guess who’s coming to dinner?
by victoria comment



you’re all invited! here’s a look at the dining room of my new cottage dwelling at present state — again still kind of a work in progress so all comments are welcome. this room was a total man cave. woven wood blinds on the windows covering up all that nice light and brown-beige paint and wall-to-wall really gross carpet. we painted it with sherwin williams emerald white which has great coverage and ripped up the carpet and my landlord was kind enough to refinish the floors. hallelujah!


i’ve been working on getting the light fixture up before sharing it with you, but i finally got this bentwood onion pendant from west elm up, so we’re ready for the dinner party! when i saw this lamp i thought it would be a good fit and i’m really happy with it. i’m not sure if i’ve got too many plants going on though, so i’m wondering what you think. do tell. again, i’ll share my sources for as much as i can (so much is vintage) and you just let me know if you’re curious about anything i might miss.



sources: buffet was a yard sale find; white mid-century modern bench above via ebay; black industrial lamp from mid century modern finds; art on left are flea market finds, print on right by kim schoen; wood candlesticks a mixture of vintage finds, housing authority and anthropologie.


sources: west elm; vintage rolling cart; crosley turntable; Christian Chaize print from 20×200; hilda grahnat print of san francisco bay.

below: chair in foreground is vintage homecrest outdoor metal chair (that swivel!) from the alameda flea market; chair in background from fab; swiss cross pillow from jonathan adler; sheepskin from black sheep white light.



sources: vintage farm table given to me by my mother; vintage burke “star trek” tulip chairs found on craigslist; artwork below by danielle krysa.



sources: black eames rocker from ebay; schoolhouse electric radar wall sconce.






• all photos © victoria smith, sfgirlbybay.

74 responses to “guess who’s coming to dinner?”

  1. I would love to see any before pictures you may have snapped. The after is impressive without the befores but when put together they can be extra impressive. When I saw your living room earlier, I really loved the record player on the vintage stand — your living room and dining room look very accessible and easy-going which would encourage your guests to hang out and relax! I would say if a room could be confused with a commercial greenhouse than you have too many plants. Right now it looks like just a tasteful, good amount of greenery. Cheers – CT

  2. Wow! I love it, the textures, the subtle contrast, the pendant…and all the greenery on the buffet. I would love to come to dinner and linger at your table! ;)

  3. Love it! I don’t think there are too many plants, they are so lovely. :) I would imagine your space to have more of a pop of color (e.g. neon or brights) threaded into the decor, but looks very calming and tranquil.

  4. Love the plants! Is there a specific place in SF where you usually shop for your house plants? I’m in the market for some new ones.

  5. I so love the metamorphosis Victoria – that light fixture couldn’t be more perfect for pulling the room together. There’s a leitmotif of black, white, warm wood and a touch of blush pink that lends a cohesiveness to the entire place.
    I love the simplicity of the top shelf of black & white ceramics built into the wall and the growing bulbs in the bowl on your dining room table. You could keep a few of the plants on the table when it’s not in use to make the sideboard a little less encumbered but I love that you have green living things in your home:)

  6. I love, love your FARM table with mixture of chairs…I love all the plants but maybe more of height difference in pots and plants but love the mix specially with all the candles…love the light in the room, gorgeous, what a beautiful place to have dinner in. so jealous!

  7. I love this. It’s a nice mix of organic and modern. I’ve been in love with those west elm pendants since they came out recently. If they were white they’d be perfect for my dining room.

    I can’t imagine what the before must have looked like. Carpet in the dining room is almost as gross as carpet in a bathroom. Bleh.

  8. Love the introduction of life via plants into your space. I’ve been working on trying to curate some indoor plants – starting with succulents – do you have any suggestions?

  9. It all look so inviting.
    I would add a rug under the table to ground everything and it to add some warmth for those cold
    SF days.
    and, of course adding a tablerunner is always a nice touch when you have company over for dinner.

  10. This room is really lovely, so lovely that I imagine it must take some of the sting out of your relocation. May you have many fabulous dinner parties in your future.

  11. I love it. So filled with light and different textures, modern with vintage touches. Wonderful…

    I may need to hijack that lamp/art clip idea for my own space.

  12. All looks really fabulous, Victoria! Go, landlord, for refinishing those floors too. I love all of the plants! Just be careful when watering.

  13. i wouldn’t change a thing at all, in love with the colours, wooden cabinet, lots of plants, white wall, hints of black…by the way who took the photos? I think they are very good, dont tell me it was you?? if so well done!!

  14. Again, love the space. It feels so San Francisco. Don’t be afraid to keep that black & white palette. Since the sun is so unreliable in SF, the white walls and light accents works pretty well.

  15. Oh your farm table is amazing!!! We recently just painted our dining room (Twin Cities by Allen + Roth) and are looking for a table just like that.

  16. Wow, just beautiful! I especially like all the wood–sideboard, farm table, pendant light and that great mix of candle holders. And I’m partial to white walls and wood floors. No such thing as too many plants. My home is a jungle compared with yours, and I have plants overwintering inside as well. Just makes a home feel alive!

  17. I keep returning to these photos, your dining room (and in fact everything I have seen of your new place), is just perfect! I love the palette of the neutrals, the natural wood and the green, and I imagine its restful effect is ideal for a relatively small space. Thank you for your inspiration! Oh, and that bentwood lightshade is stunning.

  18. Hi Victoria-
    I think it looks awesome! Kudos to you! Since you asked for suggestions, here are a few, but they are just that–suggestions. Things to try if you haven’t already considered them. 1) I love, really love, the white bench but it is hidden behind the table. I would move it to the window-side of the table, get rid of the two black chairs, and just have the white tulip chairs and the white bench around the table (store the black chairs until are actually having six for dinner). 2) I would move a grouping of three of the succulent plants onto the table, to free up a little breathing room on the buffet. 3) I love the eames rocker, but it feels out of place in the dining room–a reading nook or the bedroom perhaps? Finally, the styling on the shelves looks great, I’d love to see a full shot. If there isn’t a little pop of green over there, maybe another succulent, or the glass bell with moss, that would be a nice balance to the geen on the buffet. Okay, these are all “I’d have to try it and see” suggestions. You asked :-)
    Mary Jo

  19. You’ve done a wonderful job, Victoria. This is a charming room, and I like the mix of chairs around your big farm table. The sideboard is a FABULOUS piece, and my favorite thing by far.

  20. I love it all! Your table is so beautiful, I am looking for a table with soul, I know it will find me sooner or later. The pendant is just what I wanted and didn’t know it!

  21. THANK YOU all so much for the all the lovely comments and suggestions. I’ve got the flu, so I’m not up to replying, but I think there’s some really great suggestions here I want to give a go. xo

  22. Ok, you moved after me and are home touring before me! Feeling totally inadequate now ;) btw, I hope you adore your dwelling because if not, I’ll happily move right in! hope you’e well my dear.

  23. Gorgeous. No, not too many plants! I think of you as the indoor plant whisperer!. (ps I killed my fiddle leaf tiny tree, I’m so sad.) This room is so airy, bright and beautiful. Great job, hun! ( as usual)
    ps and that bench? eep! love.

  24. It’s gorgeous Victoria. You really know how to make a space inviting and cozy. In my opinion you don’t need design suggestions, your instincts are right on the mark :^)

  25. Fantastic space! I think it’s coming along beautifully. The crisp walls are my favorite, and that table is amazing. I don’t think there are too many plants – they look great with all the greenery!

  26. Great design choices all around.
    Just a thought about the plant grouping –
    If you move the large ficus (rubber plant) just to the left of the wall grouping and cluster the other white planters around its base, it would free up enough space on the buffet top to allow that lovely bell jar to really shine.

  27. It looks beautiful, Victoria! And I don’t think there are too many plants! I wish I could have as many as you have at my place! I love how your new place is coming along!

  28. I love all the plants! They were the first thing I noticed. I love all the wood too. I know you have switched to a more black and white aesthetic but I miss color! Even just one little pop would be nice.

  29. What a beautiful little dining room! The hutch full of plants is beautiful. I am always trying to think up cheap ways to beautiful decorate surfaces like that for very little money…thank you for the inspiration!
    xoxo Amie @ Spoonful of Vintage

  30. I LOVE your new home! i’ve been reading your blog for some time now but have never commented. I think your cottage and how you decorated is perfection. I adore how carefully curated your possessions are, and I personally appreciate your understated use of color. It truly feels quite modern, yet homey and cottage-y. I think the space is fantastic and while smaller than your previous digs, I appreciate your aesthetic here so much more. Well done and hope you are quite happy.

  31. How I love your compositions! Everything is put together in such a beautiful way. I feel very inspired by all your plants and the art above to their right. Thanks a lot for sharing!

  32. I love it all, especially the mixture of vintage with Store bought items… this is when the space becomes your own and not a page in a catalog. Well done!

  33. Love it all! I’m remodeling a breezeway into a dining room & curious what the width of your room is. Ours is narrow & I want to have a visual for what the space could look like with a farmhouse table in it.

    Sorry if someone already asked this question.


    • oh, i just did a search, and i think you are right! i’ve never heard them called that before and they were sold to me as knoll. but these are just as cool – thank you!

  34. so i’ve been looking at the plants for a couple of days trying to decide – too many? not too many?
    and tonight i think i’ve got it! it’s not too many plants, but the candles throw it off. with all the greenery, it’s like a gardening bench/table, so i’d move the candles somewhere else & add another plant! unless of course, you’re going to throw a dinner party. because then i’d move all the plants & make it a fabulous bar!

  35. Can I ask how you are liking the west elm pendant? I’ve been eyeing that onion shaped one for my entry way but am on the fence about it. I have a pretty generously sized entry with tall ceilings, but it seems pretty substantial! I was scorer ring the interment looking for photos of it in real people spaces and found your post!
    The room looks killer by the way!! LOVE it all!!

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