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Our dining room is one of those spaces that has come a long way, but with very small steps over the years. This year, however, I decided I really wanted to make some major progress in here before hosting my family for Christmas. So I got myself to work. Just so we’re all on the same page, here is what the room looked like when we bought the house back in 2009. I know. Barely any work to do at all… (eye roll here). We promptly removed the ceiling fan, painted over the ox blood walls, and tore out the floral drapes. Later down the road, we also tore out the carpet and put down laminate wood flooring. It’s amazing to me to look back at these pictures and see how far it’s come. Even with the new paint, lighting, flooring, etc.. The room still felt so cave-like to me. We never used it at all. Instead we usually ate at the kitchen counter or (gasp) on the couch in the living room. But I have such fond memories of family dinners around the table every night growing up, and it was something I really wanted to get in the habit of. I was convinced that if the space was bright and fun, we’d actually want to be in there. So over the past few months, I set out with that goal in mind. Without any more teasing. Here is the dining room from that same-ish angle today: Yep. I went ahead and built my own dining nook. Something I’ve always wanted and have been begging the hub to build for me for years. Since he never got around to it (and probably never would), I finally decided that a lack of testosterone really doesn’t mean I can’t use power tools. And then I built myself a bench! I know. Life changing. Ok, to be fair, I do use power tools slightly more often than your average girl (like that one time I redid our half bathroom), but I’ve never attempted anything on this scale before, and I think it turned out pretty well for basically just winging it. I may get around to a post on the whole process one of these days, although I’m quite certain I didn’t do everything the ‘right’ way so I’m a little leery of posting my process out there and having someone tell me the bench will collapse likely in a matter of minutes. So far no one’s fallen through though, so I’m happy. In addition to the bench, I also have been collecting a variety of artwork to make this my own little gallery corner. I love the color and fun it brings in. Some of these are my own work, and several are things I’ve gathered over the years. I put most of the posters up with tiny binder clips, so they are easy to change out if the mood strikes, and I’ll continue to add to this collection over time as new pretty things find their way to me. For now, my favorites are the vintage mirror I painted bright yellow, the antique doily stretcher found for $8 at Junkstock this fall, and this amazing print (and this one too!) that I can’t get enough of from Mary Kate McDevitt, one of my very favorite artists. I also really like the hand-woven African basket, a gift Brett got from one of his foreign students. Hiding in there too (white frame under the camera print), is the very first drawing Vera ever did. It’s so special to me, and I’m so glad I thought to save and frame it. These chairs also still have my heart. I picked them up at Junkstock this last fall too and they make the room. They totally do. The table is a sort of hand-me-down from one of Brett’s sisters. We actually bought it from her for a charity sale she was participating in, with this exact application in mind. Well, in my mind at least. Brett had no idea why we needed another dining table. Haha. So that is the dining room now. I love how much it’s come together. The best part though, is that we actually use it now! There are still occasionally nights where we watch a movie on the couch while we eat, but for the most part, we’re out here together during dinner time, which was the goal all along. Vera loves ‘her spot’ on the bench, and really likes to help set the table. I like that we’re all together in a cheery space for at least 30 minutes a day. And Brett, well.. he pretty much just likes food wherever it’s served, so it works for everyone. :) Hope your week is off to a great start!