I still remember the first time I saw our house. We’d looked at a lot of… questionable places and when the realtor was driving us through the neighborhood Chuck remarked, “There’s no way we can afford to live here.” As soon as I stepped through the front door I was sold. It’s small by anyone’s standards [really, anyone] but it has so much character. Only one family owned it before us. Gary and Dolly [as we affectionately refer to them] built this house. Lived here all of their lives. Raised their four children and lived out the rest of their days. I get to benefit from their green thumbs each spring. It’s just a good house. It’s got the kind of character you just can’t buy. Buuuut… it doesn’t have a dining room. Which is super sad for someone who loves to entertain. So rather than complain about something I just can’t change, I bombarded my husband with pins and websites filled with images of built-in banquettes. Hehe. So this post is definitely dedicated to him. For both his crazy amazing handyman skills and for the way he works so hard to give my heart all its little desires. Thanks, hubs. And now, on to the pretties.
Here’s the before. Lots of high chairs and only room for four adults.
And here’s the after! Like your favorite booth at your favorite restaurant!
We’ll start from the top. I took the sheers down [the kids were using them as napkins anyway…] and bought one grey panel. Luckily the bottom was hemmed the same as the top so I was able to cut away the top and bottom to make the one panel into two valances. For some reason all the valances I saw at the store were kind of a weird faux silk material. As a bonus, I saved $5 over buying two separate valances and I have enough material to add a couple more pillows if I want. I did have to add the tabs on the back of the second panel so that they looked the same. But even that was easy enough with some ribbon and stitch glue from the craft store. A good rule of thumb for valance length is that they shouldn’t be longer than 1/3 of the window.
We also wanted to add some overhead lighting for the area. There should be a light over the table. Unfortunately, since the eat-in area is a bump out from the rest of the house, the roof over it was enclosed and there was no access to it. To solve that problem we bought a plug in light kit from Lowe’s for about $15. We might have to enclose the wire later to keep it away from inquisitive hands but that would be pretty easy. And all of me loves this golden lampshade with flocking on it from Target. All of me.
The booth-style bench is really the belle of this ball. Chuck used a combination of a couple 2x12s and a sheet of birch cabinet-grade wood. We found the legs at Home Depot. We were looking for something a little ornate to match the styling of our vintage table [gifted to us by friends!]. The color is a Miniwax Polyshades Bombay Mahogany, if you’re a fan.
The built-in storage underneath is still awaiting the perfect combination of low-cost and functional. Maybe some galvinized buckets. We’ll keep things like our cloth napkins under there. We also keep the books we read for morning devotion under there. I love that because they used to just sit cluttered on the table all day.
The bench in the back is long! And I see some dinner parties in our future. Small ones, though. Let’s not get crazy.
And one last time. Just for fun.
[p.s. look at that weird shadow on the ceiling that looks like I took this post-kitchen-fire. Weird.]