dining nook step by step + sneak peak!

We're ALMOST there folks! The race to the finish line (read: baby3's birth) has Brad and I cramming in all the home projects we can realistically accomplish. Call it nesting on steroids.

In the last month we've gone without a washer + dryer for 2+ weeks, bought new units, found they didn't fit in the old space, had an electrician come to move the plug in the wall to they would, found the vents needed cleaning so the new dryer wouldn't over heat, cleaned our dryer vents (not easy in a condo!), began shopping for a new car, bought 3 Diono Radian car seats (@ 15% off!), fixed the leaking faucet in the kitchen and bathroom, re-caulked the shower and bathroom tub, finally installed a screen door on the patio doors off our bedroom, and almost completed the dining nook. Fewf! Brad is even optimistic that we can sneak the back splash for the kitchen in before baby3... I'm not so sure!

The dining nook was the largest beast, and finally crossing that off the list is sweet. We still have a couple things left to do (finalize the frame wall and hang the West Elm light, which my electrician friend will be doing for us this week!), but we're 95% done I'd say. My sister was in town last week so it was really the only time to get it done and she was the greatest help. Her and Brad tackled the jobs I couldn't in my prego state (sanding the old table top which was coated in likely-toxic sealant, polyurethane-ing the surface tops, lifting and moving things) and I helped with the rest.

Here's a little sneak peak and vague step by step, more pictures and details coming once the light is hung and I can get Morgan over to take some non-iPhone pics :)

  1. We sanded everything! used an electric sander for the smooth surfaces of the buffet and table and sanded the chairs by hand. The chairs only needed light sanding because we were spray-painting them, which has awesome coverage. The table top and buffet needed a perfect sanding/stripping because we were staining the wood. This was the first night and the hardest/most annoying step. You feel like you're just sanding forever and it takes a while to see progress. 
  2. The 2nd day we stained the top surfaces and the drawer faces of the buffet. I LOVED this step! It takes under 30 minutes to stain everything, and only 30 minutes to dry, so for minimal effort you see a huge change. Very motivating! And we used Saman wood stains which were more expensive than the other brands, but are 100% nontoxic so we could do it all inside while the kids slept in the other room. Huge bonus. 
  3. Same as above.
  4. Then we painted the legs of the table and the body of the buffet with latex paint plus primer in semi-gloss bright white. This part didn't take too long per coat because there wasn't much surface area to paint, but the buffet was a lot of cutting. And we had to do three coats (and probably could have done four!). This was a two day job. Not pictured is spray painting the chairs semi-gloss white. Spray paint is also so gratifying because it covers so well and takes almost no time to do or dry. I did two coats of spray paint and then we did two coats of a clear spray paint top coat.
  5. The third and final night we upholstered the seat cushions. Guys, this is the EASIEST high impact DIY I've ever done. Mega-change in just around an hour. It looks so profesh, but is really a hack job under the seat cushion. You just need to pull your fabric taught and go to town with your staple gun. Make sure you iron your fabric really well!
  6. Look at that finished chair! We have three of these white armless chairs along with the IKEA bench for the kids, and then an arm chair from the same set that we decided to make our statement chair - it has the same fabric but we spray painted it the same bright yellow as the tray.
  7. I also spray painted my drawer pulls with yellow gold metallic spray paint that I already had. I love the grey wood stain with the yellow gold!
  8. Quick glimpse at our finished dining nook. More to come! xo


  1. Wow - you are the most ambitious heavily pregnant woman I have ever heard of! Well done, looks fantastic.

  2. Love it!! Looks awesome...you have motivated me to get my paint brush out too!! Got some furniture that needs a brand new look! :-)