From outdated to an open-concept design, see the before and after of our vintage Victorian dining room renovation!
If you remember from the Victorian Before Tour Part 1, this was the dining room before renovations began.
One of the very first tasks in this room was to remove the miles of wallpaper. After punching myself too many times in the face with the inch-long piece I had man-handled off the wall after dousing it in hot water and soap, we invested in a power steamer.
Maybe the best $50 we spent. It cost about that much to rent one for a day anyway. Absolutely an essential tool for anyone in the home renovation world who is needing to remove wallpaper.
One person would use a wallpaper scoring tool on the wall (sounds like a screeching owl being strangled, but it is worth it) and the next person would come behind them with the steamer.
This is my brother using the “screeching owl” tool in the stairwell. You can see the way it scores the paper which allows the steam to get through.
My mother in law using the steamer.
You can see the pass-through closet in this picture behind my mother in law.
Unfortunately, you can also see the stickers, decals, and stenciling that ended up on the doors. Read about the history behind the Victorian pass through closet in the Victorian Before Tour Part 1!
We ended up painting the trim throughout the whole house (except the parlor that we kept dark and Victorian – my favorite room!) to lighten up the overall effect, and we painted this closet as well.
My grandfather priming our dining room walls.
He and my grandmother were very familiar with fixer uppers as they renovated a beautiful stone farmhouse on 100 acres that dated back to the 1700s!
We knocked down the wall between the dining room and the kitchen and created a bar between the two rooms to open it up.
If you missed the Victorian Kitchen Renovation read it here.
We also took out these doorways between the dining room and the family room and because it was load bearing you see the fabricated yellow beam.
If you missed the family room renovation read it here! By taking out these two walls, it created the open floor plan that today’s family is looking for.
The key was to keep this house functional without losing its historic charm.
Now when we walked in the front door we could see to the back of the house.
Here we are standing in the kitchen looking to the front door. Notice the 70s chandelier?
When we took it down I realized that I could remove the tint from the glass globes with a wire brush.
I soaked them in hot soapy water and used the wire brush to scrub off the sprayed-on tint. I wrapped the bottom with burlap fabric and use them as bookends on our library shelves with tea lights.
The candlelight through the pressed glass creates a charming effect, especially for evening cocktails with guests.
If you missed the fiasco of the faux Venetian plaster for the walls you can read about it here.
Bottom line, the latex decorative plaster was peeling probably because we used oil primer although in reality that shouldn’t have been an issue.
Anyway, we hired someone to apply a decorative plaster and then we painted it. We loved it. It was extremely durable and forgiving with little kids and dents that inevitably ended up in the wall.
The nicks and bruises simply fit in with the old-world charm. Below you can kind of see the detail in the plaster.
Once the dining room was painted we added a chair rail wainscoting, the pinewood floor was sanded down and refinished, and then we decided to try our hand at cove lighting behind a drop crown molding.
To get a better idea of what this entails read this excellent tutorial – How to Install Elegant Cove Lighting at The Handy Family Man’s blog.
They go over several lighting options, but because of adding runs of electricity in this 120 year old Victorian, it was easier for us to install LED rope lighting that we had a remote control for.
Obviously, you needed a ladder when you wanted to change the batteries, which is a huge downside to not having it hard wired. But the effect was still charming, and unfortunately, I do not have a picture that shows what it looked like with the lights on!
Here you can see the process of installing it.
Oh my goodness look at this. Again, installing crown molding with a circular saw. This was the only power tool I think we owned for this house renovation.
Creativity and determination are the essences of the DIY’er. Granted we had a lot of help and guidance from family, but between Google, our circular saw, and a lot of caulk we profited $50,000 on this house.
You can do it.
Remember that comment about caulk? Yup, that’s me. The caulking queen.
Look at sweet Gracie. She was helping us clean up.
Such a good little helper. She grew up around paint and tools!
The dining room chandelier is the Maxim Manor 5 Light Chandelier in oil rubbed bronze.
We added the same Maxim Manor Pendant lights above the bar.
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