Welcome Home, Part 2: The Dining Room

Well, I finally got around to taking pictures of another room in our house. And I do have another decorating problem to share with you. But first, a few photos.

Here’s our dining room:

Isn’t our bar-height table fun? I feel like a little kid sitting at it with my feet dangling. We got it when Axa was a toddler, partly because we loved the fact that she couldn’t reach onto the table and pull the dishes off. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a good photo of the picture behind it, which is one of my favorite pictures ever. In fact, I tried to convince Tony that we should recreate it for our engagement picture. I still don’t know why he wouldn’t agree. Don’t you think it’s just about the most romantic photo you’ve ever seen? It pretty much encapsulates my philosophy of life.

The dining room is not a formal dining room, but it’s a little more formal than a breakfast nook. That’s a good fit for us, because I like eating outside the kitchen but right next to it. It’s the other half of the same room as the living room, actually. Here’s a not very good picture of how they fit together:

You can see the bookcases and couch on the left, and the table on the right. And actually, right there in the middle in the small frame is our real (and slightly less unconventional) engagement picture. At least he humored me and made it black and white. Here it is in a larger version:

And now we come to the decorating problem of the dining room. Actually, it’s the decorating problem of quite a good portion of this house, but it also happens to be one of my favorite things about it: the soaring cathedral ceilings.

High ceilings are virtually taken for granted in Italy, and I love the feeling of proportion and grace they give to a room. And it’s not just how they look. There’s about twice as much air to breathe in a typical Italian room, and acoustics, including conversations, sound different; less stifled, richer and more musical (this also has to do with the fact that Italians don’t really go for wall-to-wall carpeting). I guess maybe it’s the indoor equivalent of a piazza.

So here’s my decorating question: the ceilings are great, but what should I do with all that extra wall?

Here’s the other side of the dining room:

This is the only thing hanging on one of those tall walls in our house that even goes up halfway. It’s our bulul, who sits with his arms crossed over his knees and guards our house. And here’s a closeup of the actual little wooden bululs from the Philippines:

The one in the middle is in the usual pose, which is the same as the little old men in Northern Luzon who sit in the doorways of houses. The others are doing various other traditional tasks. My favorite is the second from the left.

Not only (unlike the other four) is she obviously female, but she’s also wearing a baby on her back. I love it!

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