by Lise Lalonde
A slightly rad traditional room
Is the dining room the hardest room to decorate in our homes? Make it too formal and everyone is afraid to use it. Make it too trendy and you’re stuck with dated, large-ticket items.
Residential designer Sheri Krug solved the dining room dilemma when she styled with pieces from The Brick. Mindful that a dining room is for socializing, she aimed for a formal setting, “really treating it different from the rest of the home, making it a more dramatic space for entertaining”. She enveloped it in dark colour and opted for traditional furniture, selecting items which favour subtle details and texture. Then she spiked the neutral shapes and tones with ornate accents. By switching out the paint and accessories, this dining room can easily change its look, “without incurring major cost.”
LL: What should guide you when decorating a dining room?
SK: A dining room set is something that you will live with for most of your life. So choose something that will last the test of time. This table drew my attention because of its for-mality and elegance, but it could easily be made more contemporary. That’s how I ap-proached each piece — could it be versatile down the road?
LL: What are the practical considerations?
SK: Think about the size of your pieces and the size of the room. Also consider the comfort level of your guests, how many people you’ll be entertaining, and how you like to entertain so that you allow for different kinds of lighting. The intent of the dining room is to really enjoy your company. So comfortable seating is important. Allow for a three-foot path around the perimeter of the table for chairs to be moved in and out and for people to pass by comfortably.
If you’ve got the room for it, buy a table that allows for one or two leaves, so it can grow as your family grows. Think durability and comfort. Neutrals or slightly patterned and textured materials are imperative because you’re inevitably going to have something spilled on them. So, high-polyester content in any upholstery. A removable seat cushion is handy as well should you want to reupholster the chairs in the future.
LL: Which elements make a dining room feel formal?
SK: Ornamentation and attention to detail. Moulding on the furniture. Inlay on the wood. On this table, they’ve taken real care and attention to the horizontal surface, with its di-amond-patterned inlay and different use of the grain. We’ve added a lot of scrolling in the accessories, to make it a little more traditional.
LL: How do you enhance a traditional style?
SK: With the integration of different pieces from different collections. These chairs are not part of the table set. The sideboard isn’t either. That allows you to personalize your din-ing room. A lot of people don’t know there is the option of purchasing the table or chairs individually. Also, mixing and matching of woods is a little more creative and adds personality.
Allowing for the secondary, higher-cocktail table with the bar stools in the corner is a very individual idea. If you’re doing larger entertaining it could be a children’s table. Or it could be a cosy corner for two. It has fluting on the edge and the elegance of its base allows for more visual interest. If you were to take the stools away to set it up as a bar or a buffet, the elegance of the table lets it stand alone. It doesn’t look awkward in the space.
LL: Why did you select these chairs?
SK: They have a slightly more contemporary look, and the design allowed for placement of extra cushions. This way you can integrate colour and texture while accommodating comfort levels for people of different statures. You could use them in other areas of the house, too, without them looking like dining room chairs.
LL: What makes the sideboard a good fit?
SK: It’s a traditional piece but it has a more contemporary line about it, it’s versatile. The smaller trim makes it a bit more streamlined. And if you wanted to change the look dramatically you could change the pulls on it and either contemporize it or make it much more traditional.
LL: What made you place the large living room-style lamp atop the sideboard?
SK: When we’re entertaining formally we’re spending so much time in the dining room, so it should be a place where you feel like you can relax. Some dining rooms you go into are so austere you lose that comfort level. By placing unconventional items in the space, as in a less formal area of the home, you’re allowing for more of a cosy feel. The wall hanging with the tapestry is another unconventional touch. To have a rug hanging from a scroll is a nice way to provide coziness and personalize the space.
Sheri Krug runs her own interior design firm, Sheri Krug Designs. She also co-chairs the non-profit architecture and design collective, M.A.D.E. in Edmonton, Alberta.
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