French Industrial Dining Nook
When I first met this dining nook (see back story of project here) I was so excited to get my grubby little hands on it. It’s just so special. You know how on makeover movies (Can’t buy me love, She’s all that, 50 shades, etc) we are all supposed to think they are ugly at first but its all so obvious that they just need some bangs, a cute top, mascara and they’d be beautiful? It was like that. The architecture already made it beautiful, so it was going to make my job look really easy.
The entrance into it (right off the kitchen) wasn’t just an arch, it had these really interesting sharp almost geometric lines to it, which is pretty rare for a Spanish style home which tend to have more curves. The wrought iron on the two windows was so pretty and the ceiling was beamed.
It was obviously under construction when I started, but it was still a happy space that was easy to visualize.
There wasn’t a ton to do – paint out the moldings in this dark gray (BM Deep Space) to match the rest of the house, paint the walls (BM Smoke Embers), and paint the built-ins (which I think were painted brown). The beams were also painted white since they had previously been painted brown – NOT stained, but painted and that is a massive difference. Never, I say, NEVER paint your beams the color of wood. You are fooling no one. Paint them white, gray, white wash them, stain them to bring out their natural color, OR strip them and leave them raw. Brown-painted beams are a deal breaker for me (and extremely hard to strip).
Click through to see the ‘afters’.
We picked out and put down these concrete tiles which I’m still dreaming about. These were relatively affordable (of course I don’t know how much now, but concrete tiles aren’t expensive) and they fit the style of the house really well. Technically they might be more Moroccan but Spain is only a hop/skip away from Morocco and they both feel old world and have intricate/ornate patterns so it works for me. The thing about cement floors, however, are that they are really porous and so you must have them sealed, often a couple of times in order to not stain them immediately. We made this mistake. We sealed it once, then a month later it was really beat up (mainly because of the additional construction/installation), so they came out and cleaned it like crazy and sealed it again. Some of the wear and tear was actually sealed into the tile, but it looks good- like a pretty patina that was original to the house (I’m not talking about the dirt in the photo below … that is actual dirt).
We played around with chandeliers because Shana had like a mini-inventory of lighting in her garage from her antiquing years. Originally she wanted the one in the top photos to be in there, and it was beautiful in a more rustic almost folk-artsy kinda of way. She thought the more regency one was too glitzy. I slapped her, despite her being pregnant, and then forced her to install this one only to realize it was the most perfect chandelier for the space. Not only was it the right scale and totally beautiful, but it contrasted so much better with the ornate iron work on the window because it was one large shape rather the other that looked so busy.
Here is the finished dining nook. It’s such a simple little room, but I love it so much.
Where else are they going to eat their artichokes whilst reading The Times International section and sipping on imported espresso? Don’t you feel more cultured just looking at this room.
Finding the right chairs was a HUGE struggle. I knew we needed something upholstered because there were so many hard finishes in the room (she already had that table). But the scale of that table is pretty big on each side (I think you could probably do 2 small-ish chairs on each side) but it would be VERY tight. And finding four authentic french (or antique) chairs for under $3000 is difficult. So when I found these (at a vintage store on Melrose) I did like a weird monkey sound (‘ooh ooh, ahh ahh’) because I just knew they were right. I texted her the chairs and she was on the fence and I was like, ‘No way. THESE ARE THEM’. So I memo’d them (meaning that you take them for 24 hours to test them out in your space) and sent her some crappy iPhone pictures (she was out-of-town) and she was more into them. Not as into them as I was at the time, but as soon as she got back from her trip and saw them in person, she was psyched.
These chairs were already upholstered in a beautiful worn charcoal gray waxed canvas. And look at that little wing that hugs your tiny and tall little shoulders like a little french hug. So cute. I believe they were $1200 for the set, which sounds like a lot but to find a set of FOUR upholstered (and not needing new upholstery) chairs, in a beautiful shape, in our color palette, a large-scale, and authentically antique is a huge feat. I was very proud of myself.
You can see in the above photos how the floor has a patina on it, that is actually really pretty, but now that it is sealed it still wipes up really easily. Just make sure it’s REALLY sealed or else it basically acts like a concrete garage floor – everything can stain it.
We added a few of Shana’s paintings in here to add some warmth, and then of course brought in a strangely sculptural fig tree to break up some of the lines and add some color and greenery.
They have a proper dining room, but this dining nook is right off the kitchen and makes my little french/industrial heart sing.
Get the Look:
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Look for Less:
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To take a look at the rest of this house click through to the different rooms:
*All Photos by