Identity CrisisAfter living in Germany, Becky Pangman and Eric Ralston are making a fresh start in the United States. They live in a vintage apartment on Chicago's north side that has tons of detail and Old World charm. However, the entry room is anything but charming. The Design on a Dime team sets out to turn the unused dining room into a traditional reading room, complete with storage, seating and a little European flair.
Because this is the first room one enters in the apartment, the couple wants it to be more welcoming. The room adjoins the warm living room with bay window, but there's nothing in this space to define it. There's a bookcase in one corner, a Papasan chair in another corner, a rug in the middle and lots of empty space. The white walls and harsh track lighting contradict the warm, welcoming ambiance that the couple seeks.
For all available product information, click on the After photo of the room.
Charming Reading RoomThe Solution
Interior designer Brice Cooper and design coordinators Kelly Edwards and Ali Azhar paint the walls denim blue to give the room depth, accentuate the architectural details and contrast the hardwood floors. A formerly vacant corner now houses a bar-height bistro table, barstools and an oversize clock. The bookcases are moved up off the floor, making room for more seating. And no reading room would be complete without a couple of comfy chairs.
Paint and supplies – $151
- wall paint, INTLTXFBS2GL, 022367441487, $18.51/gallon – Glidden
- white paint, INTLTXFBS1QT, 02236744143, $8.48 – Glidden
Table settings – $30
- napkins, Spring Tow Set/5 BLA, 417535005255, $9.99 – Linens 'N Things
- plates, small, Meadow Flo., square salad, black, $1.99 – Linens 'N Things
- plates, large, Meadow Flo., square dinner, black, $2.99 – Linens 'N Things
- cups, Acrylicdri 180X Tom, black, $2.99 – Linens 'N Things
Bar table and stools – $125
- black spray paint, 12 oz. black satin, 165912, $3.12 – Lowe's
- 24" bar stools, 249000550, standard natural, $16.99 each – Target
- bar table, closeout thrift, $61.59 – Salvation Army
Wall clock – $49
- wood circle, 718793160060, $15.25 – The Home Depot
- numbers for clock project, 04899375013 4" Nail on 1; 045899375020 4" Nail on 2; 045899375037 4" Nail on 3; 045899375051 5" Nail on 4; 045899375082 4" Nail on 8; 045899375099 4" Nail on 9; 045899375006 4" Nail on 0; 045899375013 4" Nail on 1; 045899375020 4" Nail on 2; 045899375075 4" Nail on 7; 045899375068 4" Nail on 6); $1.47/each – The Home Depot
- clock mechanism, $7.99 – Hobby Lobby
- construction paper, Folio antq 250G 3B DS 1, $3.94 – Pearl Art & Crafts
Shadow box – $13
- wood, 1/2" 2x4, MDF, 7178793151242, $6.67 – The Home Depot
- wall frame, closeout thrift, $5 – Salvation Army
Chairs – $175
- side chairs, closeout thrift, $80 each – The Ark Thrift
Coffee tables – $100
- wood veneer, 619-100-50 V Zebrawood P/S veneer, $41.60 – Wood World
- glue, 905-185-00 FM Titebond QT Fastdry contact, $11.75 – Wood World
- MDF tables, $10 each
Bookcases – $98
- wood, 1/2" 2x4, MDF, 7178793151242, $60.03 – The Home Depot
- puck lights, LT Puck Brs, 008938252119 1, $17.92 – The Home Depot
Lighting – $25
Window treatments – $100
- curtain rods, Cafe Rod Cold Quench Stl, 28-48", 068050042, $4.99 – Target
- curtain panels, Expression 84" panel, ALA 076657818831, $14.99 – Linens 'N Things
- black fabric, black stretch twill, 6003925, $14.67 – JoAnn
- black ribbon, 5/16 Blk Semaid Rbn, 6555023 1, $3.96 – JoAnn
Storage organizer – $50
- plastic wall organizer, letter wall pocket, 079916632018, $6.99 – Staples
- plywood, 273-002-03 1, plywood (25 Mil), lightweight, $19.50 – Wood World
- trim, 081999442750 356 Casing, $17.98 – The Home Depot
- box used as base, Cube Swing Door, 054241417, $24.99 – Target
- hooks, two-pack Hook Robe Double Chrome, 085031859, $1.99 – Target
Pillows and accessories – $80
- pillows, Spring STR, 18x18, 040175358247, $12.99 – Linens 'N Things
- rug, 60 Domestics 011970592, $29 – Marshalls
- black vase, 017628260, $10 – Marshalls
- greenery, Greenery Bush A5, 7928724, $6.99 – JoAnn
- white vase, med white long neck, 200090055, $11.99 – Target
- black art piece, closeout thrift, $10 – The Ark Thrift
Total – $996
Over-the-Chair BookcasesTo save valuable floor space, Azhar comes up with the idea to raise the bookcases off the floor. He builds two corner bookcases, mounts them over two corner chairs and installs under-the-cabinet lights for reading.
Zebra Side TableCooper custom makes two zebra-wood veneer side coffee tables to go beside the new chairs. First he sands down medium-density fiberboard (MDF) tables that he bought for $10 apiece and adheres the zebra wood veneer to every side using rubber cement adhesive painted on both the veneer and the table. He lets them dry before sticking them together. He trims off the excess veneer and sands the rough edges. Last, he covers all surfaces with a coat of polyurethane for protection.
Teatime ClockEdwards makes an oversize, Old World-style clock using a 24-inch wood circle painted black, a large piece of Kraft paper, metal house numbers, a clock kit and a cup of tea – yes, a cup of tea. She rubs the wet tea bag onto the paper. The bag falls apart, which is fine because it brings out more variation in color and texture, creating an antiqued paper effect. When the paper dries, she cuts out a 22-inch circle and adheres it with spray adhesive to the wood circle. Then she attaches the numbers with a hot glue gun and adds the clock kit.
Shadow Box Street SignPangman and Ralston have a street sign from Germany, which Azhar wants to accentuate with a shadow box display. He uses a wooden frame and a 1/4-inch-thick piece of MDF to build the shadow box, which he paints black.