Dining Room Makeover
Back in May when the school year was reaching its peak, I had a minor disaster. I’ve gotten into brewing in the new year and have been making hard (apple) cider, kiwi cider, and recently pear cider. However, I had one of my one gallon fermenters explode. Well, it acted more like a fruit and alcohol volcano which wouldn’t have been a big deal except I had the fermenter in my dining room. So one wall, from floor to ceiling, was covered with kiwi bits. Even the ceiling had bits of kiwi stuck to it. Despite my best efforts at cleaning(I scrubbed through the paint in some places), there was nothing for it… the dining room had to be repainted.
So I started with the basics: a couple gallons of Kilz stain covering paint. Two coats later the walls looked mostly normal again. Then I did two coats of Behr ceiling paint. However, I still needed to choose colors. At more than one point I wanted to just give up and leave the white paint on the walls as the only color.
And for the next couple of days I found myself in what I could only call a bachelor’s hell. I know what I like, but starting from a blank slate felt a bit daunting. I didn’t want to pick a couple colors that might look good on the paint chips, but not go well together. And there was also the question of the trim. I didn’t really want to have to paint the trim as the dark brown color was carried on the trim throughout the house. The kitchen and the bathroom were the only rooms with white trim. Then there are about 10,000 colors of paint to choose from.
So I went to the websites of Behr, Glidden, and Sherwin-Williams. All of them have neat online color choosing guides. The best was Behr’s. They’d help you coordinate colors, but also let you visualize them on sample photos which they provide or even… on photos of your own room! I narrowed my color choices down to just ten and ordered samples.
The metal pieces attached to the walls comprise the second part of my dining room makeover. I just got a roommate and needed lots more storage space for food and dishes and whatnot. So I wanted to mount some cabinets to the wall of the dining room. However, actual cabinets are expensive! Based on my research of premade cabinets from Lowes or Home Depot I’d spend somewhere in the area of $600 depending upon the finishes and hardware. And that was just for a single deck of cabinets to create something resembling a sideboard Meh. I thought I could do better with less money and get way more space. There was one place to start: Ikea!
I started with the Expedit bookcase(the 4×2 model in birch). I thought if I mounted a pair of the 4×2 Expedit bookcases horizontally on the wall they would provide plenty of storage space. The problem was mounting them on the wall. The Expedit like all Ikea stuff is a mix of quality and cheap. The bookcase looks like quality construction, but underneath the skin the boards are either chipboard(shelves) or a honeycomb structure with a cardboard structure. That’s how Ikea can sell them so cheaply. They’re strong enough for what they are designed to do, but they’re not exactly DIY friendly. I could take a saw to an all-wood bookcase without a second thought, but the Expedit would take a bit of planning.
I mounted three 1″ poplar boards across the back of each bookcase. This served two purposes. First, it would spread the weight mounted to the wall across the length of the bookcase. With wood glue and a number of short wood screws, I felt the birch veneer would be strong enough to help distribute the weight. Second, the boards would prevent anything placed on the shelves from hitting the wall or falling out in the gap between the wall and Expedit created by the mounting hardware.
To mount the Expedits to the wall, I chose to use a French cleat. The walls are plaster and lathe, so I feared mounting the bookcase directly through the plaster and lathe to the studs and the brick wall beyond. There was the logistical problem of holding up an awkward 70 lbs. bookcase while driving mounting lugs into the wall. I had nightmares about the whole thing crashing down on me and wrecking all of my hard work. The french cleat is a two part system. A metal hook of sorts mounts to the bookcase and a similar metal flange mounts to the wall. Then to mount the bookcase to the wall is just a matter of lifting the bookcase carefully and setting the hook into the flange. I used a French cleat rated for 200 lbs and decided to mount a pair on each bookcase, so the mount is set to hold 400 lbs. It’s overkill, but I decided to err on the side of caution. Needless to say the final product is rock solid on the wall.
After testing the Expedit on the French cleat I noticed it hung as a slight angle. The bookcase sloped away from the wall. I measured the depth of the cleat, 1/4″, and tacked a 1/4″ oak strip to the bookcase and used the pads which came with the Expedit. This did the trick.
But let’s get back to the painting for a moment.
I wanted to do a feature wall and a visual chair rail. The room is a traditional dining room(how many homes built today have a dedicated dining room?), so I wanted to give a nod toward the history. However, rather than install wainscoting or an actual chair rail I thought a simple visual cue would do the job. I decided to use a pale blue from Behr, “Crystal Waters,” on the upper part of the wall with a white below. On the feature wall I wanted a dark color and went with Behr’s “Poppy Seed.” It looks nearly black in the photos, but is more of a deep purple(cue “Smoke on the Water”) The big headache was that the colors I selected needed the trim to be white and not dark brown. This would take 3 coats of paint to cover the dark trim. The final white is a high gloss white.
Many hours of painting later(much spent crawling around painting the trim)… here’s the final product.
My final goal is to put doors on the Expedit–and not those expensive Ikea-made ones– and shelves in some cubbies to make the storage more practical. Onto the next project!