This humble room in my house is the center of my family's communal life. It is where we share meals, entertain friends, read books and newspapers, do homework, and set up our laptops. Normally the table is overrun with papers and books, except when I clear it off for dinner, and then the floor surrounding the table is home to paper and books. I cleaned up for the photo.
The dining room set is the one I grew up with. I've often thought of replacing it with something more to my taste, but this is the same table that hosted the boisterous family dinners of my childhood. My Irish father and Italian mother had six children. The table was always crowded with people, food, and conversation. It still is.
The room includes a fireplace with a 19th century mantel. This is where we come to chase the winter cold and darkness away. We eat in front of the fire and often move our chairs next to it after dinner and do some reading. Even in summer, there's a faint scent of wood smoke in the house.
I love this room, but it has a problem...
...1970 dark wood paneling!
Combined with the hardwood floors, the brick, and the dark knotty pine built-ins next to the fireplace, it makes for one dim room, especially in summer when the house, which is nestled among trees, is fully shaded. The kitchen, which adjoins this room, is full of custom-made wood cabinets and tiles made by a local potter. I love all the handmade character, the antique mantel, and the rail pulled from an old church, but the original homeowners could not get enough of the color brown.
I'm an earthy, nature-loving grrrl, but I have to admit there is simply too much dark wood in here for me.
I need to lighten up, within and without. With a holiday weekend ahead of us and a restless need to make some changes in my life, I went to Home Depot and got everything I need to paint the paneling. It's the first of several projects I have planned for summer, an attempt to stake a new claim in my life, not just update our interiors. I'll post photos over the weekend when we're done, so check back.
Are you working on any DIY projects this summer? What are you doing this weekend?