Cornice for the Dining Room…..

Anyone can move into a brand new house and make it beautiful.  It’s a clean slate of modern updated construction.   Our first house was brand new construction.  When we went to sell it a few years later, it sold in one day – not a surprise.  I had decorated it in full, but it didn’t take a lot to decorate.  When we moved to this house almost 14 years ago, ugh!  I loved the house – in fact, we both fell in love with the view out back, but it had been built in the 80s which was a very ugly time for architecture in my opinion…..

We barely use our dining room.  We probably use it once a year at Thanksgiving.   In our future house, I don’t even want a dining room (or a formal living room).  I want our future house to be designed for our personal Otte Family lifestyle, and I want it to be smaller… much smaller…. so I don’t have as much to keep up with! 😉

At any rate, check out the before shot of the dining room.  I should have taken before shots of the whole house, but I didn’t…. I just wanted to tackle each room and make them acceptable because this was horrible!  I will never forget pulling off the old tobacco-stained wallpaper.  It was so bad that the drywall started coming off with the wallpaper.  I spent days getting that wallpaper down, and then repairing the walls.

After I removed this wallpaper, I painted, got bored with that paint, painted again, then tore the gray carpet out, then added chair rail and did my own moldings framing out underneath the chair rail (you’ll see an after at the end of this post).

I threw these curtains up – if you can call them curtains… and there they have stayed for 13 years (and no, I’m not sure if they were ever cleaned,  you should have seen the dust when I removed them this past weekend).  

I started playing around with some material I had  – a little note, ALWAYS keep scrap material.  You never know when you may need it.  I also recommend keeping some neutral fabric around at all time  – like white and beige linen or muslin.  I’m always using it for something.  None of my tries at shaping the fabric was appealing to me.


After putting up different material and different shapes, holding things in place with binder clips, safety pins, and tacks into the wall, I started to see a shape I was wanting, but not completely sure of.  I knew I needed something else….


Let me take one step backwards for a minute.

Sewing.  I have a love/hate relationship with sewing.  Sometimes I will make things that just involve hot glue or iron-on hem tape, and then other times I know that sewing is completely necessary.  I’m no Martha Stewart, I like things to be done quick and efficient.  I’m more worried about the end result than the process of getting there.

I learned to sew when I was 5 or 6 years old.  My mother has been a seamstress all her life as a hobby.  She can pretty much sew anything.

I’m not a fan of patterns.  When I start to sew, I am usually holding fabric up to something, and measuring with my eyes, and then cutting, sewing, cutting some more, shaping… etc.  I don’t have a method for the madness, I just see and do.  I would like to encourage everyone, if you are interested in sewing – first, learn how to make a pillow – and then apply that to everything you do.  It’s not hard to get the hang of, but it’s freeing to just let yourself design and not get yourself weighed down by what someone else tells you to do.

Nothing was satisfying me.  I really needed a tailored and crisp focal point.  I hadn’t planned on digging out the mitre saw again, but I knew I had to.  I looked in our stock of old construction supplies and came across a few pieces of molding.  I had Dean pick up some 6-inch by 8 foot pine from the local home store.  Just like in the framing post HERE, I used wood glue and clamped the moldings to the 6-inch pine.  Then, I cut to size using the mitre saw and assembled.  Then, I attached to the ceiling.

I painted and then started playing with the fabric.  It took a while, but this was the result.

And a little hint… when you extend your window treatments to the ceiling, it makes your room look taller.  We don’t have extra tall ceilings in this house (again, the 80s… blah!), so I like to distract the eye to move upward – there are a lot of tricks you can do when you decorate to make a room look bigger, brighter, etc.

The color on the top of the wall is called Toasted Walnut by Behr.  It is not green (although it may look green in the top shot due to the yellowish light from the chandelier), it’s a weird brownish color.

Costs of this Project —- $32 total

  • 2 pieces of pine………..$12.
  • White linen fabric……. $0 (it was left over from something years ago that I kept)
  • Paint for cornice……….$0 (I keep paint in stock at my house)
  • Moldings for cornice….$0 (left over from other projects around the house)
  • Screws, brackets………..$0 (old stuff in the garage)
  • Fabric – linen……………$0 (left over from another project)
  • Fabric – print……………$20 (1 yard)

I’m guessing if I brought someone in to make this for me, the cost would be up to around $500.

I hope the readers of this blog like these shares – let me know if you have any questions – send the questions to and I would be happy to share on upcoming posts.  Decorating has always been a huge hobby of mine, and I absolutely love do-it-yourself projects.  Much much more to come!

About Jodie Otte

Maryland Newborn Photographer and Child Portrait Artist, Jodie Holstein-Otte, specializes in unique photography of newborn babies, kids, and families. She works on location in Harford, Howard, Cecil, Anne Arundel, Baltimore and other areas throughout Maryland. She uses both both natural lighting and soft studio lighting techniques.

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