This post is in partnership with KILZ®.
We’ve been renovating our Chicago Two Flat (a building with two units) for the better part of a year-and-a-half, and rarely has a project gone as smoothly as our dining room makeover. This room has been a labor of love and weeks of hard work, but the results are better than we ever imagined!
From head-to-toe, the room – walls, millwork, ceiling and vintage hutch – were primed with KILZ Restoration interior primer and painted in Meadow Mauve from the KILZ Tribute line of paint. It’s lavender, blush, greige and taupe all rolled into one, and Scott said it best when he described the color as a ‘hug.’ I won’t keep you waiting much longer, let’s dive right into the before and afters, and then I’ll take you through our process!
Tip: You can purchase KILZ® Tribute color sample pots and paint directly from Amazon! See the options right here.
Dining Room | Closing Day
Dining Room | Blank Slate
Dining Room | Today!
Dining Room Hutch | Before
Dining Room Hutch | After
View of Window Wall | Before
View of Window Wall | After
The dining room is the heart of Unit 1, situated perfectly between the sunny family room and narrow kitchen. I’ll be sharing more photos from every angle at the end of this post, but first, How did we get from A to Z? The room was divided into three big projects:
- Restoring the vintage hutch
- Installing the panel molding
- Prime and paint from head-to-toe!
1| Restoring the Hutch
I knew I loved this home the first time I laid eyes on this hutch. We think it’s as old as the house itself, which would ring it in at 130-years-young. Everything about her is slightly imperfect – sagging drawers, peeling contact paper, rough around the edges – and yet to me, she’s perfect.
Our friend Kristine came over to lend a hand, and together, we worked on preparing the hutch for paint. Our goal was never to make the hutch perfect-perfect, rather, she needed a good scrub, touch up and wood filler to make her whole again. We started by removing contact paper from the cupboard and scraping up any loose, flakey paint:
Once we vacuumed everything up, we smoothed wood filler into cracks and gaps. I also removed the doors, cleaned up the hinges and scraped the glass clean. Tip: Always wear a mask when restoring old furniture, and use a vacuum with a HEPA filter.
When we removed the old contact paper from the cupboard, we discovered something exciting – old tongue and groove! The problem? It was cracked and splintered, having seen better days. Feeling inspired, I decided to use a v-groove beadboard to enhance the cupboard, making sure that all my lines matched up along the way.
Afterwards, every last hairline crack was caulked and smoothed. Caulk is the saving grace for an old home; it blends away imperfections and once painted, you’d never know the secrets that lie beneath.
2| Installing the Panel Molding
While Kristine and I tackled the hutch, Scott got to work on the panel molding (and I pitched in once the hutch was ready for paint). What we love about panel molding is that the design and layouts are endless! On the other hand, the designs and layouts are endless. In the end, we went with a more traditional layout that included a chair rail, with a box panel above and below the rail.
Installing the chair rail went quickly. The ceilings in the dining room are almost 10’ tall, and we chose to have the chair rail at a height of 3’ from the floor. We knew this would make the top panel taller and more grand, which would make the ceilings feel even taller than they already were!
There were a few tricky cuts where the railing met up with the exposed chimney, but Scott mitered the ends and added a return for a truly custom feel:
Outside corners were also mitered, creating the prettiest profile!
With the chair rail installed, it was time to make the box molds! Scott made this quick and (mostly) painless by making a slug (that he aptly named Doug the Slug, naturally) from scrap wood. This little template – or ‘slug’ – was used to ensure even spacing from the chair rail, door trim, baseboards and ceilings to the box molding. We decided on a spacing of 3.5”, but the beauty of panel molding is that you can do whatever your heart desires!
He was even able to use his slugs to install most of the box molding without needing a second hand to help:
He worked his way around the room, and every now and then we needed to make a decision. Should we wrap the inside corner? (Yes.) Should we add a box above the door and windows? (Yes.) What about below the windows? (Nope.) Again, the final layout and design is personal preference! We had fun figuring it out and creating the best layout we could for this sweet dining room.
With every last piece of trim in place, it was time to caulk! Just like the hutch, the caulk helped to fill in any gaps that could be noticeable once painted. I went around the room carefully, making sure to fill in every edge. This took some time and patience, but a good podcast helps!
3| Prime and Paint from Head-to-Toe!
Because all of our panel molding was raw wood, we knew we wanted to prepare it for paint with KILZ Restoration primer. It’s a water-based primer that performs just as well as an oil-based primer. Yes, please! We prefer to use water-based primers over the oil-based counterparts for ease of use and cleanup.
We went around the room and used the primer on all the exposed wood and any bare drywall. Most of the drywall had been primed before we started, but there were still areas that had been patched along the way. Although we were priming all new surfaces, KILZ Restoration interior primer is a good bet for stains, too! Think: water damage, pet stains, smoke, grease and more. Already, the room began looking shiny and new!
Once all of the raw wood was primed, things got really fun. It was time to choose paint! We would be using paint from the KILZ Tribute line, and I have to say, the hardest part of this entire makeover was narrowing down the color. The Tribute line of paint is a beautifully curated collection of colors, and we couldn’t decide what we wanted. Terracotta? Chambray? Stone Cold? They were all stunning.
I ordered countless sample pots from Amazon, and I used foam brushes to get them on the wall around the room. But as soon as I brushed the first stroke of Meadow Mauve on the walls, I knew. Meadow Mauve was The One.
Although we landed on a single color for the whole room, I ended up ordering two different sheens! We used an eggshell finish for the walls and most millwork, and we used satin for the door and hutch. Both finishes are equally wipeable, but I thought that the satin sheen would be a fun effect and more durable on those highly used surfaces.
Scott and I usually fall into a natural rhythm when we paint. I trim, he rolls. But in this case, we both grabbed a brush and started trimming – there was a lot of ground to cover, with countless nooks and crannies that a roller wouldn’t be able to reach!
This was our first time using KILZ Tribute, and we couldn’t stop remarking on how buttery smooth it was! It’s a low VOC paint with high stain-blocking capabilities. In the photo below, you can see how well it covers after just one coat!
Our Whole Room Reveal!
Friends, are you ready? We are over the moon with the results and the floor-to-ceiling effect of using a single color. Our hearts sing every time we step into this room!
This mid-tone color highlights our panel molding in the prettiest way. The shadows and light around the contours of the molding is mesmerizing. The room feels calm yet moody, dramatic yet fresh. Is Meadow Mauve my soulmate? I think yes.
Meadow Mauve is a shapeshifter. She’s warm in the morning, cool as the sun goes down. The color leans lavender, but on an overcast day, we see hints of taupe. Where the sun hits, we might see blue or blush. In the corners and shadows of the room, she’s rich and refined. Yes, Scott was right: Meadow Mauve is most definitely a hug.
And my hutch! Isn’t she beautiful? The antique mirror on the back is the perfect amount of aged, with slight silvering. I added solid brass hardware, both on the drawers and cupboard doors, and a brass light fixture inside with a clear shade.
In the evening light, the light fixture gives us a soft, warm glow:
We completed this room over several days and over the course of many weeks. Some may say the kitchen is the heart of the home, but may I throw a vote for our dining room into the hat? Some day, friends and family will gather in here with a warm meal and cold cocktails, and I’ll know that it was worth every ounce of effort.
Thank you to our partner KILZ® for helping us bring our vision to life! And thank you for supporting the brands that support us. You can purchase KILZ® Tribute color sample pots and paint directly from Amazon! See the options right here.