Style Watch

Dining divine in a 1860 Victorian

A recent renovation gave West Newton homeowners just what they needed: a vibrant space for entertaining.

“I wanted the room to reflect the lively, entertaining spirit of the household,” says interior designer Jill Litner Kaplan. “It’s a fun, visually stimulating, exciting space.”

Michael J. Lee

“I wanted the room to reflect the lively, entertaining spirit of the household,” says interior designer Jill Litner Kaplan. “It’s a fun, visually stimulating, exciting space.”

The owners of this 1860 Victorian Mansard in West Newton are “the life of the neighborhood,” says their interior designer, Jill Litner Kaplan. Frequent entertainers, they use their dining room constantly. With its coffered ceilings, wainscoting, and south wall of windows, the space is lovely, but it needed sparkle. “We shifted from a room that had been traditionally decorated to one with a more glamorous, funky, upbeat feel,” says West Newton-based Kaplan. Inspired by the family’s love of France, the redesign features furnishings with French flair, a color palette grounded in deep taupe layered with pink, fuchsia, and peach, and dynamic patterns. It’s already dazzling dinner guests.

The West Newton home’s dining room.

1 > THE PEACH-COLORED GLASS CRYSTALS in the homeowners’ antique French chandelier inspired the room’s color palette.


2 > SILK DRAPERIES embroidered with multicolored leaves, by French manufacturer Casamance, feature “an explosion of color in a sophisticated way,” says Kaplan.

3 > THE SEAT OF THE 19TH-CENTURY FRENCH BENCH is upholstered in a traditional ikat pattern by Castel. The bolster is covered in a striped Osborne & Little pattern. “I like to mix up fabrics, as long as the color palette is contiguous,” says Kaplan.

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4 > THE SILK SWIRLING PATTERN on the wool Michaelian & Kohlberg rug incorporates customized colors of fuchsia, berry, wine, and coral pink.

5 > CHAIRS BY PLANTATION upholstered in velvet Nobilis fabric replaced wooden ladder-back chairs.

6 > THE CHERRY BUFFET and Venetian glass mirror, among the homeowners’ existing furnishings, complement the new decor.


7 > A HOT-PINK FEATHERED AFRICAN HEADDRESS, among the homeowners’ possessions, makes for a bold focal point.

8 > WALLS ARE SHEATHED in a taupe-toned Phillip Jeffries grass-cloth covering. A bit of subtle metallic thread running through it adds glamour, Kaplan says.

9 > A SILVER-LEAF ETAGERE by Oly Studio nicely fills in an empty corner of the room that needed focus, says Kaplan.

10 > TO ADD GLITZ to the fireplace, Kaplan replaced its surround with iridescent glass mosaic tile from Urban Archaeology.

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