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The Mural That Ate My Dining Room

February 26, 2013

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about reclaiming my unused table from the Treehouse dining room and turning it into my Mission Control.

Yesterday my housemate worked long and hard to retrieve a huge number of files from an old, dead hard drive of mine. I thought I would share some of those old pics, to show the evolution of that dining room.  I hope my mom forgives me for posting pictures of her without asking her first.  (Hi Mom!)  But if you want to know where my love of the arts comes from, this is the source.


mom and mural


Back when I still thought a dining table should be in a dining room, I begged my artist mom to help me turn that space into a room I would actually use.  I had this vague idea of an interpretation of the Sun Yat Sen Garden in Vancouver, BC – one of my favourite garden spaces in the world.  Mom took a trip to Sun Yat Sen to make sure she understood what I meant.  Together, we did a vague sketch of what it should look like, and Mom set to work.


mom painting


We made the underpaint colour ourselves, using leftover wall paint from some other project and mixing in craft acrylics.  (Oddly enough, this weird paint mix holds up to this day.)  Then, every day for a week, I would head off to my job, with my mom already working on the dining room wall.  Every day when I came home, she would still be working on it.  Truthfully, although I participated a little (the window frame is mine), the credit really goes to my mom.


mural 2005


Ever since the mural went up, I’ve had a thing about not wanting to cover it up with great big chunks of furniture. I love that mural, and I wanted to be able to see it. But after I moved the table out of the room, I didn’t quite know what to do with it.  The floor space turned into my main “messy” project area.  (A lot of the in-process project photos you will see here on The Treehouse were taken in there.)  The edges got a bit cluttery.  (The green tub is a worm bin.)   Maybe it’s because it was my “garden,” but I’d started to think of it as a back porch.


mural 2009


Being a plant-a-holic (if reincarnation turns out to exist, I’m coming back as a botanist), I wanted to make use of the window, so I painted and moved in the old dresser and bookshelf that belonged to my brother when we were kids.  And though it wasn’t a dining room anymore, many of my friends hung out there when I was cooking in the kitchen right off the room – it was evolving into a space that needed a chair and table after all.  Serendipitously, a friend moved house and gave me a garden table of hers that I badly coveted.  With that, the painted garden started to spring to life.


mural 2011


Recently, I decided my housemate could make better use of the dresser and bookcase, so he and I moved them out of the dining room.  I replaced them with another old bookcase I had…out of necessity, because plants!  I also added a pair of chairs that had been strewn around the Treehouse.  I actually found these chairs in our dumpster, six months apart.  After taking them apart and bleaching the wood, I reupholstered them with some fabric sent to me by a friend from New Orleans.  With that, the room turned from a little used area into the perfect, multi-purpose space.


mural 2013


I’ve been in love with the mural for a long time, but I am pretty much in love with the entire room now.  I can’t think of one single thing I would change about it…but I’ve said that before.

Mom, you rock!
updated March 22, 2012:  here is a picture of the doorway to the kitchen, not visible above:



Dodie Goldney

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related posts by Dodie Goldney:

After and Before

Art Therapy for Grown Ups

Manifest Headboard

Sunshine and Space Chickens

Planned Parenthood for Plants


20 Comments leave one →
  1. Carole Goldney permalink
    February 26, 2013 6:53 pm

    Working on this mural was surely the most fun I’ve ever had with art – am surprised that it hasn’t faded as it was done a few years back. You are so talented with your art and decorating – your apartment never gets boring. Love you – Mom

  2. March 1, 2013 8:38 pm

    This is great Dodie, so glad you have it up on your site. I was trying to remember what it looked like; it’s been a while since I’ve seen it. I wanted to show it to my boyfriend, now he check it out! Thanks so much for sharing 🙂

  3. March 7, 2013 1:36 pm

    Thanks for this blog!

  4. March 16, 2013 4:02 pm

    We did have a lot of fun. 🙂

  5. March 3, 2014 5:37 am

    Found this through your comment on Apartment Therapy. I love this little room. The painting is even more special because your mother and you did it together. Thanks for sharing.

    • March 3, 2014 1:35 pm

      Thank you so much! Working on this project with my mom was some of the best fun ever. 🙂


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