Everyone loves sitting down to a meal at an elegant table in a fancy restaurant with family and friends. There is something uniquely exciting about the ambiance of an upscale dining experience.
Unfortunately, those experiences can be hard to recreate in our fast-paced lives. Gobbling down hurried orders of takeout pizza in a circle around the television is a lot more commonplace. Making time to slow down and enjoy a nice meal at home is a lot more appealing if you create an inviting, elegant space. Teach the kids some manners, have a romantic dinner with your spouse, or host a fun filled dinner party that doesn’t involve metal folding chairs.
Check out a few simple ideas below that can add a touch of elegance to any dining room.
A glitzy chandelier can make all the difference. Hanging an ornate light fixture over the main table drastically improves the ambiance of the room. Just be sure that you find a fixture that matches the style of your room; you can’t have Hollywood glamour with an oak wood table – keep it consistent.
Want to add some warmth and intimacy to your space? A dark color will do the trick. Find a hue of your favorite color that coordinates with your home. Adding some color and depth to your walls will immediately change the environment and make people feel more relaxed. Consider a dark blue or green for their soothing effects.
Everyone loves candles. If you are trying to add pizzazz to your dining experience, consider incorporating some candles of differing heights. This will add an interesting visual as well as a pretty flicker of firelight on the walls.
If all else fails, think about your fabrics. Plush chairs and dramatic curtains add a feeling of sophistication to your room. Your guests and family can relax and get comfortable in well cushioned seats as they talk about their day and enjoy a delicious meal.
There is no better way to bring everyone together than a delicious meal in an inviting space. Create an inviting environment for your guests and you’ll find that the fun will continue all night.
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It’s like a library for gardening tools!
The Arlington Public Library Central Branch will unveil a revolutionary lending service housed in a brand new, on-site shed this fall. For Arlington community members who are interested in gardening but want an affordable way to acquire gardening tools, the Tool Library is the answer. Like checking out a library book, community members can swing by and borrow tools of their choice. With the general public’s burgeoning interest in vegetable gardening, getting back to nature, and being eco-friendly, this initiative is sure to be a great success in the Arlington community.
Case Design is proud to have constructed the Tool Library structure pro bono using materials purchased by the library. We are very happy with the way it turned out and are excited to be a part of this new offering for Arlington residents!
The Tool Library shed will open early fall 2014 at the Arlington Public Library Central Branch, located between the Ballston and Virginia Square metro stops. For more information or to become a volunteer, visit Arlington County’s website
By Elle Hunter
Living through a kitchen renovation is a daunting process no matter your life circumstances, but living without a stove and dishwasher while feeding young children can be especially challenging. This list will help maintain your sanity and keep your kids from becoming starving urchins or drive-thru junkies!
1. Say goodbye to green. Go to Costco, Sams Club or Target and lay in a massive supply of paper plates (spring for the good heavy ones- there is nothing worse than watching your kids’ dinner slide off of a floppy paper plate) and Solo cups as well as plastic utensils and paper napkins. While you’re at it, buy extra wet wipes too! Will you increase your carbon footprint? Sure. Will you be thrilled to just chuck the remnants of supper in the trash and not have to wash dishes in the bathtub? Absolutely. You can always make up for your temporary lack of earth friendliness with a super efficient new dishwasher.
2. Set up a temporary kitchen if at all possible, preferably in an area with a utility sink- garages and laundry rooms are ideal. If you can’t move your old fridge to this space look into finding an undercounter size fridge on CraigsList. Other important appliances well worth the investment for this area include a small microwave, a coffeemaker, and most importantly a toaster oven that will hold a 12” frozen pizza and/or a 9”x13” pyrex dish. This will be crucial for when sympathetic friends drop off a nice casserole to see you through the darker days. Hopefully they will also include a bottle of wine…
3. Renovate in the warmer months. If you don’t have a gas grill or don’t have space for one, get a $40 Coleman charcoal grill. Grilling is fast, easy and healthy. It’s simple to throw some chicken breasts and sliced zucchini brushed with olive oil onto the grill, and VOILA! There’s supper. Grill some pineapple rings for dessert. Get on Pinterest for some grillspiration- you will be amazed what you can do with a grill. I once made Eggs Benedict complete with homemade hollandaise on a gas grill that had one side burner! (I was young, ambitious, and trying hard to impress my boyfriend’s parents. I did end up marrying him. For a while.)
4. Shelve routine and rules. I am fanatic about sending my kids out the door with a hot protein and complex carb filled breakfast. Every day of the school year. But when we renovated our kitchen I had to let it go. For six weeks breakfast consisted of oatmeal bars and fruit or cereal bars and fruit or peanut butter on toast and fruit. And a glass of milk. No one’s grades suffered. Nobody starved to death. It was okay. Just let go and do what is easiest for maintaining simplicity and sanity.
5. Become friends with Mrs. Stouffer, and Mama Celeste, and Mr. Tombstone. Or whatever your favorite frozen food brands are. While you wouldn’t want to feed your kids frozen pizzas and lasagna every day, it’s still cheaper and at least just as healthy as going through the drive through. Add a nice pre-bagged salad and some of those handy microwave veggie steamer bags and you’ve got a pretty good supper.
The average kitchen renovation takes four to eight weeks. Get creative. Be flexible. Stay patient. Look towards the finish line and a beautiful new space that you and your family will enjoy cooking, eating, and hanging out in for years to come!
Elle Hunter is a Director of Project Development
at Case Design/Remodeling, Inc
. She specializes in kitchen and bathroom remodels, additions, interior and exterior remodels. To see more of her projects, visit her Houzz page