Before & After: Renita’s Thanksgiving-Ready Dining Room

Last week I showed you Renita’s amazing kitchen makeover. She’s a reader who entered my Hooked on Your Kitchens Contest, and I loved her new dining room, too, which looks like the perfect gathering place for Thanksgiving dinner. This is how it started out, when it was a den (above), but take a look at it now…

I love how she uses antiques and vintage finds in her home to give it character and a sense of whimsical style. And isn’t that “Thanksgiving” sign perfect for this time of year?

Again, here’s the before, with the fireplace, which was transformed in the remodel, too:

And the fireplace corner after:

You may remember Renita’s amazing kitchen makeover that I featured last week, which went from this:

To this:

Those upper cabinets were actually salvaged windows. She gave lots of helpful details and answered lots of your questions in the comments of that post about her kitchen if you want to know more.

Even the exterior of her house is charming:

Many thanks to Renita for sharing her home with us. To see more readers’ entries for my Kitchen Contest, click here. And thanks for keeping the comments about your fellow readers’ houses polite and positive.

We’re on our way to Indiana to visit my husband’s side of the family. Can’t wait to see everybody and eat some pumpkin pie. Happy Thanksgiving!

P.S. If you missed it:

Renita’s New Kitchen Goes Back in Time

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  1. says

    I love that she painted that scalloped edge white – it is such a lovely detail and would make me happy every time I walked in that room. Beautiful job!

    • says

      agreed – painting the knotty pine paneling, beams and scalloping was a brilliant idea! The end result is amazing! Now I want to see more rooms in Renita’s house!!

  2. Jennifer says

    I would love some details about painting that wood and a close up of a panel. I have similar wood in my dining room and I am so scared to paint it!

    • Renita says

      Hi Jennifer,

      We used a primer and then oil paint (I believe). Don’t be scared to paint it if you don’t like it the way it is. I am sure you will be thrilled once it is done! Good Luck!

      Have a great Thanksgiving.


  3. Laura says

    This woman is a godess among mere mortals!!! LOVE the reno!!! I have a knotty pine den that drives me NUTS that I can’t paint it (I’m technically in a “rent to inherit” situation from my parents – it was the house my dad grew up in). Maybe this will convince them to let me to paint it all! :-p

    • Renita says

      Wow, Laura! What an amazing compliment! Thanks so much.

      Good luck with convincing your parents!.

      Have a great Thanksgiving!

    • Renita says

      Thanks, Kelly. Working on pictures of the rest of the house :)

      Have a great Thanksgiving!

    • Renita says

      Thank you Kim. WIshing you a wonderful Thanksgiving to you and your family, as well.

  4. says

    This is a wonderful transformation! I too would like to know more about painting the knotty pine paneling and how to prevent the knots from bleeding through. My parents filled the house with it in 50s and I can’t stand it, but have never known exactly what to do with it because of the knots.

    • Renita says

      Thanks, Tim. We primed the paneling and then used oil based paint (I believe). The knots did not bleed through but we put at least two to three coats of paint on.

      Good luck with your paneling!

      Have a great Thanksgiving.

  5. martha says

    Just beautiful! Love every single thing! What a wonderful room to gather family and friends for Thanksgiving dinner. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Anne C. says

    love it- looks very cozy and inviting! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

    • Renita says

      Hi Anne,

      Thanks for your comment. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

  7. Jennah says

    I have so much respect for the repurpose and reuse of so many details in her beautiful home. She’s very creative and innovative. Lovely. Thank you, Julia and Renita, for sharing!

    • Renita says

      Hi Jennah,

      Thanks. I love to repurpose as you can tell! Hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving!

  8. Meredith says

    This is gorgeous! Renita is a genius! It’s so cozy and harkens back to a much simpler time. LOVE it.

    • Renita says

      Thanks, Meredith. What a nice comment! Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

  9. Screendoorgirl 3 says

    So pretty! Thanks for sharing … Happy Thanksgiving Julia!!

  10. Blake says

    a perfect transformation – and so inviting for a cozy Thanksgiving dinner!

  11. says

    LOVE this home inside and out !!!! I wouldn’t have never dreamed of doing the things she did…..not brave enough or lacking in decorating talent……but she sure knows what she is doing. She NEEDS to start a bog, PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Renita says

      Hi Linda,

      Thanks so much for all your kind words! I am about to start a blog in the next few weeks. I hope to talk about my antiquing and decorating adventures. I am out of town and have taken pictures of a number of great things in a couple of markets that I stopped at. Can’t wait to share them.

      I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving holiday and thanks again for your feedback.

  12. Laura says

    LOVE LOVE LOVE! Wow! So creative and personal! Looking at the exterior of your house, it looks like it was built about the same time as mine, which makes me wonder about the floor plan. Is the eat in part of the kitchen in the other post in what is “supposed” to be the formal dining room and then what’s “supposed” to be the formal living room now the made-over dining room? If so, that’s kind of what we’ve done with our house. We have a big family and needed more space for a bigger dining table but have zero need for a formal living room, so we took it over for a bigger dining space. So glad to see you making your house your own. I’m so over people remodeling for some future buyer instead of making it what they really want or what their family needs. That’s clearly not an issue in your house!

    • Lisa T. says

      I totally agree. She is obviously brave and her design choices show it. She wasn’t afraid of taking risks and it paid off in a beautiful and unique home.

    • Renita says

      Hi Laura,

      You are correct! That is exactly how our layout used to be. Our house was built in 1939.

      Thanks for your very nice comment. I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving holiday!

  13. E. george says

    Hi Julia what is there not to admire about this lovely home. The lady has style. Thank you for sharing this beauty. Happy Thanksgiving. Regards Esther from Sydney.

    • Renita says

      Hi Esther,

      Thanks for your very kind words. Hope you enjoyed your holiday!

  14. Leigh says

    I absolutely adore this dining room and kitchen as well! And the exterior is an absolute dream! I think we need some more pictures of the rest of the house! Thank you for allowing us to peak into our beautiful home!

    • Renita says

      Hi Leigh,

      Thank you! I am working on pictures of the rest of our house. Enjoy your upcoming holiday season!

  15. Kim says

    What a nice transformation. I love that she painted the wood paneling instead of tearing them out. It really made a big difference.

    • Renita says

      Hi Kim,

      Thanks for your comment. I did not have the heart to rip the paneling down. I appreciate your feedback.

  16. Carol M says

    I haven’t seen any changes in this home that I don’t absolutely love. The painted paneling looks amazing. I love the color and the scalloped trim. The exterior is just as well done. I hope to see more of this lovely home.

    • Renita says

      Hi Carol. Thanks for your nice comments. I am working on taking pictures of the rest of my house. Have a nice holiday season!

  17. Rebecca C. says

    With just a few changes and some paint, it’s amazing how much the room has developed. I love the fact that you kept the scalloped edging at the ceiling. I do covet that sign too! Loved your kitchen. Love your dining room. Thanks so much for sharing. Happy Thanksgiving.

    • Renita says

      Thanks, Rebecca. Paint is a wonderful thing! Hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving holiday.

  18. chiara rognoni says

    Absolutely gorgeous! and the garden is really stunning!
    Hugs from an italian reader


    • Renita says

      Hi Chiara,

      Thanks for your kind words. Have a nice holiday season!

      P.S. I absolutely love your country!

  19. Kay says

    Whew! So glad they saved that scalloped trim + even emphasized it with color! CHARM-ing!

    • Renita says

      Thanks, Kay. I appreciate your comments. Have a great holiday season.

  20. carrie says

    Cate, exactly what I was thinking! Renita, you have such wonderful ideas and the end result is perfect. Thank you for sharing your home.

    • Renita says

      Thank you Patti! I’m glad you enjoyed seeing it! Happy holidays to you!

  21. says

    I thought all of the kitchens were amazing. This was a very fun feature. Her before is so classic. It is interesting to me how unappealing the before is vs. the after. Back in the day, the before was the look. Our tastes have really changed.

    • Renita says

      Hi Rebecca.

      Thanks for your comments. Have a nice holiday season.

  22. Patti says

    Renita, may I ask where you scored such an awesome Thanksgiving sign? Actually all the signage you have in your home is cool. I love vintage signage but can never seem to find any in Chicago or outlying areas! Many thanks and Happy Thanksgiving under your amazing gobbler sign!

    • Renita says

      Hi Patti,

      Of course you can ask…I got it at an auction in upstate New York. If I remember correctly, I think I was the only bidder probably because it was so large! I actually had to have it cut down because it was even bigger!
      SIgns are definitely my weakness. I actually picked up three this week!!
      I wish I could give you the names of some places in the Chicago area to shop but the midwest is not an area that I am that familiar with. There used to be an antiques mall off the 80/90 tollway(?) right when you cross into Indiana I believe. That was a number of years ago though. I actually purchased the two deer heads (not real of course) that are above the fireplace in the dining room (I think you can see them in the pictures) at that antiques mall.

      Anyway, have a wonderful holiday season!

  23. Carisa says

    They made magic with just paint and a change of furniture! Fantastic!

  24. Christina from Dallas says

    Lovely room! Love the scalloped edges! I have white shelves like that only without the scallops. Maybe I can find a way to add some.

    • Renita says

      Hi Christina,

      Thank you for your comments. I would think that scalloped trim can be purchased just like crown molding can. Good luck.

      Have a great holiday season!

  25. cbean says

    One of the best remodels you’ve posted.
    This lady has it all over those professional decorators and impersonal mansions of the super rich.
    Wonderful, inviting room!
    Thanks, Julia. (:

  26. sandyb says

    When I saw your kitchen I totally fell in love with it. Everything just felt right. Homey & warm. Like arms wrapping around you giving a hug. Your dining room is cheerful & comforting at the same time. What an absolutely wonderful home to create memories in.

    • Renita says

      Thank you Sandy for your kind words.

      I hope you have a nice holiday season.

  27. seraphina says

    First time commenting…
    Am crushing on the exterior
    Showed my mom the pic, and she just sighed…
    Dear Renita, am dying to see your backyard
    I’m sure it rocks

    • Renita says

      Hi Seraphina,

      Thanks for your comment. Have a nice holiday season!

    • Renita says

      Hi Julie,

      Thanks for your kind words. Have a happy holiday season!

  28. says

    Renita, I think painting the wood paneling was brilliant! And what a neat color. I want to see more of your house too. I’m about to turn my dining room into a sitting room and the office into the dining room, so thanks for the visual encouragement!!

    • Renita says

      Hi Amanda,

      Thanks for your nice comments. I am working on taking pictures of the rest of the house. Good luck with your room transformations!

  29. says

    Renita, painting the paneling was brilliant! I’m about to turn my dining room into a sitting area and the office into a dining room, so thanks for the visual encouragement!!

  30. Lisa T. says

    Love it all. The balls covered in turkey feathers (?) on the dining room table are so cool!

    • Renita says

      Thank you Lisa. The balls are actually large rage balls made out of fabric. Enjoy your holiday season!

  31. Neesha says

    I am so in love with this! I don’t know where to start but everything, the entire room is just full of love and warmth.

    • Renita says

      Thank you Nisha. I appreciate your comments. Have a happy holiday season!

  32. Paula says

    I love how you transformed this room into a very warm and inviting place. You definitely have the gifted talent of decorating. Seeing your photos, you are giving me several ideas on what to do as I am bringing my grandparent’s 100 year old farmhouse back to life. Please keep the pictures coming. They are so enjoyable. God Bless.

    • Renita says

      Hi Paula,

      Thanks for all your compliments. Good luck with your grandparents’ house. I am going to take pictures of the rest of my house shortly. Happy holidays!

  33. Wendy says

    This is lovely and inspiring. Instead of trying to look just like the design magazines you have set the standard with something totally unique and original, all while managing to acknowledge current fashions with your clean color choices.

    • Renita says

      Thanks Wendy. I appreciate your comments. Have a great holiday season!