The One Woman House Makeover – Mid Century Modern Dining Room & Kitchen

‘And here we go again with another instalment of the ‘One woman house makeover’! When I look back I’m quite astonished how it actually all came together. After the living room makeover this was a perfect follow-up; Mid Century Modern Dining Room & Kitchen

How Did this Dining Room Makeover happen:

We all have our own reasons for makeovers. I took on this home design project for my daughter, as she was a new home owner and on a super tight shoe-string budget. Some of the challenges that came with it was making what I had all work together. It was one of my biggest, single-handed projects. Just wait & see where & how…

These are pictures from the real estate posting. A sweet elderly and quite feisty couple took great care of this 70’s house. ‘But as you see it was a bit overwhelming with it’s lifetime collection of clutter.

The cabinets had been updated to solid oak with a muted pickled finish. Sometimes even though it’s not what you’d pick as a first choice it can still work with your vision. I know as an artist, if you have restrictions (budget, size, finishes) you tend to need more creativity.

Ok, I think those are the types of challenges that get me all riled up and give me that drive to accomplish…

The Eat-in Kitchen:

Once I slaved and slaved over getting ALL the wallpaper down the space became more serene. Flooring was great (luckily) and look at those chairs! The dining area is quite spacious, especially for a round table.

Can you believe that these Midcentury Cesca cane chairs were left in the house for her by the owner?! Marcel Breuer Dining Chairs? Once I had I seen a few on the ‘net I realized how special they are. I have yet to properly identify them but they do look authentic to me.

I like the simple lines and luckily there was a set of 4. To compliment the shape I looked for a ‘Tulip’ table. After scouring the local online furniture postings I managed to find that table for $50. It needed a bit of attention to touch up the top finish and a new spraying of the base.

The neutral palette continues from the Living room and accented the warm wood tones.

One thing you should know about the owner; she loves donuts! So, what better gift but some custom Donut Paintings! I chuckle to myself now when I think about how I set up a still-life to photograph the reference images. I had a blast painting these with all the icing etc.

From what I can tell, the dovetail joints seem to indicate that they may be authentic Marcel Breuer chairs. As an architect and modernist designer he designed some of the most important chairs of the 20th century!

The Globe light Fixture DIY:

I envisioned a modern globe light that was similar to the spun glass ones I remember. Instead of glass this DIY project uses yarn or string and a pendant light. Here’s my full tutorial for the Stiffened Yarn Light shade. Stiffening any kind of fibre can become a modern design light filtering shade and there’s a lot of options including using rattan and baskets.

What Kind of Art to Hang:

Take a bite… Kidding, but do try to have your own style and personality when choosing or even making art. Do you really want your place to look like a furniture store? For some reason Iris Apfel comes to mind with her courageous unique style.

Even if you do not think you can paint, there’s many ways to create art if you are determined. After teaching young adults for decades I realized biggest obstacle to overcome is usually that inner voice questioning your talent. ‘Don’t listen! Take a leap of faith!

The L-Shape Living & Dining room:

Since no walls came down (no-demo-reno) this layout is not quite open concept but still quite lovely. The Dining area is visible from the front door and should echo the style of the living room. At the beginning the dining table and chairs were some $5 finds but after a bit of saving they have now been upgraded to Structube Edmund Bentwood Dining Chair and a matching table. You will notice the ‘angular lines’ echo in those pieces.

Where to Find a Midcentury Modern Credenza:

Well, this was waiting for garbage pickup… Can you believe that?! I got a call from my daughter who said; ‘Mom, bring the truck! I’m waiting by the side of the road until you come!’ Gee, I don’t know where she gets her gumption, but look at it now!

Sure, it did need a bit of TLC and some finish on the drawer fronts. The outer box was then painted and some unique graphics added. I am so proud of her and it warms my heart to see that she has learnt by example. This modern style buffet can provide a lot of storage for dishes and always looks tidy & organized.

Crisp clean accents tie in the artwork which are also my projects. The gold in the Modern Geometric Shapes Textured Art is also on the handles of the credenza.

How to ‘Refinish’ a credenza:

Whenever you find vintage pieces the top surface, edges and corners are often worn or damaged. Don’t be too concerned unless it is a structural issue. If there are gouges they can be filled with a wood filler (sand smooth) and using a solid colour will guarantee that it is well hidden.

My Tip: use a good quality acrylic latex paint. For extra protection of the hard wearing surface add a coat of a hard finish like a Varathane floor finish. I know how well it lasts as I used it on my sewing machine table and it’s been quite indestructible! Before using any waterbased finish on the wood sections test to see if it has been oiled with teak oil as then the finish may be repelled.

Go Ahead & Make your own Art:

I was mesmerized by the way you can use a bottle full of paint and make crazy amazing art! My fun DIY Modern Pendulum art is also a great project to do with kids.

You might not know what it will look like but I guarantee you’ll love the science of it! Watching how the pattern develops from gravity is so fascinating!

I’ve kept the colour palettes neutral enough that accent pieces could be swapped out as desired. This Mid Century Modern Dining Room & Kitchen might not be what you suspect, but as long as the owner is happy it’s great!

Up-cycled gold frames and self stretched painter’s drop cloth made this art so inexpensive. You can even use some of the wall paint or whatever you have on hand.

The New (lately obtained) dining room table works well with the old credenza even though it is a new Structube furniture piece. Rectangular shapes work better with the small space and credenza. You may remember the table mat I sewed with rope.

If you have noticed that within Midcentury design simple shapes are quite common and create a relaxing atmosphere. Bright colors are limited but some are found in the decor & art. No more fussy curtains, only simple shutters.

I hope you enjoyed the Mid Century Modern Dining Room & Kitchen makeover:

I am very happy with how it all turned out! It did take a while, as every wall and ceiling were painted, not to mention all the trim as well. I’m glad I took on the challenge and my daughter is quite happy there… almost too happy, to come visit her mom. But every time I drop by I smile with accomplishment. Check out the Bedrooms and Bathrooms!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


    1. Thank you! The best part is that she now has the courage to take on projects herself as well! I also love seeing that she likes the space it is always very tidy and maintained. Often if we don’t like a space we give up and let it deteriorate. I hope I’ve inspired you!

  1. I think I am your biggest fan…I have been following you since you did you leaf eco print. I don’t think I have missed any. I am retiring November 20th and scared as he’ll and made a decision to start one of your projects starting from the first one. Just thought I would share with you as your post this morning perked me up.
    Warmest regards.
    Irene from Etobicoke.