We are living in The Era of the Open Floor Plan – a time when eating and living are one blended space and no one seems to want a separate dining room. I think that is a shame. Dining rooms are special places meant to hold family and friends close on special occasions. They are also a space that can turn a regular Tuesday night into something awesome.
Although the trend has been to have big eat-in kitchens, I actually added a dining room to the first floor of my house. The kitchen is often messy, with bright, downward lights shining on all the dirty dishes, pots still on the stove, and appliances humming, plenty of reminders that there is work to be done after the meal.
I wanted a retreat from the work space, a getaway for friends and family to enjoy our meal together, and let conversation flow without distraction. It needed to be a cozy space that feels intimate, beautiful and like a big hug.
Starting from scratch, there were so many directions to choose from. Here are a couple of the dining rooms that inspired mine:
Of course, I also wanted my dining room to be super stylish, with pieces that spark curiosity. The foundation for the room was the Kelly Wearstler wallpaper Channels seen here on the ceilings of these inspiration rooms. I matched the background of the paper with a fabulous Farrow and Ball paint Savage Ground that at first looked like a pair of nude stockings and made me quite nervous until the paper was hung.
Next, I focused on the light. As you can see in these inspiration rooms, the lighting always makes the room. (Also, amazing statement chairs!)
OK, here you can see it all coming together in my dining room below. The light is the Caboche Chandelier designed by the great Patricia Urquiola for Foscarini. My husband and I fell in love with it while strolling through lighting showrooms in NYC before we had even designed the room. We loved the warm glow of the gold. Though the clear option might have worked better with the wallpaper, I made it work by adding some amber knobs onto the art deco liquor cabinet seen in the corner. The oval Saarinen table with Rosewood top and the Gubi Beetle chairs with a Maharam fabric are not just stylish but classic and so very functional. The room was originally a bathroom and a small study that was opened up to create a cozy but square room. A round table looks great in a square room but I needed to seat more than a round would allow for so the oval was perfect.
One of my wonderful clients is an artist; he loved our dining room paper so much we chose Pierre Frey’s Mauritius paper in his dining room (below, left) as a backdrop for one of his early works.
In turn, he inspired us to use art that had meaning, including giant photos of favorite favorite movies from childhood; these are great conversation starter – better than politics! During construction some old magazines, newspapers and a membership card to a local club was found in the walls dating from 1898. I had some of these framed (below, right).
It’s interesting how a frame can turn something ordinary into something to be celebrated. Sort of like that Tuesday night dinner in a dining room.