Before + After: A New Dining Room Designed Around Art

One thing is that non-negotiable for me is the use of pieces in my clients’ homes that mean something deeper to them than just pieces that fill a space. If a client has a collection of some sort, a collectible passed down over the years, something they truly love and adore, then by all means we will find a way to make it work. This dining room space was the first room we designed for this client. We knew the plan was to work our way through her whole house but during our initial client meeting we both decided that the dining room, one of the first rooms you see when entering the front door, was the perfect place to start. During the tour of the rooms within the project scope, she paused to pull an art piece out from a closet and said, “If there is any way to use this somewhere, I would absolutely love it!”


Photos by French Blue Photography


Sometimes cherished pieces don’t make sense in scale or aesthetic, but this particular piece became the crown jewel of the dining room! My clients visited Napa Valley over the years, and during one visit, saw this painting in a gallery. They passed on purchasing that day, but on their next trip, that same painting was still available, so they knew it was meant to be. They purchased it to be shipped home to Houston, and kept it stored in the closet, not knowing where it should be displayed.


With that kind of story, it only made sense for it to be featured in the room that sees the most guests, and where they can all enjoy the wine they love from Napa and elsewhere! Open wine racks finished similarly to the overhead beams added such a great whimsical touch in this space as well without detracting from the art.


Photos by French Blue Photography


It was also important to keep the 120” dining table and console (that used to have a heavy hutch attached above) because these were the first furniture pieces the two of them had purchased as a married couple. Here's a quick glimpse of the before...





As those pieces could look heavy on their own, we decided to lighten up on the chairs and go with wire framed leather side chairs, and added luxe custom slate blue velvet host chairs with a modern silhouette. We decided to keep the wainscoting, but threw in a modern twist with this gorgeous deep blue paint above.





With darker furniture and deeper colors for the walls and seating, we selected a contrasting light colored herringbone patterned wool rug, custom made for the room size, and treated for stain resistance (have to watch for that wine!). I’m happy to report it’s held up well for these clients and their friends.



Photos by French Blue Photography


Overhead we chose a brass circular chandelier with exposed Edison bulbs for a little dose of dazzle. With two long rectangular pieces in the table and console, the circular shape of the light fixture softened the room with a more feminine finish. It's hard to tell in the daylight but the chandy light reflects the shimmer in the delicately gilded leaves of the artwork and casts a gorgeous glow at night.


I’m about ready to open one of those bottles, how about you? What was your favorite part of this transformation? Let me know below in the comments.



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