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Creating a Mid Century Rustic Dining Area > Living at No. 87 > Blog 2

Fay Dashper-Hughes


about a 4 minute read


Before the previous owners of this house put it on the market, they painted lots of it Magnolia and white.  This is not our thing, so I am quickly flying through the house, paintbrush in hand, erasing it!   

We have chosen a warm grey colour for the dining/kitchen/lounge area.  It's essentially one massive L-shaped space and we needed the base colour to work on many levels.     

I am also a fan of minimising base colours so that your furniture and soft furnishings have a voice rather than lots of things competing against each other. For this reason, the skirting boards and door jams are also moving to the same soft grey.  

During the great lockdown of 2020, I could only get hold of certain paints to prepare our old house ready for sale.  I ended up using Valspar from B&Q and it was awful to work with.  I now only recommend Johnstone's for all your paint. 

This is what we started with:

Above is what we changed to.   The walls and sloped ceiling are in Johnstone's Acrylic Durable Matt in shade Go To Gray.  The skirtings and door jam are in Johnstone's water-based Satin in Go To Gray.   Both are specifically mixed to order.


After painting, it's a case of working out what we want to add, and where.  Having already measured the house up on our second viewing, we were able to buy dining furniture that would fit the space perfectly. 

As soon as you have the bigger pieces of furniture, it's easy to fill in the gaps.  We love good, home-cooked food, so our curated collection of cookbooks were always going to have a starring role in this space.

As with paint colours, I also like to keep wood to a similar colour palette and have concentrated on lighter woods that keep the area feeling open and rustic. Here’s where our furniture is from:   

  •  Ercol Loveseat – Bought new  from Ercol’s Factory Outlet website.  Every now and then, they have a sale on furniture.  The love seat retails at £950, but I got it for £600.    
  • Ercol Table – This was originally from John Lewis and retailed at around £700.  I picked this one up from eBay second-hand for £160.    
  • Ercol dining chairs – These are vintage chairs that I bought from Ebay at £220 for two of them.   I refurbished these myself.   
  •  Habitat Hoxton corner shelves – vintage shelves that you can find every now and then second-hand.  You may see some on eBay for around £200, I picked these up on Facebook Market Place for £45!  I refurbished these myself.    
  • Picture shelves – bought new from Willow & Stone, one each of the small (£16), medium (£22.50) and large (£32) cost £70.50 all in.  These are made in Shropshire, England from solid oak.


Knowing where the big, structural pieces are going makes it much easier to fill in the gaps with soft furnishings. Although we put picture shelves up on the wall, I was keen to add more 3d elements to the décor by adding plants and the animal heads.  

As we walk into the dining area, the first thing you see is that wall, and the 3d elements make it interesting as you approach it as well as when you face it straight on. 

Working around the picture, here are where our items are from: 

  • Galloway cows print - by Kelly Stewart – I bought this years ago and have other prints of hers dotted around the kitchen. 
  •  Dried flowers in vase – dried flowers from Triangle Nursery, vase was thrown by my old boss at The Lighthouse Pottery in Portpatrick, Scotland.  Sadly, Christine doesn’t throw anymore. 
  •  Metal cut-out hand – I cannot remember where I got this from – sorry! 
  •  Fox and bird prints – I bought these from the artist, Kristiana Parn, during a trip to New York.  I have subsequently bought other prints from Kristiana and had them sent over to the UK with ease.  I mounted both prints on spare lengths of solid oak that I had left over from a shelving project.  
  •  Goat head vase – I bought this at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and it was manufactured by Quail Ceramics.  Yorkshire Sculpture Park has an amazing shop if you need some inspiration.  
  •  Face plant pots – These were a recent purchase from Graham & Green
  •  Wooden clock – A recent purchase, manufactured by Forestime
  •  Papier mache hare – Made from old sewing patterns by  Emily Warren of The Stealthy Rabbit.   Ours is called Barney and we have had him for a very long time and love him dearly.  
  •  Sardines cross-stitch – hand stitched by me, extrapolated from a cross-stitch cushion cover pattern from Kirstie Alsopp’s book “Craft”
  •  Box of moths – you can just see these on the Habitat shelving.  It’s by the artist John Dilnot.  He has his own website, but we bought this one at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park – I told you they had a great shop!

Finished off with more dried flowers on the table-top.   Flowers were  from Triangle Nursery, the table mat is  from Dragonfly Creations  and the vase was from my other boss, Frank, who sadly no longer throws pottery. 


1 - It can be helpful to have somebody else hold items up on the wall so that you can step back and assess whether they are in the right place or not.  This saves banging in picture hooks in the wrong place. 

 2 - Paint tester pots are essential.  One of the reasons I love Johnstone’s paint is that they do tester pots across their 2000+ paint colours.  The colour of the existing wall plays a huge role in the final shade of paint you add.  So, if you don’t want to take all your walls back to white before you add your preferred new colour, get a tester pot to make sure you are getting the shade you want.    

 3 - You don’t have to spend lots of money.  I love the pine cones that I have added to the shelves.  I am also tempted to dry my own flowers to keep on adding more interest to the vases around our home.     

 4 - If you have set your heart on a specific piece of furniture, try to find it second-hand on eBay, Gumtree or Facebook Market Place.  You will be amazed by what is available. 


Here is a quick video on how we pulled this space together over the course of one weekend.


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