Remember when I shared the plans for our living and dining room back in November? Well the day has finally come to share the dining room space. Today I’m revealing our dining room addition, and how we went from a blank canvas (or an old deck) to a beautiful space for entertaining friends and family. To start at the beginning of the renovation journey, make sure you check out this post. I’ll be showing you the (mostly) finished space along with what what we learned, and some tips and tricks along the way.
Vermont Dining Room Reveal
The below drawing is where we started back in September when Craig drew up the plans for the dining room and living room. He built the space on top of an existing deck, so we knew the exact square footage we were working with. The main goal was to create a space that made it feel like you were immersed in nature. In the back of our house we are surrounded mostly by trees, and we didn’t want to obstruct that view.
The room has a total of 7 windows and 2 sliders. The below drawing was the first iteration of the design, before we decided to add more windows. The opening in the bottom right of the drawing is where the space connects to our existing kitchen, so the flow is really nice because you walk directly into the dining room.
We insulated the entire space with spray foam insulation (we hired a company to do this). It was the most expensive part of the project, spray foam costs have gone up immensely. In my opinion it’s worth the expense because spray foam is definitely the superior choice for insulating a house, especially where we have long and cold winters.
We also had two electric runtal baseboard heaters installed (very happy with this choice I love the look and they work great). And there’s a Jotul wood burning stove in the room (will share more when I post the living room). Finally, we installed a DIY Mr. Cool mini split (which we plan to use for cooling but it does have heat as well).
P.S. For anyone curious, Craig uses the Architouch 3D app.
You can use the free version but you can’t save plans unless you pay. It has been super helpful for us with all of our projects.
Design elements: Ceiling, Walls, Windows, and Flooring
In keeping with our Nordic New England style, we wanted to keep the space bright, minimal, and open with lots of neutral textures and wood accents. We haven’t added any artwork yet but I really don’t want to rush the finishing touches so I’m taking my time with that. The nature outside through the windows is its own artwork at the moment!
We have used Sawyer Mason Flooring multiple times now and it has become a favorite in terms of materials. The quality is fantastic, they look amazing, they’re sustainably made and the finish is non-toxic. Craig also has experience installing them since we’ve used them in the Rhode Island house and here in Vermont. The nice thing about them is they are pre-finished, which makes a huge difference for us in the installation process. It’s less messy because there’s no sanding involved.
In this space we used wide plank flooring in Sconset (the same flooring we used in the kitchen). I really like Sawyer Mason flooring because it’s easy to maintain and clean (we use Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner). With a toddler, two dogs and a cat, we really need flooring that can stand up to a lot of everyday wear and tear. It has held up really well everywhere we’ve used it.
On all of the exterior walls, Craig did a beautiful venetian plaster finish. He spent several years doing plaster work when we lived in New York and Los Angeles so it’s always really cool to see him use those skills in our own home. We went with a true white venetian plaster in marmarino which has some slight texture and variation. The nice thing about plaster is you don’t need to sand (or at least the sanding is very minimal). If we did sheetrock and paint there would have been so much sanding. When you’re building a space connected to your existing living space, not having to sand makes a big difference (sanding makes a mess!).
On the interior wall and ceiling we did white shiplap with 6 inch boards. We purchased primed board which for now we left as is, eventually we might paint it.
Windows are a huge expense and we were on a pretty tight budget for this project. We found wood clad black windows on Home Depot and overall I love how they look. I think the quality is fine, a few windows had issues but Craig was able to fix them. It’s difficult when you want to purchase and install windows on your own as a homeowner and you’re working on a shorter timeline. The wood cladding is pine which looks really nice with the other wood accents in the space.
Furniture Details: Dining Table, Benches and Chairs
Speaking of wood accents, let’s talk about our dining room furniture. This is obviously my favorite part of the dining room. We really wanted to give the space a farmhouse look but also keep it modern. We’ve always wanted to get a reclaimed wood dining table from What We Make and finally had the opportunity with this new space. Craig discovered What We Make a few years ago when he built the bathroom in our existing garage in Rhode Island. We were looking for solid wood bathroom vanities and we discovered What We Make. I loved that they were a small family-owned and operated business AND they had a huge focus on sustainability using reclaimed and sustainably harvest hardwoods all sourced in the Midwest.
Not only do they use sustainable practices but they also use eco-friendly, plant-based, water resistant finishes that are non-toxic and VOC-free. They can also customize by size (down to the inch) wood, and finish. Going through the process of creating our dining room set with them was really incredible and I could not be happier with the finished product. They were gracious enough to offer my readers 10% off any 2+ products from their site with code JESS10.
Breadboard Farmhouse Dining Table
The Breadboard Farmhouse Dining Table is made with reclaimed wood using 100+ year old-growth wood from barns taken down throughout the Midwest. I love the rustic details and modern shape which gives it that farmhouse feel. We chose reclaimed oak with a clear finish. I wanted something that complimented the floors but also had some contrast and I think the colors all look incredible together. The finish on the table is non-toxic and water resistant but can also be easily touched up with spot sanding and stain over time. Their furniture is truly made to last generations. Use code JESS10 for 10% off any 2+ products from the What We Make site with code JESS10.
Plank Wood Benches
Because the dining table sits between four windows I really wanted benches that wouldn’t obstruct the view. It also makes the space feel more roomy and open. We can easily fit 8 people at our dining table with the two benches and chairs. The nice thing about What We Make is their option to customize everything, so we were able to customize the size of our table and benches down to the inch so it fit perfectly in the space. We got the plank wood benches in reclaimed oak with a clear finish. I love that it looks traditional and modern at the same time.
We added two Farmhouse Chairs to our dining set as optional seating. The chairs are beautiful, so they can also easily be set aside in other places throughout the house. It’s nice to have the chairs if we need extra seating for entertaining too. The Farmhouse Chairs were also made with reclaimed oak in clear.
Lighting and Heating
west elm pendant light
We kept lighting very simple with a ceramic pendant light from West Elm. I don’t even want to admit how long we searched for lighting, and ultimately landed on this style because it wasn’t too loud or distracting but added a nice design element to the space. I’m actually really happy with that choice and think it pulls everything together nicely.
For additional lighting we installed 4 inch canless recessed LED lights. They’re on dimmers so it’s easy to customize the lighting levels and because there are so many windows we only need lighting when it’s completely dark out.
electric runtal baseboard heating
For heating we had electric runtal baseboards installed and I didn’t know I could love baseboards so much. They are definitely more of an investment than a traditional electric baseboard but they look SO much better. Everyone who comes in the house comments on how nice they look including the electrician who loved them. I ordered the baseboards through runtal North America and got lucky that what we needed was in stock. They shipped really quickly. I’m very happy with how they heat the space too.
Some Final Thoughts
I asked Craig if he had any final thoughts on this space and he said “If you build it they will come.” Haha! Truly though, this was a space we created not just for us, but for our family and friends too. Living farther from family means more visitors and house guests, and we wanted a comfortable and inviting space to gather. I am so excited to host friends and family in this space for years to come.
If we’ve learned anything over the years after renovating so many different spaces it’s the reward of doing the work yourself. Of course this isn’t realistic for everyone, but it has given us the ability to create spaces we love. Renovating and building is a lot of hard work, much of it not very glamorous, but all the time and energy we put in truly pays off.
Materials have become increasingly expensive though prices have come down on some things. Make sure if you’re using contractors you get multiple quotes, and do the same for your materials, especially on things like lumber, spray foam insulation, etc. For the most part, these things cost what they cost, but labor can vary and it can’t hurt to get prices from a few different places.
Of all the projects we’ve done over the last 6 years, this might just be my favorite. I can’t wait to share the other half of this space, the living room in a few weeks. In the meantime, Craig has already started on the next project, converting our garage to a bedroom/bathroom. Yes we’re doing that again! Stay tuned for more on that.
Let me know what you think of this space! I can’t wait to hear.
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