Life + Style

July 16, 2015

When Things Aren't Working | The Navy Room

I'm the first to jump feet first into trying something new but I'm also the first to admit when something isn't working and we need to take a step back.  Matthew and I have both been feeling that with the Navy room for almost a year now.  We live in an older home with a traditional floor plan and a lot of furniture and accessories that were handed down to us by our parents or bought for a previous home.  We want things to work.  We love our home and want to love every part of it.  I'm pretty sure a lot of you can relate.

In case you're just now playing catch-up, here's a quick run down: When we first moved in two years ago, we switched our living room and dining room.  Then we painted the old dining room navy.  Then we relocated the built-ins from the family room to the back wall of the old dining room, deciding to call it a den.  We tried chairs, we tried our beloved worn leather sofa, we tried to find the motivation to finish the room.  But you know what we really had?  A big dumping ground for crap right in the front of our home that didn't get used for anything but holding mail and return packages.  And our living room morphed into some sort of living/dining hybrid that wasn't working either.  It was just a big reminder of our to-do list.

The other night we had some friends over for dinner and I was trying to make the dining room table big enough to fit 7 or 8 chairs comfortably without looking awkwardly stuffed in the back of the living room.  The room is plenty big enough to accommodate two functions but with three doorways and a centered fireplace everything just felt off any time we went to use it.  It looked pretty but it wasn't really functional.  You can see below where the dining room table was last set up in front of the opening between the family room and living room.  It is fine for four or five people but just couldn't hold any more than that.  And if it's just the four of us, we eat in the kitchen so this was really pointless.

Matthew suggested we move the dining room table back into the original dining room just for the night so we could fit everyone comfortably at the table for dinner and we could reassess later.  The second we moved it back in to it's original home and started walking the leather sofa out we knew it was back where it should have been all along.  I don't regret building the built-ins one bit.  In fact, I'm actually pretty excited about all the extra storage and counter space we now have in the dining room.  And the navy blue is so cozy and inviting and we had plenty of room to handle a few extra guests.

Obviously these are un-styled photos taken in a room that's still very much a work in progress.  I feel like I have to give that disclaimer on here all the time so no one thinks I don't see the spots of paint that need to be touched up or the cabinet doors that still need to be hung.  Trust me, some days that's all I see when I come home.  I haven't touched the bookshelves in here either.  Nothing has been styled because I'm not really sure if we'll leave all the books library style or mix in some dishes at this point.

Short term and long term goals for this room have changed tremendously and I think we've hit upon a long term winner!

Short term:  We're going to open up the kitchen into this room by taking out a portion of the wall. You can see in the image below, the glass door (we were still painting so excuse the rough edges), the small carved out niche with brick wall and the ill-fitting cabinet base will be gone and that portion will soon be open to the dining room.  The whole thing will be eliminated and replaced with a big cased opening (for structural reasons) similar to what we've done in the family room.  I love the character of the brick wall and thankfully we'll still be able to retain a portion of that.  You can see to the right of the cabinet where the wall turns will stay.  Obviously we'll have to address the floor at that point as well.  You can see in the image above that we were able to patch the floor to connect but we haven't sanded or stained yet.  That's because the whole downstairs needs to be refinished and it's best to do it altogether.

 Long term goals include replacing or re-facing the kitchen cabinets.  At that time we'll paint the dining room cabinetry to match as well as continue the same counter surface throughout to help the two rooms feel more like one big room.  The plan is to turn the two rooms into one big farmhouse style kitchen.  We'll either keep the existing farm table or build an island at that point too.  The navy will probably be gone altogether at that point because the walls and trim will need to match.


PS-NORDSTROM SALE EARLY ACCESS ENDS TODAY!!!!  That means TOMORROW everyone can join in on the deals, not just card holders!  What is your game plan? Shoes?  Jeans?  Mine is one awesome day time and one fab nighttime outfit for fall!


  1. I love love love the change! I'm so jealous that you have shelves and counter space in your dining room - I am having a big struggle with storing all of our wedding gifts right now.

    xo, Paige

  2. Love it Julia!!! Now I want to see the living room.

  3. Katie BauerJuly 16, 2015

    No matter what you do, I'm sure it will look gorgeous! I love the idea of having all of that storage and shelving in the dining room. My aunt had that at her old house and she was always to do so much with it, especially around the holidays! And you're awesome, it takes a lot of guts to say you changed your mind on social media! ��

  4. It looks great, Julia! I loooooove our dark blue dining room - it sets such a good mood for dinner parties. I only wish we had built-ins in there too.

  5. I just love your house! I really love a library / dining room, as well. Having those built ins in there is my favorite part! It makes dining so much more cozy and less stuffy. I can't wait to see what else you do!!!

  6. Well as I said to you on insta, I love it. I honestly admire that you and your husband do this in your home - it is so different when you actually see a room with the furniture in it. I'm visual too! I just am not as motivated as y'all are! Haha. Can't wait to see the progress, especially what you will do with all the storage in the dining room now! So jealous :)
    ~Lucy from East Meets South

  7. This is seriously why I tell some clients they need to live in a house and let it speak to them before they make any major renovation decisions. You have a beautiful home with a great eye and that's why all of your furniture can move back and forth from one day to another and it's perfect. I bet your dinner party was so fun in the new navy dining room ;-)

  8. I love a big farmhouse kitchen, and I'm sure yours will be stunning!

  9. AnonymousJuly 20, 2015

    Joy to the world! Fabulous post! This is what I would like to see more of!!!!!! Love it!!!!!


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