This is what it is today, but when we first bought “Our House” it was a different story…
Here’s Chapter 1 of the story. Before we bought “Our House”, 15 years ago, I used to say that I couldn’t stand those houses, so commonly built in the 1980’s, that not only completely forgot the wonderful charm of the front porch, but in its place, put a big garage door to greet visitors. And I’d never, ever buy one of those houses designed in that un-welcoming manner.
Well…it turned out that actually we did buy one of those houses, that was 15 years ago. (Yikes, I forgot how ‘rough’ the exterior of the house and yard were when we bought it) This is the best picture I have of where the driveway met the garage door. I think I was subconsciously rebelling against the notion I had just bought a house with a ‘garage door greeter’, that I didn’t actually take a head-on picture of it when I went around the day we moved in to take ‘before’ pictures. I must admit, I strategically started plotting how to ‘lose’ that huge double car garage door and replace it with something more welcoming before we actually moved into “Our House”.
Where the dining room is today in style, has taken years of evolving, from a previous garage then transformed into heated space that was divided into a back entry/mudroom/closet area (located through that service door on the right of the house)and the large area of the old garage space now outfitted with French doors instead of the overhead garage door to be my interior design studio.
Also we added an arch window I happened upon at Home Depot one day. It was ordered incorrectly for someone, so Home Depot was selling it at a 90% discount. We also, as you can see in the picture above, built the pergola and wood deck, (right on top of the blacktop driveway), helping to create a somewhat ‘porch’ feeling.
I used the space as a studio for several years, but as my business evolved and changed, I no longer needed that space for business, so finally it was time to phase it into complete living space opening it up to the main part of the house.
It’s hard to explain the floor plan with words, let me show you with pictures,
so Welcome to “Our House”…
When you come in the Exterior French Doors under the pergola, this is the room you first enter. On the left you see a large dining table where we gather with our friends and family. (For more details on constructing this Winter centerpiece check out this post.)
I should take a sec and explain that while I have been adding character to this house, I’ve also been adding a subtle French/Italian Country style. Not in a “whole-hearted and nothing else permitted” way, mind you, just an accent of Rustic Old World-ness. In this dining area, I wanted the overall feel of the room to be almost like you were dining ‘al fresco’.
Okay, back to the greeting tour.
On the right is an intimate seating area. A wonderful place I love to nestle into on a winter’s day as the sun streams in the South windows. It’s also turned out to be a great place to have a quick chat with a passing visitor, due to it’s location so close to the exterior door. The rattan settee I bought at Pier1 on clearance, is amazingly comfortable, as are the pair of armless chairs purchased there too.
To read a little insight on the purchase of this antique mahogany sideboard see this post.
I had a custom cushion made for the settee with contrasting piping. The ‘bird’ pillow on the settee I bought at a friend’s occasional sale as a fabric napkin. I quilted the pattern and added trim and fabric to create this pillow.
Behind the settee are a set of heavy iron wall hangings, I bought online from Pottery Barn, (on clearance , too). The ‘old’ ladder hanging above the seating area is actually a new piece distressed to look old, (purchased from Pottery Barn too). The hanging baskets with candles and crystal garland stay up year round on the ladder, but seasonally I add to the ladder display accordingly.
Once you come in the exterior French doors, directly to your right is this antique coat tree to hang your jacket.
The door with the shutters just leads to a little vestibule on the way to the mudroom, but I played it up like it was an outside entrance, (in keeping with the ‘al fresco’ theme).
This is the end of our tour for today, but Chapter 2 will start with the story of that shuttered door and reveal what it’s hiding.
So go ahead, hang your coat up on the coat tree and I’ll grab you a cup of coffee…
I appreciate you stopping by.