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Dining Room Built-ins for $380

Custom storage with farmhouse flair helps turn back the clock in a lackluster dining room

<p><strong>After:</strong> The storage-rich window seat helps balance out the long room by shortening its footprint by 2 feet, while plate racks above artfully corral dishes.</p>

After: The storage-rich window seat helps balance out the long room by shortening its footprint by 2 feet, while plate racks above artfully corral dishes.

Photo by Jessica Davis

The cure for a home's tired style can be as simple as bringing it back to its roots. When Jessica and Joshua Davis moved into their 1910 house, in Frederick, Maryland, they found it overrun with dated 1970s additions. The couple wanted to reintroduce some of the farmhouse elements the original home may have had, so they designed a set of built-ins for their dining room that included plate racks and a window-seat assembly.

They built the bench using 1×6s, making sure to add a hinged seat for access to the ductwork, which Joshua rerouted to the front of the bench. Extra space hides off-season decor and spare dishware. Above, they flanked the window with two shallow shelving units, which are backed with beadboard, and removed the window's existing shutters to allow for more natural light. A fresh coat of bright-white paint ties the beadboard in with the rest of the room, while light gray on the shelves helps add visual depth.

The new built-ins look as if they were born with the house. "It felt right to bring back some of the cottage character the house may have had when it was first built," says Jessica. "And it's the first thing guests comment on!"

<p><strong>Before:</strong> A bare wall served as the perfect canvas for the homeowners to tackle their first midlevel carpentry project.</p>

Before: A bare wall served as the perfect canvas for the homeowners to tackle their first midlevel carpentry project.

The Project Tally

• Constructed the bench out of stain-grade lumber, and built plate racks with 1×4 furring strips and metal rods to hold dishes in place $160

• Tacked up tongue-and-groove strips—rather than prefab sheets—to create beadboard backings with a seamless look $75

• Painted the units white to match the rest of the room, and accented the shelves with a light-gray hue $50

• United the two units with crown molding, which was carried around the rest of the room $95

Total: $380