Our main vision for a change in lifestyle was to create a place for people to be more social in and for our latest before and after renovation, here is how and why we went about putting the social back in to the dining room.

Every memorable holiday for us has involved getting to know people by staying in their home, staying together, sharing meals and cooking food together. It has been about sitting around chatting, with no tv and sometimes just the stars above our heads. As home life changes with hectic schedules and open plan living, the dining room has been left behind a little. Yet at Christmas, it is the place where families happily hang out and play games.

So why don’t we do that all year round?

The dining room at St Marks is perfect for group get togethers and we wanted to create a space that people would want to stay in and have it full of laughter, rather than everyone retreating to the sofa for an after dinner slump.

If you have read our blog post on reupholstering the dining room chairs, you will know that our first challenge was to create a cohesive room with an absolute mis-match of furniture. This meant a lot of paint. I know it probably looks like we just slap some paint on everything, but this came about more because we had made a pledge to buy as little new furniture as possible. We set ourselves the challenge of being more environmentally friendly in up cycling items as opposed to buying more products.

Thankfully the house is structurally sound, so apart from a bit of plastering the room transformation simply relied on sanding, priming, painting and upholstery.

Our first colour choice, as usual with us, broke all the interior designer rules, of blue not being a good colour for an eating environment. The aqua colour came from our little dog bust, now named The Duke, thanks to our Facebook followers. We had our various items sat on a table when we first moved in as we were deciding which rooms to put them in. Some were obvious and The Duke just seemed to fit with the idea of a grand dining room setting. Thus basing our whole colour scheme on one little ornament was a bit of a gamble, but when we found the curtains to match, it paid off.

To make the traditional table, we had been left with, and our contemporary table match we decided to be brave and paint them black. Simply because we also knew that we were going to bring in more bright colours with the chair upholstery.

This also meant painting the fireplace to avoid having too many different types of wood looks in the room. Not something Damian was sure about doing, so I did it while he was in Leicester – what a sneak! – but he loves it.

The candlesticks were a bargain from the local charity shop and sprayed to create a bit of opulence. The china dogs are something that tells me what age you are if you remember them as a child in various households. They are my mum’s and I love them for the nostalgia but Damian does not get them at all and will be glad when I say it’s time for a change.

The little silver bells are a hit with the children when they figure out they can ring them. We found them in the loft and feel it all adds to the story of the house being a vicarage with servants to call for service.

There is one more piece of furniture to up-cycle and a picture to be sourced for over the fireplace yet, but so far the room has proved to be a success for people sitting in and happily chatting away in for hours at a time.



Dog Bust Abigail Ahern for Debenhams http://www.debenhams.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/prod_10701_10001_304044550142_-1

Central Light Wayfair

Bulbs Vendimia Lighting Co

Curtains ENA Shaw

White cabinet Ikea







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