Thoughts on Styling the Dining Room

Sunday, March 8, 2015

First of all, a huge thank you to everyone that commented and emailed me with such kind words about my dining room project reveal last week. You guys make my day!

With the reveal fresh on my mind, I thought I would share my thoughts on dining room styling.   Here's the thing.  You need to keep it S.I.M.P.L.E.  Are you surprised to hear me say that?

 Think about it.  You're having his side of the family, your side of the family, and a few of your favorite friends to celebrate ______________.  You're going crazy with menu planning, shopping, thinking about who should (or maybe who shouldn't) be sitting next to whom, what wine to serve with that new recipe, and a million other little details that need to be tended to before the big event. Do you really want to go through the hassle of clearing lots of  accessories off of every surface before you set the table and prepare the buffet? I know I don't.

Raise your hand if you love this dining room by Stephanie Sabbe as much as I do. I think it perfectly illustrates that simple can be dramatic.  And you could get in there and set that table lickety-split.

In my client's dining room, a silver tray holds a collection of family ironstone pieces that  is easily moved to set up for entertaining.

And that's why I like to keep things simple in the dining room.  Agreed?

Have a great week!

If you live in the Chattanooga, TN area and you're looking for an Interior Decorator, please visit my website to learn more about the design services I offer and to view my recent projects.

Client Project Reveal - Classic Blue and White Dining Room and Powder Room Refresh

Saturday, February 28, 2015

What an exciting day!  I have a recently completed project to share with you, and this dining room is one of my favorite projects to date.  If you're visiting today from The Pink Pagoda, surely you're a fan of classic blue and white interiors. I'm so glad you stopped by and thank you Jennifer for featuring my work!

First, I want to share a little background info.  We've taken the slow, steady approach to decorating this home.  It's a big brick Georgian style home - very traditional - which suits my clients' aesthetic.  They love classic design elements and the husband has a keen eye for antiques.  One of the concerns and challenges we addressed was their desire to keep their home from feeling too formal. They're a young family and they wanted their home to have a relaxed, fresh feel.

Here's the inspiration photo.  The only inspiration photo. The wife knew exactly what she wanted.

No argument from me..This is gorgeous!

When the project began, I had this antique china cabinet and their dining table to work with. Here's a "before", as a reference point.

And now:

Blue and White Bliss.

My clients loved the Farrow & Ball Lotus wallpaper but were hesitant to wallpaper the entire room.

So I had the walls painted (Benjamin Moore's Niveous), which is the same color we used in their entry  - it's a pretty, ivory white.

And then I had the walls professionally stenciled with this pattern.  The blue we used for the stencil design is Benjamin Moore Palladian Blue.  If you look in the top right corner of the photo above, you can catch a glimpse of  Palladian Blue on the ceiling. 

The antique sideboard is a Scott's Antique Market find, as is the Persian rug.  My workroom made the sheer linen shades and I sourced the Italian silver candelabra, lamps and other accessories for them.

The husband found the chairs at auction (10 of them!) and, after some debate, I had them lacquered with Benjamin Moore White Dove and had the seats recovered with blue faux ostrich.  The fabric choice was met with a little hesitation, but with 4 small children it's a practical choice that they should enjoy for years to come. The ironstone pots and pitchers and the silver tray they're sitting on are family pieces.  I love their simplicity and pretty form.

We also recently refreshed their powder room off of the foyer.  My client loves blue and white, so again we went with this classic color combination - but in a modern context.

In this room we added a chair rail with box molding below and a fun blue and white geometric print wallpaper. They opted to keep the white pedestal sink and brass fixtures. 

There was just enough room behind the door to add this lucite console and a few baskets under it for easily accessible storage.  I think every room needs something natural so the baskets and the framed pebbles add some soft, organic texture.  I love the juxtaposition of the natural elements against the modern print of the wallpaper.  Do you agree that contrast creates interest?

Once again, I thank you for stopping by to have a look at this fun project.  And thank you to Jennifer at The Pink Pagoda for featuring the dining room on her blog.  Have you visited her online shop?  Lots of opportunities to add some classic blue and white!

Have a great week!

If you live in the Chattanooga, TN area and are looking for an Interior Decorator, please visit my website to learn more about the services I offer and to see my recently completed design work.

When my schedule won't allow me to post to my blog, you can find me on InstagramFacebook, and Pinterest. Follow along!

An Open Letter to My Potential Clients

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Dear Amazing Potential Client,

First and foremost, I'd like to thank you for the (potential) opportunity to work with you in what is most likely your biggest financial investment - your home.  I believe that your home should be your most special, most favorite place on earth.  I also understand that it takes a pretty big leap of faith to put your trust in someone else to create a haven that reflects your personality, and I get how scary and how overwhelming the whole process seems to be.

Here are my suggestions to help you get the most out of our relationship.

1.  Get me involved in the process as early as possible.  The best possible outcome will be realized if we start working together in the planning stages, and certainly before any paint goes on the walls or any new purchases are made.

2.  If there is a significant other, let's make sure they're involved from the beginning as well.  It's a waste of our time and your money for us to come up with something you love but he/she hates.  If both parties have input from the beginning - even if you don't share the same style, the entire process will work more efficiently.

3.  I'm sure you've heard the expression, "If you love it, it will work".  While there is some truth to this statement, it's not without limits. As in, "I fell in love with this comfy, overstuffed dark brown leather sofa AND I want a light and airy space that reminds me of my perennial garden in the spring". Now I'm not one to shy away from a challenge, but clearly this would be a huge obstacle to creating the feel you're working toward.  (Refer back to #1.)

4.  It's okay with me if you want to take the slow approach.   In fact, if you don't have a lot of money set aside for decorating, you'll get better results if you decorate over time.   I work with several clients who are decorating their homes over time - as long as a few years to complete a room.  We're making changes and adding things as their time and budgets allow.  The key is to have a design plan to guide us through the process (refer back to #1 again).

5.  Trust me! This is tough for a lot of people - and I get how hard this is - but give up a little control and let me do what I do. It's my job and my area of expertise to visualize your space in a big picture sort of way, so let me lead you a few steps out of your comfort zone. Whatever it is you're unsure of  will make sense in the end.

6.  Be realistic about your budget.  This doesn't mean we're going all high end everything.  Quite the opposite. But there are some pieces that are worthy of a bigger investment.  Like the sofa the entire family will be lounging upon. And we'll want to include a few custom items.  Nothing elevates those thrifty finds like professionally made window treatments and a few beautifully made pillows in special fabrics. (Refer back to #4).

And finally, have fun with it!  Decorating your home should be an exciting and fulfilling process, so relax and enjoy the ride!

Happy Decorating, and I'm looking forward to working with you soon!

If you live in the Chattanooga, TN area and you're looking for an Interior Decorator or help with a Design project, please visit my website to learn more about me and view my recently completed projects.

When I'm not posting to my blog, you can find me on InstagramFacebook, and Pinterest.  I welcome you to follow along!