Dining Room Complete

By Kate Riley August 2, 2011

My friends, I’ve been keeping a secret from you.  It took me over five years to finish my dining room, and when I say ‘finish’ I mean install a much needed countertop, a backsplash, and some hardware on the built in cabinets.  Truth be told, there was just a piece of plywood as a countertop sitting in this little nook for many years that I would cover up when company came.  Seasons passed, I procrastinated and procrastinated until just a few weeks ago.  The time had finally come to finish the job.

Here’s a peek of how it looks today.

kates glass tile backsplash


One of the reasons I even started this blog was to document the progress on our house remodel that we started oh, six years ago.  I can’t believe finishing this part of a major space in our home actually took me this long. 

before after dining hutch


Sadly, I’d been hiding the ugly plywood counter for years under a tacky piece of contact paper.  Yep, you read that right.  Contact paper.  *hangs head in shame* 

proof of contact paper


Well now it’s a part of my past, and we shall speak of it no more. 

glass backsplash new knobs


Here’s how it went down.  I got a recommendation from a guy who knows a guy with a fabrication shop.  That guy told me that the other guy had remnants and I should go check it out.  Well I did. I spied a crema marfil marble remnant and made the guy an offer he couldn’t refuse. $50 bucks.  He said, ‘OK lady’ and then quoted me $200 more to measure, fabricate, and install. That’s a price I was willing to pay.  $250 total.  Done. 

I ordered new pulls and knobs from my local True Value, but when they arrived they were a little too black in the ridges, so I used a little Rub n Buff in ‘Pewter’ to fix that. 

pulls from true value


I also painted the inside of the cabinets the same color as the walls which is Ben Moore’s ‘Camouflage’ – the same as in my kitchen and family room.  Notice how I didn’t paint the outside!  See, I don’t paint everything white, although it’s tempting at times.  Actually, I think the wood cabinets are really beautiful. 

painted inside cabinets


I found the glass tile at a local shop and instantly fell in love.  It was a little pricey (I paid $13 a sheet) but I loved it so much I had to have it.  Now I can’t take my eyes off of it.  It’s Jeffery Court glass tile in ‘Whitewater’.  Here’s the link if you love it to.  We installed it yesterday, isn’t it purtay?  The tiles vary in color between gray/green and taupe, which is pure perfection for this space, and especially complements the wall color.  If I had the extra cash, I’d be tempted to redo my kitchen in it too, it’s that lovely.  

backsplash paint marble countertop


Our dining room sits right in the middle of the house and is a major multitasking space.  We use it for everything from art projects to an impromptu laptop station, also for both casual and formal dining, and as a buffet during the holidays. 

kates dining room french doors

The double pedestal table comfortably seats six, but expands to eight.  We found it in perfect condition at an antique shop when we were first married.  I’m not a fan of matching sets, so over the years I’ve switched up the seating.  These slipcovered chairs I bought from Ballard sooooo many years ago (I’m gonna guess eight).  Ballard still carries them, they are the upholstered Couture Chairs and they are fabulous.

Years ago I had a glass top specially cut for the top to protect the surface so I don’t have to stress about the top getting scratched, and it’s much easier to clean that way. 

specialty glass top

Diamond print rug by Dash & Albert.

Mariestad chandelier from Ballard, I installed it a few months ago.  I like its grayish taupe color too that goes with everything, plus it’s a simple and classic style. 

dining room mariestad chandelier


Sometimes I bring in the nailhead trim trestle bench I refinished last year to mix up the seating even more.  The linen slipcovered armchairs I found on vacay down in the Solana Beach shopping district on Cedros Avenue a month ago for 50% off. 

kates dining room table and cabinets


But these days I’m loving my slipcovered chairs with all my heart and soul.  Mostly because they come upholstered in whatever color you want, but you can mix it up with fitted slipcovers with the seasons.  Mine are the ecru velvet slipcovers, cozy in winter, white in summer.  I think I’ll pick up the spa blue or sage linen versions someday, if they ever go on sale, just to add a pop of color to this neutral space.

kate dining room chairs


There you go, finally, the official grand tour of the dining room space.  I love it!

Oh, one more thing before I go.  

My glass tile backsplash is totally rad.

jeffrey court whitewater backsplash


There, I said it.  I’m done now.  

Hope you like it too.



True Value Blog Squad legalese:  “I was one of the bloggers selected by True Value to work on the DIY Squad. I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program as well as my writing about my experience.  I have also been compensated for the materials needed for my DIY project.   However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.”



  1. it is breathtaking!!! i love it.
    question about the glass on your table – have you ever had any problems with it? i think it looks like a great idea to keep it safe, but i have read that the moisture/air under can start to slowly rot they table.

  2. Love it all. I’m inspired to look for new hardware for our kitchen for a mini makeover. This is the place we ordered our current knobs from: http://www.dlawlesshardware.com/ We got them for a fraction of the price from the hardware stores.

    Thank you for sharing that you made do with your plywood countertop. :)

  3. LOVE LOVE LOVE! It was worth the wait :) I had plans to have my whole house done in 5 years. That due date is creeping up and I am maybe half way. Oh well.

  4. I absolutely love the glass tile backsplash! My hubs isn’t a fan of glass tile at all. We gutted the kitchen and both baths in our home when we bought it two years ago for a complete re-do, and as much as I tried to convince him how fabulous it would look, I lost that battle (I got the travertine in the kitchen and slate in the master bath that were also favorites of mine, however).

    It never occurred to me what a difference it would make to paint the inside of your glass-front cabinets to match the walls! That looks great and eliminates a “dark hole” in that nook.

    I don’t feel so bad now…it’s been *only* two years since we began our remodel! We’re still working on the finishing touches…it’ll be finished one of these days. :)

  5. Hi! I just started a blog in June to also document our move-in process {our home needs some TLC}. Of course, we are working with a MUCH SMALLER total sq. footage, but I still love it because it’s cozy. ;) Anyway, I love your blog & tutorials and look forward to your posts and looking through your site!


  6. It’s gorgeous! I was trying to figure out why the cabinets looked so different and then you mentioned that you’d painted the inside and it all made sense haha That was a genius idea!

  7. It looks wonderful!! I love the glass tile; such a fun element in a dining room!

    Another question about the glass tabletop: I’ve been thinking about doing the same for our dining room table for the past few months. Where do you store the glass when you expand the table for company? Is it heavy enough that little fingers can’t slide it off the top?

  8. It looks amazing! I truly love every single thing about your dining room! With each picture I thought I had found my favorite thing until the next picture. The whole thing is my favorite! And yes your glass tile backsplash is totally rad!

  9. I have a kitchen wall that could use that tile to “dramatically” impact the room. You will love it for years.

  10. Really beautiful! I definitely love the backsplash. I’ve always been a fan of glass tile, and this one is especially nice, since it doesn’t look too busy. Enjoy!

  11. Hey Erin and Jessica, I haven’t ever had a problem with my glass top, no moisture issues to worry about. I only move it once or twice a year when we expand the table to 8+ (Christmas and Easter usually) and I store it up against the wall in my office behind my credenza. Then we put it back the next day. It takes two, but we’ve done it year after year! Definitely helps having the glass there with little ones, no worries I say!

  12. Oh Jessica, forgot to tell you, my piece is heavy enough that little ones can’t budge it! I think it’s 3/16 inch in thickness.

  13. Don’t these projects always take longer than expected- I’m glad to see I’m not the only one!

  14. Oh yes that tile is really lovely! Very modern and classy. What I think I love best about the space is the storage in the cabinets. Easy to use the dishes within and it looks pretty too :-)

    Love the new blog header and other elements, very nice!

  15. The paint color is awesome! Great job using it to bring together the tile and the marble!

  16. Absolutely love it! I love the choice of tiles and the colours that you used. This space looks so fresh and sophisticated!

  17. Hi Kate, Simply gorgeous!! I love that tile. I’d like to see that large piece of furniture that was to the right of your dining table. It has some lovely pillar candle holders on it and what looked like a ceramic Eiffel tower. What is that piece??? : ) ~ Catie

  18. I really like how the tile and wall color are similar, it looks modern and glam. Beautiful!

  19. I’m in love with that backsplash tile! Great job and I love how you keep it real with the contact paper counter. It makes me feel better that it takes you time to finish projects too! :)

  20. It looks wonderful! The painted cabinet interiors and the seating are my favorites (I want those chairs!). Nicely done!

  21. All very pretty, but… It’s the light fixture. It’s, it’s boring. I know, I sprayed mine and jazzed up the chain with a leopard cover, but it is Heirloom, and it is boring. It is begging for some color. I am looking at a cranberry, to pick up some red in my dining room rug. I’m sorry, I feel ashamed in picking on your chandelier.

  22. I.love.that.tile!!!!! Amazing! The whole space looks great- so warm and inviting. Doesn’t it feel good to be done? Now sit back in one of those chairs and enjoy :)

  23. I love Jeffery Court glass tiles! Actually $13 a sheet wasn’t too bad, especially since you just had a small area to do. You got a big bang for your buck I’d say.

    The room looks fabulous and finished :)
    I bought a slip covered chair from Ballard years ago…was surprised on how light they were. But it has held up nicely.
    Fabrication always gets you in the end, but you got a great deal, and it looks so stunning.

    What time is dinner?

  24. So gorgeous Kate I love it all and also adore the Cedros shopping in Solana Beach when I am out to visit!!


    Art by Karena

  25. Holy Buckets- let me count the ways I love this dining room!
    The glass tiles are.to.die.for.
    I drool at the words “Dash and Albert.”
    The pleated slipcovers make me happy!
    Super love the painted inside of the cupboards!
    Thanks for sharing!
    Kerry at housetalkn.blogspot.com

  26. Holy Buckets- let me count the ways I love this dining room!
    The glass tiles are.to.die.for.
    I drool at the words “Dash and Albert.”
    The pleated slipcovers make me happy!
    Super love the painted inside of the cupboards!
    Thanks for sharing!
    Kerry at housetalkn.blogspot.com

  27. you are right – that tile is totally rad. i’m jealous and inspired! well done CG! if you ask me, it was worth the wait. AND thanks for sharing that you have things in your home you aren’t so proud of. we all of them.

  28. Looks great! And yes, don’t paint your cabinets, the wood is really pretty. Going all white can be really boring, and monotonous on the eyes. The wood warms it up! Nice job! Love the mable!!!

  29. You did it again! It’s an artistic smash! Congrats! It looks great and enjoy!

  30. the finished product is absolutely beautiful, i love your serene aesthetic. i have a dining room table that i haven’t figured out how to protect the top- i see you put your glass on. but what about when you expand it to include your leaf? what do you do then? i have 2 leaves for mine, how does it work if your glass top only fits the regular section?
    thanks and awesome job as always!

  31. I’m in love with the rug…..love…love…love it. You have such a pretty space!

  32. Yay! I love your look for the dining room…mine is slowly but surely coming together as well :) And I think you helped me find a solution for my hutch that sits in our livingroom. You rock!


  33. I was going through my blog reader this morning and when I saw the first image I immediately stopped, looked at the link, and saw it was you. Of course it was, I wouldn’t expect anything less! Everything you touch practically turns into gold. Seriously, that backsplash is perfection. I love the way it looks against the paint color.

  34. What, only 5 years? That’s nothin’! My husband and I bought the house I grew up in. My parents worked on it/remodeled for the 20 + years they lived here, and now we’ve been working on it for 4. So I feel your pain.

    Seriously though, the backsplash (and everything else!) looks amazing. It’s such an inspiration.

  35. It’s gorgeous! I too am tempted to paint everything white and have to restrain myself. I love the glass tile. So elegant.

  36. As you know, I am a big fan of your blog. It continually reminds me that creative people are out there making their environments better. Keeps with my own motto of “you cannot control the outside world, but you can create a world on the inside the home that is good to you.”

    Keep up the great work – love to hear about the projects that are going on and if there are rooms in your home or those of your fans – please keep in mind that I’m now on the look out for rooms that may need makeovers. As the new Contributing Home Editor for Family Circle magazine and their website – as the “Designer Dad.” I’m very excited about the projects I’ll be designing but also it’s a chance to see how people are living in their homes and what challenges they are facing.

    Lastly, thank you for your kind support of my book NO PLACE LIKE HOME which came out earlier this year. I received so many great emails from your fans that loved the book. The book is in its third printing already – so thank you all for being a part of that!

    Hope everyone is enjoying their summer!

    All the best,
    Stephen “Designer Dad”

  37. I just love it! That tile is worthy of at least 10 more pictures. I love that it’s mini subway tiles. I also think the inside of the cabinets is a good example of why one should paint the inside of cabinets. So much better to show everything off. What a great room!

  38. Pretty Pretty, this might be the first time I’ve seen subway style in glass. Rad it is.

  39. The space looks beautiful. Totally brilliant to paint the insides of the cabinets white and leave the outside wood alone. Lightens everything up.

  40. Beautiful!

    Question on the glass cover sheet for your table. I have been thinking about doing that as well, as I have a beautiful antique double pedalstal table that I would like to protexct without a table cloth and pad, as well. How do you deal with adding leaves? Remove the glass top? Or is the glass top sectioned, like the table? Do you have glass top inserts to go with the leaves?

  41. That backsplash is amazing! It’s why I clicked the link to jump to the full post. BEAU.TI.FUL. I am looking for something really similar for our kitchen, but sub the slightly green-gray hue for slightly blue-gray.

    Lovely space.

  42. You did a fantastic job Kate! I love the serene colors and the tile is stunning. What will your first official meal be in the newly completed space?

  43. I love the colors!

    Glass tile is my fav these days. I’ve put it in every tiled space in our home!

    I love how your dining room turned out. And you’re right on about that wood finish (it also compliments that larger piece on the other side of the room).

    Great job all around!

  44. Gorgeous! It’s so nice to know that even amazing homes like yours can have secrets, too! I love the idea of the glass top for the table, too. What happens when you expand it? I’d love to do something similar for our dining table, instead of table pads, but not sure how this would work when we add a leaf???

  45. OMG love the backsplash. I am trying to talk hubs into retiling our master & would LOVE to use that tile as the backsplash by the sinks. Wish me luck LOL

  46. Trust me, WE UNDERSTAND THE LONG RUNNING PROJECTS!!!! The backsplash looks great. Glass tile can be so hit or miss because of the backing, and it looks like your tile is very hit. We also love the whole remnant shopping approach. That’s how we got our new black marble threshold for the front door for $30.

    Isn’t it odd that you can look at something like the plywood covered in contact paper for years, and then almost get used to it? But then, once you replace it, you almost forget how long you lived with it looking like that? How many people you had over your house and hoped they just ignored it? How many times you thought to yourself “I should really do something about that,” but the fact that it took you years to actually act on it? We play this game often.

    Anyhow, great job.

  47. I LOVE this room. I think it’s beautiful (and the rug and tile, everything), but what I’m MOST excited about is that our dining room is Camouflage too! Although yours looks so much prettier and brighter – do you get light all around your home? We are in a twin so at times I don’t like the way it looks. AND I’ve been debating about carrying the color up the hallway and into the kitchen…Mmmm….
    It’s gorgeous – great job.

  48. I agree, that backsplash is pretty fabulous! I’m glad you left the cabinetry alone aside from painting the inside. It makes the cabinet a nice focal point amongst all the white. Well done!

  49. whoa, posted yesterday and already 100+ comments! Well I LOVE that backsplash. I’ve been wanting to do my kitchen’s, but haven’t made my way to any tile stores. Thanks for the link for the tile. Love the tip on painting just the inside, I wouldn’t have noticed that you did that without telling me (I mean it makes a big difference!).

    Please let me know if you have any backsplash resources/ideas for dark granite countertops and cabinets. I don’t have a dreamy white kitchen like everyone else these days!

  50. OMG KATE!!!!!!!! The counters and backsplash look absolutely amazing!!!!!!! And while you hate to reveal the former contact paper counters… that’s a great temporary fix while waiting for countertops! :)

    Also, I just now read your “about” section and saw that you’re an attorney by trade!!! That’s so exciting to see (for me) since I am going into my third year of law school but I still love to DIY and blog! :) Can I ask why you decided not to practice any more?

  51. Your backsplash really is spectacular. I gutted out my kitchen almost two years ago and every little thing I’ve picked out had to be something I loved. I am glad you held out for that missing piece to find the one you love. My backsplash remains undone too. The final piece. I have just not found the perfect one. I was thinking that the back of the cabinet would look great mirrored. Ever think of that? It would allow more light to dance around and bounce off your cabinetry and tchotchkes. I have an antiqued mirrored window frame from Ballards (that took 8 months to receive) sitting leaning against a wall between two sections of cabinets. I loved the look and reflection it creates.

  52. I am sooooo glad you left the cabinets as is. The color is rich and gorgeous and the glass tile was a perfect choice. I love the neutral tones of the space, a look that I am in the process of working on in my own DR. Now, inquiring minds want to know, where on Cedros did you get those chairs? I never see anything that nice in those stores for 50% off (I live in Cardiff)! Don’t keep secrets now :-).

  53. Kate your dining room is stunning! You did a fabulous job with your countertops and backsplash and I love how you didn’t paint your cupboards. Everything goes together beautifully. I love BM Camoflauge and am going to feature it on my blog. Hope you’re doing well!

  54. It turned out just LOVELY. As all your projects do of course. I am so in love with that back-splash, it’s pure perfection.

    The whole room looks so inviting and relaxing.


  55. It looks great!! Yes, that tile is totally rad! I love having a built in area in the dining room for dinnerware and serveward. The room is beautiful!

  56. Hey Peggy! They were from the first furniture store on the north side to the left on Cedros, they had weekend sale going on and I couldn’t pass them up!!! I CANNOT remember the name of the store off the top of my head, but I will track down my receipt and report back!

  57. Fantastic remodel. I really like painting the inside of the cabinets and leaving the wood, beautiful.

  58. Absolutley LOVE it! I have been saving to do My Tile Backsplash as well. I am going to have to check out my local granite shop for remnants!

    Awesome Job!

  59. Honestly, though, those five years were well-spent, given how gorgeous your dining room came out! ita with the others — the backsplash makes the room, and the slip-covered chairs add such a great touch!

  60. It all looks amazing! That backsplash is to die for. And I love the slipcovers with the little ruffle at the bottom! :)

  61. Wow- this transformation is gorgeous! What an amazing deal on the marble counter! I love the whole room. :) I love the attention to detail you did, by painting the back insides of the cabinets. Great idea!

  62. found your blog through pinterest. love all your stuff! just thought I’d tell you that I was looking at ballard designs and happened to read your post about the chair slipcovers and buying more if they were on sale. the sage linen is on sale right now!!

  63. Kate, your dining room is sooooo beautiful! It’s everything my formal dining room wants to be when it grows up. Actually, I’ve been considering those exact parsons chairs and slips from Ballards.

    Do you recall what leg finish is on your chairs? The mahogany picture on the Ballard site reads really light and just plain icky on my monitor. Your chair legs look dark and rich so I wondered if they were mahogany, or the darker color, cognac….or maybe even black?

  64. Love your dining room update…..but nowhere did I see you mention where you got that white milkglass pedestal/cake plate. Could you share? Thanks!

  65. Love it. The tile is awesome. I do like your paint color, but I’m afraid to guess what it looks like “in person.” Is it grey? I’m on a grey kick right now, this looks not to dark, not too green, not too blue, not boring.

  66. I am painting my kitchen Camouflage too!! It’s GORGEOUS in your house! I’m in loooove with your tile and been looking everywhere for that tile for our backsplash. Do you have a link of where you got it? Thanks!!!

    Beautiful remodel!

  67. I realize that it’s almost 2 years later but I absolutely love the backsplash! Do you mind sharing where it was purchased? I am in the Midwest and everywhere I have checked is close to $30/sheet. Thank you.

    • Hi Nicole I purchased it locally, perhaps find out if a local dealer carries it for less or if you can find it online?

  68. One more question… Do you remember if you used white or an off white grout? Thanks again!

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