The Kitchen Window

The Kitchen Window
Antique Milk Bottles with Herbs and Flowers


Welcome to the Frog Hollow Farm blog! I've been blogging since January 2010 and have switched from Blogger to Word Press, but I'm back to Blogger because, for me, it's easier to use. My husband and I live on a little farm in Northwest New Jersey. We have some chickens and a very large vegetable garden with asparagus and raspberries, and rows and rows of sunflowers, snapdragons and zinnias. Traveling, entertaining, gardening, spending time with family, studying Italian, blogging and reading keep us busy and happy. With all of this going on, moving towards a simpler life seems almost impossible but it's definitely a daily goal.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Frog Hollow Farm's Dining Room Makeover

The Frog Hollow Farm dining room and living room have always been challenging for me to furnish and decorate in so many ways. 

First of all there ar 5 doors/doorways in the room - the original double Dutch door which now leads to the outside front wine garden, another Dutch door leading to the family room, the doorway to the kitchen, the door to the conservatory and the door to the basement.  With all of these doors, pathways need to remain open in order to be able to move around without banging into things.  Also, we have a large walk-in fireplace with an old Vermont castings stove that throws off a lot of delightful but strong heat - so furniture can't be too close to that area in the fall, winter and early spring - the times when we are most likely burning wood in the woodstove. 

This large room is really the original stone farmhouse - so it is truly the centerpiece of our home.

Over the years I must have moved furniture over 100 times, really, over 100 times.  I was driven.  Ask any of our friends, it was always something that they would comment on because every time they came over something was different - and it became sort of a joke with our friends - in a good way :) !

 One time FHFB was away on business for a few days and arrived home late at night.  The furniture had all been changed and he almost walked right into the couch and end table.  Yikes! 

Over the years, with each of my attempts to work with the room, I was content for awhile, but always felt that something was missing - we really never bought too much new furniture - so I worked with interesting pieces found at garage sales and antiques shows and stores. 

I was going for a more primitive setting because of the walk-in fireplace. 

But recently I felt that the room needed a major renovation with a new color scheme and more elegance! 

Today I'll share our dining room makeover, and next time I'll put up more dining room close-ups as well as some photos of the living room.


We started by covering the two corner dining room walls with sheetrock so we could use wallpaper to delineate one space from another. This is what it looked like in the midst of that process:

Here's a photo taken of the dining room in February 2010, set up for a dinner party with our friends Liz and Steve. You can see how harsh everything looked, and it was exactly that harshness seen in these photos and many others that made me want to redo the room and bring in some softness. The interesting thing was that the room never looked stark - everyone always commented on how cozy the room was. 

Our son's unframed painting is hanging on the back wall.

FHFB and I have been working on this room since mid August - deciding on colors, fabrics, design and determined to have it all done for the holidays.  We were so very lucky to work with two talented ladies from Design Works, a local design company.  Susan and Pam have become fast friends, and we just loved working with them as they helped organize the project. 

Here's a photo of the renovated dining room corner from the living room:

Really, it's the same room!  The old glass paned door to the conservatory in on the right.

I don't have photos of the process of putting this all together. FHFB did all of the wallpapering - he does a fantastic job - and he's very patient!

The framed painting of the front of the Frog Hollow Farm House on the wall was seen in the earlier photo and was painted by our son Frank while he was in college.  I had it framed locally and think the colors work well with the new room colors.

 Susan and Pam worked with most of the furniture and rugs that we already had - so we were able to work within a more manageable budget.  The rug under the dining room table was in one of our bedrooms - we just traded rugs.  And the hutch hanging on the wall was the top part of a step back cupboard we purchased in Burlington Vermont several years ago.  Susan and Pam suggested that we use the bottom portion of the hutch as a sideboard and hang the top part on the wall.  I've filled the space underneath with an old bench and a set-up of after dinner drinks and liqueurs - I'll include closeups in my next post. 

We chose 'Straw' wallpaper from Thibault and paint from Benjamin Moore in 'Straw' and 'Filtered Sunlight' for the walls and 'Vanilla Cream' for the trim. 

Here are some other views of the dining room:

The chandelier is electric with five holders to include real candles. I wasn't sure about adding electricity and will still use candles for entertaining.  The electricity comes in handy when I'm working on a project and need a large workspace - the dining room table is a great place to work.  We have always eaten by candlelight in the dining room using two antique forged iron chandleliers found on a vacation to Cape Cod, as well as many table candles.  You can see the forged pieces hanging over the table in one of the earlier photos of the table set for dinner with our friends.  These two iron chandeliers are favorites of FHFB and we're planning on relocating them over a farm sink in the new pantry area right off the kitchen, a more primitive and functional space.  But that's a whole other post!

You can see the top part of the hutch hanging on the wall - filled with my mom's Wedgewood china and Waterford Crystal.  I'll take more close-up photos on my next post. 

This post is longer than I planned but there really is a lot going on in the room.  Thank you for stopping by and please check in next time for some close-ups of the dining room fabrics, wallpaper, etc.

I'm linked in to Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch.  Please stop by to see all of the very interesting posts.


  1. Stunning. That's all I can say. Well, actually, I'll add more. It is so warm and welcoming now - the wallpaper (and I'm usually not a wallpaper person) is simply beautiful.

    Your home is so, so lovely. I would love to see more photos. It is just the type of home I love - full of history and nooks and crannies and character.


  2. Niiiice! I agree with Claudia, not usually a wallpaper person, but this is just stunning!


  4. Oh sweet lady.....this turned out ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS!!!!!!! (O:(O:



  5. Hi! I love what you've done! I think the wallpaper is divine! Thanks for sharing and Happy MM!

  6. I love the first picture on your post. Tell me, is that just lighting from a lamp? The shine is beautiful.


  7. i LOVE everything about it...i noticed those candle chandeliers right them...and i adore the is your is just beautiful....same kind of things i LOVE too.....

    so FUN getting to know you this year...wishing you a happy thanksgiving...and sending love,
    kary and teddy

  8. Very elegant, but comfortable. I think you and your friends will enjoy lingering over dinners in that room.

  9. Hello Ann Marie,

    Everything looks so lovely. I like the soft neutral color palate! I have to say I also liked the way it looked before too! Both different and both beautiful.
    I bet you are busy as can be with Thanksgiving preparations. We are going to family in CT then I will cook the dinner for us at our home on Friday so we can have left overs all weekend while we start decorating for Christmas. I wish it would snow!
    Have a nice night and when we both have time lets try and get together for lunch again, we can meet at Coco Luxe in Gladstone! I love their coffee.

  10. HI lovely lady. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas with your Family. I just post my Christmas Eve Tablescapes on my blog. I like to keep my followers up to


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