A big part of our job as designers is to help people come up with solutions for challenging spaces. “I have this room that I’m not sure what to do with.” “There’s a room in my house that is meant to function as X but I’d rather it function as Y; how do we do this?” These are topics I encounter often. The most common space that confounds people is the formal dining room. As we evolve as a culture, the necessity of this space is becoming more obsolete. So what do we do when the home we love was built with this space? We can turn it into a sitting room, a play space for the kids, or another living room. But to be honest, I personally love the idea of leaning into its intended purpose. The formal dining room has roots in a common practice that has yet to evolve out of fashion: entertaining. Invite your friends over, make a delicious meal, and enjoy this space for what it is meant to be.
When I was asked to design a space for this article, the very first room that came to mind was a dining room. I love the glamour you can provide in this space. Growing up, my family made many trips to my grandmother’s home in a little Texas town called Rosebud. With a population of less than 2,000, a downtown strip of old, abandoned retail shops, hardware stores, and antique malls, and acres and acres of central Texas farmland, Rosebud looks like it fell off the side of the Earth and landed in the middle of nowhere. But my grandmother’s house was a respite from the wreckage. She meticulously maintained her gardens and landscaping: the facade was always fresh, with the grass mowed, trees trimmed, and topiaries groomed. Inside the A DINING ROOM Reimagined 18 IBB AT HOME home was a room clad in white, a formal dining/ sitting room with one purpose: to entertain and impress.
I drew inspiration from my grandmother’s dining room to design the space you see here. It’s a play on neutrals and textures meant to blend the old with the new with a subtle pop of color in the way we love to do it at IBB. I chose a stunning gold leaf wallpaper to add a soft glow to the ceiling that reflects its warm tone across a palette of neutral textiles and a gentle textured wallpaper to take the “dreaded” white walls up a notch by reflecting light and casting shadows. To blend the old with the new, a modern blownglass chandelier hangs above a traditionally inspired round dining table in a modern gray finish with brass accents to mimic the ceiling. Neutral skirted chairs add softness and more texture on top of the custom cut rug. A pop of color from the Mermaid Blue Silk draperies, part of our IBB Drapery Panel Program, and a beautiful fuchsia orchid arrangement from The Shay Geyer Collection provide a little interest without taking away from the idea of neutral glamour. Another pop of color is drawn from the art above the buffet, and a large mirrored China Cabinet reflects all of these elements from every angle, while hiding a collection of treasured dishes and flatware inside.
In this dining room, I envision a family of hardworking and down-to-earth people taking advantage of their collection of unique serving-ware and recipes, hosting their beloved friends for an evening of laughter while showcasing a little bit of glamour–not unlike the gatherings that took place in the dining room I grew up coveting in my grandmother’s small town Texas country home.