The Reveal: A Dining Room That Remembers the Fifth Wall in More Ways Than One (Spoiler Alert: I Wallpapered the Ceiling)

Well, here we are finally at the second to last space in my Roosevelt Craftsman project - drum roll please…..the dining room. Okay, you knew that from the title, right? I LOVE this space, and I'm so excited to finally share it with you. This room was a labor of love and a joy to pull together.  


The Reveal: A Dining Room in a Roosevelt Craftsman Before Its Transformed

This space is all about that incredible moulding. Moulding, moulding, moulding. But the cherry on the top of this dining room sundae is that coffered ceiling. That's gold, solid gold. BUT there's that damn stalactite ceiling again! That had to go, STAT! You'll also notice that the floors are looking a bit rough - now, I love a good beat up floor - it adds character, BUT not here. It just looked beat up. Know when to know the difference. 

Here's a picture of a wood floor I took at an old loft building in south Seattle. I was on my way to a design event in the building that I hadn't been in before I was struck by the flooring. Buildings like that, built in the 1800s, have the most amazing beams and flooring you just don't get in modern construction, and that's why I cry every time developers knock one down. Progress is for the hard of heart, and even as a child I thought I should have been born 200 years ago wearing calico dresses and pinafores and running down hills in my pigtail braids (why, yes that is a part of the opening montage in Little House on the Prairie. Tell me you didn't wish that was you too!) So, as you see in the picture, the floors are beat up as all get out, but it has so much character as well. I don't know, maybe it's the patina of the wood itself or the flecks of paint that show that in one age the floor was perhaps painted and in another scraped away, but I fell in love. All of that to say, know when to hold 'em, know when to sand and restain. Catchy, no? Kenny Rogers has nothing on me.

The Reveal: A Dining Room Needs Its Floors Refinished Even Though This One Never Should

Moving on.  

When discussing this project, my clients wanted to ensure that they were going to have plenty of seating for their frequent dinners and really just a lovely space to gather and dine and play board games with friends on the reg. Their wish is my command. So when approaching the design for this room, I wanted to kind of deviate from the blue and orange thread that had wound its way through the rest of the home, but not enough to make my client uncomfortable. The solution? Teal and berry! Or what I like to call, blue and orange adjacent. I'm not wrong! In fact, I'm never wrong. Just ask my husband.  

Once the stalactite ceiling is removed and the floors are refinished, all eyes go to the incredible moulding in the space. That's the goal! But maybe you noticed the atrocious tone of beige on the wall in the before picture? Well, that of course needed to be covered up. You may think from the rooms I've already revealed in this house (landing, teen room, den, master bedroom) that I'm incapable of painting a wall white, but let me tell you, that's really not the case. I do what the room tells me to! Or if the client speaks louder, I listen to them, but mostly my clients should listen to me since I listen to the room (and my designer gut, which is what people pay for, no?). So this room called for a lovely shade of white, so lovely in fact that I can pick it out from a lineup of whites. Don't believe me? My clients tested me. I recommended my favorite white and they chose a few other shades they thought might work and painted the samples on their wall. At a glance I picked out the one I'd chosen for them from the unlabeled mix. I may have patted myself on the back and done an air high five, because I'm not a regular mom, I'm a cool mom. Just ask Audrey (my 17 y/o). Anyway, that’s what I’m here for - to guide people to the right choices, because as I mentioned above, I’m never wrong.

The Reveal: A Dining Room Gets Refinished Floors and a Whole Lot More. Design: Rebecca Rowland Interiors. Photograph: Julie Mannel

So here's the deal, painting the walls and ceiling white meant that there was a lot of contrast between the plethora of beautiful very dark trim and the also beautiful very white plaster walls, especially with that coffered ceiling (I'd coffer every ceiling if I could). My solution? I bet you already know since I so blithely stuck in it my blog post tile. Yeah, you guessed it. WALLPAPER ALL THE THINGS!!! I wish. I would paper all the things like the streets of New York are papered with those promo posters. I am a huge wallpaper fan and always have been. Just not that terrible paper that proliferated in the 90s - really no décor from the 90s has a place in my heart, though I'm not mad about forest green, just maybe its pairing only with merlot red. Okay, so I didn't wallpaper all the things, though it would have been fun to  - one pattern in the board and batten, one pattern above and then a different paper on the ceiling? All the minimalists in the group are retching while the maximalists among us are drooling!! Well, that might be too much, even for me. I struck a balance and only proposed papering the ceiling, which can seem risky but exciting to some! And it was so here. But my clients are the coolest - they had already agreed to paint all the trim and the walls one color in their den, so they trusted my suggestion that we paper the ceiling in a lovely teal green seagrass paper. (Pro tip: I'll tell you one thing about wallpapering (ceilingpapering?) a ceiling. It's HARD. Don't try this at home, folks! Imagine yourself standing on the ground holding a room width paper above your head. Now add adhesive. Yeah, leave it to the pros.)

The Reveal: A Dining Room Gets A Wallpapered Ceiling. Design: Rebecca Rowland Interiors. Photograph: Julie Mannel

In the niche, there used to be moulding that matched the rest around the room, but someone along the way cut it out in order to make room for their buffet. I discussed adding it back on and matching the stain with my clients, but the handy husband plans to build a built-in sideboard down the line, so in the for now, I created a solution. The buffet you see here is an old dresser I got a great deal on - I had my guy paint it black, add new hardware and the best part - match the original lines of the legs to add another 7" on, so that it would improve the sightline of the piece in the space. You can only tell where the original leg ended and the new leg begins if you look realllllly carefully. As it should be. The buffet turned out beautifully and the black echoed that of the side chairs and provided some needed contrast to the white walls.

The Reveal: A Dining Room Gets an Updated Sideboard. Design: Rebecca Rowland Interiors. Photograph: Julie Mannell

The dining table and side chairs were also vintage pieces that received a paint update - matte black for the chairs and two shades of light grey for the table. The real pop comes with the end chairs that provide a color not seen elsewhere in the room, or even the house, but it's so complimentary to the teal ceiling and the rug for that matter. The rug is a wool rug that I chose to mirror the teal on the ceiling - it encases and encapsulates the entertaining zone of the room.

The Reveal: A Dining Room Gets a Rug that Echoes The Ceiling. Design: Rebecca Rowland Interiors. Photograph: Julie Mannell

The Reveal: A Dining Room Gets a Rug that Echoes The Ceiling. Design: Rebecca Rowland Interiors. Photograph: Julie Mannell

While I didn't work on the home's kitchen, I did update the lighting and stools at the bar. The stools I chose are comfy and light while the lighting echoes the dining room's near chandelier as well as the black accents used throughout the dining room.

The Reveal: A Dining Room Gets a New Island Lighting and Seating Plan. Design: Rebecca Rowland Interiors. Photograph: Julie Mannell

The Reveal: A Dining Room Gets a New Island Lighting and Seating Plan. Design: Rebecca Rowland Interiors. Photograph: Julie Mannell

I enjoyed thinking outside the box for this space and using many renewed vintage pieces to pull together a beautiful room in which to entertain and spend time as a family. If you're thinking about embarking on a dining room transformation of your own and don't know where to start, I'm here to help!


The Reveal: A Seattle Interior Designer Brings New Life to a Dining Room. Design: Rebecca Rowland Interiors Photo: Kimberly Nakich