/ / / Modern French Country Dining Room: ORC Week 3

Modern French Country Dining Room: ORC Week 3

A week of trial and error, second guessing, and returns! Rugs, Drapes, Artwork, and Painting.


What is it you ask? The One Room Challenge™, currently in its thirteenth season, is a widely anticipated biannual event every April and October. Each round, twenty featured and guest (that’s me!) design bloggers take the challenge and transform a space. Every Wednesday, the designers document their process while sharing their sources and professional advice over the six weekly posts.

If you missed the design project kick-off, CLICK HERE, and for other weeks follow along here WEEK 2, WEEK 4

Lot’s of Product Returns

Did you think I nail it out of the gate? Hardly 🙂 This room has been a huge challenge in total honesty.  First, making over an already pretty room is proving to be added pressure.  I want the room even prettier!

The colors have to seamlessly blend with the downstairs and the space is small, so the furniture placement is unconventional! Plus online shopping has proven to be my nemesis in this project. It has been a LOT of back and forth…


One thing I do a lot is buy products online and that is VERY risky! Luckily, I have some of my favorite online retailers within a 30 mile radius so I can take back things.  Return policies are something I read in detail, before buying.  I am someone who won’t stop until I love it, so being able to return products is key to my success.

Post contains affiliate marketing links, but all products were hand selected by me! If you buy through one of my links, I may make a small commission that helps support producing content and maintaining this website.

Once, Twice, Three Times a Rug

My former sisal rug sat in relative visual silence for the past 8 years.  It just blended, so making a rug change for me visually has been hard to handle.  Also, I made a novice mistake and bought the rug before the upholstered chairs had arrived.  The chairs LUCKILY came early, so I’ve had time to react AND return 🙂

Did you know that Pottery Barn sells large rug samples for $25 and Ballard Designs will ship you most of their smaller samples for free? Thank goodness because that really helped me test before buying. Here are the rugs I’ve purchased and am NOT living with:

Option 1: Pottery Barn, Barret Rug, Gray

returns barret-printed-rug-gray

Liked the color, but the pattern was too similar to the chair fabric. I thought it would “read” like a large pattern, but in person it doesn’t.

Option 2: Pottery Barn, Ryan Tufted Sculpted Rug, Ivory


This has been living in my dining room for a couple of weeks and it’s TOO light. Can’t return it (bought it on a preview sale), so will try to sell to a neighbor. A VERY expensive mistake…so back to Ballard Designs.

What I’ve learned after trying a couple of rugs and just looking at my general style, I LIKE A NEUTRAL RUG. Yep. The Ryan rug that I’m going to sell is a beautiful rug, goes well in the space, has a great pattern, works with the fabric, but I just can’t get used to a light colored rug visually. I tried – I really tried to live with it, but can’t.

Next is Option 3: Ballard Designs, Suzanne Kasler Katarin Sisal in Platinum

Suzanne Kasler Platinum Sisal_Cropped

Now I have a tiny 6 inch x 6 inch square I am moving around the room to test the color with everything plus I saw it hanging and on the floor in the store.  I THINK it is going to work. Fingers crossed! It’s definitely more my style 🙂 I think I might lose it, if I have to return this too!

Dark and Moody Drapes Aren’t for Me

A big trend is velvet and if you look through Suzanne Kasler design books, she has been mixing in velvet drapes for a long time. It looks so beautiful in the rooms she designs, so I became enamored with the look. You can see with the wood tones and color palette the drapes had potential to look like the picture below in my room.

Option 1: Ballard Designs, Signature Velvet Drapery Panel, Oasis

Oasis Drapes_Ballard

Well…a north facing room, a small room as well, and not much natural light a dark velvet drape just sucked up all of the light. I just don’t like the look in the room even though the drapes are beautiful and extremely well made. Back to what I like and know – serene, light, and airy.

Option 2: Pottery Barn, Riviera Stripe Drape, Sandalwood

Riviera Strip Drapes

These were on a GREAT sale, so I bought them and they seemed to fit the look. Now hanging in the room they look too casual and I am going for a more sophisticated look.

Final Plan: Custom Made

So I am BEGGING and PROMOTING my local fabricator to try and get these done in time to photograph and post for the REVEAL!

If you are local to Charlotte, NC this company is amazing – they have a HUGE resource of fabric, furniture, do custom upholstery, pillows, drapes, etc. Distinctive Fabrics & Furniture. Plus they have designers on staff to help at every turn, for FREE!

They are also making lumbar pillows for me in record time 🙂  Saying prayers silently they can make a miracle happen on the drapes that normally would take 6 or more weeks to be fabricated…

Mirror Disaster

If the drapes and rug weren’t enough, my mirror needs to be changed and the artwork was well VERY wrong.

Option 1: Melba Mirror, Lamps Plus

Melba Mirror_Lamps Plus

This one arrived shattered! It wasn’t the manufacturer’s fault, but the delivery man.  I saw him flip over the box and I should have opened it before he left. It was completely shattered.

Now the mirror is on backorder and likely won’t arrive in time, so I am forced to find a new mirror.

Mirror Broken

Option 2: Ania Mirror, Hayneedle

Luckily, I was able to use the shell of the broken mirror to hold up and see what I thought about the size and shape.  I decided to look for something simpler and found this affordable beauty!

Round Mirror

They say everything happens for a reason and I think I am going to like this mirror better 🙂 I was trying to find something a little more unique, but that hasn’t played out well for me so far.


Artwork Anger

Ordered and Trying to Return

The artwork I really can’t talk about without getting angry. If you are considering buying artwork from Gallery Direct, be wary.  Unfortunately, two pieces showed up and the accent color in the clouds is purple and not in my color palette. I even did a poll on Instagram and 96% agreed they look purple. Back they must go!
Afternoon Sky I_Kim Coulter

The return policy sounds straight forward, but so far after several days of trying to get a return authorization (calls, emails, photographs, chats, different email addresses) I haven’t gotten a response. Seems a bit shady to me, so if I don’t have a response by today I am going through my credit card company to see if they can help.

At this point the main wall artwork is TBD, which is making me feel very uncomfortable…

Above the Bar Cart

Right now I am testing a piece of art that was in the guest bathroom LOL. It doesn’t seem to have enough color, so I’m going to go bold and try a beautiful abstract!

Next Test: Ballard Designs, Delicate Mind

Delicate Mind Artwork

Isn’t it lovely and that wall color is SO similar to what I am doing, which takes me to paint colors!

Third Times a Charm (with Paint)

Yep, I didn’t paint the room once but THREE times. Changing visually is hard for me apparently and so is moving away from colored walls. Let me confess the same thing happened in my bedroom.

Those darn white and cream rooms suck me in on Instagram and Pinterest, so I went there and went right back! Having a neutral color on the walls felt plain and boring, but not wrong.  It’s more that I want to still see a color in the dining room.

Sorry for the nighttime photos, but that is when I finished painting 🙂

First Color: Light Raffia, Valspar

2nd Color: Winter in Paris, Valspar

Winter in Paris_Valspar

Mick was NOT happy that I painted 2 days in a row…there’s the rug I am selling too!

Mick wanting me to stop painting

Final Color: Sea Salt Blue, Valspar

But you said THREE times Tracey??? After writing a post about choosing paint color CLICK HERE, and using my fabric as an example I found a better color in an old paint deck of mine.  I stewed on it and stewed on it, photographed the room, stood back, couldn’t sleep and knew that the new color I found was better.

Yes, I painted the room again this past weekend and it is PERFECT! So you will just have to wait for the reveal to see it 🙂  Here is a little tease…

Valspar Sea Salt Blue

The 3rd Week is the WORST

Honesty, I remember my last ORC challenge hit a wall in the 3rd week too.  So luckily from experience, I am going to assume the uphill climb is over.  I am doing the best I can to correct issues that always pop-up, work with vendors, and trying not to lose my mind.  Plus my arms are looking pretty toned after all of that painting!

I’m off to beg, borrow, sell, pray, and plead! Hoping that in my week 4 post I am reporting resolution to many of my issues and the rug is SOLD.

Have fun following along and please visit the 20 Featured Designers and the Guest Participants. Thanks to Calling it Home and Linda Weinstein for creating this fun event that motivates us to makeover our spaces in 6 short WEEKS!

So you don’t miss a post, please consider signing up for my weekly email newsletter in the pop-up window!

Once a week, I’ll send you an email with all the details and posts from the previous week.  To follow along daily, I’ll be posting on Instagram and Facebook, so choose the social media platform that works for you. Easy peasy! Every little “like” makes me smile 🙂

Until next time…

Porch Daydreamer


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  1. I really like the Ballard abstract you are thinking of. Most of the rooms I’m loving right now do have abstract art in them. Even if the cloud prints had been the right colors, I think they are so traditional (but pretty), and I think the abstract has more of the updated feeling you are after. HOPE the colors are right for you. Online shopping and especially returning stinks. I much prefer being able to touch and see it in person. I really couldn’t handle all that painting, either – my husband would have said the first paint was it! Good luck.

    1. Linda, so funny you say that because I was thinking it’s good I am not married right now and live alone! The house is a mess, things are changing, been a painting fool, and online constantly! So the only “person” I am bothering is my little Mick fur baby and it will all be finished before my son comes home for the summer – like nothing ever happened! The art arrived and looks beautiful on the wall paint – I think it is a winner!

  2. Tracey, I am so sorry that you have had a week full of problems. You deserve smooth sailing from here on. I know in the end it will be beautiful. I’m dying to see what you come up with. I ordered our rug today and I’ll be on pins and needles until it arrives. Painting the walls is next on the agenda. Who knew dining rooms would be such challenges!

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