Wood paneling like ours lends itself well to the cottage or beach house style of decor. I have always been against this, feeling that the whitewashed wood and deliberately distressed finish associated with it to be pretentious and off-putting a la Martha Stewart. So we didn't do it. We painted several serious layers of white semi-gloss over that stuff and it changed the entire room. We also added a deep forest green around the windows and the toe molding and have created a completely different environment.

White walls and green trim is very beach house, even without the pickling

We also purchased a much-needed china cabinet. We have an abundance of the stuff, having acquired ancestral sets from both sides of the family. Mine is a rosebud Spode pattern that was my great-grandmother's. It is simple, beautiful, and reminds me of where I come from.

Sorting the china with a little help from Gracie

My great-grandmother's Spode

My counterpart's is an elaborate set of Limoge china that one of his mother's forebears brought over from France. It is service for eight  like my great grandmother's Spode, but the Limoge is indeed a full service, consisting of dinner, salad, bread, and dessert plates, plus tea cups and saucers. Each piece has a different scene of provincial French life painted on it, from hunting to gardening to going to market. This set is truly a work of beauty and will take prominent position in the cabinet.

Salad plate

Bread plate

Dessert plate

And as I sorted through my in-laws' heirloom china, placing it carefully in my first china cabinet, in the dining room that I had designed with my spouse, I felt as if I had found my place in the domestic portion of my life. So often I cling to the old #badwife as a part of my identity when it has always masked my insecurities with creating a home, my great fear of failure as a true domestic partner. Today it is all but disappeared.