My favorite room in this old house we bought is the dining room, with its gleaming oak trim, massive French pocket door, beautiful brass door hardware, window seat and bay window. I managed to look past the leaking, dirty refrigerator and focus only on the room’s potential. Rose colored glasses and all that. 

When I first walked in my eyes were drawn to the box beams in the ceiling and the original box beam lights at each corner of these beams. They are solid brass, bare bulb fixtures with flat backplates and a brass socket. Simple and elegant. They had coil CFL bulbs in a couple and some regular incandescents in others. Not a great look. I replaced the mismatched bulbs with some Edison bulbs and love the look, just a little warm glow that supplements the chandelier. The 1911 version of today’s can lights.

There was no center chandelier when we bought the place so we had to select something from our inventory of lights. I opted for a newer four light fixture with a Mission & Tudor feel. It’s also too short, but we were hurriedly trying to deck out the room for a holiday party so we just went with it. It’s not my ideal fixture for the room but it works for now until I find the perfect Arts & Crafts gas & electric combination fixture, the one I have in my head. Someday I will find it, most likely it will be in pieces in a box at a flea market or auction. 

The room needed very little work: cleaning, painting and the floor was in terrible condition, like the rest of the floors in the house. The double hung windows needed to be rehung as the old ropes had given way and the sash weights fallen into the pockets. This gracious old house was well built, so all the windows have window stop adjusters which makes rehanging (or cleaning) a breeze. 

The woodwork in this room was in the best condition of all the rooms in the house. The original shellac finish was just very dirty, but our handy Krud Kutter did the job of cleaning it for us. I used a scaffold to get as high as I could reach and then enlisted the help of some tall friends to help me with the beams and crown mouldings. The woodwork cleaned up so well with just the Krud Kutter and rags I was thrilled! 

The wall paint colors are two different tones of gray above and below the chair rail. I chose blue for the ceiling to draw attention up to those lovely beams and beam lights. The shade of blue was elusive, I tried three before settling on the final navy blue color. I think it is actually called “Naval”.

We tried to refinish the floors ourselves. Jim spent weeks sanding all the floors with a rented orbital sander before deciding that this was a job for professionals to finish up to make it look good. There were dog pee stains in many of the rooms, the dining room being the worst offender. The floors were originally finished with a very dark stain, we went with that same look which helped to minimize these stains. Tausch Hardwood Flooring did the rest of the finishing for us, it took about 3 weeks for them to do the whole house. It was well worth it and we highly recommend them. 

I furnished the dining room with antique pieces I found. The mission sideboard is my favorite piece, it rode around in the back of my Honda Pilot for over a month until the floors were done and we could unload it. The antique oak pedestal table has 4 (!) leaves with it so it expands into a massive table when needed. I am still working on the chairs. I bought some cheap ones to get us by but they are already falling apart. A friend gave me the two gorgeous upholstered chairs which we were using at our house until our rotten to the core cats decided to use them as scratching posts. I bought Elmer’s glue to fix this after studying a couple YouTube videos on how to do such a thing, but have not gotten around to it yet.

The curtains are custom, I designed them and my friend Cindy made them, she did an amazing job. There was a lot of math involved I recall and we had a few adjustments to make after the first go-around. The fabric is a William Morris pattern called Wandle, which of course I could not find anywhere except in England. Because that’s how I roll. I ended up making the curtains for all the bedrooms and the living room out of different William Morris patterns actually, and some throw pillows resulted from the scraps leftover. 

The artwork in the room consists of some prints by artist Laura Wilder, which we framed using salvaged oak mouldings from our warehouse. There is also an 1880 map of Rochester (how I love maps!) framed in the same way. We've hung them with traditional fabric picture hangers in antique ivory which we carry at the store.