Style Watch

Designing a family room that can withstand young kids

Vibrant touches and wisely chosen materials make this room fun and practical for a couple with 5-year-old twins.

Jessica Delaney

After years of living in their small Cape-style house, a Needham couple was ready for more space. Expanding was nearly as expensive as rebuilding, so they had plans drafted for a new house in the same location, and they hired Dina Holland to design the family area. The new residence has an open kitchen, eating, and living space where the young family spends the bulk of its time. “The homeowners wanted the space to feel timeless and traditional,” says Holland. “But they have 5-year-old twins, so there’s no sense in having it feel stodgy and stuffy.” Holland kept the backdrop neutral and made the room feel young and fun with vibrant hued pillows, subtle patterns, and distinctive textural elements.

1. Tan linen West Elm sofas are enlivened with throw pillows made from vintage Vietnamese textiles.

2.Club chairs are upholstered in navy blue performance velvet that echoes the color of the kitchen island behind them, which is painted Old Navy by Benjamin Moore.


3.Bar chairs upholstered in a navy and white ticking-stripe pattern were scored on One Kings Lane. “They aren’t the most durable, but we got them for a great price,” says Holland. “So if they end up getting dirty, it’s not the end of the world.”

Jessica Delaney
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4. Round polished-nickel pedants from Visual Comfort give the space a little shine.

5. The kitchen backsplash is made of white ceramic tile laid in a Moroccan-style pattern with gray grout. “It feels classic with a fun twist,” says Holland.

6. A large coffee table would have impeded the room’s traffic flow, so Holland selected two square tufted ottomans from Made of faux leather, they’re also durable.

7. The custom-cut jute and chenille rug provides another textural dimension.


8. A print depicting citrus slices by Angela Hardison adds color to the dining area, where the family eats most meals.

9. Woven bamboo roman shades supply privacy and light screening. While they have a casual appeal, black binding on the edges adds a modern touch.

10. A pedestal wood table by Crate & Barrel is paired with Lucite Ikea chairs. “The room gets so much light, and the chairs reflect the light in a nice way,” says Holland.

11. A vintage Persian rug suits the color palette and is perfect for under the table, says Holland. “A patterned rug under a table where kids eat is your best friend — it hides stains very well.”