When Ariel Roth’s clients,a young family of five in a suburb of Boston, asked her to dress down their formal dining room, she went right for the wallpaper.
“They wanted the rooms in their early 1900s Colonial to be fun and comfortable,” says Roth, an interior designer with Helios Design Group in the Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. They enthusiastically embraced her suggestion to cover all four walls of the formal dining room with whimsical wallpaper. “We used the word ‘happy’ a lot,” the Boston designer says.
The wallcovering she chose? Flat Vernacular Swallowtail, an organic, stone-like pattern in a mix of sweet and earthy colors. She pulled out the pink with simple drapes, and grounded the room by painting the millwork in Benjamin Moore Old Navy.
Photo by Michael J. Lee
I wrote about this space last year in the Boston Globe Magazine, a year ago. Here, I pulled similar pieces so you can pull the look together on your own. (Or call the designer, I’m sure she’d love to hear from you!)
Blue and white palettes and New England interiors are inexorably entwined. Designer Tracy Parkinson of Nest + Company does a fresh interpretation of Massachusetts coastal in this Abington dining room that I wrote about for Boston Globe Magazine.
Parkinson worked with architect Caitlin Struble of Winslow Design to breathe life into this corner of the house which started out as a dark sitting room that nobody used. They took down the wall between this space and the kitchen to let in light, then set it up as a dining room painted Farrow & Ball Shaded White, a tone that’s not too warm, not too cool.
Peter Fasano Vriksa grasscloth wallpaper from Studio 534 at the Boston Design Center lines the back wall as a light and airy focal point. “Both the husband and wife instantly reacted to this paper and had to have it,” Parkinson remembers.
To meet their storage needs, Parkinson designed built-ins for the lower half of the back wall, incorporating refrigerated beverage drawers and a wine fridge. Custom quarter-sawn oak shelves with a cerused finish offer woodsy warmth that ties to the extension table.
You can get a similar look in your own home without the pricey built-ins and custom shelves. Double buffets do the trick and there are ready made floating shelves in a variety of finishes – just be sure you anchor them securely. Check out the products I sourced, along with a couple straight out of Parkinson’s design.
With vaccine life on the horizon, I’m thinking that dining rooms might need sprucing up. Throw the kids and their laptops back to their bedrooms and classrooms, and reclaim your entertaining space. I’m sure you practiced plenty of recipes during lockdown. It’s almost time to put them to use for friends.
I love this dining room for its fearlessness. I’ve seen other dining rooms with Kelly Wearstler Graffito wallpaper and adore them. This one by designer Martha O’Hara takes it to another level by pairing an equally busy, but geometric rather than organic, pattern on the floor. Then, O’Hara prettifies it with a floral chandelier and goes for color with green velvet head chairs.