DIY Hutch Makeover

This little built-in hutch is one of my favorite pieces in the house and was one of the first details that made me fall in love. It just oozes with 100 year old charm and is the perfect home for all of my wedding china. I adore our china. It's hand crafted and inspired by South African potters with a fun, but classic dot pattern. (You can buy it here!) However, once I put our beautiful dinnerware in the hutch, it disappeared into the abyss of wood. Immediately, I knew I needed to update the hutch by brightening up the background, but I didn't want to paint it as that is such a permanent solution. 

image via West Elm

So Mikael and I headed over to Paper Source to look at their printed papers. We were inspired for the pattern by some of the old remnants of shelf paper we found in the hutch and kitchen (see below!). This art deco style influenced us to look at similar patterns at Paper Source, but we knew we had to go with a lighter color to contrast with the darker wood and navy dinnerware. 

We ended up choosing a gold and cream silk screen printed scallop design that echoes the feather pattern of the old shelf paper (you can find it here!). I used 3 pieces of the 20" x 30" size to fill the back of the hutch, overlapping the design to ensure a consistency of pattern. Initially when I tried to adhere the paper to the wood backing I used double-sided scotch tape. Unfortunately, the paper just didn't hold to the back and just kept falling down. Ugh. So I wound up using packing tape. Yep, you heard that right. Packing tape is holding up this gorgeous paper to the back of the hutch! 

So here it is. Far from perfect, but the detailed scalloping pattern adds visual interest to the blank space. I also love that the gold foil and cream colors contrast so beautifully with the wood, grey wall color, and plays well with the shining chandelier in the center of the room. Thankfully, the imperfections are hidden behind the bowls and plates and are thus unnoticeable! 

It's such an unbelievable difference for just $20! I'm so proud of this little DIY and its definitely something you could easily do in your own home with any other paper you love!

Dining Room Update

Happy weekend! Here at the Midtown Modern, Mikael and I have been busy working on the dining room and foyer. Ever since we attended Old Home Expo, Mikael has been laser focused on repairing plaster - so that has left me with the task of painting. Thankfully, these two rooms only needed some TLC in the form of removing curtains, plaster repair, and fresh paint. 

The curtains were the #1 biggest issue initially. We discovered as we tried to take them down that instead of being run on simply a rail, the second layer of curtains were actually nailed and caulked into the wall/ceiling. Awful, right? It took my dad coming up to KC and helping muscle them down that we were actually able to get them down. Ugh. It's amazing how we haven't completely boycotted buying curtains as a result of the trauma of dealing with those that were left with the house. 

The second problem was dealing with the cracking plaster. After pulling down the curtain rail that was caulked to the wall, chunks of plaster had flaked off. Also, the east wall was pretty uneven after a shoddy patching job way back when. So Mikael was focused on fixing those issues. He used plaster washers, drywall screws, concrete fortifier, lock-tight adhesive, and gypsum plaster to makeover the walls. Honestly, I have no idea what half of those things are, but Mikael researched the heck out of the topic and then took a chance of doing it on his own. Thankfully, it paid off and the wall is the smoothest of them all in the dining room!

My biggest challenge was deciding on a paint color. I chose initially to try "Oxford Blue" by Benjamin Moore, but I feared that in certain lighting it might look more like lavender - NOT what I was going for. So I tried out a grey that was in the same family as the one in the living room, but it too took on too much of a blue hue. You can see the color in the space above.

Finally, after some Pinterest research, I settled on trying Benjamin Moore's Chelsea Grey - the perfect neutral medium grey. I love how it pops and contrasts against the rich brown woodwork, in a way that neutralizes the orange tones in the wood stain. It looks just so classy and modern and I just can imagine how beautifully it will pair with gold and copper accents, like my Moscow Mule cups and gold detailed bar cart. So I painted the room all on my own as Mikael completed plaster repair and cleaning the floors of construction dust.

Eventually we plan on moving the chandelier from the foyer into the dining room because it matches the one in the living room. Then we'll put in a larger statement chandelier in the foyer. The cute little hutch in the corner (seen above) is housing our wedding china, but unfortunately it just seemed to blend into the background of the wood panelling. So I've updated it by hanging art deco paper in the back to help the hutch pop. (Pictures coming soon!)

I cannot wait to share the final reveal of the room. Right now it is in a state of minor chaos as the tools for plaster repair and painting are still occupying much of the space as we continue on with updating the foyer. I promise to show it off soon - complete with a bar cart, a dining table, and six chairs!

Last Weekend

This weekend, Mikael and I attended the Old Home Expo at the Kansas City Museum hosted by the Young Preservationists Society. We were so excited to spend our Saturday in the mansion and grounds of the Long family up in northeast Kansas City. 

The home was built around 1910 and is an enormous work in progress. It's being renovated by local KC architects International Architects Atelier. This enormous house features a beautiful sunroom, grand staircase, and incredibly ornate architecture made with the highest quality materials. Additionally, there is an old carriage house and stables that too is beautifully made. Its a spectacular setting for an afternoon in Kansas City and if you haven't been to an event there, you absolutely must go!

the grand staircase

details in the foyer

the old stables

Some of the highlights? 
Meeting Bernice Radle of DIY Network's American Rehab: Buffalo and co-founder of Buffalove Development, a 29 year old preservationist in Buffalo, New York who renovates the worst homes into spectacular beauties. She also has campaigned to save historical buildings by "heart bombing" them - putting handmade heart signs on the crumbling exteriors to bring attention to their value. 

Mikael loved all of the technical workshops - plaster repair, fixing old windows, rehabbing fireplaces, etc. I attended more workshops on design and research. I loved seeing a presentation on the renovation of 20 Janssen Place, a mansion here in Kansas City. I also was fascinated by the workshop about researching the history of your home. On Sunday I started doing some serious research on our house's history and I cannot wait to share just what all I found in an upcoming post!

While this all is going on, Mikael is currently working on fixing the plaster in our dining room, I'm trying to find the perfect medium grey paint, and Mikael installed new weatherstripping on our exterior doors, making them air tight! We'll be showing some of that progress soon!

Inspiration: Living Room

As we continue to improve on our living room in the midst of renovations and boy oh boy do we have a lot of ideas on what pieces we want to buy or update. For instance, the two vintage midcentury armchairs need new cushions and we're looking at lightening up their look with bold fabric in bright yellow and perhaps even white! It would provide a strong contrast against the darker colors of the woodwork and black leather couch. Annie is a bit obsessed with gold accents (note the floor lamp and magazine rack), so she's looking for a gold glass-topped coffee table to place in the middle of room. 

Green plants freshen up the space by bringing in natural elements, plus the added benefit of purifying the air as well! Finally, we need to find a new rug with a handwoven texture in a light color that contrasts against the flat darker wood floors. Right now Moroccan rugs are really popular and they would be the perfect fit for our cozy space!

Here are a few of our favorite pins on Pinterest that reflect the look we are aiming for!

via Design You Trust
via Magnolia Market
via The Design Files

via DesignLoveFest
via The Design Files
via Anthropologie Blog
What do you think? Are we crazy for reupholstering a chair with white fabric? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

We'll catch up with you this weekend! We're stoked - Saturday we are going to the Old Home Expo by the Young Preservationists Society at the Kansas City Museum where we are going to attend workshops to learn ALL about renovating an old home! We can't wait to share what we see and find out!