Is the Dining Room Dead?

I don’t believe so! I love a dedicated dining room especially in older homes.

Back in the mid 1980’s I bought my first home in an outer Brisbane suburb. It had a combined dining and lounge room and for a few years I had a pine round table with 4 rattan and metal cantilevered chairs as the dining table. Then one day, one of my colleagues at work asked out loud if anyone was interested in a Rosenstengel dining suite. He had been appointed Executor of a Monseigneur’s Estate and apparently there was a silky oak dining table and 6 chairs to offload. The asking price was $200. With all my income going in to my house repayments I said, “No”. Besides I didn’t want some old table and what was Rosenstengel anyway?

Rosenstengel Dining Suite

I was telling my Mum about it a few days later and she said, “Grab it.” She knew all about Ed Rosenstengel and his furniture making and knew it would be a great buy as well as owning a piece of Queensland history. So I purchased the table and it is still serving me to this day. Although right now it’s in storage as we renovate our home.

When I moved to the Gold Coast in the ’90’s I decided to have the dining suite refurbished. A furniture restorer cleaned down the table and applied a new coat of shellac which gave it a rich glow. I had the chairs reupholstered in a plain pink fabric to co-ordinate with the curtains and sofa.

Dining suite after polishing and upholstery

When I moved back to Brisbane we renovated a little Workers Cottage on the northside and we created a formal dining room in the old sleep-out.

Sleep-out being transformed to the Dining Room

This time the upholstery on the chairs dictated what colour the walls would be.

Pink Dining Room

When we moved to Sydney and bought our Californian Bungalow the dining suite suited the period of the house and the existing curtains.

Inherited Dining Room

However, after a few years, I was ready to ditch the curtains and I replaced them with gold silk and repainted the walls in the warm earthy tones of the time.

New paint, curtains and light fitting

Now we are renovating, I have decided to keep the formal dining room. We’ve closed off two of the three doorways into the room and I’ve decided to be a little bit adventurous in choosing the paint colour.

Latest reincarnation of the dining room

I’m a firm believer that the formal dining room is mainly used at night time so why not make it dramatic? But alas the existing upholstery will not suit the new look room. The question is, will I keep the suite and have it reupholstered, or is it time for a complete new dining suite?

Dramatic dining room

Do you have a formal dining room or a dining suite with provenance?

If you would like assistance choosing colour or furniture for your dining room, contact us for an online or in-person consultation. Or visit my Pinterest board for Dining Room inspiration.


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  1. Keep it! Reupholster!Imagine how lovely it will look in you new dramatic dining room. It has such history.

    Our dining room is in our sunroom and we use it every night – the art of table manners and conversation is lost when we eat casually in the kitchen with our children. xx

  2. What did you decide to do? I say reupholster too! I would love a separate dining room, but impossible to do in our current place.
    By the way, thanks so much for letting me know what kind of bird it was (in my post from Australia last month). Willie wagtail – so cute!!
    Have a good day.

  3. Keep It!

  4. Your story traces its life (and yours). Why stop? Reupholster, recycle & reuse!

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