But a funny thing happened. We liked talking to each other and guests without the distraction of the television or dirty dishes (I'm a use all the dishes, spread the mess around kinda cook). There's a reason restaurants are so popular! No television unless we're in a pub and then ManO sneaks looks at the scores. No dirty dishes. Except we have "seat them by the kitchen" faces. We did an informal study once and realized 90-99% of the time, that's where the host leads us unless we say ASAP, "we want to be FAR, FAR, FAR away from the kitchen." I keep hoping it's because that's where a lot of restaurants seat families with children and we look like we're young parents or, at the very least, tolerant grandparent types.
So why didn't we eat in the dining room before now? It's simple.We'd started referring to it as
"the museum." The dining room was the last decluttering domain, a reminder of times and people past. Last year, we still couldn't bring ourselves to go through all the formal stuff we'd inherited.
But after our challenging 2014, 2015 needed to start fresh! This month's experiment proved we liked eating in the dining room. We just needed to make it our own, keep a few valued heirlooms and antiques then mix them with our favorite things. ManO wanted to keep our newlywed furniture (he's sentimental and it's solid wood) but he wouldn't let me paint that maple no matter what Pinterest said!
My $50 budget also kept me under control because Pinterest can tempt you to do things you never thought you'd do. We wanted an Ameri-Parisien feel to the room. Plenty of ideas on the boards. Faux French linen placemats were a much less expensive touch than the real thing.
|My favorite antique from my childhood bedroom is the four drawer apothecary chest.|
|A frame borrowed from another part of the house and an 8x10 print for $3.99 added another dash of Paris. ManO looks quite, um, dashing on this bridge over the Seine.|
Pinterest helped again when I looked for ways to update our decor. I love the sign trend out now but that's what it is, a trend. So I went shopping in my house for another frame. I thought about my favorite quotes en Francais and consulted Belle Calhoune who loves all things French. She also has ten years of French lessons to my seven.
The French have such beautiful words like etoile for star and amour for love. What to choose? But the beauty of making my own "quote art" is I can switch it out. For now I settled on a Matisse quote reflecting my philosophy of life, "There are always flowers for those who wish to see them." It's about finding beauty in the world (see Jan Drexler's Monday post, ) and gratitude in the dark times.
|I hope Monet forgives me for using a Matisse quote overlaying a picture we took in his garden.|
By this point my library idea was toast. But no Paris apartment would be without books. Out when all the things that made the hutch look like my grandma's and in came my favorite books and pottery collection.
Not everyone can or wants to have a Paris inspired dining room but I leave you with one of the most wonderful spice blends from Penzeys Spices, Sunny Paris. Such a wonderful blend of purple shallots, chives, green peppercorns, tarragon, and more. I use it on plain chicken and fish to dress it up, in salad dressing, over asparagus and in breakfast dishes. Yummy and so easy to use!
So, if you could have a dining room anywhere in the world, where would it be? Are you decluttering this winter? Do you have a favorite spice that makes you think of far away lands? PS. Have you visited the Yankee Belle folks' boards on Pinterest? Such fun.