Room Inspiration

Home design ideas: Working with imperfections in a dining room

The updated dining room of a Dedham house built in 1819.
The updated dining room of a Dedham house built in 1819.Tamara Flanagan

The first time Samantha Arak visited her clients’ 1819 Dedham home, she affixed a swatch of Sister Parish Appleton wallpaper to the dining room wall. “The dining room is the heart of this home, visible from every room,” says Arak, founder of Samantha Carey Interiors. “We wanted it to draw you in, whether that be for dinner or board games.” Her inspiration for choosing the fan-like pattern? The scrolled details of the cast iron insert of the period fireplace. “We did the dining room in phase two, but the swatch was still taped up there, covered in dust,” Arak says. “I never even showed them other options.”

1 A mirror with a gently rounded top sits on the mantelpiece. “There are two windows opposite the mirror, so it splashes light around the room,” Arak says. “It also catches the reflection of the chandelier; it’s almost like having a third window.”

2 The deep green color of the wallpaper plays nicely with the moody charcoal walls of the adjacent living room. The curvilinear pattern draws attention away from the old home’s not-so-straight walls.

3 Vertical touches — a Jamie Young ceramic lamp with incised stripes, a planter from Doublemint Home in Hingham, and the fluted frame of the sideboard — counter the room’s curved elements.

4 An Arteriors chandelier with arched arms and a scalloped shade provides interest and warmth at the top of the room without feeling blocky, despite the low ceiling.

5 A sculptural pedestal table anchors the space and allows for easy circulation, while the chairs’ airy silhouette keeps the room from seeming cluttered. Plus, the upholstered seats don’t require much fabric if the owners decide to update them.

6 A vintage kilim rug from an Etsy dealer in Istanbul covers the original heart pine floors. “The flat weave makes it easy to pull chairs in and out,” Arak says.


Marni Elyse Katz is a regular contributor to the Globe Magazine. Send comments to [email protected]

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