DIY – Dining Room Project

Three weeks ago I posted about this hole in my dining room wall and asked for decorating ideas.


I got some good suggestions and immediately started planning. We just finished the project in time for Thanksgiving. I am thrilled not to have to explain that hole! We have a hutch in the dining room but no buffet. We decided to make it into a buffet with storage underneath. Here’s what we did.

I started by doing a cut and paste mock-up in Photoshop of what I would like to do with the hole. For inspiration, I even Photoshopped in a Thanksgiving dinner.



Michael framed in a shelf.

photo 1a

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I laid tile to convert it to a countertop. I chose a white and black color scheme since we will be removing the carpet in the dining room and replacing it with large black and white tiles, laid on the diagonal.


I used those great tile adhesive sheets which make it so easy! No mastic needed.


Ready for grout.




Finished tiling.


Next we needed to address the area above the counter. I originally thought about installing bead board before remembering we have a wood salvage company here in town. They salvage wood from all over the world and make custom flooring, mantles, tabletops, and everything else conceivable.

We took a trip over to California Hardwood Producers to see what we could find. This is an amazing place and what they do with salvaged lumber is awesome.


We told them what we were looking for, and were led to a stack of red painted barn wood.

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Here it was! Perfect for our project! I got to dig through the stacks until I found enough pieces that I liked. Then they cut them into 36 inch lengths so we could fit them in the car. Sixty linear feet cost $130.00.

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My beautiful barn wood came from this old barn in La Grange, Indiana.


20130530_184259I got too busy and forgot to take pictures, but I cleaned and hand sanded each piece of wood. It was obviously barn wood. I scraped off hay and other substances commonly found in barns. That is all I’ll say about that. I sanded the peeling paint chips off and put a clear coat of polyurethane over the top.  There were cracks and old nail holes but I loved the look when it was done. Michael cut the boards to the proper length and attached them to the wall with adhesive. Due to the wonky nature of the black hole, there were areas where the boards did not fit perfectly. We made sure they fit well on the bottom where the wood met the tile. I couldn’t wait to see it with some decor pieces.


The next day I stained quarter round molding to finish off the uneven top.


I used the existing nail holes to add some decorative pieces for hanging stuff. I like that I had no choice in where they went. Just random nail holes.




Then we had to decide how to cover  the storage area below the countertop. We would have liked vintage cabinet doors, but that will have to wait. My immediate need was to cover it up before we host Thanksgiving dinner. I decided to make curtains to cover the storage area. I chose a rooster patterned fabric by Susan Winget. The brick-red was perfect and the black and white tied in with the tile on the countertop. I haven’t used my sewing machine in ages and had to learn all over again how to wind a bobbin. It was fun though. I found a spring tension rod long enough to hold the curtain without drilling into the wood.


I rewarded my hard work with a shopping trip to NEST, a mattress and furniture store in town. They have amazing accessories. I selected these stoneware pieces in antique white for my buffet. The pitcher will be filled with flowers and the dessert dish with a pie for Thanksgiving. I “borrowed” the chicken picture from my bedroom where I now have another space to fill.


I love the result. If we never add cabinet doors, I am fine with that. We have lots of wood in this old house and a little fabric helps soften it. Please excuse the billowing sheers on the window. The heater vents are under the window.


Thanks to those making suggestions and comments. We took a little bit of them all into our final design. I am looking forward to using it on Thursday.

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Let me entice you with mouth watering recipes, gorgeous food photography, and years of experience raising and breeding chickens, emus, goats, and donkeys on a small hobby ranch in northern California
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Let me entice you with mouth watering recipes, gorgeous food photography, and years of experience raising and breeding chickens, emus, goats, and donkeys on a small hobby ranch in northern California


  1. This is an amazing use of this space and it’s so attractive. Thanks so much for sharing this project with Throwback Thursday.

  2. I love it! I can’t believe the transformation. I always have such a difficult time envisioning how a project will turn out. If I ever learn photoshop I’ll have to do a mock up like you did.

  3. I love this idea and you really made “GREAT” use of that space. Thanks for sharing at Throwback Thursday.


  4. What a fabulous space! Love that you plotted it out on photoshop!

  5. Wow well done looks fantastic and so homestead! Love the curtain look I might do this in my laundry cupboard that has no door. Thanks for the idea. Mx

  6. Beverly Carnes Rosa says:

    Yes, Great Job!! Love the random holes and placement. Awesome space now.

  7. Thanks Jodee! Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving. I just moved the last vestiges of Thanksgiving to the basement and I am dragging up the Christmas decorations!

  8. It looks great! You really did a nice job, and now you have a great serving area for your dining room. You are very creative!

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