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Our Big Dining Room Redo - Just in Time for a Cool Blue Christmas!

Blue door
A glimpse of the now-blue pocket door, and beyond, the living room all decked out for the holidays.

By Lisa Brunette

In October the weather finally cooled off enough to open up the windows and tackle a huge painting project that had been on our to-do list for a while: the dining room. 

Regular readers of the blog(s) know I've bemoaned the brown-paint situation here in the farmhouse since we moved in four years ago. Either a previous owner or whoever prepped the house for sale had taken brown paint and streaked it over all of the woodwork trim throughout the first floor of the home. The dining room was an odd, ineffective, 3-color palette: grey walls and streaky-brown trim, with just two trim elements painted white: the crown moulding and two picture frame-style outlines.

Painting before
In this pano image, you can see the brown-streaked chair rail, doors, and window trim, the white frame outlines, and grey walls.

All that brown kind of dragged the rooms down. And the white frames just looked a bit out of place. So, as you can see in the above panoramic photo, we tested three blue hues, quizzing family members and guests and living with the idea of the colors for a good long while. Ultimately, we settled on the deepest one: bayberry.

Mid-project, after rolling on the bayberry.

We decided we needed to 'go bold or go home' with this 117-year-old beauty, choosing a blue that is elegant but fun. I also made the executive decision to paint the color everywhere - walls, window and door frames, chair rail, doors - basically everything except the ceiling and crown moulding. I'm not usually the person who's super on-trend, but this is one trend I can get behind. I've been falling for the look in magazines and on blogs over the past couple of years. It was easy to convince Anthony because it a) involved a deep blue he loves and b) meant a lot less work cutting in.

Lisa painting
Cleaning the antique pocket door before painting.

This was still a big painting job, though, and it's not like we're spring chickens. I hit the half-century mark this year, and Anthony's well ahead of me. We did the whole thing ourselves anyway! And we finished it just in time for the holidays.

Blue peek
Luckily, the living room-side of the pocket door was spared in the brown paint fiasco, so it didn't need to be repainted. Here you can see a sliver of its honey stain. By the way, the book-paper star garland is from LaMiaCasa.

We keep two small Christmas trees, and the smaller of the two now fits even better in the dining room, with its jewel-toned scheme.

Red tree
If you're looking for a felt pom-pon garland like the one draped on our chandelier, try sixoaksandco.

With the new paint job, I also took the opportunity to introduce a vintage metal cabinet I picked up for free. I kept its rustic paint job intact for the added interest and "used-to-sit-in-my-workshop" authenticity. With the walls saturated in blue, the black-and-white photo wall, milk glass vessels, and white plant pot really stand out. (You can say "pop" if you're into that kind of talk.)

Photo wall
Are you dying for that milk glass hobnail candy dish? You can get one from TwoBeContinued.

While the "blue Christmas" aesthetic hits me in my color happy place, it was also pleasing to see how the blue backdrop worked with our everyday décor. Besides adding the metal cabinet, I also took the opportunity to hang extra-long drapes. We've gone without them on these southeast-facing windows the past four years, which is fine in summer when the trees leaf out, but we've felt a bit exposed in winter. It's really nice to have them from a functional point of view, and they also help lend a practical elegance to the dining room.

Dining room reveal 2
Need a set of custom-sized curtains like these? Try Ikiriska.

As a common gathering area for my rather large family (I'm the oldest of four siblings, all in the area), it's nice to honor the space with family photos. It also brings Anthony's family closer, since they live in Washington state... except for our son, Zander! He's moved back in with us for a few months before he ships off to Navy boot camp. We're all really feeling the Christmas spirit this year because we're celebrating it together.

Dining room reveal

So not a "blue" Christmas at all except in the color sense! As someone who's experienced plenty of truly blue Christmases in my life, I'm busy counting my blessings this time.

I realize I only gave you a tiny peek of the main event, the living room, so here's more. I feel like the mantle finally really came together this year, with the addition of two things: 1) a pair of brass trumpet candlesticks I picked up in an antique shop in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri, this summer, and the greenery from our native eastern red cedars, which are finally mature enough to handle a bit of holiday trimming.

If you're looking for a pair of trumpet candlesticks like these, try connectedhouse.

With Zander here, all four stockings are in full use. 

DallasTextiles is a great source for monogrammed Christmas stockings.

The main tree is here in the pink-and-green living room, and it's full of white lights and ornaments in pink, green, white, and natural wood and straw to complement the color palette, including an incredible set of birchbark ornaments I scored at a discount after the holiday last year.

Bentwood ornament
This birch-bark ornament is from BirchPack.

I like this rustic printed towel I also picked up last year during after-holiday sales. It came in a suite with wrapping paper in the identical print. It looks great paired with my antique tackle box filled with glittered cotton blooms.

Xmas peace towel

And of course, no Christmas is complete without the requisite bubble-light night lights!

Bubble light

Merry Christmas from Lisa, Anthony, and Zander, too! We hope you grow in prosperity and sow the seeds for happiness in the new year!


Where Did We Get That? Right Here.

The book-paper star garland draped over our pocket door.

Those multicolored, felt pom-pon garlands.

A milk glass hobnail candy dish with peg legs.

A set of custom-sized curtains, in a variety of fabrics.

Maybe you fancy that llama pillow?

All hail, trumpet candlesticks!

Bentwood birch-bark ornament.

Alas, I can't find a tackle box just like the one I've got in the powder room, but here's a different one that's got me going. Because, you know, turquoise.

The retro bubble-light night light.

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