Friday, December 11, 2009

If it's Christmas it must be time to wheel out the red dining room

** Don't forget my giveaway** closes 16 December 2009

We have an Edwardian house, and in the manner of such houses we have some things and rooms which Edwardians used a lot, and we have not much use for. Namely, an old lady ghost, a sitting room with a piano alcove and a separate dining room. We are also not much into food set in aspic, gaiters, sideburns, pointless colonial incursions, whooping cough and tesselated tiles, so the points of difference continue.

However, the house came with the dining room, so we obediently adapted it for that very use (we refused the vendor's kind offer of their billiard table which converted to a not very nice table, and bought a Georgian table which seats 8).

We do not use our dining room very often. And when I say not very often I really mean it. In fact we haven't used it since..... oh, fancy that....... Christmas 2008.

In the intervening 12 months it has been used as bicycle storage, portacot storage, old clothes going to the Salvation Army storage, creepy painting with the eyes that move storage, old jumpers waiting to be converted into charming patchwork blankets storage and Charlie and Lola style tinfoil covered non aerodynamic rocket ship storage.

I occasionally go in there and admire our Venetian etching things, and fondly stroke the curtains. And then I leave again.

(as you can see I haven't even bothered to smoosh the curtains for this photo. One of the items framed in this shot is actually a BILL from a restaurant we ate in once in Paris (Le Grand Vefour). Suffice it to say it just had to be framed, but I might leave that to a later post)

The thing is, of course, that we have a perfectly fine dining area with a table which seats six at the back of the house, and this is where we eat our meals and have dinner parties.

Initially we didn't use the room because we didn't like the light fitting. It took us 7 years to replace it and when we did we did so in foolish over the top way with a red Murano glass chandelier. And for those who read From the Right Bank, you will understand why ever since Alek's dropped out of the ceiling and smashed to smithereens for no discernible reason, I have been a bit concerned about mine.

And now, we don't use the room because it is close to the children's bedrooms and we don't want to wake them.

And further to the last now, now my husband has started casting aspersions upon the colour, a deep brick red. The colour he insisted on, and which makes me feel all conversationally stimulated just looking at it. He also now says he doesn't like the curtains.

We were originally inspired by this kind of room:

and this:

(Ben Kingsley's dining room - not bad at all)

And this:

But now along with a hankering for snow, I think I wouldn't mind something Scandinavian..... white......... mixed up .... with all Completely Different this:

Or this:

Or this:

Or this:

Maybe I could set up a little business in the dining room for the 364 days of the year it is unused. Or turn it into a dormitory for the children. It just seems such a waste.

I have also been very taken by the dining library pictures one sees around (see Habitually Chic here). What a brilliant use of a lot of wallspace.

What do you think? Should the separate Dining Room go the way of the dinosaurs? Do you have a coloured one? What oh what can I do with mine?

(Images: (1) House to Home (4) Scott Sanders (5) (6) Point Click Home (7) via Hausmaus originally Elle Interior (8) Marie Claire Maison (9) via Design Shimmer (10)


Mise said...

"We are also not much into food set in aspic, gaiters, sideburns, pointless colonial incursions, whooping cough and tesselated tiles, so the points of difference continue." I read this fine sentence three times, and, just like Oscar Wilde, will be passing it off as my own one fine day. And what does the verb "to smoosh" mean?

About the dining room, I think it's super to have a separate one, as a neat haven to which you can escape with a book and some delicate biscuits and no one thinks to look for you there. But I would paint it a sunny chalky white, and add colour with the existing curtains and chandelier, which are beautiful.

And yes please to a post about the Parisian bill.

Engracia said...

Oh, I know what this dilema is. I live in a federation house on Sydney's North Shore and have a formal living and a formal dining room. We have lived in this house for 3.5 years and while the lounge gets used in winter, it has a working open fireplace, we have used the dining room only once. It is a beautiful room and has some gorgeous things in there, but I truly have seelpless nights over the fact that it has only been used once. We also have a study so can't even use it as a study. I can't believe we bought such a huge house!!

brismod said...

I'm with Mise on this one. But it is a gorgeous room as it is though. Perhaps you should go out of your way to use it more often because it is just habit that rooms are ignored. Your dinner guests would be flattered. I know I would be!!

Jacqueline @ HOME said...

Hi Jane,
Well, our house sounds very much like yours. Ours is late Victorian/early Edwardian and we have a separate dining room too. It is also used for high days and holidays. We have a room next to the kitchen which the Victorians called a breakfast room an we eat in there most of the time. Our dining room is grey with an oak table and French cross back chairs. There is an original cast iron fireplace and plantation shutters. ( up until a year ago we had curtains exactly like yours). I think that we felt that we needed to slightly update our house so we have painted a couple of rooms off white. ....but I still love the look of yours and don't think you have to change it. Maybe we should both use it a bit more.I bet it looks wondeful at Christmas. XXXX

P.Gaye Tapp at Little Augury said...

Jane, I love the idea of using the dining room more-double duty-add some bookcases at some point. Use the table to keep open design books for inspiration-for A desk maybe. GT

Julie@beingRUBY said...

HI Jane
Well firstly I love the leadlight in the door and the Murano Glass chandelier.. both gorgeous..

I think Mise's idea of fresh white walls and keep your red accents sounds like an idea .. and only a can of paint to give it a trial..

The red is perfect for Xmas.. although must be a little hot?

Hope your week has been good to you.. xx Julie

koralee said...

I love all white..but those red rooms are stunning ...especially that chandelier. My in laws had a red dinning was fun.

karen said...

The idea of a dining room/library sounds appealing. Have you seen A Bloomsbury Lifes blog? She has a dining room with a wall of books...even if it is a wallpaper's pretty awesome. Love your red room. The color red encourages the appetite.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Jane! It's good finally be able to catch up on some of my blog reading! If we ever close on this house that we are trying to buy, we will also have a formal dining room and I'm actually looking forward to it. Yes, it's old fashioned but I can't wait to have a room for elegant dinner - even if it will only be a few times a year. Oh and as for the chandelier, I don't think you need to worry. Ours was an antique and it turned out that the fittings had become worn and rusty. I absolutely love yours. It's a very similar style to the one we had and bravo on the bold color choice!

debra@dustjacket said...

Oh I'm just about to build and yes we are having separate dining room, but it has a door way opening onto the kitchen. There will be no breakfast nook etc, so it'll be used all the time. I was thinking about doing it a deep red but I've seen another picture of a colour hard to describe that I think I might go for instead.

I like the look of yours and that fab light fitting!

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