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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, smashed 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?" THAT'S 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 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... 


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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.

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! 

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.  


throw + cushions | 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). Both the pink and natural coloured cushions are also from Citta Design and the green tassel cushion was an op shop score, $4.  

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.  


coffee table   | 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.


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the wallpaper mural | Anewall via Anthropology 

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.) 

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. 

candle holder | 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!

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. 

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