Sunday, November 7, 2010

do what you can


Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.
Theodore Roosevelt

In the spirit of Teddy Roosevelt and our current economy, I gave my dining room a much needed update this week; I only used what I already had, without buying anything new. Okay, I will have to credit my in-house master painter, WT, with a lot of the painting, but we used some leftover black paint from the cellar and a partial bolt of fabric I purchased a few years back, a chair project that was only a pipe dream, to cover the seat cushions.

Here's what the china cabinet looked like before; a tired old ho-hum set, purchased in 1983, full of a hodge-podge-lodge of doily-lady stuff. I removed the top shelf in the center section, added the resident manor rooster and random stacks of vintage red books.

And this is the transformation of the chairs. Amazing what some fabric and a staple gun can do. Welcome, dining room, to the 21st century. What a change, huh? I'm set for some great holiday entertaining. Now I just have to plan the food...


89 comments:

  1. Looks fantastic! I'm curious about the black paint as I'm thinking about painting my dining room table black. What kind did you use and what was the finish?

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a beautiful transformation. I am curious also about that black paint....it looks fantastic! Enjoy your new dining room!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Elizabeth I used Lowe's Ultra Premium Valspar semi-gloss. I also added Flotrol paint conditioner and applied the paint in two thin layers.

    Do it!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. So what did you do with all the 'hodge-podge-lodge of doily-lady stuff'?

    I'm usually against painting wonderful wood but I must say you have a good look there.

    ReplyDelete
  5. willow, change is the essence of life. and you are so good at it. I do believe in the Roosevelt quote you have at the top of this post. No matter what you have, with very little or no money changes can be made to lighten up your life. -- barbara

    ReplyDelete
  6. Great! You are a wonder! I like a very much! Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Ellen, some of the stuff I boxed up, in case my kids might want it down the road, and some I'm either going to take to Goodwill, or have a garage sale, and some of it just moved to another spot...major chain reaction.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Willow! I pretty much have that same dining room set..and yes, it is looking a little dated. Maybe some new fabric cushions will spruce it up a bit. Thank you for the inspiration.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I am a true believer in fresh paint and fabric and this is such proof of my beliefs....Bravo to both you and WT!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Willow,
    Your sense of style is fabulous. I love what you did. I think it is always more satisfying to repurpose than to buy something new. I love the red books inside the cabinet and the black paint is wonderful. I normally do not like to paint wood but some pieces just look better with paint.
    Great job and thanks so much for sharing.
    Kristen

    ReplyDelete
  11. Kristen, believe me, this blah wood was begging for a coat of paint!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Do what you can, and can what you can't.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Can what you can't. Tom, I love that.

    ReplyDelete
  14. We always call these kind of transformations "making it yours." And the new look does suit you well. I especially like the change of upholstery!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Stunning transformation and the paint job looks fantastic. Also, I am loving that rooster.

    *We have that Roosevelt quote posted at our school. Such great words.*

    ReplyDelete
  16. one of these days i want the grand tour...oh, and to hear you read one of mine...

    ReplyDelete
  17. Cheeky you, I clicked on the first picture to stick my nose closer to your fabulous better than new china cabinet, and it would not enlarge! *why-oh-why*

    Seriously, wonderful job,
    and compliments to the Painter-In-Chief! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  18. P.S.:
    Have you ever come across Josef Hofmann's furniture?
    Just google "josef hofmann +möbel"!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I can see a ghost right next to the reflection of the chair on the table!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Move over "Pottery Barn" The NEW and improved magazine is "Willow Manor"! I believe black should be incorporated into every room. And the 1980's weren't known for beautiful woodwork... nor hair styles. LOL

    ReplyDelete
  21. Quite a transformation, and those chair covers are great!

    ReplyDelete
  22. It's beginning to look alot like Christmas. A beautiful face lift for the manor. I love it!
    :) The Bach

    ReplyDelete
  23. that's a great transformation...and one helluva long dinner table! :)

    ReplyDelete
  24. Merisi! I think I see the reflected image you're talking about! Not surprising, at all. By the way, I only reduce the size, because I have trouble uploading the large ones to the blog. :P

    I'm off to check out Josef Hoffmann...

    ReplyDelete
  25. Stunning effect!
    I absolutely love transformations such as yours.My old breakfast room china cabinet is begging for this. I already have that paint,,,,spruced up several delapidated pieces at our lakehouse with it. I am not familiar with Flotrol. What does it do?
    The new fabric is awesome!

    ReplyDelete
  26. PS: We enjoyed (very much) your sausage and bean supper last week.
    We thank you!
    :-)

    ReplyDelete
  27. Wow! A stunningly fabulous transformation...

    ReplyDelete
  28. Wow, what a fabulous make over.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Babs, Flotrol is a paint conditioner that allows for more viscosity during the application. It makes it smooth and liquidy-er, if that makes sense.

    ReplyDelete
  30. SOOO much better! I love it! :)

    ReplyDelete
  31. Pretty stylish. Well done Willow.
    I'm reminded of the old saying...fix it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.

    Put your feet up now and relax.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Whoaaaaah! Love the new look! Very Vincent Price (that is a compliment coming from me)! I adore dark, ornate, and ancient. The way you arranged the shelving and contents completely changed that case from a nightmare to a dream.

    ReplyDelete
  33. A little paint works miracles. The breakfront and chairs look stunning. Black was a gorgeous choice! I once gave a hand-me-down sideboard to Goodwill. I later saw its twin, painted a chic black, at an upscale decorating shop. It looked fabulous! I wanted to cry!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Very elegant!!Nothing like change.I've gone all minimalist and sparse.It feels great, room to think!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Vincent Price! Marcheline, I love it. I adore the dark, mysterious and quirky. I'll take Vincent Price over doily lady any day.

    ReplyDelete
  36. It looks amazing Willow. I'm in awe of someone who can de clutter as you have.

    ReplyDelete
  37. beautiful.....

    love it

    happy to stop by for a visit with you today, my friend

    kary
    xxx

    ReplyDelete
  38. woaa loved the transformation. beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Its true that there is wood and there is wood. I have inherited some wooden bookcases and dish display things from my Mom and I do not like the wooden finish. Very much like your black. And the new chair covers are snazzy. Great quote too. I needed that!

    ReplyDelete
  40. Lovely job willow, and that's lost the end of the last century look and brought it into the 21st with a beautiful bow to the 19th. Love the wall colour too!
    I would feel grand, and yet at home, dining with you: what more could a guest ask?

    ReplyDelete
  41. LOVE it! That is a much better look for the manor in my opinion. Change I can believe in. Heh.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Tess, that cabinet was worth 100K before you painted it. Just kidding. It looks great.

    ReplyDelete
  43. I feel like I'm watching HGTV! Nice job..black paint is magic!

    ReplyDelete
  44. Heh-heh, Donna, don't you hate it on Antiques Roadshow, when they say something like, "Well, if you wouldn't have used Pledge on this, it would have been worth a half a million."

    ReplyDelete
  45. Nice one Willow, the cabinet looks great black and I LUV your birds. Superbe.

    ReplyDelete
  46. if only i had a nickle for every piece of furniture i have redone with what i had - sometimes necessity being the mother of invention - other times, just because i had it and it was there - and i was there -

    beautiful job, lady! just beautifully done!

    ReplyDelete
  47. brilliant job, well done to the pair of you.
    I will be lovely doing all your entertaining in your brand-new dining room.
    I've always want ed to do that chair thingy with the staple gun. One of these days, I'll get me a staple gun, and I swear, there will be no stopping me!

    ReplyDelete
  48. I love the new look of your china cabinet...very rich...I would have thought it had been done for a very long time..gives it a timeless quality. Sundays are usually my day to pick up a paint brush and left over paint and paint something at very odd time intervals...a chair, a mural...whatever turns my fancy. I for one would like to see more of the manor!

    ReplyDelete
  49. I like it! It's fun seeing the roosters on display. Job well done!

    ReplyDelete
  50. Okay woman! How in the world did you do this so quickly???? I'm still slogging away. Love it. Guess I'll have to get at 'er! Thanks for the inspiration :)

    ReplyDelete
  51. what a dramatic difference! the black is so grand and stark and houses the old books perfectly. love every bit of it!!

    ReplyDelete
  52. This set (pre-transformation) looks suspiciously like my MIL's dining room set. What possibilities!! Thanks for the inspiration.

    ReplyDelete
  53. Oh, we recover chairs all the time, my mom and gram taught me when I was a young girl. Love the colors & changes, Willow!

    ReplyDelete
  54. I am impressed with your bottomless creative spirit, Willow. You can redecorate our house at any time you are running short of projects. During the meantime, I am getting ready to restore my wax jacket in accordance with your instructions.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Yup, looks great. Silk finish black paint can work miracles on furniture.

    ReplyDelete
  56. It looks stunning. Honestly the dark wood which I love and the fabric has breathed new life into you furniture. Lovely and tasteful like you.

    ReplyDelete
  57. Impressive - from drab to head-turning glamour - this takes DIY to new levels.
    Here in England we're into burning, not restoring, for 'tis the season of pyromania - drop over and take a look!

    ReplyDelete
  58. Of course your reno looks great but more importantly who is that lady in the top right of your blog with the spine of Books alongside. I am a great fan of the female form and that lady has great form.
    I did a lot od life drawing in my young years and encountered women of every shape and size (and a few men)
    Beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Teddy would be proud of you!

    ReplyDelete
  60. Beautiful! Found treasure is best.

    ReplyDelete
  61. Dear Willow, What a transformation and how perfectly the newly painted cupboard works in your dining romm. I always feel that to use one or two very large pieces, even in a small space, tends to be more effective than lots of little things. And, how well the large items work in the cuboard....it all looks so much more confident and 'grown up'.Perfect!!

    ReplyDelete
  62. Willow,
    Ingenuity personnified: Bravo.
    rel

    ReplyDelete
  63. Love your updated dining room Willow and that you used what you had and did it yourself. My kind of woman!

    ReplyDelete
  64. I love the change. So obvious once you see the chage, but I never would have thought of it. And I, too, love the fabric on the chairs. Happy refurbished Thanksgiving!

    ReplyDelete
  65. Steve, I stumbled onto the image of the woman while wandering on the net. Unfortunately, I can't give credit to the artist, because it was uncredited when I found it. But, I, too am drawn to the wonderful female form, and since she is accompanied by a stack of books, I had to post her!

    ReplyDelete
  66. this is just gorgeous! you really have an eye for what will work. it's tres elegant.

    ReplyDelete
  67. LOVE IT!!!
    I keep telling my sister to paint out her china cabinet and chairs in black. This is a perfect before and after to show her.
    I love how you organized the cabinet as well. I am so on baord with using what you already have.
    Well done, and thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  68. The combination of your beautiful dining room with your wonderful blog colours, render the post a nostalgic feel. And seeing as we're now in proper autumn, your post has arrived at the right time. Give WT a big bear hug from me.

    Greetings from London.

    ReplyDelete
  69. I am amazed at your transformation! Goodness, what a difference. I admire your ability to keep improving on things.

    (Reading through some of the comments has answered my next question: Where did you stow the china?)

    ReplyDelete
  70. I love how you transformed your china cabinet. I must think of doing something like that to the inside of mine. Did you get rid of the doily lady stuff or just pack it away where it would be unseen?

    I have a fantastic 90 in round oak table that lets out to seat 14. The chairs that belong to the table are old and rickety and I don't have the expertise or money to have them fixed. Instead I'm using some oak chairs which I'm not crazy about. For years I've dreamed of buying parson's chairs or something else modern to offset the Americana of the table and china cabinet.

    ReplyDelete
  71. Nice!

    I learned to recover my dining room chairs when I was running on baby-adrenaline high during a maternity leave with my first. It's surprisingly uncomplicated!

    ReplyDelete
  72. The chair makeovers are nice. And as you said, "easy" to do. I did that several years ago to one similar chair but it could be redone again. I am curious what you used the black paint for.

    ReplyDelete
  73. Bee, I cleaned out the bottom cupboard part of the cabinet and stacked the plates there, then put the rest, that I use regularly in a built-in wall cabinet. The good leftovers I boxed, and the rest I'm either giving to Goodwill, or having a garage sale.

    ReplyDelete
  74. Abe, the black paint? We painted the chairs and cabinet!

    ReplyDelete
  75. WOW ! gorgeous + amazing !!!

    Willow you should submit your before & afters to Design Sponge. I am mailing your allegedly fabulous, long awaiting and very tardy prize this week !! much love, les Gang

    ReplyDelete
  76. Love the touches of red and gutsy effect. What a great sense of satisfaction you must have, that all this came out of your own head, rather than your pocketbook!

    ReplyDelete
  77. Susan, thanks for the Design Sponge suggestion! What a great site. I just went over and submitted my pics. :)

    ReplyDelete
  78. Manor Beautiful makes
    House Beautiful seem less than
    exciting, Miss Willow. What an
    eye you have for detail. The
    look is grand, yes very American
    International and Vincent Price
    too, but remember Price was
    a great art collector and cultured
    gentleman; as was Edward G.
    Robinson. Your imagination and
    projects amaze us. We salute
    your ingenuity.

    ReplyDelete
  79. All very smart - once you get going on a project like that it soon takes shape, doesn't it?

    ReplyDelete
  80. Willow Manor is still a great place to visit. I recommend it to anyone. I've made it my Blog of the Century.

    Peace and love.

    ReplyDelete
  81. Looks grand, Tess! I think often, when we try to make do with what we have, we become far more creative, and the results can be fabulous. Yours are evidence of that. Way to go!

    ReplyDelete
  82. Perfect way to make use of something without having to buy anything! I love it. I have been wanting to paint my oak table and chairs black for the longest time but B never wants to. What is it about paint that they are afraid of? So, I just called him over to view your pics. Maybe I just might get my way now. Thanks!!!

    ReplyDelete
  83. I have painted furniture black, and am planning to do some pieces in my bedroom soon. We bought a king sized bed finally, but the other pieces just need a facelift.

    And you've inspired me to finally get to my dining room chairs.

    ReplyDelete
  84. Oh, Willow--this is just beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  85. Love it- especially the fabric choice for your chairs- bet the whole look is stunning in living color!

    ReplyDelete
  86. I'm a huge fan of the big transferware pitcher in the sideboard - awesome!

    ReplyDelete
  87. Dear Sista in China Cabinets - we have one almost identical here @ The Hedge c.1985. Must be a cross-cultural thing. I've been wanting to do something with it for ages. When MOTH asks me what the heck I'm doing with the can of black semi-gloss paint, I'll just have to say 'Willow made me do it!'
    Millie ^_^

    ReplyDelete
  88. I love what you've done with the cabinet and its contents - and the chair looks lovely too.

    Good for you for making do with what you already have. I'm all inspired after seeing this!

    ReplyDelete

Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)