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A relaxing atmosphere for dinner was the goal for this dining room makeover

The color blue and a multitude of patterns helped set the mood.

michael j. lee

The owners of this Boston-area home wanted utter calm and comfort for their dining room, but their tastes skewed more multilayered than minimalist. The solution? A monochromatic scheme that doesn’t shy away from pattern. “They’re an active family of four who works hard and plays hard,” says Back Bay-based designer Lisa Tharp. “It was important that they relax over dinner in an atmosphere conducive to good conversation.” Taking cues from the wife’s treasured oil painting Floating, by Mia Bergeron (between windows at right), Tharp devised a scheme in blue tones from pale to almost black. “It’s an interesting portrait of a woman looking away, wistful and waiting,” she says. “I love the moody Prussian blue.”

1 By carrying blue through the fabrics and the walls, Tharp was able to use an unexpectedly bold pattern for the window treatments. Padded cornices help conjure serenity. “They bring a hush to the space,” she says.


2 A single brass sconce with ribbed ebony detailing by Barbara Barry for Visual Comfort provides interest and a bit of light in an otherwise empty corner. Tharp says, “A console with art above it sits to the left of the window, so we used one sconce for balance.”

3 The indigo damask backdrop in the title sequence of the PBS drama Victoria inspired Tharp’s choice of upholstery for the settee. She says, “I thought it would be fun to use it on the most traditional piece in the room.”

4 The Arhaus dining table expands for entertaining. The Oly side chairs with raffia seats and backs and the skirted chair upholstered in Kelly Wearstler Coquette, a hand-painted windowpane stripe, counteract the classic silhouette of the settee. “Like a good party, we wanted to mix personalities,” Tharp says.

5 The walls are painted Farrow & Ball Skylight with a matte finish, while Farrow & Ball Off White with a high-gloss finish on the ceiling helps suffuse sunlight. Tharp says, “A lacquered ceiling reflects more light.”

6 The Victoria Hagan ottoman, upholstered in chocolate velvet with polished nickel nail-head trim, is a modern touch, as are the clean-lined vessels, by Los Angeles glassblower Joe Cariati, on the table.


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