Zebras & Trees, living in graphic harmony

I started planning our dining room almost as soon as I knew we had found The House because in our old house our only eating option was around our built-in banquette in the kitchen. I either had to find chairs fast or that picnic blanket we got as a wedding gift was finally going to get some use. After looking at the usual suspects (Crate and Barrel, CB2, Room & Board, Design Within Reach) and not finding anything doing it for me at a reasonable price, I turned to eBay. It wasn’t long before I had 6 dingy beige-ish chairs with nice lines. The wood was a mid-range and undistinguished brown and the seat covers were almond vinyl. Sorry no before-photos to share but I had no idea I’d be sharing at the time. I like a project so while we lived with my stepdad for two months waiting for settlement, the chairs were my weekend project. They were stripped (don’t waste your time with the eco-friendly stuff though I know you want to do the right thing), stained ebony with multiple coats and then polyurethaned (I want to shake the hand of the man who invented the wipe-on poly).

The only question was what to do with the seats. I found a rug pattern I loved on FLOR that spoke to my love of black and white – appropriately titled Black & White I, http://www.flor.com/black-white-rug-1-small-3-x-8.html. I couldn’t believe it kept popping into my head because I have never before been an animal print kinda gal, but all I saw for the seats was zebra. So I went for it and here is the result of chair and rug.

There was a chair rail in the dining room so I had a chance to use two paint colors; and a general rule I have is that when you have the chance always use more than one paint color. Teal and dark purple is one of my favorite color combos and before I knew it the dining room had a bold new life of its own. Here is a before shot and two afters. I’m guessing you can tell what’s what.

I show you the before photo mostly for the light fixture. It wasn’t originally planned in the budget, but even my husband couldn’t sit under that fixture with the rest of the room looking so done. I said I wasn’t ready to replace it UNLESS we could splurge for this one fixture I thought was perfect for our new life in the woods. (It’s good to find a corner of your brain, or digital folder, or old-fashioned manilla folder to store thing you want to have for occasions just like this.) I like to peruse www.ylighting.com for ideas – and that corner of my brain – and I fell in love with the Shade Tree Pendant. We are very much surrounded by trees and I thought it cheeky to bring that inside with this cheeky pendant. Because of the other design elements already in place in the room, we could go with the less-typical and there for unexpected black shade option. I love that the shade is slightly over-sized too. Here it is with a peek to the inside to see the trees without the light on (note how it relates to the view out the window) and one with the light on so the trees show through.

Now I just have to decide what to do for a new table top that will hold up graphically to the rest of the room…

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