Welcome to the Griffith Park classic, yet modern dining room. Rarely do we get our hands on a really formal and large dining room, and this one had so much potential because the architecture is so pretty – large doorways, crown moulding, and big windows. But pulling together the PERFECT elements did take some time – you don’t just stumble upon these things, especially when you are going more formal.
When we started the job the room looked like this:
They already had that big traditional dining table and the drapery, but they didn’t have enough chairs (nor did I think those were the right vibe), they also wanted a more modern chandelier, and some dramatic wallpaper.
And boy did that wallpaper amp up the room. That room gets a lot of light and is broken up a lot by doors and windows. We knew it could handle a neutral colored pattern, and we love how classic and yet modern this wallpaper is by Catherine Martin.
After our first big install we took some scouting shots (before styling). All the large pieces were in, and it was already such a lovely room – but it needed a few elements to make it look more homey.
Let’s chat about rugs under dining tables as I know it’s controversial. My feeling is that it’s generally unnecessary and can be, well, a food and drink magnet. But this room NEEDED it, it was big and with the wallpaper and the table both being so dark, we needed to lift the room visually. It’s also not going to be used too often (as they have a breakfast nook they eat in daily). The room was feeling cold and dark and the second we brought this in it felt so bright. The rug we used is light, with some texture but no pattern (as to not compete with the wallpaper). We suggested that the family get this stain treated to help with stains and spills 🙂 I’ve used white cowhides frequently in eating/dining areas but kilim or flat woven rugs with a pattern are good as well, as they are a more low-pile than a Persian style rug (the busier it is the better it hides accidents and spills).
The chairs were A BEAST to lock down. Finding 12 chairs that matched is challenging in itself. Kym and I were adamant about upholstered seating (especially for those longer meals you really want to be super comfortable). We wanted them to warm the room up with some wood, and when we found these with wood and caning we insisted they pull the trigger (we ordered one first to make sure we liked it in person). They are from West Elm, but sadly I don’t think that they are for sale any longer.
A note about the lighting – if you want to go modern in a classic/traditional style home, then a good thing to think about using a chandelier in the space – just a modern one. Going for multiple pendants or one large pendant could work, but this vintage chandelier (similar found here) is super modern, but still works in the space because it references a traditional more decorative chandelier – both in the detail, finish, shape and scale.
A couple months later when we shot the whole house, Ginny and the team came in and styled it all out.
We decided to style the table fully set because we rarely get a room this formal that says, ‘dinner party’ so it felt like the right time to dress it up.
The art direction was ‘formal, but simple’ and they did a beautiful job.
I love how season-less this table setting is – it could be for fall, winter, spring or summer or any occasion. I love the addition of the amber water glasses. A quick note – they used my white dinnerware from Snowe on the table that I bought last year when we moved into our new house. I love how simple they are, how well they stack, how light-weight they are and they are fired to not break. We went from having Mudd (FAR too fragile) to having some earthenware (far too heavy and cumbersome for a daily use) and while this was more of an investment we all love them. I love the dinner plate, salad plate, and bowl but the pasta bowl (seen above) is one that we’ve never used. For the fixer upper I bought Target’s version of the dinnerware – super basic and simple, but more affordable.
That table setting is also great for conversations. The candles are high enough that you can see under them, and the flowers are low so that they don’t get in the way. It has drama and looks high-end and pulled together, but there really aren’t very many elements and it feels so doable to me – plus those candle holders can live there when the table isn’t set.
On the other side of the room they have this credenza which we all loved (despite wanting it to be 5″ higher).
We kept it simple with a sculptural lamp, that amazing Tom Dixon tea set (which they already had) and a pretty flower arrangement. This was the only wall that we put anything up because it craved a mirror. But we didn’t want to busy the room with actual art, nor did we want to put mirrors everywhere. The wallpaper, windows, and chandelier all really popped and felt enough to us.
In that beautiful bay window we put a round game table, and mixed up the chairs to bring the black accent over there as well. Oh to have windows like that – they are just stunning.
Thanks to Ginny and Mel for executing the design and Erik and Emily for styling assistance during the shoot. I LOVE how this room turned – the mix of classic and modern feels edgy and yet totally appropriate. There is a lot of interest and drama without a lot of stuff or busy-ness.
If you are into this look and curious where things are from, here you go. Any vintage pieces we tried to find similar to help you get the look.
1. Wallpaper | 2. Round Mirror | 3. Table Lamp | 4. Credenza (similar) | 5. Gold Tea Set | 6. Drapery | 7. Accent Chairs (similar) | 8. Accent Table (similar) | 9. White Ceramic Vase (similar) | 10. Candle Stick Holder | 11. Wine Chiller | 12. Marble Chess Set | 13. Glass Vase (similar) | 14. White Bowl | 15. Cloth Napkin | 16. Flatware | 17. Chandelier (similar) | 18. Salt & Pepper Set | 19. Dinner Plate | 20. Amber Water Glasses | 21. Wine Glass | 22. Coupe Glass | 23. Dining Chair (similar) | 24. Dining Table | 25. Table Runner | 26. Rug | 27. Textured Ceramic Vase (similar)
***Photos by Tessa Neustadt.