Having more room to entertain had always been a dream of mine. Over the years there have been many great holidays and parties in the old dining room, (see above) but it was always small and crowded. Most parties did end up being indoor and outdoor, but with no access from the dining room to the outside, the groups were always very separate. It was also a lot of work trying to set up a bar. Cold sodas and waters usually ended up in ice tubs. I really wanted more space and places for folks to congregate.
The new dining room has become the party space I have always dreamed of. Sliding glass doors connect it to the outdoor patio and the vaulted ceiling makes it feel bigger than it really is.
No more setting up a bar every time guests come over. The bar shelves stay set up and the art deco antique bar I have had for years holds extra bottles underneath. Despite the fact that everyone tried to talk me out of it, I did a step down from the old dining room to the new dining room. I knew we would not be able to match the original hardwood to the new hardwood, so doing a step down made it not so obvious. Plus, I really like the feel of going directly outside with no step.
Another idea that my construction people thought was stupid was putting a closet in. I did that for a couple of reasons. I could convert this room to a bedroom if I ever wanted to, but the real reason goes back to having convenience when I entertain. The closet holds a second refrigerator filled with ice and cold drinks. Next to the refrigerator is a wine refrigerator. The shelves above hold party supplies, like paper plates, pitchers, silverware and serving platters.
I had originally planned to have the electric fireplace on the wall to the right of where it ended up, but I realized opening the closet door was going to cover it up. A last minute change to the wall with the patio doors stressed me out a little bit because I wasn't sure if the tile I had bought was going to be enough. Like so many of the other changes I had to make, it turned out for the best. I love that when you walk through the front door of the house at night, you see the glow of the fireplace as soon as you come in.
The old dining room was too small for everyone at larger gatherings and people always hung out in the kitchen. My first party to break in the "new" house, I had over twenty people. Folks still hung out in the kitchen, but the old dining room has become the perfect space for smaller groups to break out and talk over wine, or have a loud debate with the kitchen people. I had originally planned to do the new breakfast bar in quartz, but our vacation in Lake Tahoe changed my mind. The house we stayed at had butcher block and I fell in love with it. I stained the butcher block myself and used the leftover pieces for shelves in the closet and the kitchen.
In addition to the "new" house party, I had Christmas Eve, a small gathering for New Year's Eve and a small Valentine's Day dinner. Entertaining is now stress free, making all the stress of renovating worth it. I can't wait to make more memories with the people I love!