reclaimed barn wood + custom shelving : a dining room touch up

“Sometimes, I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

Written by the great Lewis Carroll, sometimes we kind of feel like that. In our crazy ideas. Maybe that’s why I have a blog. Or else my head might explode.

If you haven’t given up on me yet, it’s going to be another one of those weeks. I didn’t post today {until now} and I know some of you who have figured out my schedule {because I’m a big Dorky Mc Nerdy pants and like to stay on schedule for my writing} are all, “Dude. Where did that nerdy Handmade girl that rambles incessantly about light fixtures and chicken casserole and potty training horror stories go?” Well, we were actually celebrating Aiden’s 6th with birthday pancakes, at Emerson’s first ever ballet lesson, standing until our feet hurt on a ransacked aisle of walmart searching for DAGBLASTED primary color folders with brads while our children screamed like murderous banshees, and wiping pee off the floor. {la vita è bella.} But to the point: I’m back. So sit yourselves down to drink up some sweet tea while you read this rando installment of crazy things Ashley and Jamin tackled this summer.

I’ve never had two rooms come so closely on the heels of one another. Let alone three. {third=yet to come} It’s because all of the projects seemed to overlap, and in the summer, none the less, when we couldn’t possibly get any busier…Alas that is the story of my life and the predicaments I seem to create for myself.

But One day, I got this crazy idea for a slightly different look in our dining room. {you can see the official before with their crazy dark walls here.} See, I was kind of over the whole slightly awkward positioning of things with random plates shoved into awkward areas, along with crammed spacing thing. The room is an awkward size at an awkward layout, and I wanted something, well, less awkward.

So what did I do? What I seem to do with every room: we sold what wasn’t working in our space, and I came up with this little design. I then promptly called up my welder friend. AKA the most incredibly talented person in all the land. {Kay, if you are reading this, shout out to the hubster and you from yours truly.} And this is what we came up with.

You know that stuff about a village and a child? Sometimes, I think it takes a village to build a room. At least with my wacky ideas. I’ll be touching more on that later, AFTER the how-to (this week!) for the loft.  But for today, let me just tell you a little about it, shall we?

You guys know I have a real weakness for vintage industrial. This design just spoke to me. Here’s the best part. It’s made of welded steel, and 70+ year old barn wood.

A few days after discussing my idea with John {welder man} (It’s going to be a new super hero trend. Can’t you see it now? Welder MAN to the RESCUE!!!) and Kay {incidentally a great wonderful fantastical friend of mine, or she wouldn’t have put up with me for so long} John just happened across this barn as it was being torn down in Troy. It’s a small town about 45 minutes from here, (close to my pal Shaunna, if that helps) (Wow. There were a lot of parenthesis in that paragraph.)

Where I was prepared to search the countryside for months, in one serendipitous moment, he talked the guy into selling him some beams from said barn. Because he knows John, they were each for an unbelievable price of 25 dollars per beam. Because I’ve had an estate sale in our home even though no one died {yet. Jamin may be close to collecting on my life insurance soon…} we jumped on the steal.

The wood is at least three inches thick, and we sliced it down just a little, on the ends, to fit the width of our room at 12 feet wide. The pieces belonged to an old peanut farm at 70+ years old. We think they were the old floor joists.

I’ll cover more of how we prepared, and installed it all. And by we, I mean Jamin and John. {I tried lifting one and got about an inch off the ground. I’m kind of a poster child for wimps not lifting things.} But for now, let’s just say there was a lot of this involved.

Let the screwdriver give a testimony as to the girth of the nails. Let the amount of nails be a testimony of Jamin’s love for me. Because I couldn’t get those out on my own, either.

Once all was said and done and the wood was installed, and everyone decided they no longer hated me, this was half the work. The rest was a bit of a challenge, in putting it all together. The giant shelving unit immediately served as fabulous storage, but also as a display. In the open. It also immediately swallowed my china when I placed it on the shelf.

So, to find a pretty balance between the two, was quite a challenge.  I knew I needed baskets on the bottom to hide some things I didn’t want to display. But wanted it to be a little more than that. So, the fabulous Kristi from Vintage Skye designed these awesome tags for each one. (As you saw from the giveaway last week, she is one talented gal, so be sure to check out her stuff!)

From there, it was a lot like piecing together a puzzle.

I ran the risk of the space becoming too rustic, with all the pieces of darker barnwood. So my egg painting found a new home, to balance it out, with a touch of ecclectic. I also placed these slices of painted wood {We sliced one vertically down the middle} on the wall, to add a bit of interest and texture to the space. My china no longer felt lost in between those giant planks. From there, with my key pieces placed, it was a game of move and remove and move… again.

Until it was just right.

I found the perfect place for my platters.

And my golden wings.

So there we have it. Our new dining room look. And a piece graciously created for us, that will last for years to come. And if anyone wants to come visit us, we’ll be bunking them here. 😉 Don’t worry. One blanket and pillow provided per guest. {Kidding. I’ll totally give you a kindermat, too.}

I’ll be addressing more of the details side soon for any of you awesome people who are curious, so please, ask any questions below and I’ll be sure to cover them!

Updated: Be sure to view the how to, here!

Happy Tuesday!

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Responses to reclaimed barn wood + custom shelving : a dining room touch up

  1. Beautiful one of a kind dining (bunking) experience. It looks wonderful, love the wood!

  2. That is a fabulous looking piece of furniture – and I love the functionality of it, too!..the room looks quite stunning.

  3. Umm…..WOW! What a statement piece! I absolutely love it! It looks great!

  4. Beth Miller says:

    You are the absolute queen of one-of-a-kind, totally awesome, knock your socks off pieces!! Sweetfreakinlemonade!
    And yes, I was one of those wondering where you were this morning when I sat down with my coffee ready to read my fav blogs!

  5. Catherine says:

    Oh. My. Gosh. I’m in love. That thing is beautiful. And so is how you decorated it.

  6. Jessica says:

    Super cute! Love the use of the old wood. Good use of the baskets to!

  7. Alima says:

    Very cool! Lisa from has a piece somewhat similar to that in her kitchen that she uses as a pantry. I have been drooling over it forever! Your piece is so awesome with the welded steel! Love it! Where did you get all the baskets from?

  8. denise sabia says:

    it couldn’t be more perfect!
    d e n i s e

  9. Dorothy says:

    The beams, the steel, the baskets, everything-super! You ARE a hothouse of ideas. I bet you dream up projects in your sleep too, don’t you? Come on now, admit it…:)

  10. Sarah says:

    So amazingly gorgeous! I said wow outloud! I don’t suppose you have a post somewhere about that big awesome blue photo frame? I’m assuming that you made it!:)

  11. Renee says:

    Love love love this! What a beautiful custom piece!

    I am so curious to learn how it all went together. How in the WORLD did you get those big beams into the room?

    On another note, I am loving the painted wood that is in between the shelves. I would LOVE a “how to” on those!

    Can’t wait to read more tomorrow. =)

  12. Leanne says:

    I love those platters and I love those barn wood shelves! I need to go find a barn. And a truck. And some wood movers. I better make a list…

  13. Dawn says:

    Fab! How wide is the wall you put it on? Did you attach the frames to the wall? The wood to the frames? Inquiring minds want—neigh, need—to know.

  14. Jessica says:

    I get so depressed when I look at the pictures of your home…then look around mine :( lol What you have done looks amazing!!!! I’m so jealous of your brain!!

    • Jessica! PLEASE don’t feel depressed. I know you were kinda kidding, but that’s not why I do this. Do you want me to share a few pics of what my home looked like two weeks ago while I transitioned 2.5 spaces? I realize I’m a little over the top, and that’s because this has become a full time job for me {a part from taking care of three little ones!} That just isn’t real life. I promise. I just strive to offer practical, real life, affordable, creative solutions for others to apply as well, and NEVER want anyone to feel bad because of that! So, that being said, want to see how out of control my life was two weeks ago? because I’ll GLADLY share, and it would TOTALLY make you feel better. 😉 It took a LOT of work to get it here. 😉 And that’s only because I love it. 😉

  15. Andrea @ Big Creek Cottage says:

    So pretty…there are so many details about your space that I find inspiring…..I too would love some details about the piece with the damask like pattern…I would so copy that….your platters found the perfect home…just lovely. and the drift wood star….pottery barn? Love the room….can’t wait for some details when you get a chance…….

  16. Rachel says:

    Love it! And love those angel wings. We have a 13 yo yellow Lab named Angel. I’ll be looking for some of those.

  17. Susan says:

    Bellisimo! Amazing! Creative! Georgeous! Is your head swelling yet? Thanks for sharing your creativity so that others (me) may learn! So inspiring! Do you also have a how to on the family photos on the other wall? Just love all the hard work and so happy you share!

  18. Sarah says:

    Oh My Gosh! Ashley, you must believe me when I say this: I SCREAMED at the computer when I saw this post! My husband came flying into the office thinking that Freddie Cruger must have jumped through the window! Nope… I just almost had heart failure because I LOVE what you did here!

    We have had TREMENDOUS difficulty figuring out something big and lovely to look at for our cave of a dining room. I have scoured every website, blog, design mag, you name it. I even have a tendency to peer inside other people’s homes as we drive by to see if I can get some inspiriation from somewhere… {yes. it’s that bad}

    So, from the bottom of my heart, and the neighbors who are officially creeped out by me, Thank you for being wonderful. Thank you for sharing. We are building this. You have saved the day!

    P.S. Your boy’s loft looks fantabulous too!!

  19. Brooke says:

    One word. Stunning!

  20. Jenn says:

    You’ve done it again!!! Beautiful and so fun!!! You are one talented mama!

  21. Ellie says:

    I love it! I really like how it looks, how much storage you got out of it, and the rustic quality of the wood. Nice!

  22. Hey Ashley!
    Your dining room is absolutely gorgeous!! I just love how you pulled it all together.
    Oh to find some old barn wood, what fun I could have :)
    BTW, I am just lovin’ how you used the tags they look fab against those baskets,
    I think I’m gonna have to use a set in MY house.

  23. Stacy says:

    AMAZING!!!! I absolutely love to use family pictures around the house – do you have a tutorial on that amazing frame too?? Thank you!!!!

  24. Jillina says:

    You are the most talented friend I have. What a perfect dinning room!! I’m in awe.

  25. Elise says:

    I am seriously kermit the frog green over this project!! One of my fav combos is metal and rustic wood together. Kudos to you!! By the way please tell me where you got that painting with the nest and eggs, redoing my downstairs living/kitchen area and that would be perfect..

  26. Maggie says:

    I am in love with the artwork of the nest with the eggs in it.. where did you get it?

  27. Kim says:

    Hi! I’ve been obsessing over your blog (and the pictures of your house) for quite sometime. I am wanting to do a picture wall in my living room like the one you have here in your dining room, and I’m dying to know how you made it. Ive read over all of your DIY projects, but would love to have some input on how you did the wall above. Thanks so much, I absolutely adore your style. Gorgeous!

  28. triciaintexas says:

    OK I’m with Kim above – LOVE that picture frame and have the most perfect wall for it. Is there any tutorial or just tips of the trade on how you did that? And just saying I would buy your house in a heartbeat if we were moving to B-ham –

    • Thanks sweet ladies! I am actually in the process of writing an ebook chocked full of tutorials on all of my wall art projects. If you can sit tight, I hope to have it finito in a few months. Fingers crossed! If only there were more hours in the day ;}

      • SCH says:

        Tricia, Kim, Stacy, Sarah and I all have the same urgent question. Will you please do a diy project explanation of the blue photo frame on the right side of your dining room? Do we really have to wait for the book? How soon do you think you will be publishing it? I have a wall waiting! :)

  29. Carrie says:

    I want that nest painting. Loveit. It speaks to me.

  30. Nicole says:

    Where oh where did you find that painting??? I love how it ties the whole room together!

  31. Love industrial style – and your barn wood adds just the right touch of rustic. Amazing space – the scale, the texture, the accessories!
    Now I need to find my own welder friend!

  32. Genevieve Williams says:

    I am IN LOVE with your dining room table and more importantly chairs. Where did you get the chairs and what is the fabric that you used to recover them?? Also, your blog/home is so very inspiring. I enjoy reading what you have to say and seeing your pictures!

    • Hey Genevieve! Thank you so very much! That dining room table is actually part of a set we purchased at Haverty’s a very long time ago-one of the first things we purchased for our first home. I think they still have it there. I had them recovered with some simple ticking stripes from a few years ago. (I was tired of plain jane cream) I keep the table covered with fun fabrics because it can be so dark- I haven’t quite committed to painted it yet. ;} I hope that helps!