Thursday, December 15, 2016

18 New Art in our Dining Room!

We very recently made a small update that made a huge difference in our dining area. And although I still have more plans for this hot spot, I am just too excited about our recent addition not to share.

In fact, the art just went on the wall a couple of days ago, and as I was setting up for a little holiday happy hour, it all was just too pretty not to whip out my camera and snap some photos.

But before I start gushing about the beautiful new artwork, let's take a step back for a minute.

When we installed our kitchen cabinets, we decided to also add cabinets to our dining area to match. We loved having a hutch in our previous layout, so we wanted to do something similar, but also wanted to do something that was more space saving and offered a better flow around our dining table. My eyes were bigger than our space, and I selected some glass door beauties to pair with a combo of lower doors and drawers. As soon as they were up, I started second guessing the install. We did in fact double the storage of the hutch while taking up less floor space, but because we did full height upper cabinets, they were very visually heavy. Beautiful, but overwhelming at the same time. I shared some of those thoughts in this post last year.

Although I wasn't sold on the setup, I didn't want to make any impulsive decisions. Heck, that is what tends to get me into these binds in the first place. So, I decided to wait. I waited a year! I thought about every option... how could I make them work? Tile? Find a way to attach the uppers to the lowers? Bring the lowers further out into the dining room to make a heavier bottom to balance the top? What I did know is that I was madly in love with those glass door cabinets, so losing them was a hard pill to swallow.

For the last year, I didn't use those upper cabinets for much other than holding overflow glassware and a few entertaining pieces. They sat 80% empty, so I knew I would be OK removing them from a storage aspect. Knowing that, I decided as long as I could find a way to reuse one or both of those glass doored cabinets, I would be OK removing them from this space. You may have noticed that one of those cabinets now lives in our laundry room.

The solution? We decided to remove the cabinets and replace them with an oversized piece of art flanked with sconces. Not only would it visually open up the entire space, it would also provide a blank slate for some needed personality and color.

The minute those cabinets came down, the dining area felt twice as big. And the nice thing about IKEA cabinets is that they are installed on a simple rail system, leaving only a couple of really small holes to patch.

I haven't picked out the sconces yet, and I just hung the art a few days ago. I don't even know how the entire space will come together or how we will accessorize this area after the holidays. So today it is all about that art!

Picking art can be a tricky thing; everything from figuring out scale to colors and style to the right frame. For me, picking the art for this space was actually pretty easy. I have been a long time fan of Parima Studio, I have some of her art in our main bathroom, in my dressing room and also download her desktop wallpapers to my computer each month. I just love her style and the colors she paints with, so I knew it would be a good place to start my art search. After some scrolling and looking, I was sold on her art for our dining room, and continued to go back and forth between a couple of different options that had all of the colors I was hoping to incorporate. I knew I really couldn't go wrong with any of the final few I had narrowed down to, and finally landed on Ruthie.

I selected a large 36" x 36" size to really fill the wall and make a statement. The size had to be big enough for impact and scale, but also needed to leave room for sconce lighting on either side. The colors are incredible! Right up our color-loving alley, and I am head-over-heals happy with every last detail and brushstroke. I really love that it is a combo of softer colors and some boldness through the navy and black shades. It really is just so freakin' good.

When it came to the frame, I searched high and low. This was not as easy as selecting the art. I was certain I would be able to find a decently priced frame, but that proved to be much more challenging than I anticipated. After talking to quite a few local framing companies, I was told that because of the size of the art, that the frame would have to be at least a few inches thick to hold the weight of the glass, matting and the art itself. I didn't want a large frame, I wanted a very simple frame so the art would be the star of the show. I also didn't want to spend $500-$1000, which is was I was being quoted time and time again.

Even searching online, most framing websites wouldn't accommodate the oversized art size. I finally stumbled across Level Frames and their site not only allowed me to input my art measurements without receiving a size error (yay!), it also offered simple framing and matting options. They don't have a plethora of styles to select from, but I was going for basic after all. The best part is that I was able to order the frame with a non-glare UV protected plexi, keeping it light enough to work with the thinner frame, while also reducing any glare we would have on the art from the windows in our living room and dining room. The cost was about half of what I had been quoted locally, so I decided to pull the trigger.

The frame arrived in just over a week, and came ready to hang. The quality is great, and I really can't recommend the option of a non-glare plexi enough. I think that is my favorite part! And nope, they are not sponsoring this project/post, I just wanted to share the experience since it is definitely an investment. The overall size of the frame is 41.25" x 41.25", I went with a 1" natural frame with a 2" matting in off-white. Mission accomplished of getting the art up on the wall, and letting it remain the star of the show!

For now, the sideboard will be used for holiday entertaining, which is how you see it pictured above. Removing the upper cabinets also made the serving area much more accessible and open, which has been really wonderful.

To prep for this tiny gathering, I kept things really simple (which is how I plan to approach all of our holiday decorating this year). A few ornaments sprinkled throughout and some pine greens added to basic grocery store flowers.

I set out a temporary frame with a foil print that says, "Eat, Drink and Be Merry", and used a vase filled with ice as a wine bucket (a tip from a super smart gal pal).

I can't wait to pick out some sconces to really finish off this wall. We don't have too many more things to do in this space before we reveal it, the art really is the shining moment!

Cheers to having a lively place to eat, drink and be merry!


  1. This may sound strange, but I *love* when you write about and share when you do something that you later change your mind on. This happens so often to me, when I buy something or install something and instantly doubt it, and then I get down on myself for making the (sometimes costly) mistake and not knowing better. But hey, we all do it! And then we learn :) So thank you! And I love this change!

    1. Thanks for the comment Kate! I think putting together a home that you love is definitely a trial and error process. I still get discouraged with each mistake I make (and my hubby gets a little eye rolly with me whenever I change my mind or we have to redo something), but I have to remind myself that I have learned so much by taking risks and trying things, even if they don't alway stick or work out. Glad to hear you have the same attitude! Cheers!

  2. I LOVE parima art studio and used a piece in my one room challenge! I've always been drawn to this one too! EXCELLENT choice!

  3. Love this, it adds so much colour to the room and will allow you to chop and change any accent bits and pieces as you want to.

    - Natalie

  4. So pretty!! :)

  5. Beautifully done. We had a hutch that was visually heavy in our space too and I took the too off and it just opened it all up! I love your style - thanks for sharing with us!!!!

  6. Are her canvas art pieces giclees? Love it!

  7. Nice transformation! And the art piece is gorgeous!

  8. That art looks like it BELONGS there! I love that you are "brave" enough to make these changes... I usually I'm too coward to pulling the trigger (my husband teases me with this, since I think so much before buying anything, as it if was for forever...).

    I'm curious though, were you able to reuse the upper cabinets, since you loved them so much, or where did they go?

    1. Thank you Guada! I agree, it feels so right and like it was meant to be there. :) I can't wait to flank it with some pretty sconces to really finish off this wall.

      We were able to reuse the cabinets, one has been seen in our laundry room updates here:

      And the other is currently in my office taking the place of some old IKEA expedit shelving. We hope to create a built-in out of it. :) I am really happy we were able to find new homes for the cabinets, they really are beautiful!

  9. I wouldn't have known about the frame needing to be matched to things like weight of the glass etc. I would have only thought about fashion and fitting the measurements! So glad you share the things you learn as well as your net results! I concur with previous commenters: some of my favorite posts are when you share the process of how things morph and why, it gives me useful data as well as inspiration and who knows how much trouble you can save the next person?!?! So thank you thank you thank you for how you walk us through the process in all of the steps, even mis-steps. ;) and it may sound hokey but I am really proud of you for taking a whole year to determine your decision about the cabinets. That takes real discipline, at least for me, especially the more convinced you become. I agree the space functions so much better and I am also thrilled that you found alternate hero-spaces for the glass cabinets, I didn't even realize one wound up in the laundry and I LOVE that one! Congrats on good work, good eye, and good process!

  10. The new setup is absolutely gorgeous. It fits the space perfectly, and the new art adds a pop of visual interest. I also imagine that it is inspiring you to decorate as well. :)

  11. So so pretty!! I just love the colors and large scale!!!

  12. Before scrolling down, I thought no way is she getting rid of those beautiful upper cabinets. After scrolling down, I thought she was absolutely right...looks gorgeous! I need to allow myself to change my mind.

  13. I really relate to your decorating process, but you do it so much better! I'm not artistic enough to grab random things and make it all work. Instead, I get a vision and try to find what I want exactly have pictures and planned. All to often that leaves me stuck because I struggle to find the right piece. I really admire how you push through and keep searching different avenues to find what works for you.

  14. Where did you find the lower cabinets for your dining room! They look great!!

    1. Hi Bonni - the cabinets are from IKEA - they are actually intended to be upper cabinets (narrower than standard base cabinets), but we customized them to fit drawers and cabinets and installed them on the rail system at base cabinet level. :)

  15. Oh Jen, That piece of art is gorgeous and suits the space so well! I have a similar style above our dining room sideboard as well (This is the link if you fancy having a nosey ;) I agree the previous cabinets where a little too much for that side of the room xx


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