Going More Swedish

comments: 58

Diningroomxmas2 This past weekend I thought about paint a lot. Fall seems to be painting time around here, which makes sense, as we anticipate all the warm, cozy nesting that'll happen as soon as it starts raining. We spent all of Saturday morning at Miller Paint, getting new colors for the bathroom (aqua) and kitchen (gray), which haven't been painted in almost six years and are looking kind of yucky. This is the "dining" room, last Christmas. I say "dining" because it's really supposed to be a living room, but last year around this time we switched the living room into what should be the dining room, and put the dining room table (which we don't sit at very often) into the living room. It's a better arrangement — we have one of those front doors that opens directly into this room, with no real entry way or anything like that, so it was hard to arrange living room furniture, I thought. The only problem now is one of semantics, as in, "Where's Audrey?" "She's in the living, er — I mean the old living/new dining room , er — over there. C'mere Auds!"

Diningroomtgiving4 Here it is last Thanksgiving, with the table pulled out. I like the room, but now that I've lived with it for a year, I feel it is too dark, so I've been looking through every old issue of Domino, trying to figure out what would be better. What I like about Domino is that it really seems to show rooms that successfully combine both vintage and modern styles. What I'm thinking for this one is Swedish-ish: pale gray for the walls, and lots and lots of whites/neutrals (I have cream curtains in storage), and lots of modern accessories, to temper the fussiness. Like a really modern, simple hanging light fixture — a glob of unfussy white Christmas lights? I think I saw something somewhere that was like an embroidery hoop with lights wrapped around it and hanging down — swagged over the table. I think I'm also going to top that table with a 60" round piece of plywood and leave it more "in" the room, instead of plastered parallel to the wall, where it sort of functions as a big desk. The plywood and the paint are the only things I want to spend a dime on.

Diningroomtgiving3See those blobs on the fireplace? They're plaster roses that I hot-glued onto the bricks and then piped plaster vines and leaves around them. The roses were made with plaster of Paris put into plastic candy molds — I did this about five years ago and got the idea from the Christopher Lowell show, so I can't point you toward better directions. What I will say is do not use hot glue to put them up. These are never coming off, honestly. I think we'll have to ruin the brick to do it. So, cute idea but not very responsible. I don't have any other ideas for putting them up there but maybe someone else does.

The reason I don't like this color is that in real life it too-closely matches the color of this room, which is directly opposite and connected by a big arch:

Newlivingroom1The colors on the paint chips looked hugely different to me, but in the rooms the shadows on the light color are almost exactly the same as the highlights on the dark color and visually it looks like one long rectangle of the same shade. At a dinner party we went to on Saturday, our friends confessed to testing twenty-six different colors of white for their kitchen cabinets. And it was worth it, they said. Eeeeeyikes. That will never be me, alas — no patience. I'm more of a pick-it-in-the-paint-store-and-hope-for-the-best kinda girl. I definitely don't always get it right, but what can I say.

And also, something I've been meaning to ask, does anyone know if there's some kind of paint-able cord-cover thing, or conduit that I can get to deal with those white cords on the right side of the photo? For some reason, this plug is three feet up the wall.

Don't you just have to wonder: Who thought that was a good idea?

Hurry IKEA, hurry! (We're getting one in Portland — anyone know when?)


I love your dining room.I think we have a very similar rug.
I often wonder why previous owners did lots of things too!
We have an IKEA opening very shortly and within walkinh distance!!Very exciting.

OH something I know... YES, they make "tubes" that you can funnel all your cords through, and then paint. I got one at my local hardware store. Now just so you know, they also come "bend-y" like a vacuum cleaner hose, I thought I'd do that, but it's so not paintable.

A friend of mine just got PVC tubing in a couple of sizes, and painted and finished the ends and Voilà you got yourself some better hidden cords...

and where did you get the cool shelves that your tv is on?

Couldnt you get an electrician to change the wiring and put a plug closer to the floor and more near the corner so you can put an armchair or something in front of it. Thats what Id do. good luck!

IKEA opens here spring/summer 2007. They broke ground a couple of months ago. squeal!!

I agree I would have an electrician move the outlet. I wouldn't imagine it would cost too much because he/she wouldn't have to thread it too far.
I also do lots of painting in the fall. So far we've done the boy's rooms and the ceilings on the ground floor. I think the one in the familyroom was actually tinted blue. Not so nice.

Most electrical supply distributors sell product called wire mold. It is rectangular with a slot in the back for the wires and then attaches to the wall with double sided tape. it is often used in offices where they run cables to a new desk but don't want to go to the expense of wiring. it is paintable but I would paint it before I put it up. it is also very flat instead of being rounded like pvc pipe would be and can be cut to fit. Hope this information helps

Have a beautiful day.

We found wire wall covers at the regular hardware store. We actually have our outlet in the ceiling in our basement family room. Cords dangling from the ceiling -- nice.

I have really thought about painting my living room area. It is Behr paint "Chocolate Froth" and on my blog you can see, it just "washes" away the living room. I need to strip and paint the windowsill anyway. I cannot figure out what color to paint my walls.... and then I have that HUGE monstrosity of a fireplace to deal with. If I find a good cream/eggshell color for my windowsill, that is the same color I want to paint my bookshelves that are built into my living room. That room just needs a change.....
so, when your creative juices go into high gear you are more than welcome to come over and figure my living room out : )
and I love the color of you living er used to be dining room : )

As a Swedish girl in blogland who loves vintage and retro, I think your choices are perfect!!! I really think you'll love the scheme in that room. It has the perfect layout for it!

regardless of what you do, i love all the natural light you have streaming into both rooms. we have the same problem of our front door entering right into the "living room" that we switched to the "dining room" or, er, our big rectangle.

on the outlet note, if you are planning on repainting anyway, i dont think it would be to hard to move that outlet down to the floor and sheetrock in a patch where the old outlet is up there. funny spot for an outlet, i guess the previous owners just.couldnt.bend.over... huh?

Your dining room/ex-living room is beautiful! No need to get rid of the roses in the fireplace, they are great.
The colours you chose sound perfect, can't wait to see.
An ikea in Portland? That's it, I have to move there.

Love your rooms!

Cord issue: I'd probably just decide where I want the cord to travel and put a nail or staple to keep it in place. We have a nail in the back of our stereo cabinet, that keeps the cord hooked in the right place. Then I'd paint the cord the same colour as the wall.

........LOL, but I'm crazy. When I couldn't find shoes in the same colour as my wedding gown, I painted a pair of white pumps. I'm good at mixing paint colours. I was so pleased with the result until about 3 hours into the reception when I noticed the paint peeling!

It was all in line with the tone of our wedding. We had no money when we got married. The ceremony was in a friend's back yard, our musician friends played for the ceremony, and the reception was potluck. It was a magical day because of the support and love from our friends. As we exchanged vows, two white butterlies appeared above our heads and fluttered there until the minister pronounced us husband and wife. Magical.

I love the vintage Swedish style, like in Carl Larsson's beautiful paintings!


i'm going to be up in portland at christmas and i can't wait to see that tree up close. your home is so beautiful. maybe you can help me decorate mine when i move up...cheers, alicia.

The other poster is right, that would be an easy fix for an electrician to move the outlet down. then you'd just have to repair the old hole with plaster. Easy to do if you're going to paint anyway.

Pretty and "cozy" rooms!

I have 3 more tasks to do in my family room re-do and one is paint behind the fireplace and built-in shelving. I found some cool colors of Eddie Bauer paint at Lowe's. I like how all their colors were kind of mellowed and went together. If I get energetic enough I might choose another of the colors to repaint the entire kitchen/family room combo. Also to do find an area rug to go with new leather chair/ottoman and black TV cabinet. And find new things to put on the shelves because my son told me my arrangements were "dated" and after taking a second look, I agreed.


I can't wait to paint our new place. I have literally spent hours and hours pouring over magazines and paint chips trying to figure out the perfect colors for the house. It's so exciting. I think my biggest concern is finding a color that inspires me but doesn't make the room seem smaller.

I really do love that color on your living room walls, and I can't wait to see what you do with the dining room. You plan sounds lovely. You sound so much like me. I often change my decor in response to my mood. I just can't seem to keep it just as it is. It's always a work in progress.

omg we're getting an Ikea, swoon.

Echoing the recc for Carl (and his wife Karin) Larsson. I have the book 'Carl and Karin Larsson: Creators of the Swedish Style', and it's right up your alley. Lots of pictures of their house, and pictures of Carl's paintings of their house, which Karin and other family members decorated.

I love your room colour combination.. I am sure it will be.. beutiful at the end..
I did my painting ..in spring.. a cleaning for summer.. gald I don't have to deal with it.. just taking out the throws and ready for the automn..

In my living room I have an antique wall lamp. I didn’t like the look of the cord hanging down, so I thought I’d make the most of it. I painted the cord cream to match the lamp and painted gold stripes around the cord at about three to four inch intervals. The stripes are approximately one half to three quarters of an inch and are kind of haphazard. I didn’t try to do it perfectly and I didn’t measure anything. I really like it. It’s quirky.

We just purchased our first place, and for the long weekend our plan is to paint. We are pretty stumped for color combos, but now i need to dig up my dominos!

Its called cord mold and home depot sells it, they'll even cut it to spec...

I found a "cord cover" at Stein Mart. It's basically a long tube of pretty material that has snaps (hidden) every few inches that you just snap over the cord. It's super long, like 20' or so. It makes something not pretty, pretty!

oh! i forgot to add - ikea is another time consuming vortex! you say you're going to "run in" but really, you'll be there for hours. you have to be careful or you'll get out!

Love the glimpse into your world...just want to cozy in with a cuppacuppa and dish about crafty stuff!
If you get just a regular conduit for your cords at Home Depot, you can scuff it up a bit with sandpaper, and paint should adhere at that point. A previous owner may have had an air conditioning unit in that window, that needed a higher plug-in...we had one of those high-up plugs in our old house and that's the only thing I could figure, not being an air-conditioner-in-the-window girl.

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com