When Rachel Dunham’s clients, a Lexington family of four, asked her to follow the great room she designed for them with a new look for the dining room, Dunham’s first move was to replace the table and chairs with more substantial pieces. “The ones they were using were too small for the space,” the designer says. They also needed to upgrade the builder-grade light fixture and add window treatments. As for the mood, the family wasn’t interested in formal or stuffy. “They use the space when friends come over,” Dunham says, “so they wanted fun and approachable.”
1 “It’s nice to have a couple of upholstered chairs for guests that might need somewhere very comfortable to sit,” Dunham says. The pale gray and white performance fabric adds subtle pattern, texture, and softness.
2 Rhode Island furniture maker O&G Studio crafted the timeless table and Windsor chairs that are meant to become family heirlooms. “I don’t like a matching set,” Dunham says. “We chose an ebony finish for the table and oyster gray chairs.”
3 While Dunham didn’t set out to create a combination dining room and library, the collection on the bookshelves infuses personality. “The books were haphazardly stacked on this Room & Board shelf, so we sorted and styled them,” she says.
4 Sheer drapery with an irregular raindrop pattern tempers the windows’ hard lines and helps finish the large room. “There’s no need for privacy out back so those are nonfunctioning, which saves on fabric,” Dunham says.
5 The 48-inch chandelier by Arteriors works well with the 96-inch-long table. “A light should be one-third to one-half the length of the table,” the designer says.
6 The overdyed blue rug from Linda’s Barn in New Hampshire takes cues from the existing wall color. “Oushak-style rugs hide spills better than solid rugs,” Dunham says. “The low pile makes it easy to move the chairs in and out.”