Design ideas: black walls and lighter furniture create a modern dining room

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The owners of this condo in a 1910 house “loved the charm and eccentricity of the house…but wanted a modernity and contrast that would make the house their own,” says the designer.Sabrina Cole Quinn

When Cynthia Vallance’s customers asked for a dark, moody dining room, her first question was, “How far do you want to go?” Along with the designer, the couple, who recently moved into the Somerville condo with their 4-year-old child, opted for black walls paired with lighter furniture. As for style, Vallance opted for a mix of contemporary, mid-century, and traditional. “They loved the charm and quirkiness of the house, which was built in 1910, but wanted a modernity and contrast that would make the house their own,” she says.

1 A Room & Board extension table does double duty for dining and crafting. The shape of the top and flared legs lend a mid-century appeal while the Calligaris chairs are more contemporary. They are also lightweight, stackable and washable.

2 The jagged lines of the sculptural branch chandelier mirror the waves of the wallpaper. The chandelier runs the full length of the table to provide even lighting.

3 Vallance installed crown molding as a transition between dark walls, painted Farrow & Ball Railings and Abnormals Anonymous wallpaper – a longtime designer favorite – on the ceiling.

4 Hanging the curtains higher than the window frame makes the room look taller. “The couple agreed on the fabric because the pattern of the lines reminded them of the husband’s shirts,” says Vallance.

5 The bar under the leaded glass window is a unique piece, handmade in the early 1940s by Navy sailors as a gift for the owner’s grandfather.

6 The durable Loloi rug stands up to the wear and tear of a young family. Its traditional pattern ties in with the original elements of the home and counterbalances the funky pattern of the wallpaper.


Marni Elyse Katz is a regular contributor to Globe Magazine. Send your comments to [email protected]

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