Before and After: Rustic Modern Scandinavian Dining Room

Update: 9/21/16 If you are visiting from Apartment Therapy, welcome to my blog!  I’m so honored that our dining room was featured. Be sure to sign up for updates and like us on Facebook as I will be posting many more Before & Afters of the Farmhaus in the weeks to come.  You can also check out past renos here.

If you follow me on instagram you know that my family and I have been on vacation for the last few weeks. But we’re back now and ready to get into the swing of things. To get things up and running again, I thought I’d start with a Before and After of the dining room at the Farmhaus. Remember what it looked like before?  Just in case, here’s a reminder:

FARMHAUS BEFORE - Dining Room copy

Technically this was the simplest room. We changed the floors, expanded the opening to the deck to bring in more natural light, added dimension to the walls with a shiplap look, upgraded the lighting and painted everything white. Aside for the upgraded electrical, we handled all the other work ourselves, so we are extra proud that it now looks like this:

Rustic Modern Scandinavian Dining Room 01

When I envisioned it, I was going for a rustic modern scandinavian look.  For me that means a light, neutral color palette, clean lines and natural wood tones.  From the progress posts, you know that we chose a white oak look laminate floor.  While we would have loved to put in real wood floors, we couldn’t justify the cost within the limited budget.

Selecting the furnishings for the space actually all started with the huge abstract painting you see on the wall.  One of my very best Vintage Finds.

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I found the painting at a local thrift store for a mere $59. It’s gorgeous, huge and signed by the artist.  It has presence, and yet is very soothing.  For months I’ve been moving it around the Farmhaus waiting for it to assume its rightful position on the wall.  Hopefully its presence is sufficient to draw attention away from the in-wall heater.  Again, we would have loved to install central heating, but couldn’t justify spending the money, especially as this in-wall unit a) works, and b)kicks off a very decent amount of heat. I spray painted the heater white and called it a day.

This is what that same wall looked like before:


Months later, at the same thrift store I scored the dining table for $60.  I was immediately drawn to it because of it simple lines and chunky legs. It had a small ding, but as I looked under the table I discovered it’s actually from West Elm.  What?  The brand new version costs $900. So, I knew I had to snap it up even ifI knew it was a little on the small side for the scale of the room. Here you can see it in the room during construction.


Hubby and I discussed various ideas for extending the table, but none of them were quite right.  Until one day, I suggested we simply nail on some left over wood planks we had salvaged from the closets we had demoed. Such a simple elegant solution.  Plus the wood was free.  Can’t beat that!

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He carefully selected the planks and ran them through a planer to even them out. And pouf, within an hour we had a beautiful, bigger table and it had an even more rustic vibe.  So perfect!

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I had always intended to use a modern windsor style chairs. I have a tendency to accumulate random vintage chairs, but this time I felt that that these grey chairs from Target would be perfect. They are comfortable, provide good support and a very well priced.

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The real pièce de résistance in the room is the gorgeous brass chandelier from West Elm. Nope, didn’t score this one second hand. I coveted it for a while on my pinterest board and decided it would bring the room together.

Here’s another view.  So, happy with the way it turned out.

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And just for fun, here’s a little before and after video:

The bonus?  The plums that are on the table are from our own plum tree!

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Kathie - Love what you did with this room…it is beautiful. I can’t wait to see other rooms!

Maddie - Hello! Stumbled here from apartment therapy. II love your transformation – this is exactly the look we are going for with the condo we just bought. Do you have a source for the laminate flooring? I’m also curious if you have any thoughts on it so far, as it looks very similar to ones we’ve considered. Thank you!! Hope you are loving your new space.

isadorag - Thanks. Lots more to come, I promise. 🙂

kim domingue - Wow! Popped over from Apartment Therapy…….love this room! The hubs and I are DIYers and doing it all yourselves is way more work than most folks realize! Y’all did a lovely job!

isadorag - Hi Maddie,
The flooring is Armstrong Premier Classics Lakeside Oak. If you search online you can find vendors. However, shipping does add up. I got an online quote, then got a local company to price match the sq ft price, plus no shipping. So far, so good. A lot of people who’ve come through are surprised to find out it’s laminate. Ask me again in a few years to see how it wears. 😉 Good luck with your reno.

isadorag - Thanks for leaving a comment Kim. Always good to hear 🙂 Since you do DIY, you should check out the construction posts I did. You can read all the nitty gritty of the not so pretty stuff and appreciate the effort that was put in. Be sure to stay in touch. I’ll be posting more reveals soon.

Jo - I LOVE this room! We are moving into a house with a very similar room that we want to brighten up. Please let me know where you got the plank wall siding! Thank you!

isadorag - Hi Jo, glad you like it. We went to our local Lowe’s and bought sheets of paint grade 1/4″ plywood and had them cut it down into 8″ strips. Then we secured it to the wall with a finish nailer. Then we primed and painted. You can see us putting it up in the living room in this post: Good luck with your project.

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DIY: Easy Star Wars Gift Bag + Free Printable

Star Wars Gift Bag Printbale 1 copy

Last week, I finally wrote about Monkey’s 5th birthday.  I didn’t go too crazy on the DIY elements of his Star Wars party. Work and the Farmhaus have been eating up all my time, so I tried to keep things on the down low.  One thing I really did DIY was the gift bag.  I couldn’t find a Star Wars gift bag so I decided to make my own.  I love keeping designs simple and graphic and I have a love for all things Black and White (see here and here for evidence of my DIY design inclination).

The design I ultimately came up with was clean and simple.  It features the silhouette of a stormtrooper and some text that reads, “Thanks for coming.  You’re a real trooper.”  Cue cheezy music, I know.  But hey, it’s a kids party.  The bag was super easy to make once I came up with the design.  I just printed 2 per sheet of paper and stuck them on store bought white paper bags.

DIY Star Wars Gift Bag Printable 2 copy

At Michael’s I found some black sparkly tissue paper and I know I had to include it.  The paper looks like a starry sky, perfect for a DIY Star Wars party.  Inside the bag I had a small selection of Star Wars themed goodies I bought at Target, including baggies of Star Wars gummies.

DIY Star Wars Gift Bag Printable

If you’d like to make your own DIY Star Wars gift bag. Download the free printable here.  Enjoy!

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Celebrate: Semi DIY Star Wars Party

Semi DIY Star Wars Party 1

I’m taking a break from some of the Farmhaus reno to catch you up on some of the other things that have been going on. Namely, our little Monkey turned 5.  We had promised him a few years back that when he turned 5 we would take him to Legoland. Even though we were juggling many different things, we wanted to keep our promise and so we packed our bags and took the boys to Legoland for a couple of days. Here are a few pics of the boys:



They had so much fun and particularly loved the Chima waterpark. Between airfare, hotel and park entrance, these kinds of family trips start to add up quickly and I wasn’t sure I wanted to spend more on a birthday party. But 5 is kind of a milestone. He’s headed off to Kindergarten and wont see many of his preschool friends anymore. So, I decided to throw a low-key Semi-DIY Star Wars party.

First up was the banner.  I bought ready made banner triangles at a party store and printed up the birthday message using a free Star Wars font.  Easy.  High Impact.

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Then for some simple cupcake toppers from here.

Semi DIY Star Wars Party 2

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Aside for a few black and white balloons and didn’t do much else in terms of decor. For games, we had them all make pool noodle lightsabers. I cut all the pool noodles in half ahead of time. Then set out some duct tape and black electrical tape so that each kid could make their own lightsaber. Depending on the child’s skill level/age, this activity can require adult assistance, but they loved the end result.

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We had a couple of girls at the party and when the boys we running around with lightsabers, they were truly overwhelmed.  So I made sure to also have a couple more low-energy games. First up, Bingo. I bought a Star Wars bingo template on Etsy, but I’ve seen a free version here.

Semi DIY Star Wars Party 5

Then we had a sort of scavenger-hunt, where they had to find the matching cards to some ready made Star Wars matching game I had bought ages ago.

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Finally, I had a pinata. This might be the last year that I do the pinata. The boys are getting too strong!

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We finished it off with pizza and cake. He was so happy.  It was totally worth it.

Semi DIY Star Wars Party 6Semi DIY Star Wars Party 4

Next week, I’ll follow up with instructions and a printable for the DIY Star Wars gift bag.



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In the Mood: Modern Rustic Scandinavian Bedroom

We absolutely LOVE the bedroom we have at home.  We love its serenity, and how it comforts us in times of stress.  We love that it has the intimacy we seek, but is also a great place for us to have tickle sessions with the boys.  So, designing the master bedroom for the Farmhaus to hit just the right notes of calm and rustic is high on my priority list.

I took inspiration from these bedrooms:

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Each has a very restrained color palette with ample use of white. They also bring in touches of wood to add that rustic element, and keep patterns to a minimum.

Here is the mood board I’ve come up with for the Farmhaus master bedroom.  I’m calling it Modern Rustic Scandinavian.  Relaxing, right?

Rustic Modern Scandinavian Bedroom Moodboard

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CONSTRUCTION: The Farmhaus Project – Part 4

It’s been kind of crazy around here so blogging has had to go on the back burner.  That doesn’t mean we haven’t made progress at the Farmhaus Project.  In fact, we’ve been using every opportunity to get the work done.  The last time I checked in about progress, we’d just started a bunch of demo.  Well, demo is easy, rebuilding takes time, but we’ve made a lot of progress.  Check out what we’ve been up to.

We wanted to modernize the fireplace.  I would have really loved to put in a new, sleek gas insert, but this wood burning fireplace is worth thousands and it just didn’t make dollar sense to remove it.

TheFarmhausProject - Fireplace Refacing 1


We put up new drywall to create a blank canvas and got rid of the ugly tile hearth.

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I re-tiled the hearth with a 4×10 black porcelain tile in a herringbone pattern, the same one I showed you last time for the mudroom.  Why mess with a good thing, right?

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We had tons of the lights put in, including some recessed lights to “wash” the new shiplap wall surround.

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Then we painted everything white to brighten things up.

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We did all of this ourselves, except for hang the dry wall and install the electrical.

Up next, the floors.  If you remember from our original tour of the house, the hardwood floor was laid on a diagonal.  Perhaps that was cool in the 1970s but it wasn’t the look we were going for.  We decide to put down the same floor we put in the bedrooms.

First we put down the underlayment, then on top added the floor.

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The real pièce de résistance was putting in the kitchen.  WOOT! WOOT!  Take a look at it unfolding.

When you last saw the kitchen it had new windows and new electrical.  Big steps, but not a kitchen.

TheFarmhausProject - Rustic Modern Black Kitchen Remodel 1They then tapped and mudded the dry wall so that the cabinets could start to go in.  The minute the cabinets started to go in I could see my vision becoming a reality, and it was exciting.  There was still a ton of work to do, but having cabinets was HUGE.

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For the record, our cabinet maker installed the cabinet.  We could have done it, but it would have taken us WAY longer.

Once we put in the cabinets we were able to put in the floors.  We decided to put the floors around the cabinets, instead of under the cabinets to allow the floors to expand and contract.  Then we brought in the counters, sink/faucet and appliances. Having fridge was a big deal.  It meant we could keep fresh food and not run to the supermarket every time.  That’s a big deal when you have small kids.
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At this point, while the kitchen wasn’t finished, we technically had a working kitchen.  I could cook, wash and store food, etc.  The space was still a disaster zone, but I could make breakfast or an easy pasta and that felt like a huge victory.

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Next came tiling.  If you follow me on Instagram, you know I complained about how much tiling I’ve done on the Farmhaus Project.  Sure it’s a skill I wanted to learn, but I didn’t picture myself doing it week after week… Here is the backsplash going up.  It’s a 4×12 matte white tile.  Originally I had purchased a 2×8 tile that I’d bought online, but when I saw how small the tiles were, I decided to get a bigger tile.  I wanted to save my sanity.  I’m really glad I made that decision.

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A few weeks back I polled readers on Facebook and Instagram if I should go with a linear layout for this graphic tile, or if I should go basket weave.  Everyone voted overwhelmingly for the linear layout.  It’s what I thought I wanted to do when I bought the tile, but I had a moment’s hesitation.  Your votes help confirm my initial instinct.  So, thank you to those who took the time to vote.

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So, that’s what we’ve been up to at the Farmhaus.  Busy, busy busy.  At this point you probably wont see these spaces until I’m ready for full reveals.  Exciting, right?  Thanks for following along our DIY farmhouse renovation.

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