Every once in a while, a perfect client falls in your lap. Almost always these clients are referred to you by a past, also phenomenal client. Such is the case with Lisa. Her sister Natalie and I worked together on one of my favorite projects last year (here), then updated her living room without buying any new furniture at all (here) and then redid her son’s room (here …which reminds me I still need to get photos of that finished space!). In short, Natalie is my kindred decorating spirit so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that her sister Lisa’s dining room project went so splendidly. Really, just a joy from start to finish.
Lisa and her family had moved into a new home and had a formal dining room but no dining room furniture. She decided to tackle this room first because it’s the first room you see when you walk in the front door. Here’s where we started.
Great bones, lovely window, wainscotting and hardwoods for sure but not without its challenges. For starters the paint color and lighting which they inherited from previous owners were not doing this pretty room any favors. The room also has several entry points which makes designing it a little bit challenging. It has one large opening from the foyer (top right photo), another to the family room (top left photo) and still another to the butler’s pantry (bottom photo).
Since Lisa is outside of Atlanta and I am in Boston, I started the same way I always do with eDesign clients – she emailed me photos of the space, I had her fill our a design questionnaire that helps me understand how the space will be used, what she has vs. what she needs, budget, timeline, etc and measure the space for me. From there I like to come up with an initial floor plan (using the client’s measurements) that incorporates some first pass items. She wanted seating for 8 but was pretty much open otherwise. I tried a few different tables and even tried it in various orientations in the room. The biggest question mark was where to put a buffet/console piece such that it didn’t impede flow (back to all those openings into the room!)
Here is the initial plan I presented her for the room.
I immediately saw the space as taking on a lighter, softer overall feel with some pretty neutral pieces accented with hits of blue and navy. As with all good projects, this design evolved and went through a few different iterations as we added some things and lost some things along the way. Originally I wanted to do the walls in a slate blue grasscloth. While that certainly would have been spectacular, I was willing to lose the grasscloth in order to make room in the budget for a showstopping light. The light wasn’t part of Lisa’s original list of “wants” for the room but I really felt like we could do so much better than the existing light we were starting with.
I hope you’ll agree – that 26″ beauty is pretty perfect in the room!
Though most people wouldn’t think to start with a formal dining room, I really commend Lisa for doing it because this room could easily have spent years as the catchall dumping ground space that you feel obligated to make uncomfortable “yea, we just haven’t gotten around to it” jokes about when you have people over. But instead it’s a gorgeous room she can be proud to host people in.
Just as we wrapped up the dining room, we decided to give the foyer a little love since it was looking very bare and sad compared to the newly outfitted dining room space (decorating domino effect!) It was really an exercise in choosing 2 key pieces – the console table and the runner both of which I’m crazy about – and then adding some fun styling elements.
I can’t tell you how happy I am with this whole project. Anytime you can make a space pretty and functional for a great family, it’s a win in my book. Thank you to Scobey Photography for all of these great images.
We worked on this for about 4 months as we bought items, edited, waited for sales, etc. While I don”t reveal the sources used in a paying client’s design, I am happy to tell you that every single thing in this room cost less than $3,700.
If you have a space in need of some love and are interested in eDesign services, please send me an email! I’m currently booking clients for the end of October.