Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Visual Vamp ReVamp: The Dining Room

I don't have a magazine worthy home. It's a bit of a dump, a run down shotgun house in New Orleans.

Still I love it with all my heart, and lavish it with decoration, an ever changing work in progress fueled by humble acquisitions, a shop girl salary budget, and small treasured upgrades.

The Visual Vamp dining room is a small 10 x 11 space, a pass-through really, a glorified hallway. I have struggled with it for five years, trying to define it's function.

From the Visual Vamp vault! The dining room the first year we lived in the house

When we first moved in I knew I wanted a red dining room, I chose a coral base red called "Late Tomato". My table was too large, so I used a caterer's round 60 inch folding table, skirted of course. There were no drapes, just bamboo shades. Alberto installed the chandelier hours before our first Thanksgiving dinner in this house, while the paint was still wet.

After five years of red, I have changed the color to, well, greige! Some of you have also noticed I changed my tango red hair to blond, really a sort of greige as the gray becomes lighter shades of blond. I loved both those reds, and as a colorist, I truly love all colors pale or saturated.

I had already used this color in an adjoining bedroom, the guest room. One day I just got the urge for a change and started moving the furniture around. I could never center the table under the chandelier and still have a walkway.

This is what the red room finally became - my office

By moving the armoire to an opposite wall, I suddenly could center the table under the chandelier!

I found some Parsons chairs abandoned by a neighbor over a year ago, and stashed in my shed.
They were castoffs from the lounge of Loyola University, and I doubt that the student who lived next door is coming back to reclaim them. The scale was perfect for the new table placement.

I also cleared out a few things: The hall table and mirror, the Voodoo altar, and all the Majolica plates.

A last look at the red paint - you can see a greige swatch on the wall

Once the furniture was rearranged I knew I had to change the paint color. And the chandelier lost the cord cover and the shades, and it was lowered.

I tried out some mini stag heads, and draped the table with the white cow hide rug formerly on the floor. I knew I had to get some white slip covers made for the chairs, and maybe get a bench.

The art work over the years radically changed from a hodge podge gallery wall, to featuring a wonderful painting by Jack Mayberry. It reminds me of a map of New Orleans, and the horizontal blue shape reminds me of a levee.

The dining room before - it became my office for awhile so I could use my dining room table

The slip covers are made of denim weight cotton. I asked for a tailored skirt, and simple seams with no welting. The chairs are a bit over size, and I love how the white slip covers enhance the lines.

Stylist extraordinaire, Jill Sharp Brinson suggested I add white ironstone to the top of the armoire, add some delicate greenery to the chandelier, and add some beans or shells to the glass hurricane candle holders. She also liked the natural light and slow shutter speed I use to take the photos.

I have an ironstone collection in the kitchen, so that was a go; the greenery is a vine pulled off the live oak tree in front of the house, and I added pale sand in the hurricanes.

I removed the stag heads, and Alberto installed sconces I had in the shed. I found them years ago in New York, and never had just the right place for them. The metal antler on the table is one of my favorite things, and it has been moved all around the house.

I moved the drapes from both bedrooms to the new dining room (the beautiful turquoise drapes are in my bedroom, and the guest bedroom has a simple shade and valence for now). I intentionally got them in the same color, knowing that one day I would probably use them elsewhere as a pair. I treated the side entrance door as another window.

The window on the right is the side entry hall door

The entry hall before - all of this was removed and the door painted the same color as the walls

The antique lantern was also lowered in the former entry hall, and the hideous cord cover banished.

The exposed beam is intentional. We unearthed it when we took down a wall and a door between the two spaces, and we loved seeing the old cypress underpinning of the house.

The print is an old calendar page purchased at Ruby Beets many years ago. Alberto framed it for me. The French antique oyster plate was a gift from my dear friend Michael Pelkey.

Opposite the table are a series of built-ins done in the 1960's by the original owners of the house. Instead of ripping them out when we renovated, I re-purposed them as bookshelves for over size design books by removing the upper and lower doors, and having a custom mirror made for the counter top.

I spy Cholo!

I made a new skirt for the bottom counter. It's burlap left over from a wall I upholstered in my bedroom. I just used staples, and hot glue to affix the black and white stripe grosgrain ribbon at the top.

A washed burlap skirt replaced the lower doors on the counter

The dining room counter before, with a toile skirt and a Suzani

The bookcases above are wonderful storage. I love books in a dining room.

Next to the built-ins, is a little corner. An antique corner table fits there perfectly, and it used to house my infamous Voodoo altar.

I boxed up all the mementos, and stored them safely away.

Now it's a place for flowers and art work.

The last piece to come into the room, is a bench. I thought I'd try it out as additional seating at the dining room table.

Although it looked fine, I prefer the chairs at the table, and moved the upholstered bench under a mirror that was traded with the one that was in the entry hall for one from the dance parlor.

So this is the finished revamp of the Visual Vamp dining room. We are enjoying the change, and are planning a dinner party. In the meantime I love sitting at the table with a cup of coffee and my decorating daydreams.

I hope I inspire you to repaint a room, recycle some of your old things, rearrange the furniture, move things from one room to another, purchase a thing or two to freshen things up, and in general have a great time decorating. As the great Dorothy Draper said: Decorating Is Fun!!!

Please share your revamps with all of us! Tell us what you're doing, and as always please send photos for Readers Projects so we can all ooh and ah.

Thanks to Joni Webb (Cote de Texas) and Jenny Andrews (MFAMB) and Jill Sharp Brinson and Maria Killam (Colour Me Happy) for encouragement and advice early on in the dining room revamp!

And special thanks to Alberto for always trusting my whims and cheerfully doing the projects I generate, and Jack for being my sounding board and lending a hand, and Ernesto for the beautiful slip covers.


Hollywood forever, Kevin said...

Dear Ms.Vamp, I am faithful follower and a lover of the only great city in America the city of New Orleans. Keep up the good work and regarding the dining room I enjoyed visuals. Thanks for sharing.

Irene said...

Wow! What a great BIG change. I loved your red room too.

Ms Smart said...

thanks for the tour of your lovely home. what a difference in style, feel, expression, mood between the before and after. you must be a different person, yeah? you have a lot of nice touches in your home. well done before and after.

Karena said...

Valorie, I totally disagree with your first description of your abode. The makeover is so perfect. I love everything you have done, and with some advice from the best of the best, Joni, Maria,Jenny, and Jill how could you lose!!

Art giveaway is now up on my site so come and join in!

Art by Karena

ashlina said...

what an incredibly beautiful makeover, you vamp you! wow. i am dying for that bench. literally. its perfection!
thanks for sharing your photos dollface. i love it.

Adventures in Dressmaking said...

Very cool to see the progression and changes!

Real Estate Resuscitation said...


Julienne said...

I am so pleased you removed the cord cover! They are such ugly things and always so bulky they take away from the beauty of the light fittings!!! That's my opinion anyway and I am sticking by it!!!!! Your dining room looks absolutely lovely can I come for the dinner party????

sweet european dreams said...

before and after are both lovely, but I have to say that the after affect is dreamy! Kudos on your hard work!

Design Junkie said...

I did always love your red room, but it looks so lovely and ethereal now. Beautiful.

vicki archer said...

Love, love it Miz V.....xv

Jan said...

I definitely prefer this to the red.
I particularly like the built in shelves.
Thanks for the tour V !

Jay said...

You did a great job. I love repurposing furniture.

julie said...

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the changes you made. It looks fantastic! So much more inviting and relaxing.

Acanthus and Acorn said...

I love the funky, eclectic look you had before, but the update is just beautiful!

It's as if the space has taken a deep breath of fresh air! And, the skirt w/ the banded trim at the bar is so chic!

I know a lot of talented ladies helped you, but may I suggest fresh flowers or plants...say in little zinc pots or urns on the table instead of the faux ivy? In time it will only collect dust and cobwebs...and we know who will come to live in it! Just not ideal for over ones head or where food is being served. Plus, the chandelier is just gorgeous on it's own!

Visual Vamp said...

Hey babe,

Thanks for your input.

There is no faux ivy ha ha. I'm not a faux kind of girl LOL

The vine was fresh cut. It gets removed when it dies, and replaced or not.

And you know we all change our dusty accessories all of the time.
I might do something as you suggest for a dinner party. Plants indoors, is another thing I don't eschew :-)

For those who like the bench: It's from JC Penneys online, the Chris Madden brand, and was only $179.

Thanks all for checking out the revamp!

The kitchen is next ha ha!

xo xo

AppleTree said...

I love how your dining room and your hair have evolved! Gorgeous before and Gorgeous after.

Marija said...

This turned out so beautifully.

As I was reading along, I was disappointed you said you moved the bench away because I thought it looked so great. Alas, the end product is even better! And I was one of the people on your original "do I do a bench or not post" that mentioned they were great though could be a pain at a table with 4 legs (rather than a pedestal). I think this gives you ultimate flexibility! Looks like a terrific space - certainly not a "bit of a dump!".

By the way, your re-purposing of the built-in area is brilliant. Nicely done!


Design Esquire said...

Everything is just beautiful! I loved watching the progression of the room through the years.

The Gimlet Eye said...

Showstopper! I spy a Zulu coconut...Love it!
Where did you find your beautiful cherry blossoms?

The Gimlet Eye said...

Showstopper! I spy a Zulu coconut...Love it!
Where did you find your beautiful cherry blossoms?

LaurenFaythe said...

It looks magazine worthy to me! It looks beautiful! I liked the red-it had a great eclectic and energetic feel, but I love the greige, and how calm and serene it feels.

Teacats said...

So fresh and tres elegante! A very charming room -- and a wonderful change and transformation! Love your hair color too!

Jan at Rosemary Cottage

Kwana said...

I'm loving this room. It's gorgeous!

Greet said...

My darling,
I love your dining room in all its different looks! It is so beautiful! And I looovvveee the storage you made !!

Helen said...

Your dining room transformation is beyond spectacular! I LOVE everything you did ... agree with moving the bench (I also love bench seating in a dining room) ... the muted colors, your treatment of the built-ins .... I have taken a lot of time this morning digesting everything you accomplished. And, yes, it is totally inspirational!

beki said...

It looks beautiful - what a transformation! As a fellow lover of color, I, too, am toning things down in my dining room and planning a transformation of my own. At the moment I am waiting on yards and yards of white linen to arrive so that I can start on my drapes. Thanks for the inspiration!!

inner_child said...

Love it! I would love to have the niches you have. I'd put one piece of your gorgeous ironstone in each niche with a spotlight per each. Of course, then I'd have to find a place for the books.

my favorite and my best said...

it looks amazing valorie!! well impressed.

Maria Killam said...

Wow what a fabulous transformation Valerie!! Thanks so much for the mention!!

La Maison Fou said...

Yes decor should be fun and this looks equally great!
I like both renditions but the lighter of the two is very nice as well.
Thanks for sharing,

Sabina said...

Oooh, I love it. The color palete and the new layout. The architecture of the room really stands out now. It's fun seeing your beautiful things in a new way too. Fantastic!

*°º¤♥-=|F®äñ|=-♥*°º¤ said...


Trouvais said...

Hi Valori...boy have you been busy...absolutely adore the finished product! Magazine...or book worthy. Just my cup of tea...thank you! Trish

Hello Lover... said...

This space turned out beautifully! So many wonderful vignettes in this room that are without a doubt magazine worthy! It's such a classic space - and I absolutely adore those little nooks filled with books! Good work!

*Chic Provence* said...

Valorie you did a fabulous job with a challenging and difficult space!! It looks just wonderful!

(Great minds and all that: I just posted and Easter table that I tossed lavender cowhide over!!)

It is so interesting seeing your thought process, and that's just what good design is..a process, homes should never be "finished"..but evolving and growing with us and our changes in taste..

Fab! Room!



Tina Ramer said...

Great job!!!

p.s.original said...

Enchanting! The spaces you've shown are all the more wonderful because you have filled them with beautiful things you enjoy. The best part is that your talent and creativity turns what you describe as a modest house into such a delightful home.

Anonymous said...

French Country Bachelor Pad.

Cote de Texas said...

wow. my mouth is hanging open. it looks beyond fabulous. seriously beautiful.
i love the wall color, the curtains, the corner table, the bench and mirror! the white ironstone! it really is remarkable.
but i am most jealous that JILL helped you!!!!!!!!!!!! SO NOT FAIR1111111 TRULY SOOOO NOT FAIR!!!!
Hehe.. Will she help me?????

Linda at Lime in the Coconut! said...

oh oh oh...the vamp becomes more sedate. Truly lovely! What a night day change! And you are matches your new hair!

So claming and elegant...regal.

Like you!

Renae said...

Oh Ya! You done good Girl! Beautiful, elegant, stunning. LOVE all that you did! Can't wait for your visit in May, you can 'vamp' me!


Anonymous said...

I absolutely loved it before and love it even more now. The color greige is just perfect. Would you mind sharing the color? It's perfect. I think I 've been on a 2 year quest for the right grey. I love the skirted bar as well. What a wonderful look!

Living It At Home said...

Oh my oh my! You have done the most wonderful makeover! I read every word and admired every photo of your room! I love it now. So fresh and light. So updated and yet welcoming! I would love to paint my walls that color! Is Greige the actual name of the paint color?

Thanks for sharing these wonderful photo's! Your home is lovely.


Morning T said...

It is absolutely stunning Valorie. Bravo on a job well done and fabulous pictures documenting your transformation!

Morning T said...

It is absolutely stunning Valorie. Bravo on a job well done and fabulous pictures documenting your transformation!

ArchitectDesign™ said...

It looks lovely, very current! I especially love the mirrored top to your built in sideboard!

Anonymous said...

I am torn. The strength of the red made the small space cozy and romantic yet I love the freshness of the new lighter, softer colors. The room seems a lot larger with the table turned in a different direction. Someone suggested that you share your paint color - I hope you do. It is a very difficult color to achieve. A very fresh look for summer. Nice job.

Anonymous said...

P.S. I have a chandelier over my breakfast table made of iron. Woven throughout the light is metal ivy attached to the ironwork. Somehow I think it gives life to the fixture even though it's metal. I have used red toile lampshades on the lights. The nice thing about your piece is that with a few changes on a whim, you can change up the entire feel of your fixture from casual to dressy with shades or live vines. Your guests will most likely always remember the light before anything else because it is unique.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Visual Vamp said...

Dear Anon 5:37,
Thanks for your comment.
There's no reason SRT wouldn't post it.
However, it is off topic so I deleted it.
Feel free to e-mail me personally anytime.
I will also file your comment and save it for a future discussion on the subject broached on SRT.
xo xo

Lindsey Conrad - Nabors said...

I love al the transformations and things you have done!! You are so talented!!

Anonymous said...

At first glance I thought it was beautiful but bland until I saw the photos of each little area in detail it became so beautiful, I looove the mirror and the bookshelves you made along with everything else.

I'm have a "greige" palate so this is the sort of room I naturally gravitate toward but I always adored your red room - your red dining room is the only room which ever made me think of switching to red on my walls. I love them both (the beautiful new room and the old red room).

Julia @ Hooked on Houses said...

How fun to see the evolution of this room and all the details that went into it! Beautiful.

Thanks for joining my blog party today and playing along! :)

nicole said...

You are awesome. Beautiful job!

Tricia Rose said...

Aww, now I want a Voodoo Altar!

what I really like is the vitality of the constant change - keep it up!

angela | the painted house said...

Well, that was just so cool to see the room's evolution...and I loved each one! From what snippets I can see of your house--LOVE it! Such soul. :)

Vanessa said...

When I saw the first photo, I thought it was an inspiration shot from a magazine/website. Love the new room - the slipcovers, the burlap skirt, the ironstone on your inspiring transformation.

Anonymous said...

That room is gorgeous!


pve design said...

Wow. Just goes to show that it takes "two to tango" and your dining room re-vamp is certainly something to kick one's heels over!
love it. so calm. so serene.

Jill Sharp Brinson said...

I just love how this whole space feels - very soothing, very contemplative - it feels like a whole new chapter has opened.
Such great responses from your myriad of fans - you documented everything so beautifully.

I will be in touch shortly
xxx Jill

jamesxvi said...

I love everything about it... very inspiring!

Laura Casey Interiors, LLC said...

It looks awesome!! I love it and thanks for the BHG paint tips.