Wednesday, 21 March 2012

My Perfect Dining dainty as a Lauduree Macaron!

During my time away from 'blogland', and in between the more mundane stresses of life, I did still manage to feed my e-bay/auction habit from time to time. One of my primary focuses was the pursuit of my 'Perfect Dining Room'. You know, the one where one magically starts to host weekly intimate, yet glamorous, supper parties, - the sort of suppers where the conversation is sparkling, the food is fabulous and the decor is immaculate and tasteful. Like the dinner parties that I see in magazines. Not the real life ones, where I am to be found running to the kitchen every 5 minutes in a attempt to get the timings right, i.e. Get the courses to the table without everything going cold or worse - being burnt to a crisp - at least one can eat cold food! Not that even badly timed dinner parties tend to happen with much frequency these days (any that involve people over the age of 11 and a cake without number candles anyway) - but a girl can still dream!

Anyway, I was fortunate enough to be the winning bidder on a couple of perfect dining room additions - a French armoire with chicken wire doors. (see image on left) I have ALWAYS wanted one of these!
...and a painted sideboard with more than a few chips and bits missing, but the shape and carvings were so pretty that the imperfections seemed beautiful to me.

I also found an 8 seater circular dining table (not shown), that suits the square proportions of the room, and 6 dining chairs that desperately need recovering, but are a great shape - you can just see the edge of one chair and it's yucky stripy fabric in the corner.

I love all of these things - especially the fact that with the exception of the armoire, everything was bargain basement cheap - and I mean seriously cheap (although even the armoire was less than half the price of most I saw). They all needed cleaning up and of course the chairs will need to be re-covered (which regrettably will bump up the price of less then £10 each) however, that to me is part of the joy of finding things at auction or in dusty old curiosity shops. Finding a 'one of a kind' gem and re-covering, painting or polishing it up to reveal it's true beauty is a feeling like no other. Far more satisfying and enriching than buying a clone from a large department store - although obviously not so convenient or straightforward. I admit, there have been many times when, having just lost out on a 'perfect' bargain and feeling that my heart would surely break, I have sworn off ever bidding again at auction and headed straight for IKEA!

Anyway, I digress - back to the 'Perfect Dining Room'. My predecessors at Hill House decorated the house in an immaculate but rather austere and serious fashion. The dark green paper of the walls, and heavily patterned curtains which they left in the dining room, harp back to a grand and rather Victorian style of dining, which is not my thing at all. I prefer light and airy colours in a French or Swedish, shabby chic style - with a bit of English country house thrown in. The following images (and the first image from Veranda) share the sort of vibe that inspires me, and that someday soon I hope to achieve.

Aren't they beautiful?

Like sherbet drops, sugared almonds or Love Heart sweets all rolled into one.

SO romantic!

Not quite sure why one needs a romantic dining room with three kids from 8-10 and a cheeky Jack Russell, but suffice to say that they usually have their meals in the family room/kitchen diner anyway (picture on right - sorry it's so dark), and have absolutely no desire to engage in sparkling dinner conversation beyond asking what's for pudding!

But what if I never get to have those charming and delightful dinner parties full of interesting guests & sparkling conversation? Is it a waste of a room? Surely Mr. Sutton & I can enjoy eating fish and chips by candlelight in a dainty jewellery box of a room with only each other for company? What do you think - are separate dining rooms an outdated indulgence?

Images from: Veranda, House Beautiful, Elle Decor, Morgan Harrison Home


  1. Hello sweet Paula! I am so happy you won those gorgeous pieces for your dining room! I know you will find the perfect fabric to cover the chairs in! I enjoyed your post and all the lovely photos! We have a separate dining room, and though it is small, we enjoy it. I love what you said about you and your hubby enjoying fish and chips by candlelight! I think that is very romantic and reason enough to have a dining room, and you will have fun decorating it! xo~ Paula

  2. Hi Paula, I LOVE the armoir and sideboard, your dining room will look fabulous I'm sure...I have a separate dining room that is only used on high days and holidays, but I do actually like that.
    While I'm here I'd also like to welcome you as a follower at Second Hand Rose.
    Best wishes
    Rose H

  3. cute!!!

  4. Lovely blog. Great finds on ebay. Looks like we have some of the same tastes in design. I'm your newest follower. Thanks for visiting me!

  5. Everything is lovely!

    I am hooked on e bay and etsy. I need a 12-step group.

  6. What wonderful pieces you won...can't wait to see!! Happily following...

  7. Hi Paula!
    I have seen your picture somewhere before (do you comment on Meme's blog?) Anyway, nice to meet you, and glad you've commented on my blog, because when I clicked on yours, I first thought your home was one out of a magazine (aka not real). You really have one pretty looking house! I will tell a friend of mine who is moving back to the UK (london) that moving to the countryside can look like this.
    Also, I love your dining area with the glass ceiling and you have found some great things! Big fan of shabby chic myself, so I'm your newest follower. Thanks for sharing your pics,

  8. I absolutely love your Ebay/auction purchases - well done you!! In particular I really like the armoire with the chicken wire - it looks very much like one that Laura Ashley used to sell, I can remember going into their Regent Street shop and gazing lovingly at it!! Maybe one day I will find myself one :)

    A proper dining room does sound lovely doesn't it...some nights I can hardly get everyone together at the kitchen table so imagine how they'd cope with being summoned to the dining room!

    Thanks for your very kind comments this week, it's nice to see you blogging again :)

  9. On ebay, or mercado libre, you can find the most amazing things.Add to that the matching colors and fabrics and you get a very individual interior .... a fantastic and great way for a lovely style!


  10. Beautiful, absolutely beautiful.

  11. You won some beautiful things on ebay and I'm with you who cares about a few chips when the style is so wonderful. Sadly to say aside from holidays we don't really use our dining room but I re-decorate it at least every five years, that's fun.


  12. How lovely to see you back in blogland, you were missed. Now I think with children you need an escape if only to eat your fish and chips!! I love separate dining rooms and when the boys were young it was invaluable, great buys on ebay! Look forward to more posts

  13. Thanks for stopping by my little garden. Hope you will return often.

    Your house is lovely. And, what fun to do it top to bottom - over a few years. That's a job everyone should do ... once! I'll enjoy seeing what's happening.

  14. Thank you for visiting! I'm so glad because it has led me to your wonderful blog. We certainly share the same design aesthetic and I love everything about your home and blog!

  15. I have missed seeing you around the blogs and now it's good to come by and visit you. I think romance shouldn't go out door because we are mothers of young children...I think the more romance the better in my decor. I happen to think your home is very romantic, like that chandelier in your kitchen is just divine.

    Lisa x

    Lisa x

  16. Hi Paula!
    I've made your blog the new Blog of the Week, to welcome you back blogging, hope you like it. Have a good weekend, Maureen

  17. Hi Paula,

    Thank you for your kind comment on my blog. I enjoyed it very much! Love the armoire and the cupboard you bought. They are really pretty! Your photo's inspired me very much too.

    Hope you will get your cutting garden :-)!

    Happy weekend,

    Madelief x

  18. what luck....what furniture.....always dream big!!

  19. Hello across the sea,
    I have just discovered your blog as my partner and I have just purchased a Georgian house in the country an hour outside of Toronto, Canada where we currently live. I've had overwhelming spells of 'what have we done!?' but seeing your blog has encouraged me that 'we can do it!' It is a small fieldstone house 1864 but definitely Georgian (we were a bit behind in styles in the colonies lol) so thanks for the inspiration on this glorious period and life.

  20. PS... This profile picture is a photo of the house.

    1. Welcome Minda! Your house sounds and looks wonderful - I love the fence and what appears to be a long drive up to the house? I hope that you will write a blog so that we can follow your progress (I looked but can't find one?) Many thanks, Paula x

  21. Thank you everyone for your wonderful comments! x

  22. Romance must be lived in. I adore the romance of your house. Of course romance can also be found in the garden amongst charming flowers, but I do adore the romance of a house;-)

  23. I just found your blog over at "From the Garden Bench". I look forward to reading your future post and browsing those in the past. Your home is lovely. Bonnie

  24. Love you fab finds! Love the dining room images too. You truly are a girl after my won heart. Hugs, B x

  25. Just found your lovely blog via the wonderful Simone at Ironing Basket. What a gorgeous home you have. Having lived in Spain for the last 12 years and moving back to the UK this year, I can only dream of a new home like yours ;-)
    Am now following

  26. I love dining rooms - even if they are only used every now and again! your inspiration photos are divine - just my style too! You summed it up so well - French or Swedish with a little English country - perfection!



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