Restoring the Kitchen Dining Room

Restoring The Dining Room

This is a bit of a work in progress post – as you will see.

I needed to use up some holidays so I took a week off work to ‘do the kitchen’.  This was going to be a creative process of tinkering, exploration and space planning.  Obviously this didn’t happen, instead we declared war on restoring the Dining Room. We call it the dining room but originally it would have been the kitchen, which then leads through to the pantry (our utility room) and finally the scullery (which is our kitchen).

The dining room before

When you buy a house you check the structural of course but mostly you look at the decoration and state of repair. Our house looked fine but once the magnolia wood chip had been stripped you realise there are loads of weird things all over the house. Offices are not homes and different decisions are made for offices, loads of trunking, ugly boxed in piping, horrible window and door furniture, vertical strip blinds, locks on all most doors, also all our radiators are seriously on a wonk (see if you can spot) the list goes on

In the dining room we had a great big sloping pipe across the wall. The room had carpet on the floor and woodchip on the walls. All this had to be removed so we could understand the state of the room.


There was also large amounts of trunking running around the top of the ceiling all around the room and boxing of pipes which needed to be investigated and removed where possible. So the electrician was booked in to do his magic and make it all disappear.



We knew we had the original Victorian red and black quarry tiles under the carpet but had no idea if any had been removed or drilled through. Under the carpet they were obscured beneath layers of tile adhesive, lino adhesive, glue, tar and cement.  So we thought, a couple of days of light scraping and they’ll come up good as new.


Things get dirty

However, just as I was getting my scraping gear on, we decided to have a quick look at the boarded up fireplace ‘just to see what was there’.

After a trip to B&Q to buy a breaker and an exploratory trench up the centre of the wall we found the stone lintel – right in the middle of our to-do list.


Three hundred bricks later (the entire fireplace was filled with properly laid bricks) and we now have the original fireplace that would have housed the kitchen range cooker. This post makes this look easy but read the full post about opening the fireplace to see the full grime and dirt, gas pipes removal, urghh


The walls

So that took two days…now on to the floor.  Oh wait – I needed to put up tongue and groove wainscotting first (bead and butt, tongue and groove call it what you like) – easy but fiddly to get level and straight, when the walls of your house are neither.


The floor

Never have I endured such muscle-numbing, blister-inducing pain as scraping those floor tiles – sharp bladed wall scrapers, chisels, lump hammers, bolsters, the breaker again, mops, hoovers wallpaper steamers – all were used and all worked to some extent.  But after all that, under the gunk, the tiles are as good as new:


The end of the week

The end result is definitely worth it – the original floor which also extends into the trademens entrance, couldn’t be more suited to the space and looks splendid. We also painted the wainscotting and walls, and got the chimney swept and checked.

We still have a lot more to do. The fireplace looks majestic but now needs something to fill it! The tiles still need a bit more cleaning, we also need to sort out the fireplace plasterwork, decide what woodburner we are having installed, get new radiators, fix the windows, create new doors for the cupboard, get new door handles, put up some minimal coving and disguise some unsightly pipework, but quite pleased for a week’s work.



To see what the dining room and kitchen finally became read this post about the kitchen , it certainly needed a lot more work even in the dining room. I can see all the things that needed fixing in this photo but at the time we were just so bloody chuffed it had taken so much effort and all achieved in a week (9 days inc both weekends!).

Join the Conversation


    1. Happenuponsays: Happenupon

      Hi Kerry
      thank you so many of the tradesmen ask if we are going to put carpet or laminate down tsk… good luck with the basement we found hot water and a blade wallpaper scraper to be the best to get the first level of gunk off

    1. Happenuponsays: Happenupon

      Hi Joe,
      Thanks for the question. I think the title of our post is misleading – we were not restoring the dining room but creating a dining room in the old kitchen!
      What would have been the dining room originally is through three sets of doors in the formal side of the house- fine when the house had servants but it is difficult to keep carrying food through the house. I know this is difficult as whilst we were doing the kitchen/dining room up we used the original dining room and it was a nightmare bringing stuff through and then clearing it away (we now call this room the garden room and will be an office/library). So the decision has been to keep the scullery and pantry as the kitchen and utilise what originally would have been the kitchen as the dining room. The old kitchen has not been used as a kitchen for over 60yrs and would have had no water or gas supply so maybe we should have called the posts “restoring the kitchen so it can be used as a dining room”. 😉
      All the best

Leave a comment
Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.