A Modern and Organic Dining Room Makeover
Yesterday we revealed the living room of my friend’s home, and today we are on to the Dining Room. With the way that the house is designed and the layout of the space, this is one of the very first rooms that you see coming into the house from the front door and it also opens up into the kitchen and the adjacent family room/tv room. We wanted something formal because the house has a lot of serious architecture, so something eclectic would feel weird. But as someone who is the #1 proponent of comfort these days, we really wanted to make sure that it felt soft and comfortable.
When we started to design this room, Corbett already had the lighting fixture and the table which were beautiful pieces. Lucky us. So our goal was to bring in a sense of personality, warmth, and femininity to the space. The hard lines and concrete needed to be softened, and with so much wood and gray, we could use a small dose of America’s new neutral – blush.
We found these beautiful chairs from and covered them using stain-resistant fabric, and we think they are pretty darn perfect. A bit of a backstory, originally they had some stunning Paul McCobb metal and wicker chairs that were cool but also NOT comfortable or practical for a growing family of 5. Plus they were 50 years old and falling apart, but most importantly nobody ever sat in them which meant nobody ever sat in this room.
We looked through quite a few chair options but ended up landing on these for a few different reasons (in no particular order). 1) Scale: the scale of the room, table, light fixture, and space are large. Big table, big room = big chairs. A smaller chair or something that didn’t have a bit of visual weight to it would have looked bitsy and accidental. 2) Comfort: as mentioned before, the family eats here every day and since they have 2 babies they are having more people over than usual. Not only do these have a bit of cushion to them, but also have a high back and a bit of a raised edge – all which make them EXTREMELY comfortable to sit in. Which you know I appreciate when I get invited to said entertaining/parties. 3) Style: the space can feel cold and stark due to the modern architecture, cement floors and hard lines. So we needed to bring something in that felt soft, inviting and had a bit of a curve without being a total contrast to what was already going on in the room. The lines on these chairs hit all of those boxes and the fabric which is a super soft blush pink from brought in that feminine touch. And last but not least 4) Durability: no matter how well behaved you or your kids are, spills will happen. So the fabric that covered the chairs had to be something that could not only resist wear and tear but also resist stains from food spills and wet-bottomed kids and adults that come in directly from the pool.
Let’s talk about that fabric for a bit. As you know, I’ve had Crypton on my dining chairs for over a year now and, although they did reach out about working together, it was only after I had used, abused and tested that fabric every single day (with two messy kids). Crypton is stain resistant and much more durable like an outdoor fabric is, and yet IS a soft indoor upholstery fabric.
We picked a (similar found ) for the chair fabric which looks like an open-weave linen but is stain resistant. If you missed the before and after pics of our dining room chairs from yesterday then click through here to see the proof. We have LOVED it, but remember stains don’t magically float away – you still have to apply a wet rag and dab/rub to remove. But it’s super easy. Even if you are the cleanest person in the world – spills, messes, and life will happen and for those times you will be grateful that you can simply wipe it away or easily spot clean it with their simple . But basically it just requires a bit of water, detergent and a little scrubbing and your chairs look as good as new.
Once we had the main pieces in it became time to accessorize the space. Corbett had been collecting seascapes for a while and it was time to showcase them. Some were framed, some weren’t and there just wasn’t enough of them. Luckily I had 3 collecting dust in my garage and once we brought them over and saw them together we felt that the vintage/antique vibe of them made the space more interesting. My first thought was to do two large-scale pieces of modern art, and while that could have looked GREAT it also could have looked cold and hotel-y. And these people aren’t cold.
We started playing around with them on the floor creating a layout but most of them were unframed and the entire collection started to feel a bit thrifted and not as high-end as we needed it to feel for a house like this. Could the unframed collection work in another house? Absolutely, but this house needed to have a high-impact moment and framing all of them to create a cohesive yet curated collection is what the wall and art needed. We took out anything that felt too bright from the collection and also kept it pretty tonal and moody to again help it feel more high-end and less “eclectic and funky”. I let her “borrow” a few of my seascapes (and we all know that I will never be getting those back), but I love this collection so much and can give it much more appreciation and love on her wall than I could to the pieces while they were in storage.
Up on the table we continued the “collection” theme and brought in these pieces for the shoot from . He is a local ceramicist here in LA that makes really beautiful and simple pieces that we knew would create a lovely tablescape for the shoot. A quick tip when it comes to styling large spaces like the table or the wall behind it. Consider using collections of items that all work well together and visually create one unified “moment” versus a bunch of different things that could end up looking chaotic and messy. It all depends on the vibe that you want; we wanted modern but interesting, so keeping it simple with multiples of the same object made it high impact in a quiet way.
By keeping this collection in a tonal palette (just like we did with the seascapes) we were able to bring that high-impact moment to the table without trying to futz around with a bunch of different objects that would compete with each other.
Although this could work well in a home, this tablescape won’t make it in their home due to the fact that “6 under the age of 5” hands were going to be around that table and a collection of handmade ceramics is not exactly the MOST kid-friendly option. So for everyday life we removed all of the smaller pieces and instead kept one large piece for them to have on the table.
Over on the built-in credenza, we kept the styling very simple, again so as not to clutter the space, and created a collection of ceramics on the left that helped echo the moments happening on the table and in the little bar area on the right. They REALLY like pottery 🙂
The modern vessels help to contrast with the more antique-y prints while still being similar enough to the items on the table so it doesn’t feel like we were introducing another contrasting moment into the room. This is a good tip to keep in mind when you have large open spaces like this. A few collections, even if they are placed around the room, will feel cohesive and calm as long as they are tonally and visually similar enough.
On the opposite side we brought in this lamp from which helped to bring some height to the other side of the credenza; it also echoed the dark metal on the legs of the chairs. And it added some much needed eye-level light to the space as the only other light in the room was the overhead lighting.
We framed the remaining seascapes over the weekend at a place in the valley that charged $20 – $80 each, which is CRAZY CHEAP. In a perfect world, they would be more eclectic and high end, but man was that a good last minute solution.
The space now feels warm, inviting, and comfortable, all while retaining that modern and high-end quality that the house needed. I KNOW you have a million questions about the kitchen and that beautiful wood. We’ll get to all of that, but know that Corbs had an amazing vision that she executed so well. I can’t wait to show you more (and yes, it has been a huge inspiration to me as well).
If you are into the look then here are most of the pieces all rounded up for you.
Thanks to Domino and for partnering on this post and Brady for helping style and execute the design. All photos by Sara Tramp for EHD.
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