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  • Debbie J. Elder

Italianate Apartment: Tour of My Dining Room

Dining Room

Now that I have gotten more settled in my home, it's time to give you a glimpse of what I have accomplished in my Italianate Apartment.

As you may recall, the entire apartment needed painting. After living here for 6 weeks, Hap my local $10/hour painter, finally finished painting three rooms. The bedroom, the living room and the dining room. Hap only works when he is felling well enough. And, when his checkbook is running low. Usually towards the end of the month.

The walls are now a sand/brown shade that the landlord picked out. The color is more complimentary than the stark white that was here before. My dining room is a spacious area with an original floor-to-ceiling square bay window. Really, it is a solarium. Full of windows to allow light to shine in. And, the room has three-inch dark-stained planks of wood on the floor. It is full of charm. But the room has some limitations. It has more doors, doorways and windows than you can count. The solarium has floor-to-ceiling pocket doors too. You can close these off during inclement weather. Or, to let less light in. I have them partially closed below.


There's also a front door that leads to a rickety sloping porch that is in much need of repair. This door has brightly colored stained glass. All of the dark woodwork is in need of refinishing.

Front door with stained glass window

Another door on this wall opens to a slightly narrow, but long, walk-in closet. Then, a doorway to the front hallway that I share with my upstairs neighbors. That door goes to another front door on the house that I only use when retrieving my mail. (See next photo.)

Walk in closet door and door to front of house hallway

Outside hallway to main front door in the building

Then, the next wall has a huge opening into the living room. The other wall has a tall door that leads into the kitchen.

There really isn't much space for furniture, or wall decorations. Which is fine since my requirements here are minimal. And, my budget is low. I don't really need more than a table and a few chairs in this room.

I found this well-kept 18-year old honey-colored dining room set in nearby Overland Park before I even moved to Kansas. I made a deal with the owner via Craig's List to pick it up the first day we arrived. It is in excellent condition and came with an extension leaf that I leave in permanently. The owner was moving. She told me that her family had sat at this table eight times in its total lifetime. It was housed in a never-used formal dining room. It is super heavy and came with spotless cream-colored seat coverings on six chairs. Two are captain's chairs with arms. Total price: $250.

Bargain dining table, leaf and six matching chairs

This beautiful and intricate white tablecloth is an antique from England that John's mother gave us. Although it doesn't quite fit with the leaf in the table, the style of its delicate lace suits this room so I'm using it. And, although it doesn't appear so, it has been ironed. Several times.

Family heirloom - Antique tablecloth from England

The pretty floral-design Italian oversized pitcher sitting on top of the table was from a local Fort Scott antique store. Not an antique, but still a reasonable price: $35. The two glass candlesticks sitting on the table were purchased from my favorite store . . . Home Goods. Price: $24. Plus, cream short pillar candles: Price: $10.

Italian pitcher

Moving over to the built-in shelving unit. After it was repainted, it is now mostly filled with items I brought from Arizona. My original intent was to use these on the rare occasions I would be hosting a dinner party. The shelving unit turned out to be a good spot to store these dishes.

The Fostoria crystal wine glasses came from a local recycle store. The set of 10 were $23. Yes, only $23! Read more about this find here: https://www.mykansaslife.com/post/fostoria-crystal-wine-glassware The little blue pitcher sitting on the bottom right shelf was from the same store. $3.

Dining room shelf unit

Moving back to the square bay window/solarium. I have filled it with a few plants and pots from Walmart and Home Depot. I spent more on these items that I intended. Price: $119.


Growing basil from a kit my good friend LoriAnn gave me

Just this week, I picked up the small Queen Anne foyer table from a Vietnam Vet. He sold it to me when I met him in the parking lot of one of the UMB Bank locations in Kansas City. He had it in the back of his van. Price: $35. The ornate lamp on the table is one of five that I found in Phoenix for $10 a piece.

Solarium foyer table and lamp

With barely any wall space left in the room, I found more inexpensive finds at the local antique store. The only thing better would have been Italian wine labels instead of French. These two wine label art pieces were $11/each. Price: $22.

This artpiece is a work in progress. And, it is not even close to being finished. It is an old piece of metal with popup indentations. In the middle are two torches, criss-crossed. There are lots of scrolls and lines and it takes intense concentration to paint this when I am not too tired. It was brown when I purchased it. I painted it navy and am now in the process of highlighting all of the raised areas with gold paint. Negotiated Art price: $20. Paint: $12.

Artwork in progress

This oversized antique key also came from the same antique store. Price $8.

Large antique key

I would love to have a extra-wide rug in shades of blue and cream under the dining room table to finish the room. But for now, this is my nearly completed dining room and solarium.

Total costs for the dining room: $571.

Stay tuned for details and the design of my other rooms in the weeks to come.

Thanks for following my adventures in Kansas. I so appreciate hearing from you.

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