Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sarah's House 4: Family + Dining Room

Stylish, sophisticated, and family friendly were what Sarah and Tommy set out to achieve when designing this relaxing, sumptuous family room.  To pick a jumping off point, Sarah invited Tommy for a coffee date and was inspired by cafe au lait: the perfect shade of neutral to go with the soft greys in the kitchen.

image via Double Oak Homes

Although it seems spacious, the family room is actually only 13' wide.  With a 7' long sofa and a pair with 2 side tables for drinks, the room is a little tight for comfortable traffic flow.  To solve this space limitation issue, Sarah picked a console table (in place of a pair of side tables) to go behind the sofa for storage and a place for drinks and a lamp.  Before I go further, here is the floor plan:

What's so ingenious about this layout is that instead of having a sectional sofa, Sarah went with a chaise lounge and had it sitting right next to the custom sofa.  This combination provides the same amount of seating as a sectional, but allows for maximum flexibility for these pieces to live in a different space in the future.  One tip when buying a sofa for the family room: you may want to consider picking a deeper sofa with a more up-right back, especially if you are placing a console table behind it.

Loving the fabric mix in the room. The stripe on the sofa is balanced by the solid cotton on the chaise. With furniture pieces all in neutrals, Sarah and Tommy picked a collection of fun fabrics for visual interests and textures. To further enhance the pattern play in the room, Sarah sourced a fantastic rug with a traditional motif but a modern execution.

Can't you tell I love fabrics and pillows?

I also love the media unit Sarah and Tommy built from IKEA's kitchen cabinets.  Set at counter height and paired with shaker style doors in dark ebony, these ready-made units saved a bundle.  To give them a custom touch, Sarah picked granite to go on top and added antique brass donut knobs for drama.  One tip from Sarah: to make your big box built-in more like a piece of furniture, leave a little space on either ends next to the wall.  This custom built-in my friend is your one way ticket to clutter free family living!

I love the modern interpretation of these classic wing back chairs and that shell chandelier from West Elm!  For $599 a chair and only $269 for the chandelier, these pieces offer impact and drama without breaking the bank.  Speaking about adding impact, why not adding an accent fabric as a band on a pair of ready-to-hang drapes?          

Let's step into the Dining room:

Boy oh boy, I am in love with this dining room! Sarah and Tommy wanted to make a statement and to inject excitment in the space for an ultimate dining experience. The jumping off point for this room came from a set of vintage Royal Doulton dishes. For $275 a set, these inspiring dishes (love the leaf motif!) offer Sarah and Tommy the perfect color scheme: blue, turquoise,and charcoal grey.   

And of course is the perfect complimentary color to go with this saturated blue palette? Green! You see green in many of the accent pieces and check out the peacock feather as plate setting.

Scale is also the key in this room.  Sarah and Tommy decided to take on a less is more approach in the dining room: larger in size but less number of furniture to ground the room.  Here is the furniture layout of the dining room:

When designing a dining room, pay special attention to the dining table, sideboard, and chairs of your choice.  These are investment pieces and are likely to stick around for awhile.  So take your time and pick wisely.  Sarah and Tommy had gone everywhere to look for an unique, interesting, vintage dining table that seats 10 and less than $2,000.  After hitting consignment stores and even made a house visit, Sarah ended up with a new production with a beveled edge, aprons along the side (even on the leaves), and traditional aesthetics from Elte.  An art deco sideboard in rich wood tone was Sarah's secret weapon to wow her guests in this delicious dining room.
With the table and sideboard narrowed down, Sarah found a set of 8 dining chairs for only $125 a piece and even after being reupholstered, these chairs would only cost about $250 each (fabrics extra I assume).  Now where could you find gorgeous dining chairs for $250?  To up the wow factor, Sarah used three different fabrics on these chairs: blue linen on the back, rich mohair on the seat, and a wide blue/white stripe on the outside back.  Another  tip from Sarah: when working with an upholsterer, spend some time going through the plan and how the fabric will be applied.  In this case, the white stripe should be at the center so the blue stripes would blend in seamlessly next to the chocolate brown frame.   
A tufted Jude bench in front of the window offers extra seating during small dinner party.  However when the dining table is fully extended, the bench can be pulled up to the table and this dining room is ready to serve 10!  Love the ambience in this dining room with then light is dimmed.

image via Double Oak Homes
If you are looking for an inexpensive way to create interest, why not add a chair rail in the room?  Installed anywhere from 28" to 42" above ground, a chair rail offers you the opportunity to put one wall covering above and a different one below.  In this case, a deep blue grasscloth was applied on the upper wall, while a sumptuous watery blue is painted below the crisp white "wall divider".
To add glamour and to liven up the shades of blue and turquoise, Sarah and Tommy went with gilded/golden accent.  The wood ornate chandelier is the perfect example of casual elegant.  A pair of antique sconces was also installed for ambience.  More tip from Sarah: you don't need to have the sconces matching to the chandelier.  It is all good so long that they echo each other in color and style.  I also love the pair of round mirrors, especially with their rustic wood finish on the outside, but muted gold on the inside! 

Sarah set out to create a bold, daring, sophisticated, and elegant dining room.  I couldn't agree more!  Thanks again for HGTV Canada for all the amazing pictures and if you have missed the other episodes, you can check out my recaps here

Now as part of my weekly recap, I would like to show you the treasures I have found at my last visit to one of Sarah's favourite consignment stores.  If you are in the market for a new set of dining chairs with Sarah's magic touch, here is your chance for a set of 10 Stephanie dining chairs in blue/grey velvet with pewter nailhead detail. 

Now if you are in love of the exact ones in the dining room, they are available at Of Things Past!  Thanks Pam for this picture on the left.  She spotted the set back in August and now they are down to $2,324.75 for the set!  What are you waiting for? Start the car!!


  1. For the first time ever, I hated a Sarah Richardson room. I love eclecticism, but that dining room set my teeth on edge, starting with the blue grasscloth and continuing to the striped rug and horse's head art.

  2. Someone started the car and snapped those babies up! They are perfectly sold. My mom and I were there today.

    The dining room didn't shine on TV. In person that dining room was gorgeous. When I think back to Sarah's signature dining rooms they always pack a punch. Remember the one from the show house in Vancouver? Yummy polka dot chairs. It may not be my taste but it was stunning! I thought the idea of having the bench there for extra seating was so brilliant. And the grasscloth was lovely. SO many people are critical of the seams but grasscloth should show seams - it is all part of it as each sheet is unique, non?

    As for the family room. I LOVED the whole thing and you know that I have been dreaming of that Dash and Albert rug for a long time.

    Great recap.

  3. Well, you really have a good post. I gained an idea on what to do with modern sectional sofas at home. I will make it more stylish as what you do.