Our Dining Room Before and After:
My design ideas for our home began long before the ink dried on our closing documents. I’d say they started the moment I saw the Zillow listing. Our Hilltop House has tremendous bones: old hardwood floors with angular details, pocket doors, a grand foyer, and mantels with original tile. Dylan always described our list of projects as “elective surgeries.” The house was more than fine, but I wanted it to be striking.
Dylan and I exposed two brick fireplaces and quickly realized our skills were limited, both technically and energetically. I have tremendous respect for DIYers, but I also have a lot of respect for the bones of our home. This is not the backdrop for me to test new remodeling skills. I want the craftsmanship of this house to be in the best of hands. Thankfully, our friends at Rooke Creative had an opening. To say our dining room was in the best of hands feels like an understatement.
Look at this transformation…!
Working with Rooke Creative
My goal for the dining room was for it to feel like the best restaurant in town with the moody elegance of a British pub. I knew I wanted a tin tile ceiling and wainscoting. I knew the colors and finishes I wanted. I had the light fixture waiting to be unboxed.
The goal was also to create details and motifs consistent with the rest of the house. For example, we brainstormed wainscoting with more ornate flourishes, but in the end, we chose a simplified linear look to match the foyer and the pocket doors.
While I had a lot of the concepts and details in place, this design was a true collaboration. Amber Rooke rendered my design ideas and worked with me to finesse the details. She saw key transition points that I hadn’t considered. One of my favorite details is the way she and the team made the entrance to the kitchen match the original trim. This room is devilishly full of details.
Meanwhile, Dylan Rooke and lead carpenter, Keenan, brought all the design ideas to life, with a big assist from Chris. Every day, I’d pull back the protective tarp, walk into the dining room and stare gleefully at their progress. We called it my “daily gander,” and it was a joyous moment for all of us. I’m especially grateful for the more tedious jobs they tackled: sanding down the wall texture and stripping/staining the pocket doors. The latter was especially grueling.
It’s also worth noting that I missed the team after they completed the project. I’ve observed enough construction teams in my old neighborhood to know that that sentiment is pretty rare. They are good people. They’re also entertaining. It felt like a fun hangout, and in the end, I had a dream-come-true room. Win-win!
Ben Prisbylla shot so many beautiful photos of the “after” that I plan on sharing a subsequent post with more sourcing details. For this post, please join me in gawking at what a transformation this room has undergone. Otherwise, a very bored Julep says, “We’re done here, and it’s time to go outside. The yard is waaaay more entertaining.”