A while back I began emailing back and forth with Madison about her home in Liguria (yes, Italy!) and the trials and tribulations of remodeling rooms built in 1918. She asked me for advice on her dining room, and after collecting some inspiration and thinking about what would work best for her modern taste, this is what I came up with!
I started by going through my books of rooms for ideas and inspiration, and found a few spaces that went along with my vision.
Keeping in mind that we have an ocean between us, I tried to keep the designs simple enough that Mads could find similar pieces in Italy, hence some more ‘generic’ brands like Ikea, West Elm, Crate & Barrel, etc.
This is the dining room as is is now:
As I noted in my earlier post, I was using the blue tiles and walls as a base color, and wanted to add orange accents to the room, which Madison had already begun to do with the curtains. My first suggestion? An entirely different dining table would help open the room immediately. Something with clean lines and a more modern style to reflect Mads’ taste…
I also want to add some personality to the room! So a few more ideas for the main dining area…
I’m a little bit obsessed with the options for curtains in this room. I currently love the orange drapes that are hanging, but think they could be taken a step further by combining them with something a bit more casual and fun like the ones above from Anthropologie. I also think that combining a modern table with some chairs in a more classic shape is important. My favorite option might be the ones above from Brocade Home show showcase a classical shape in modern bentwood. I also think the chairs Madison currently has will work for now just fine! A simple jute rug (nothing too fancy) might also be nice under the dining table just to lend some texture and warmth. I picked out these ones from West Elm, but really anything will do! If a great antique rug (nice and worn and faded and full of character) popped up, that would also be wonderful! What else would look more perfect on an Italian table than warm orange-hued urns filled with some mossy plants? A small collection of miscellaneous pots would add a bit of warmth to the room for sure.
Madison has two different areas for sideboards in the room. This is one (above), and this is the other (below).
As you can see, one side is much too monotone with all the silver/grey and the other side very traditional with the antique chest and painting by her husband’s grandfather. My first suggestion? Switch the furniture around so that the chest is on the main wall of the room, under the mirror. My second suggestion? Get a sideboard for the other side of the room that is much more simple!
On the antique chest, try a modern tray like this one from Plantation. The glassware will pop off the tray and you want to try and mix up the old with the new a bit. Another favorite trick for trays is to find an old mirror at the thrift store to use ~ they provide an interesting shape!
You’ll also notice that all the items on the sideboard right now are the same height. This is decorating 101 ~ make sure when you accessorize you have variations of height! It makes a huge difference. Try a variety of candle holders. This is just one option from CB2, but don’t be afraid to mix and match old and new candle holders with uniform color candlesticks.
For the other sideboard, I have a few ideas…
I photoshopped some accessories together for some more detailed ideas…
This first one features a pair of lamps from Jamie Young that incorporate the orange and blue color scheme while adding more pattern to the room. In order to keep with the modern look, however, we can offset them with the collection of silver vases from Jayson Home & Garden. The bust (also from Jayson) provides a good balance between modern and classic as well.
The second option is a bit more along the lines of what I think Madison might have been going for. These classic lamps from Crate and Barrel are sophisticated and sexy. I also found this mirror at Oly that I loved because it picks up on the blue of the walls and adds a bit of texture.
The best part of these two console ideas is that obviously Mads can mix and match any of these options to create a look that’s right for her!
One last thing ~ let’s revisit the drapes! While I like the rich orange ones that are up, I think we could do better.
Adding some pattern to this room would be nice, and the drapes would be a great place to do it! Using a more modern floral pattern like the one above from Anthropologie is one option. I also think vertical stripes would lengthen the room a bit, and either of these patterns from Kravet would work (or a mix of both?). Also, as a simple way to add a bit of texture for now, placing some sheers under the orange drapes that give more depth and subtle pattern would be a quick fix. The ones shown above are from Pottery Barn and are just enough to lend some personality to the window.