When a whole house needs work, often there's no better place to tackle than a high-traffic area. For J.K. Pfannmuller and her husband, the dining room in their 1985 Colonial Revival fit that bill. With a kitchen short on eating space, they needed a dining spot for regular meals as well as entertaining, so they wanted to give it a "formal air but casual feel." The laminate floor and baseboards were in good shape, so the couple turned to the walls, rolling a gray-blue above the chair rail before adding crown molding. Wall frames made of panel molding glued in place created a low-cost wainscoting. All of the trim and the lower portion of the walls were coated with a white semigloss to complement newly installed shutters, and wood furniture warmed up the room's cool tones. A new chandelier and a pair of lamps, tied together by their natural-fabric shades, add a soft glow to complete the transformation. Traditional without being cold or stuffy, the space now gets a lot of use. Says J.K., "We feel comfortable in the room, and it's perfect for our dinner guests."
Shown: New crown and panel molding added old-house charm to the existing stock trim.