dining in

 

I am a little obsessed with dining rooms.

Maybe it's because I've found myself in quite a few of them of late -- in family homes all over the map, in clients' homes, in my own. For the longest time, I have puzzled about what it is that makes a dining room work and what makes one that doesn't. Is it the furniture, the color palette, the lighting? And it can't possibly be all about the food, as I've had wonderful experiences in the dining rooms of some seriously good cooks, and equally great times eating take out in the dining rooms of those not so culinarily inclined.

After lots of consideration, I've come to believe that the good dining rooms worked because each of them, no matter how different they looked, were warm, beautiful, functional spaces that made it easy for the people in them to connect to each other as well as enjoy the food. The other thing they all had in common? Comfortable chairs.

Really.  That's one of the keys to a perfect dining room. Comfortable chairs. It is absolutely impossible to want to sit around and talk and eat and be with your people if your seat is uncomfortable. So. When I'm designing a dining room and know that I'm looking for no end of options that offer both beauty and comfort, I begin (and usually end) with Chairish.

Before I get to the chairs, I should mention that I've got this beautiful thing to work with.  Nothing like having a vintage Saarinen tulip table as the anchor for your room. And I so love an oval table. Much more welcoming -- especially in smaller spaces -- than anything with a corner.

A marble top and a pedestal base. It's a classic for a reason.

A marble top and a pedestal base. It's a classic for a reason.

And that leads me to the room itself.  Its a little space just off the kitchen. Not palatial, but it does have lots of light from all of the fantastic windows and more than enough space for the table and six chairs. I toyed with the idea of putting a big buffet in this room, or maybe a vintage bar cart, but ultimately decided that those pieces could come later, and only if the client decided that they were necessary.  Adding anything other than a beautiful rug, a cool chandelier and some interesting art would be too much. I kept it simple.

The dining room furniture plan.

The dining room furniture plan.

Alright.  On to the chairs.  As I mentioned, Chairish has so many dining chair options that it was a challenge to choose. I thought at first that I would mix it up. Maybe use four of one chair and two of another style.  I even considered using six different chairs. In the end, after all sorts of combinations, I surprised myself and went with a matching set.

I mean, honestly, have you ever seen such beautiful chairs?

I mean, honestly, have you ever seen such beautiful chairs?

The winning chairs were designed in the style of Charles Hollis Jones, kind of Hollywood Regency with glamorous materials. There are lots of reasons that I chose them.  The color first off, I mean, what a perfect blue. I love the slim silhouette and simple lines. And the Lucite legs -- they disappear and make the chairs seem to float -- especially great with the tulip base of the dining table. And besides being beautiful, the thing that really makes them the perfect chairs is comfort. These have plush upholstery and lovely high backs with a gentle curve to them. They are the chair to linger in after a meal and enjoy the other people around the table.

Once the table and chairs and table were selected, I went back to Chairish and found a gorgeous Ikat area rug and a glam 1970's chandelier. I couldn't help myself from adding the Andy Warhol painting, the Ernest Trova poster and the vintage Louis Armstrong print. They fit right into the client's collection of modern and graphic art, and are a perfect way to finish the space.

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And although I'm not really sure if my client is a good cook, I am so excited to be invited over for dinner. ❤️