One Room Challenge Spring 2018 – Week One!

The Interior DIYer - One Room Challenge Spring 2018 Week One!

I am very excited and a bit nervous today to share that I’ll be participating in the Spring 2018 One Room Challenge as a guest participant! It’s something I’ve followed year after year and I’m excited to finally be participating this year. For anyone who found me here thanks to the ORC, hello! I’m Alex and I’ll be redesigning the dining room in our rented apartment here in Ottawa over the next six weeks as part of the Spring 2018 ORC.

We’ve been living in our Lower Town apartment in Ottawa for six months which has given me plenty of time to think of design ideas and decide on what I’d really like to do with our dining room. To give you an idea of what I’ll be working with, here is our dining room as it is right now …

The Interior DIYer - One Room Challenge Spring 2018 Week One

It’s the brightest room in our apartment and also where Cora and I spend most of our day. It’s the biggest room and I did think about maybe tackling a smaller room for my first ORC, but we spend so much time here as a family that it made the most sense to update it first. We’ll also have guests staying with us over the next few months so it’ll be a [more] welcoming space for them.

I’m hoping to source as many secondhand pieces as I can for this challenge. I will be getting some brand new pieces, but I’ll be putting a lot of thought into each piece before buying it. So starting from the top down, here’s an outline of what I’m planning on doing to our dining room! …

Change the lighting
I luckily already have a secondhand chandelier ready for our dining room. It’s very similar to our living room chandelier but bigger. I’ve been patiently waiting for the day when we can take down the track lighting in here as this cluster does absolutely nothing for this room.

Paint the ceiling
It’s not as intrusive as you might think, but it’s time for peachy ceiling to go. I have leftover ceiling paint from updating our living room so I’ll use up the remainder of that.

Paint the walls greige
It’s taken me a while to come to terms with it, but I’m a big fan of greige [grey + beige]. I like neutral walls but I’m not very comfortable with stark white or cold greys, and greige is just the right mix of neutral and warm I’m looking for this room.

Burgundy focal wall
There’s an opportunity to make one of our hall walls [seen below] a focal wall as part of my dining room update. It’s a dark area so I’ll be embracing it and painting the wall burgundy with the leftover paint from our living room.

Contact paper dining table
We inherited the dining table from the previous tenants in our apartment. It truly is a beautiful table, but it’s seen better days; the legs are scratched and painted different colours and the top is dotted with spilled red nail polish, coffee stains [that I can’t remove] and has a finish I’m not in love with [the knots are too dark for my liking and I’m not keen on the pattern]. So instead of buying a new table, I’ll be painting the legs and covering the top with faux marble contact paper [like what I did with our coffee table].

New seating
We bought our dining chairs secondhand and they have not held up well. Along with my persistent hip problems, I can’t sit in them for very long without immediately regretting it. And they’re falling apart. The chairs, that is. And my hips too I guess. So I’m on the lookout for well made chairs with a bit of a modern design, or possibly two chairs and a bench? I’m still open to options.

Large vintage mirror
Just wait until you see the beauty of a mirror I found on Kijiji. Once the walls are painted I have the tall task of safely securing it to one of the walls without bringing the entire building down.

Paint the dining hutch
I found this beautiful hutch on Kijiji for just $30 a few months ago. The wood finish is terrible so I have no hesitation painting it with Fusion Mineral Paint‘s shade of Coal Black and distressing the finish a little to make it a little less perfect.

I have so many more details and ideas to add to the space, but for now I threw together the below to give you an idea of how I’m hoping our dining room to feel. I’ve been hoarding little thrifted treasures for this project for what seems like forever, so I really can’t wait for all my ideas take shape! I’m still in the excited stage and waiting for the WTF were you thinking trying to do this in 6 weeks with a toddler underfoot? stage to set in. Give me a day or two and I’ll be panicking.

Check out the full list of Guest Participants here! I should have stayed up and added my link when the link-up went live, but I slept through my alarm 😅 #MomProblems

Week OneWeek TwoWeek ThreeWeek Four – Week Five – Week Six

Repainting a high chair black

One of the first things we bought when we moved to Ottawa at the end of September was a high chair for Cora. We bought it secondhand on Kijiji [the equivalent to Adverts in Ireland] for $40. I really liked the old-school shape and style of it and the table flipped the table to the back so when Cora is a little older it would allow her to eat at the table with us. It had so much charm that I couldn’t resist it. And yeah, one of the back spindles broke and had been replaced some years ago, but I didn’t mind at all. It was in good shape and was clean and safe [I wouldn’t have put Cora in it otherwise], but I had every intention of updating it. 

For a long time I wanted to restain it. It had a dark wood stain but 16 years of use had worn through it so there would be a lot of sanding ahead of me. Sure! I’m up for it! But then I actually thought about the work involved. All those spindly bits. Such spindles. So many damn beautiful, intricate spindles. I’d have to sand the entire thing back to the original wood to get an even coat of stain across the whole piece. So much spindly sanding. And to be honest, I didn’t have enough mental energy to do it. 

I thought about painting the entire thing a solid colour. I thought for a few weeks before deciding on anything [if I’m ever indecisive, that usually means I need more time to think]. In the mean time we bought a dining room set secondhand [also through Kijiji], and its black dining chairs were the reason I went for the set so I figured, why not paint Cora’s high chair black to match?

I headed to our local Canadian Tire and spoke to their paint experts about what I was looking to do. They suggested Rust-Oleum‘s line of Tremclad paint for the likes of outdoor furniture and toys. We decided on their Rust Paint in black as it was high gloss and I’d need something easy to clean for Cora’s high chair. 

Before I got to work, I disassembled the entire top half of the high chair as the black frame wobbled from side to side – not to the point that is was dangerous, just loose from years of use. I wanted to do a proper job of fixing it and I couldn’t tighten the spindles without taking it apart. 

I painted each piece in a light coat of paint and waited around 6 hours before applying the second coat [I waited so long because it was drying on our cold porch. If it had dried at room temperature, it would have taken less time]. I waited a further 12+ hours before reassembling it. I glued all the loose spindles back in place with Gorilla Glue and let it dry another half of a day before letting Cora use it. 

It looks SO MUCH BETTER as one uniform colour and it’s so easy to wipe smeared avocado or peanut butter off of it [it was tough to clean it properly before if any food got into a part of wood that was untreated]. I think it looks quite posh actually! Yes, I totally spent $250 on our child’s high chair …

I doubt black would be a colour many people would think to paint a high chair, but it looks really smart alongside our new dining set; all of which are black [sans the table]. The woman I bought the set from had ‘upcycled’ [her words, not mine] the set by spray painting the chairs black and painted the seats with grey chalk paint [which makes zero sense], so I’ll be repainting each of our chairs in the same [more suitable] paint as Cora’s high chair so they’ll all match. They already look really well together now that they’re the same colour and I can’t wait to share more of our dining set soon. SOON!