Work in Progress | Before & After Dining Room

It’s fun to ooh and aaah over finished projects, but cool and exciting things are happening over here and I want to show you what’s going on during my projects. I’m starting this series with a project I’ve been working on with a lovely couple in Vermont. They moved into their house about nine months ago and since then, I’ve been helping them incorporate their own personalities and style into their home. It has come along way, and we still have so many fun plans for each space but here’s what we’ve done so far.

The first thing we decided to do is paint the dining room and the adjacent breakfast area we turned into a lounge for entertaining. (The lounge will be featured in my next before and after series so stay tuned). Paint adds so much impact and in just a few days your spaces can look dramatically different. When the homeowners moved in, the house was painted in a buttery yellow. It looked nice with the white trim and toffee hardwood floors but it wasn’t exactly what the homeowner’s wanted their dining room color to be. They were hoping for a more classic, modern look to go with their furnishings, so I chose Benjamin Moore Gray Horse, a warm grey which adds a nice contrast with the existing white trim.

The client has a huge ornately framed mirror that we hung on the wall between the windows. It’s a statement piece and is the first thing that stands out when you walk into the front door and look into the dining room that’s directly to the right of the entry. The square dining table you see in the photo is temporary and will be replaced with a rectangular teak table that is currently being refinished. The rectangular shape will fit better in this space since it’s a long room.

We switched out the traditional goopy light fixture that was out of scale for the space and installed a custom linen drum pendant with a brass stem and acrylic diffuser. It’s beautiful in the space and produces a lot more light than the other fixture. We also hung it lower than the original fixture which is about 36″ from the bottom of the fixture to the dining table top. I like to hang lighting lower over tables than you would in an entry or space when you’re walking underneath a fixture. Low lighting creates more intimacy and draws your eye down into a space.

One of the favorite challenges of my job is to integrate new items with clients’ existing furnishings and decor. You really have to step back and look at things from the client’s perspective and think about what they would like or dislike after studying what they currently have and want to keep. We’re using the existing metal wire chairs and draped sheepskins into each chair to add texture and comfort. Sheepskin and furs are great for throwing over wire framed furnishings to create more mass visually.

After the dining room was painted, we needed to add warmth and color back into the space. I did that by choosing a beautiful hand knotted wool rug with a washed look to ground the furnishings and define the seating group. Our next focus will be the window bench. I’m still playing around with pillow combinations, but I’m drawn to the concept of this living room with colorful pillows and mixed patterns. The seat cushions will be in a neutral linen-like fabric to match the dining pendant so that the focus is in the pillows. I love these hand blocked linen fabrics because they have sort of worn, hand-made look to them.

Another small change we made to an existing piece was change out the hardware on this beautiful medicine cabinet.  We also replaced the standard round nickel knobs on the existing built-in cabinet with brass floral knobs to add a touch of personality and style. It’s all about the details!