I’ve been posting pictures of our house-building progress… but partly to build suspense (dah dah DAAAAH!!!), and partly to get back to more pretty/less construction-y stuff, today we’re taking a break to share my direction for the dining room design. It has a long weird side story about giant gold French-ish dining chairs owned by an Iranian mafia family in Saskatoon, which you can choose to read or not.
Also, I refer a little bit to the kitchen design, which you can read about here.
For many moons I’ve had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted for our dining room. It went a little something like this:
As I perused my inspiration pictures it became surprisingly formulaic: big, rustic farm table + drippy chandelier + Louis chairs. Over Christmas we ordered the Norden table from IKEA. Sean and I both love it, and it fits the simple farmhouse look I wanted. The chandelier pictured above is, in fact, the chandelier we are having installed in the house. But the chairs… there’s a story there…
SIDE STORY ABOUT THE CHAIRS:
I adore Louis chairs. I hunted for some Louis-esque dining chairs for months and months. I convinced Sean that this was what he wanted too. Then finally one day I found a dining set with some oval back Louis-ish chairs. They were a bit more ornate than the chair pictured above, not to mention they had gold-leafed frames and gold damask fabric. A bit over the top. But I figured with some neutral upholstery and a fresh lick of paint they’d be tamed. I convinced Sean that these were THE chairs, and they were even worth a trip to Saskatoon to retrieve. I emailed the seller and finagled a price that was reasonable (though maybe a bit high considering the work I’d need to put into them. But I didn’t care. My plan was coming together. Mwa Ha Ha…) So we planned to go pick them up on one of our trips up to Warman to work on a few house details.
We arrived at the address we’d been given by the seller. It did not appear to be that of a psycho killer or drug dealer. Yesss. (Though, in retrospect maaaay have been the home of someone connected to a foreign mob. Like, seriously.) We went to the front door and were ushered by a somewhat tired-looking 30-ish woman into a house that was, on all accounts, normal. Except for the furniture. Every piece of furniture in the front living room and adjacent dining room was the same ornately scroll-y sort-of-French-but-not-really antique style. And all of it was gold, with the coordinating gold damask upholstery. It looked like maybe the Palace of Versailles Theatre Company had stored some relics in a mid-80’s split-level in Saskatoon. Who were these people? There were all kinds of crazy looking tchotchkes and eery religious pictures on the wall too. We told her we had come to buy, and pick up the dining chairs.
Through a thick accent and some broken English she ushered us in to the chairs and I was aware of a rowdy crew of boys wrestling in the basement. She snapped at them to be quiet. I sat on the chair. Hmmm. It was pretty ornate. And big. But I convinced myself I could make it work. She began to apologize for the crack on the gold dining table. ”Oh, we’re not buying the table.” I said. She didn’t like that. I said, “So we agreed on $_ _ per chair”, and I began to rustle around in my purse for my wallet. ”No.” She said. “$_ _ _.” She looked offended and appalled at my stated price. We tried to discuss this, but there was a language barrier and some piece of information obviously missing. And what was her accent, anyways? Russian? Iranian? I’m pretty decent with accents, but I could not figure it out.
She proceeded to call her husband and have a rather irritated conversation about how much they would sell the chairs for. I have no doubt the set cost a fortune originally (it was obviously custom). But it was not worth that to me. I figured out through their conversation that they had (hired?) someone else to post the ad online. And she was not happy with that person. And that person was the one who had agreed to my price. Not her. The phone conversation ended and she curtly informed me they would only sell the chairs for her price. Ohhhh Kaaaay… So as quickly and politely as I could, I said we would not be buying the chairs and left. Sean and I got down the street and into the Jeep and laughed. What had just happened? That was so weird. We couldn’t wrap our brains around who these people were, and how they planned to sell that crazy furniture for that price in Saskatoon. On the way home we figured they really weren’t THE chairs anyways, and they would have taken a lot of work.
But now Sean was really stuck on the idea of a Louis chair too. He began doggedly deal hunting online. He’s really good at that. And he reeeally loves me. He came across this GREAT chair from Structube:
"Is this kind of what you want?" He asked,
"Ummm, like exactly what I want."
It was on sale for half price (on an already decent price) putting it near enough to our budget that he was OK with it. Yesss.
However the nearest Structube store is in Edmonton. (Darn you, Saskatchewan, and your limited selection of cool stores. You’re lucky I love you.) We looked at every possible way of getting them here - taking a road trip, shipping via a courier - but everything ended up being pretty pricey and not all that practical. Gah.
So I stewed for a while. Kept pointlessly checking Kijiji and UsedRegina.
Finally it was time to choose another style of chair. Goodbye Louis. The dream was beautiful. Then I remembered this picture, originally from Elle Decor:
(Image via Remodelista)
Wicker. Huh. Did I like it?
It was tempting.
If they were outdoor chairs I could take them outside and hose them down.
It had a much more laid back vibe - and I liked that. I want people to feel at ease in my home, not like it’s fussy.
It would probably be more comfortable.
That’s a good point, Justine.
And, wait - how great would they look with a ticking stripe seat cushion?
Oh wait, there are rattan chairs for $40 at IKEA?
My husband gave me a weird look over the suggestion of wicker chairs, but when I showed him a few inspiration pictures and the price he was heartily on board.
Here’s the chair we’re looking at getting:
(AGEN chair, IKEA)
Sean wished for something more greyish, like the Elle Decor shot, and I concur. I may see what DIY-ing I may have up my sleeve once we’ve had the chairs for a while.
(Home of Thea Beasley featured on Design Chaser)
But I’m totally digging the casual vibe of a wicker dining chair.
—-END OF CHAIR SIDE STORY—-
The drapery fabric in the inspiration board above is merely a suggestion. I’ve loved that Bethe fabric from Tonic Living for a long time, and I definitely want pattern in the dining room since the adjacent living room will have solid drapes. But I’m totally open to other fabrics, and may want some blue to draw in the blue from the nearby kitchen island. I really like this one:
(From Tonic Living)
I also like the idea of this navy ikat:
(from Tonic Living)
And this one may have the right balance of light and dark. Plus it has birds. I like the birds.
I’m feeling even better about the direction of my dining room now. It’s a little more casual, cool, beachy/farmhouse. Sometimes it’s nice when buying crazy gold chairs from the wife of a Russian mobster doesn’t work out.
What do you think? HAve any of you tried the Agen chair as a dining chair?