The unfurnished, empty space - View from the Open Kitchen Area
For some, one of the most challenging aspects of interior design is walking into a completely empty room and trying to envision what it would be like furnished. Not everyone has the "vision" to picture a blank space designed, decorated and ready to go. So, here is an example. This before and after example appeared in the Washington Post, "House Calls" column on Thanksgiving Day, 2005.
This small apartment was purchased by a young couple who wanted a contemporary, yet comfortable space to use for dining and entertaining. Because the kitchen was open and easily accessible to the dining area, there were many functional possibilities for the design. What I created was a unique color palette of soft pink and chocolate brown and added a dash of "sparkle", sophistication and installed timeless furniture that would not seem dated in five or more years. Shelving, placed in the room, provides an area for the couple to display important objects, frames with family photos, candles or simple arrangements of flowers. I also suggested the installation of crown molding, around the base of the ceiling, to give the room a simple architectural detail that would help to "finish" the it off nicely. Every space is unique, therefore I believe every design I create must be especially tailored to the unique style and wishes of the client, while being functional and livable. Pictured above is the empty room and below is a conceptual, three-dimensional rendering of the room decorated, painted and filled with furniture and accessories.
Here is a list of some of the items used to decorate/furnish this dining room:
Again, it is important to add architectural interest with crown molding and a chair rail around the perimeter of the room. It's an inexpensive, elegant detail. Anchor the room by painting walls below the chair rail Benjamin Moore, "Whitall Brown" in an eggshell finish. Create visual allure with Benjamin Moore's sheer "Odessa Pink", in an eggshell finish, above. Paint all trim Benjamin Moore's, "White Dove" in a semi-gloss finish.
Choose a dining table and chairs in a dark espresso finish to complement the floor. Table shown here is custom-made. Upholstered arm chairs, also custom designed, are finished in a chocolate brown velvet and the side chairs in beige velvet with a brown velvet fabric welt trim.
Formal window treatments will elevate the space, such as Stripe Silk Taffeta draperies in an almond or beige color. Retailers such as Pottery Barn, often have such draperies available for purchase. The draperies are hung to the sides on simple nickel-plated hardware. Simple sheers hang between the drapery side hangings. Let draperies "puddle" on the floor in a very formal style.
Additional furnishings include an etagere for storage, (this one, the "Gatsby" Etagere with espresso finish, from Plush Home, Los Angeles) and a mirrored console from Neiman Marcus to the right of the staircase under a Raindrop mirror with resin disks from Oly Studio.
Above the dining table, is a "Piper" chandelier with nickel finish is from Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams.
This particular dining room, has deep brown bamboo hardwood floors that are enlivened with an 8-by-10-foot "Shabby Chic" Scroll Pink Rug to complement the soft pink paint color on the walls and contrast with the brown color used throughout.