Dining room makeover


Dining room makeover


I recently made some long overdue changes to my dining room. If you’re new around here, it would help to know that my mission over the past year has been to lighten and brighten my home, which has meant getting rid of and/or changing a lot of dark wood for my preferred white, grey or lighter wood finishes. The new colour palette is finally starting to come together but the process has been a lengthly and tedious one.

Here’s a peek at what the dining room looked like before…


This room was particularly challenging because the book case, sideboard and dining table were all dark, very dark. So these were the pieces that needed to either go or be changed completely. I figured the obvious thing to do would be to sand them all down to their natural state. Easily said, folks. The dining table with it’s simple design, void of any fancy edging or detail, seemed like the more manageable project to tackle first. And it really did look fairly manageable. I mean it only required sanding and varnishing. How hard could it be… right? Wrong. I won’t sugarcoat it and say that it was an ‘easy’ job. Holy mackerel, I had no idea of the level of elbow grease it would take to remove such a dark varnish. Muscles I didn’t even know I had were in pain for days.

To add insult to injury, I discovered along the way that the grain of African teak wood doesn’t have a particularly consistant colour and I was rather disappointed with the reddish tone of the top. I had really hoped for more of the lighter wood, as is visible on the legs. After varnishing it, however, the colour started to grow on me and I decided (also read as my financial sensibilities took over and demanded that) it could stay. For now.

Now I’d love to say that I’m a determined DIY’er who was unfazed by the sanding ordeal, but frankly, I am not, and the only thing I took away from this project was the certainty that there would be no further attempts to make over any solid wood furniture. So the dresser found a lovely new home via Dubizzle and the book case was replaced with a simple Ikea counterpart that I transformed into a fabulous gold number. A much simpler DIY project by all accounts. And with great results. See more on that here.

After looking around for ages and not seeing a replacement sideboard that I liked enough to buy, I opted to get one custom made to my own specifications, complete with marble top. I will share the details of this project in a separate post very soon.

The rest of the changes, which were 100% more fun to implement, included a coat of Benjamin Moore paint, new dining chairs, a rug, mirror and various accessories. I am really enjoying the fresh new look and feel of our dining room. If you like it too, stay tuned for a special ‘shop the look’ feature later this week.

Kathryn Hawkes

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  • […] this week, I revealed the fresh new look in our dining room. If you’re a fan of the makeover, here’s an easy guide to help you achieve a […]

  • […] this week, I revealed the fresh new look in our dining room. If you’re a fan of the makeover, here’s an easy guide to help you achieve a similar […]

  • Karen 04/02/2015 at 2:44 PM

    Love it! Looks so stunning! Get to mine! I need help!

    • Kathryn Hawkes 06/02/2015 at 8:53 AM

      Thanks, K. Let’s get on to it! x

      • adesigndiary 15/03/2015 at 12:31 PM

        Hi Ladies

        I have great successes with a white wash after sanding down pieces…if you want a more consistent colour (because as you found out Kathryn one never knows what is under all that stain!) a wash can deliver a more even finish while still allowing the wood grain to show through . It offers a more contemporary, updated look than heavy dark wood or the more traditional shabby chic finish.

  • Sam 03/02/2015 at 9:23 PM

    looks lovely, I’m wondering where you got your rug from? Thanks.!

  • Tamlynne 03/02/2015 at 9:49 AM

    Well done, it looks awesome. We are about to start sanding our dining table down, been talking about it for months and trying to avoid it!! ( I showed David yours and he is now motivated…. I didn’t let him read it though, you would have put him off saying it was hard work..lol) I am also trying desperately to “brighten” up the house…. Watching and waiting for more tips 🙂

    • Kathryn Hawkes 03/02/2015 at 11:30 AM

      Hi Tamlynne, very smart not to let David have a thorough read of that post. It’s tempting to make it sound like it was all fun and easy but phew, brace yourself! I started off trying to do it on my own and that was really the problem. I found the patience to wait of the weekend and once I got Mark involved, it was all a lot better, with me giving instructions from the sidelines. LOL. It’s just a very manual job. Having said that, it also depends on the type of wood, some are much softer an easier to sand than others. Good luck with the project! x

  • Liz 02/02/2015 at 11:51 AM

    Amazing job!! Well done!!!

  • Monique 02/02/2015 at 11:45 AM

    Wow, it looks sooooooooooooo good. Well done, Kath. You are just too good!
    PS When are you popping to Gabs to give me some tips? 😉
    PPS Your profile is just gorgeous!

    • Kathryn Hawkes 03/02/2015 at 8:48 AM

      Thanks, Mon. It was hard work but thank goodness, worth it in the end.
      PS I’d love to come to Gabs, but never fear… tips are just an email away. I’m launching an e-decor service so that I can help no matter where you are! Stay tuned.

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    Hi, I’m Kathryn

    Hi, I’m Kathryn

    House of Hawkes is a boutique interior design studio based in Dubai. This website is where it all began and remains a creative platform for sharing my work, my love of design and things that inspire me. Come on over & meet the team.

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