I am still trying to work out what the original lay out of Villa Ardilla was, before any additions were built. I just can't imagine that the original plan was to have a dining room in the middle of the home, without any natural light. It works however, it's the epicentre of the home, the place where everybody congregates. It's where you enter the house, and you go to every other room from this central spot.
An entertainer's delight?
Spanish families like to entertain. And lots of it. So a dining space is important. They also seems to be very protective of their beautiful furniture. When we got the keys to our house, the (relatively large) dining room housed a small table, with 4 chairs, and a plastic cover over it.
Much to our surprise, it turned out that underneath all that plastic, was the most gorgeous extendable table, which easily sits 10 people. Why would you hide that?
Also, I am not sure paying attention to comfort levels is a big thing in the summer homes. Granted, you spend most of your time outside. But the chairs that belonged to this dining table (in total there were 8, the other 4 I found scattered throughout the house somewhere) were probably the most awkward chairs I ever sat on. Absolutely awful, never been this uncomfortable ever, sitting at a dining table. I presume some will love them, I personally think they belong in a castle museum. I adore vintage items, but these ones had to go. I had to fight hubby over it however, he grew quite fond of the character of these chairs. But he was quickly outvoted 3 to 1, as the kids also couldn't sit through a meal on these contraptions.
Cabinets for days
Lack of storage is definitely not the issue in this house. I think we threw out perhaps 6 cupboards already, and are still left with plenty of them in each and every room. Most of them rather empty (for now). The dining room cabinets are staying, they're beautiful. There are three of them, stunning high quality, hard wood Spanish beauties.
They were a stark contrast to the white walls. The light fixtures were very bright, almost illuminating blue light, and without a lot of sunlight filtering through, the view was harsh. It would just hurt your eyes. I know people love white walls. Some simply because 'that's what you do', others because 'it's nice and easy', but most because they're afraid of colour. I am not.
And this space was in desperate need of some colour.
Colour transforms a space
Colour transforms a space. You don't have to go all out however. People instantly think neon pink, apple green and fiery red, when they think of colour. It can be more subtle. But colour has the power to instantly change the mood of a space. When chosen right, it can instantly relax the senses, which is what I was after for the Villa Ardilla dining.
I had already shown you my colour inspiration for Villa Ardilla in my study make over blog (read more here) based on the pink of the outside walls, but adding a but of oomph to the inside. I am totally in love with this Seeds colour palette based on goose feathers.
I used the outer two colours for the living / study area (and our master bedroom, to be revealed later!) but in this space I opted for something a little warmer. And I tried to find a colour that matched the second shade of this palette. So off I went to the local paint shop, brainstormed with the lovely Pilar (my new colour friend) and we found the most perfect colour, just what I had in mind. I bought lots of it, because I was certain I was going to use it for other rooms as well.
Let's get to work!
There's something about painting with colour. I think it's the instant gratification of seeing a space transform right in front of your eyes. This time I discovered that my daughter (9) enjoyed it too. She asked if she could help, and while I was hesitant at first ('Are you sure, this is grown up paint, will you paint within the lines? etc') she turned out to be an absolute trooper. Neat, enthusiastic, and (being absolutely tiny for her age) covered the bottom meter and all those hard to reach places, without me having to kill my back. Winning! Maybe the apple doesn't fall that far from the tree?
Not quite done yet!
But, as with the living room, this space lacked texture. Hard surfaces everywhere, I needed to break this up, and add some modern touches to this room, while maintaining the character. So chairs for some added softness, and... the last trick up my sleeve... wallpaper! I was gifted the most gorgeous wallpaper of Dutch Wallcoverings. For this room I wanted something that stood out, but wasn't too much in your face. It needed to add colour, warmth, interest but be relaxing at the same time. In the end, it's the dining, and the congregation space in the middle of the house. It's a holiday home, so while it's entirely my design, taste and preferences, I am catering to a larger audience.
I am a sucker for jungle themed wall paper (still a child at heart) but didn't quite wanted the leopards, snaked or parrots jumping off the wall. Then I discovered Dutch Wallcoverings Jungle Fever Collection, and then in particular the peacock feathers (FJ3001) and instantly knew that was the one. There are many other designs in this collection, just take a look for yourself. And if jungle is not your thing, you'd be absolutely amazed to see how many other collections are available. You're spoilt for choice!
What I like about this particular wallpaper is that it doesn't scream jungle. It also has a touch of art deco, which I thought was actually quite suitable for this room.
My daughter turned out to be the perfect wallpaper hanging assistant too, and together we covered the longest of the dining space walls, for the final part of the dining room transformation.
Then the reveal!
Curious to see how everything turned out? Well, here you go! My aim was to soften up the space, stay true to the character and honour the vintage Spanish hard wood furniture that belonged to the house. And I think I have succeeded in this mission.
'Mum, this feels so relaxing!', said my daughter. And that's just what you want in a dining room right? Particularly when you're on holidays! The lighting is controlled by the Philips Hue system to control the colour temperature, to even further soften the glow.
The new, fairly simple dining chairs add texture, a modern touch, and (most importantly) added comfort. The dining table ia extended, in full view and not hidden underneath plastic. The space is now inviting, comfortable and brought into this century, while staying true to its original character and charm. Urban Mediterranean meets Whispering Bold.
Most of this make over was accomplished just with elbow grease and wall covering supplies. Only the chairs are new. You can make an enormous impact with colour, even on a low budget. Experiment, have fun with it!
What do you think of this makeover?
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