our first home: turning inspiration into a reality in the dining room

Just because a room is currently a family room, doesn’t mean it can’t be something else! The room that is currently our dining room was the previous owner’s living room. But their layout, which had their dining room at the front of the house,  didn’t fit our needs or my Mt. Vernon vision.

George and Martha’s front door didn’t open into their dining room and I  just couldn’t escape my colonial inspiration. 
That’s how you know you’ve truly been inspired: you can’t escape it until you act on it. I filled my pinterest boards with trim-filled rooms. I love wainscoting, but I wanted something more… and I found my style board filled with a mix of sources.

The key word is “mix.”  Another of the many things I learned from my mother was that style is more interesting when there is a mix of “looks.” You don’t want your house to look like the showroom of Pottery Barn or Ballard Designs, or like the Founding Fathers just signed the Declaration on your dining room table. You want your home to look like YOU. 

French doors open from the patio into the dining room.

French doors open from the patio into the dining room.

My “Mt. Vernon Dream” would only exist on my pinterest board if it weren’t for Frank. Frank is the best carpenter in Jacksonville. Not only is he an expert in his craft, but he can see your vision and give great suggestions. Now, convincing our painter Joe that we wanted all the trim and walls the same color was another story, but he finally caved. He was probably tired of me showing him my pinterest pictures.

The last feature we changed was their sliding glass door; Frank installed beautiful, outward-swinging French doors with side-lights.  Albeit, this was the most expensive piece of remodeling in the room, it makes such a difference.

   Here is what I learned (from other people’s blogs) and Frank’s advice:

  • *Choose a molding/trim style and keep it consistent. A great guide was created by Windsor One 
  • *Keep consistent spacing between all of your trim and molding; around 4 inches is normal
  • *If you are doing it yourself, I can not give you any advice at all! We had Frank!
  • *Choose a pale color. We picked Glidden’s Antique Silver because it matched my lamps!

Trim and paint  transformed a family room into a dining room I think George and Martha would be proud to host a dinner in!

My Mt. Vernon Vision with a Modern Twist

[sources & products: World Market Greyson dining room table with Hayden wing chairs, Glidden Antique Silver paint, an antique bar cart from the Antique Market of San Jose , large, framed print from Home Goods]


  1. I did same thing in step-daughter’s home. Turned a family room into a stunning dining room with fireplace, opening onto patio pool area. Great idea! People should do it where possible !

  2. Turned a family room into a dining room in my stepdaughter’s house. Made a stunning dining room with fireplace opening onto pool patio area. Great idea. People should do this where possible. Yours looks great!

    1. From World Market 🙂 all of the chairs and table are from there. It’s a great source.

  3. A great eye you have Mollie! The vision to see “what can be” is all any project takes! Then of course there is finding the elements, craftsmen, and money to complete your vision. Those of course can sometimes be more complicated but simply see what potential a particular space has is a priceless talent few people have.

    1. Oh, [said with a sigh] the longing for an endless supply of money to carry out all the visions… 🙂 Besides that little caveat, the only other trouble is having a vision, executing it, loving it… then seeing another vision… 🙂

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