7 Designers Share Their Wisdom On Dining Rooms

From the ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME fall issue, seven designers share their favorite dining rooms, plus their personal philosophies when it comes to creating this crucial space within your home. 

traditional dining rooms
Interior Design by Todd Peter and Vance Burke
Architecture by Home Front Build
Photography by Cristopher Nolasco
Project Location: Hancock Park Los Angeles

In a 1920s remodel of a traditional-style home in Hancock Park, the client wanted a family-friendly update that was more in tune with their lifestyle. They brought in Greg Roth of Home Front Build to do the renovation, and Todd Peter and Vance Burke to do the interior design. Roth affirms, “We transformed a nearly-one-hundred-year-old house with a closed-off warren of kitchen, pantry and maid’s quarters into an open, inviting and comfortable home for a young, energetic family.” Burke adds, “The midcentury table and chairs in the dining room were inherited pieces that we used in a previous home. We opted for a colorful and informal pattern on the walls that spoke to a traditional past, with contemporary coloration, and still keeping the Asian touchstone.”

Interior Design by Greg Howe, Searl Lamaster Howe
Photography by Tony Soluri
Project Location: Wilmette, IL

In Wilmette, Illinois, a 2,200-square-foot home for clients, who are avid gardeners, makes full use of the abundant natural light. Greg Howe, of Searl Lamaster Howe explains that “The dining room features stained white oak floors, clear anodized aluminum doors, polished stainless steel and a white milk glass and metal dining table. Half of the 30-foot expanse of glass on the south wall can be opened, visually and literally expanding the home’s small footprint. Instead of window coverings, an overhang at the second level was scaled to block the extreme summer sun while maximizing direct sunlight in the cold months.”

modern dining rooms
Interior Design by Adam Court, OKHA
Architecture by BOMAX Architects
Photography by Mickey Hoyle and Karl Rogers
Project Location: Cape Town, SA

A Cape Town beach house was given a new lease on life by OKHA and Bomax Architects. OKHA’s Adam Court says, “The color palette of the furniture and décor is kept neutral to accentuate the modern luxury feel of the house and allows each piece to be distinctive. We create interiors that take time to absorb and assimilate, they are full of subtle but important details that one becomes aware of over a period of time.” Court continues, “Originally the large granite boulder was to be moved to make way for open planning. The client felt the textures and character of the rock were more valuable than the space. It was sandblasted to bring out the natural colors and is now a sculptural feature in the house.”

Interior Design by Mary Delaney Interior Design
Architecture by Belsey & Mahla Architects
Photography by Michael Moran
Project Location: Manhattan, NY

This East Village penthouse was a gut renovation of a 19th-century townhouse. Erika Belsey, of Belsey & Mahla Architects, comments that “The dining area is one quadrant of a large living space which includes a bar and a reading area. The client wanted an oasis amidst a manic city but was not interested in a neutral palette. The goal was timelessness with rich, tactile materials. The striped floors are only used in the living space, creating a virtual carpet, since the clients’ family of foster cats prohibits the use of carpets. The floor-to-ceiling mantel is a celebration of the depth and beauty of natural Saint Laurent stone, quarried in Italy. Why hang a picture over the mantelpiece when you can have nature’s work?”

Interior Design by Jenny Madden Design
Photography by Wes Tarca
Project Location: Brooklyn, NY

A Brooklyn family was renovating their existing townhome when a newly constructed property arrived on the market. They abandoned their original renovation plans and switched their design team to the new home. Jenny Madden remarks that “The dining room was a blank slate; the clients are naturally inclined to more traditional styles, but they had a few midcentury-modern pieces in their collection. Starting from scratch felt like an opportunity to embrace a more eclectic style.” Madden continues, “They came to us with the East Asian quadriptych, and we designed the built-in bar and buffet with it as the central element. The traditional oil painting is a family heirloom and I love the way it is juxtaposed against the stark modernity of the home’s windows.”

dining rooms mural
Interior Design by Melissa Morgan Design
Photography by Stephen Karlisch
Project Location: Antonio, TX

In a 12,000-square-foot, newly constructed San Antonio, Texas home, designer Melissa Morgan wanted to create a “showstopping dining room with fantastic color and drama.” Morgan explains, “We selected the custom, Gracie Studios wall covering first. It’s the star of the show. We then chose the furniture and the draperies. One of the best elements of the entire house is the use of wallpapers. We were able to use quite a few in very dramatic spaces; they are transformed into art. The home reflects the owners and is filled with items they love. It is elegant and sophisticated, yet comfortable for a young family.”

Architecture and Interior Design by Steve Henry, BAMO
Photography by Ka Yeung
Project Location: Lake Austin, TX

BAMO was charged with making a 1940s era Lake Austin fish camp/nudist camp/rodeo ranch into a world-class spa and resort, while making it feel like “your best friend’s Hill Country lake house,” notes Steve Henry. For the newly constructed 1,075-square-foot Aster Café dining room, BAMO used traditional local materials like limestone, native cedar, corrugated metal, and screening, along with elements like barn doors and simple, large-scale furnishings. Henry says, “The color palette is residential and evocative of a hill country estate. The deep blues create a cooling and calming element in the hot and humid climate. We pulled heavily from the natural Texas environment and local wildflowers, particularly the Texas Bluebonnet, which was beloved by Lady Bird Johnson (First Lady to President Lyndon B. Johnson, 1963 – 1969) and became the inspiration for the Blue Room.”

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