ABM Studio: The Dining Room (Progress!)

 Dining room progressHey friends! I'm here today to share some progress that we've made in our soon-to-be dining room! In this room I achieved one of my big goals which was to paint something a "not white". I love how the deep gray makes the new bright white trim pop. I'm excited to host parties and dinners in this room.

There is still so much more I want to do in here-but first, a little walk down memory lane… 

A Beautiful Mess dining room (before)This is how the dining room looked on the day we closed. We found a Springfield Magazine (old local mag) from 1993 left in the built-in, and this room looked EXACTLY the same. With that said, we didn't feel too guilty about giving it a little makeover, while still keeping its innate charm. It's not totally different though, just updated! We decided to keep the light fixture and refresh the room by just removing the border and painting everything. Skim coatingFirst there was a ton of skim coating. The walls in our 100-year-old home had tons of cracks from settling. We had to have the house reinforced (jacked up from the basement, so that it will not continue to sag) before skim coating, because that can cause additional cracks. 

Choosing the color was a big thing. All of my instincts were pushing me to white, but I really wanted to branch out. We chose gray because it's deeper and more moody, but still very versatile for party throwing. Dining room progress Dining room progress I'm so glad we branched out and tried a new color! I love the mood in the room now. I still want to paint the metal on the chandelier (probably gold, maybe white?) and add more crystals.Dining room progress   Time to fill up up the built-in cabinet! 

Dining room progress    Here's a peek into the kitchen. I'm enjoying the room-to-room views so far! 

What's next on the to-do list? I already mentioned the chandelier. We'd love to build a bench style table this time. I'll be on the hunt for some light curtains. We'll probably be moving the new bar cart in here. In general, I just want to collect all the basics to throw a killer party! I can't wait to get to the stage where it's all tablescapes and flowers, but first tables and chairs (or benches). So much to do! xo. Elsie 

Credits// Author and Photography: Elsie Larson

  • Any chance you want to share what brand and color that paint is? I am on a perfect gray quest!

  • This looks gorgeous especially with those long windows and chandelier! I love older homes!

  • Love the greasy with the white! Looking good so far and look forward to seeing more! 🙂

    Lulu xx


  • The grey color is gorgeous and I’m s glad you kept the chandelier. Why not paint it a fun color though? More gems are a must.

    xo Ashley

  • Love all the progress photos, but I have to say I’m soooo glad you’re not painting everything white! Colorful walls in an older house lend so much character. I’ve no doubt whatever you guys come up with will be beautiful but, please show us some color on the walls! White walls are for rentals! I chose a grey-ish color for my living room (cinnamon slate) with just a hit of a red/purple undertone. It looks fabulous with brighter (hot pink, turquoise) accents! I would have never guessed grey could be so versatile! Thanks for sharing the progress with us!

  • Try a flat paint on those old walls to hide the imperfections. It will blow your mind.

  • LOVE the gray! What color is it? I am having a hard time finding one that isn’t too blue!

  • Grey is so chic and modern!!! And I love love love the chandelier. Great job. Cant wait to do this too:)

  • The grey is so amazing! I love how cozy the room feels with the element of sophistication. I can’t wait to see what furniture you fill this space with!

  • It looks sharp! Would you mind sharing the paint color and brand (and finish). I need details 🙂

  • that studio is coming along amazing….your trips to home improvement stores must be soo much fun!

  • Wow, what a huge difference between before and after! As for customizing the chandelier, that sounds like an awesome idea–gold and brass are really popular light finishes! Adding more crystals will also make your chandelier unique and truly yours.

  • I love your style so I’m really excited about seeing future photos about your studio makeover 🙂

  • These decor ideas are amazing, the grey looks perfect, the fisnish room will look great, I´m sure, great choice!

  • I love seeing your house project progress, thanks for the updates!


  • Yellow and grey is one of my favorite color combinations! In fact,I just Wikied ‘grey’ and found there are about a million artistic, cultural and religious references to the color that are sure to keep anyone interested whether it’s home decor, art, or clothing design…maybe there’s a party decor inspiration there?

  • Just found a picture of a lovely painted yellow ceiling and though of you: would look lovely somewhere in your space! here is the link to the blog post:

  • Would never have thought of using grey but it looks fantastic. Good luck with the rest of it. 🙂

  • Love the room and great to see the before and after. Please can you let us know what colour grey it is? Thanks xx

  • Hello! I ve found this blog by chance last month… All your ideas looks fantastics. I love that grey Room with white doors and the kitchen white and yellow, very bright!

    Congratulations for ABM!!!!

    Besos desde España! 🙂

  • The grey does look amazing, and I love the pop of yellow from the next room too 🙂

  • Looks great! Can’t wait to see all of the parties y’all will throw in there 🙂

  • The gray is so unique but it really looks great! Is this in the new studio house?

  • I love the color grey that you chose! So beautiful! I also really love the way it works with the yellow you can see in the kitchen.

  • I love what you’ve done to the house so far – this is my favourite room, I am such a huge fan of grey walls at the moment, and I like the peek of yellow coming for the kitchen, it goes together so well.
    Can’t wait to see what you’ll do to the rest of house!

  • Never would have thought about painting a room grey, but I love how it looks!

  • Haha- old houses are weird. I can’t say that enough. They ALWAYS have some puzzling features.

    xx- elsie

  • Well done so far! I love darker, moodier colors in dining rooms – they’re one of the only rooms in a home I would rather be dark and cozy. 🙂

  • LOVE grey walls, and I’m so looking forward to seeing what those pops of yellow in the kitchen are leading to. Plus, that’s my favorite color combination–moody grey and mustard-y yellow.

  • way is gray such a popular color? It makes a room look like a morgue. I realize that gray, white and mustard yellow are the “now” color combination, it too shall pass.

  • Hi Lisa,

    We had professionals go under the house and use, what I think is called a house jack, to push one of the big supporting beams that was sagging back up. The house jack works just like a car jack but they only crank it a few times every month until the beam gets back into it’s original spot. The process could be quite long if you have a lot of sagging. For us this did create quite a few more cracks in some of the walls, but the floors became MUCH more even and so adding some hardwoods and tile was much easier. We already had lots of cracks in the walls that needed repairs, and we already planned to paint, so it was an ideal time for us to get the house jack installed. Depending on how much sagging you already have, yes the process probably will create a few cracks that need repairs. 🙁 But if you’ve been wanting a good excuse to repaint you may get your wish. 🙂

    We are SO glad we had this done, as I really think the process added a lot of value and new life to our old house.

    Best of luck!

  • That grey against the white trimming… Wow! I love grey and white as a colour combination – it’s actually the interior colours we have in our bedroom, along with some black thrown in too.

  • that built in cabinet is awesome! what a unique part of the room



  • I would love to know the name of the grey paint you used. Our living room is grey, but I would like to paint it a different shade. Thanks!

  • This is awesome! My whole house is different shades of grey and I love it. Looking forward to the finished project!

  • Gosh. What a lovely saturated color. And to see the pops of yellow in the background just kills me in the most amazing way ever!

  • Beautiful color choice! Most of my upper level is a light grey and I’ve been wanting to paint our master bedroom a deeper shade. What is the name of this paint color?

  • They grey needs to balanced with lighter colors, I am sure you’ll do this perfectly.


  • That color looks so clean and modern with the beautiful woodwork. Nice choice! It really transforms the room.

  • You’ve made a huge improvement! it now looks as though it could be part of a hugely expensive, modern home! with love, faye x

  • So exciting!!! Love the view into the kitchen, such complementary colours!!! Your dining room is all grown up 🙂


  • Looking good! I love the grey walls against the yellow kitchen cabinets and that built in cupboard is gorgeous. Can’t wait to see more 🙂

  • Love that grey, I used grey in the bathroom and love it my pop of yellow comes from tulips when I can get them 🙂
    A great room.

  • You’ve done a brilliant job with such little touches.
    I have just gone for a pale grey in my bedroom & I love this colour at the moment, so simple & elegant.

  • I think the gray and the brass chandelier goes so well to eachother. The room is gorgeous!
    But i do think it could be fancy, awesome – or, if it was my room, i would go with either a soft, light, maybe dusty pink or a fancy bold colored wallpaper inside the cabinet 🙂

    I’m making a lamp with fortune tellers, its a huge project, so i have lots of stuff to use my time on this weekend 🙂

    xo. Julie

  • That built in cabinet is dreamy! I think the light fixture would look so rad white!

  • Beautiful! Such improvement! That grey color is gorgeous, and I’m loving that cabinet!


  • What a difference a coat of paint can make! Very chic too. Just a thought on the chandelier, what if you painted it the same color as your kitchen cabinets? It would pull the two rooms together and give a cohesive flow from one room to the other. Plus an awesome pop of color in the room.


  • I love the new look of the room! I would have been terrified to do such a dark color, but it looks incredible!



  • Love the contrast with the grey and yellow from the kitchen, the colour choice is awesome. But what’s with the molding around the door into the kitchen, it makes me think “Hi I am the wall and I just ate your molding, hahahahha”. This is not intended to sound rude, love your blog, just curious.

  • This look awesome!!!
    You know what I think we need soon?
    Amazing Valentine’s Day DIY and ideas for our boyfriend/fiancé/husband from you guys!!! 😉

  • I liked to make a suggestion. How about spray painting the chandelier metal a matte black and that would complement your wall color.

  • I also live in a 100 year old that has settled. We are looking into having our house reinforced as well in the near future. May I ask how involved this process is? Will we have to redo all of our existing walls most likely (due to new cracks), etc.?

  • Love the grey and the yellow from the kitchen. I’ve seen red with those colours and it looks awesome as well.

  • Wow that is very similar to the color we paint in our dining room (you can see it here http://www.threefernlane.com/2014/01/shopping-second-hand.html?m=1 ). Our current chandelier is gold and the plan is to go white with it even though the furnishings will be mostly gold. Anyway I look forward to seeing how the room comes together, maybe I can borrow some ideas.

  • The color is amazing, but PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE paint the ceiling. A room never looks complete with a boring white ceiling! I’d go 1/3 or 1/4 of your paint color with a flat finish. You have no idea how much more polished it’ll look!

  • I love the grey walls they sure do enhance the white. Thats the colour I am going to paint my dining room – elegant, keep em coming!



  • LOVE the grey! I also love that you kept the charm. That room is gorgeous! Great work you guys 🙂

  • Wow, I never knew grey paint could look so good! Well done with your progress so far! 🙂

  • love the grey. it can definitely be tricky…to blue, to brown, but this shade is perfect! can’t wait for the dinner invite to come in the mail. wink. wink.

  • The grey walls are so chic!


  • Is that chandelier brass? I’d say, before painting it, have at it with some brass-o! It’ll take regular polishing, but will gleam more authentically (with vintage charm) than spray paint.

  • What a great color! And seeing the pop of yellow from the kitchen looks amazing! Great color choice. I can’t wait to see the finished room.

    xo Denise

  • What a great Grey! Mixed with the white trim, it is still very crisp and clean. We are renters, (and painting is a no-no in our contract) so I’m paining like ALL our furniture and slipcovering a ton to create a new look. Grey is mixed in there somewhere;)

  • love the GREY, I never thought i would like grey walls but my cousin just painted her bedroom walls a light grey and i loved it I also love the way your dining room looks. I find it such a sleek look and the pop of yellow looks great!


  • MUCH better, wow! Nice work!!! Can’t wait to see it when it’s all done up!


  • It looks gorgeous! Pinterest worthy 🙂 xx

  • Interesting…I like that you even painted the ceiling gray. Can’t wait to see how you choose to decorate!

  • I love that color! What grey did you use? We have opposite problems…I should probably branch out and use something besides grey;)

  • The gray looks amazing and I love how you can see the pops of yellow. Nice job, ladies!

  • I love the gray. My living room is gray and I find it really easy to decorate in there. It goes with everything. Good choice!

  • It looks lovely – please don’t paint the chandelier though, it’s SO lovely and looks so beautiful in that room. I love the old brass against the dark grey, it’s such a great look!

  • Love the updated look, especially the gray. And I like the complimentary yellow peeping through from the kitchen. Looking forward to seeing more of the new space– You all work so hard; you should feel really proud:)

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