Dining / lounge renovation

Our dining room / lounge is small, just 3.6 meters wide by 5 meters long...I guess you can say it's cosy! After reconfiguring two walls, we transformed the look and feel of this room with fresh paint, white floors and also hung a watercolour wallpapered mural. I styled the room with a soft colour palette of browns, pastels, mustards and then hints of black and brass, added new furniture pieces and homeware items (a lot of them thrifted) and, lots more plants! With a family of four, to keep our modest lounge a peaceful and clutter-free area, I have a 'zero toys in the lounge' rule, which is much easier to do with older kids, but the dining table can be used for drawing, clay, board games, crafts etc. It means that we always have a place to hang out that is not dominated by packs of dinosaurs and LEGO pieces everywhere!

The very first thing we did when we brought the house, was smash out the old fireplace - it had been bugging me for eight years. It wasn't in use anymore and because of the hearth, we couldn't have anything sitting hard against this wall - a waste of space for this area of the room. On the same weekend of the fireplace removal, we also took out the little corner window next to it, and the old hallway door in the opposite corner of the room. I felt like the window and the door cut and divided the room in a weird way, and to me visually they were just supposed to go. And while all the walls were down in the process, we insulated the room too (the floors throughout the house done also) and what a difference it has been this winter! Now the dining table sits along the old fireplace wall adjacent to the kitchen which makes for a good food flow, and with the removal of the old archway wall and the addition of the breakfast bar (completed in the kitchen reno), it means that the kitchen, dining and living areas are now connected and cohesive. Perfect for family time and entertaining. 

Another good riddance item in the lounge was the TV because; 1. TV's are ugly and 2. We much prefer to binge watch on our laptops in bed. We had moved the TV to our bedroom and only used it a few times, so it's now gone from there too. Remember that episode of Friends when Joey said: "You don't own a TV...what's all your furniture pointing at?" THATS US NOW! Haha.

So this room is almost finished...BUT we do have a future renovation which is going to completely change this room once again. We want to take out the large lounge window and replace it with a (hopefully wooden) bi-fold door and have a massive, multi-level deck coming straight out from it. We have dreams for the deck to have a woodfire pizza oven / BBQ area, outdoor dining and a little lounge hang out place too. Perfect for summer gatherings and sitting outside sipping something yum while watching the kids play...you know, all those good things! This will make the lounge feel so much bigger when we have that indoor/outdoor flow thing happening. And although we need to get in a digger to level out the land before the deck building can even begin, AND most importantly a re-mortgage to actually make it happen...I'm optimistic that we can have it done by summer ;) Aaron is eye rolling already, I can see it! LOL.

For now though, I hope you enjoy what we have done so far... 


ABOVE : The ART | The piece on the left is called 'Noa Raviv fall 17' by Isabelle Feliu and I fell in love with everything about it, especially the beautiful colours and movement of it. I have another one of Isabelle's pieces in the kitchen. | The line drawing, 'Close on white' is by the Parisian based artist, Quibe. | I brought both pieces as large as I could go on Society6 and had them framed by Sam Broad, in Morea - Lower Hutt.  The hem sofa | The dark grey couch, The Hem Sofa is from Citta Design (Value $2,960!), and I actually won it along with a $1000 in-store voucher back in 2015. Super lucky right - what an amazing prize! It has a gorgeous steel frame and the fabric is so good, it has never pilled. cushions | Both the pink and natural coloured cushions are also from Citta Design and the green tassel cushion was an op shop score, $4.  The rug | I tried all different shapes and sizes of rugs in this space, and a round one definitely works best. This one is from Freedom.  the coffee table + what's on it  | Continuing on with my circular obsession, and love for brass, I found the coffee table online at Me and My Trend. The boob planter is made by my friend Felicity AKA Wundaire, and the other pot and plants are from California Garden Center in Lower Hutt. The little brass dish is thrifted, and the candle is from National Candle. the plastic stools  | (used as a plant holder on the left)

I actually have three of these -  two cream ones and a pastel pink one too. The other cream one is tucked away on the right-hand side of the Hem Sofa, and I use this and the pink one specifically for holding drinks. Especially good when we are having a party and people need a drink rester. All three are second-hand finds. 

Below :  The Williams road cane chair | Aary spotted this 'Willow Cane Lounger' chair ($550) on Instagram and I am so glad he showed it to me. I love the unusual square shape to it, and the bohemian but modern at the same time feel to it.

Kate, owner of Williams Road sources many items for her shop aboard and can ship at a pretty reasonable rate (for such a bulky item) anywhere around New Zealand form her Gisborne based store.  The light shade | Which goes so well with that chair was in the bargain area at Lighting Direct, and I think I paid $60 for it. They often sell their display models really cheap - a good place to stop in and check every now and then for light shades and floor lamps etc.

the wall and floor 'colours' | The same as in the kitchen, the walls were painted in Resene black white. The floors were all done at the same time throughout the house - first sanding, then priming with Resene Sureseal followed by two coats of Rsesne Enamacryl in straight gloss white. This is a water-based product which is good because it drys faster and has fewer fumes than an oil-based one. 

Above :  ON The walls  | Because we said farewell to the old and much-loved archway during the kitchen renovation, I thought what better art piece to have here in memory of it than Bobby Clark's 'Terracotta Tunnel' print, it looks just like our old arch! A gift to myself after lusting after it for so long. | The vintage tassel came all the way from New Mexico in the USA. My Dearest Vintage had the most beautiful earth-toned, brown loving vintage items in her online store, many small enough to ship to New Zealand at a reasonable price. | The round (plate?) on the wall, I bought from the Salvation Army for $5.  The brown round 'love seat'  | The brown round seat I brought on TradeMe (listed as a love seat as two people can cosy up on it) for $200 and is in original condition and colour. I put new caster wheels on it so it sat higher up as it was too low down before. I sourced these from Mitre 10 which I primed and then spray painted in an 'antique bronze' colour. The couch now rotates 360 degrees, and for this reason, my mate Zoe named her Susan - like a lazy Susan. She can rotate to be facing the breakfast bar when small groups are gathered there, when someone wants a seat while still feeling included in the area. LOVE THIS COUCH! the cane cabinet  | On the same trip we took to pick up the brown couch, I brought this cane cabinet in a Levin op shop for $45. Every single item on it (apart from the pants) are all thrifted from around Wellington, Levin and the Wairarapa. throw + cushion | The blush throw I brought from Alex & Corban and the round 'Butterscotch Penny round cushion' by Castle and Things I brought from Amanda's beautiful Wellington-based store, Small Acorns (who were also stockiest of both my cookbooks). 

dining table / photography area | The only reason we went for a white table top, is so I could also use it as a surface to photograph on. My clever husband custom made it to exactly fit in this space, to sit between the filing cabinet and the breakfast bar nicely. The frame is steel, which he welded himself and then sprayed white (we didn't get it powder coated, mostly just to save on costs). The top is a laminated ply which is the exact same material we used to make the pantry shelves in the kitchen and was sourced from Laminex New Zealand in Seaview, Wellington. The materials in total cost around $450, labour free, but if changing it out, for the time it took - the table would probably cost around $2500. dining chairs   | The chairs I brought from a tip shop for $5 each (I brought 4 in total) and were covered in a thick, super glossy varnish and the seats had been covered in a maroon plaid fabric. It took 3 days to sand them up and get them to a nice matte look, and I finished them using a soft furniture wax. The Osmo Polyx Hardwax Oil (in Matt 3062) that I used for the wood in the kitchen would have been more ideal, as this product is better wearing long term, but I had discovered it AFTER doing the chairs. I sourced the leather from The Fabric Warehouse when they had a big sale. I took a seat cover in with me and hunted through the large pile of off-cut hides they had until I found pieces that were big enough to reupholster with. I brought four soft, black leather hides for $100 in total and recovered the chairs myself after watching a few YouTube tutorials. bench seat   | Is perfect for extra seating when we pull the table out from the wall - and although I probably would have wanted a different bench seat here, I made the best of it to save on money. It was an old Freedom one, but original the light wood veneer did not go well with the darker wood dining chairs, so I painted it. 

the wallpaper mural   | I brought this 'coastal cirrus mural' designed by Anewall via Anthropology because I wanted something so the house was 'white, but not too white'. Wallpaper was out of the norm for me - but it was a risk that definitely paid off, both Aary and I love it and it's one of the first things people comment on when they come into our home now. I love that it isn't a repeated pattern and adds a soft and calming vibe to the room. Anthropologie does not ship to NZ at this stage, so I was grateful that my brother's girlfriend Tiffany, who had it sent to her sister in the USA who then sent it to us. (There are also mail forwarding companies that you can use apparently for these sorts of international shipping dilemmas.)  the candle holder + vase chairs   | This mid-century vintage candle holder, which bends and you can alter the shape of, I brought on Etsy from a Californian based vintage store, Oates Central for $100 + shipping. I've seen identical ones in an Auckland based homeware shop selling for $350! The candles are from National Candles and the vase in the same colour was 50c from an op shop in Levin.


filing cabinet | I brought from Trash Place in Porirua for $40 and just love the soft pastel minty green colour of it. In a small home with little storage, it is also very practical. See the bonus organising section at the end of this post for what's in the drawers. the things on top | The large monstera plant + one other was very kindly gifted to me by my friend Neary of Botanical Chambre, the white bobbly planter and the 'head' I brought from my favourite op shop in Carterton, set of spikey ikebana (Japanese flower arranging) holders from TradeMe - $20 for 6, the black tourmaline crystal I bought at Hetties in Queenstown, gold tray and vase - op shopped, candles from National Candle, incense holder brought on holiday in Ubud, Ball. 

Couscous, and her happy face just letting you know, it's almost the end of the post. 

But first, some before and afters... 

before & after

before & after

before & after

+ the bonus organising section | Like the tear away section of a Cosmo magazine, here is a bonus section for you (minus the rude bits). This is to show how I have made use of this extra storage space within the filing cabinet. We all have a 'junk drawer' right? Well, I have organised it in the top drawer of the filing cabinet and have done it in sections using black wire baskets from KMart. I have one with medicines, painkiller and plasters etc, one with small tools & shoe polish etc, and one with incense, candles and matches. Then any gaps in the front are where I keep sunblock, insect repellent, nail clippers and extra ointments etc. The next drawer down is a Mum hack - a draw of goods for 'those day's' when your kids need entertaining at 5pm and you just need to get the dinner cooked! I have in there; stamping sets, colour pencils and paper, buttons (great for sorting into shapes, colours and math games), playdough and paints. 


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