Date: October 27, 2020 | Story: Stephanie Maxwell Newton | Photography: Rett Peek | Styling: Lauren Cerrato |
Before & After: Designer Katherine Spicer helps a Fort Smith family freshen their dining room’s style while incorporating beloved pieces
Sometimes you don’t know exactly what a room is missing until you see it completed. That’s how it was for Leslie and Aubrey Ziegler, who worked with interior designer Katherine Spicer to refresh several of the interior spaces of their new-construction home. “We had a bunch of hand-me-down furniture and this and that from our old home,” Leslie says. “It was my mother who said, Leslie, you built that beautiful home, now you need to hire someone to help you finish it.”
Leslie’s mother, Linda Thompson, decided to take matters into her own hands. She put her daughter in touch with Katherine, who immediately saw the potential for a more dimensional dining room. “The main feature they wanted to keep was the hutch, but it blended with the color of the walls,” Katherine says. Rather than re-painting, the designer picked out a plaid wallcovering that would coordinate with the color below the chair rail while providing contrast with the wooden hutch.
Around the table, Katherine replaced mismatched wooden chairs with more comfortable and stylish upholstered options, as well as an antique church pew gifted to the Zieglers by a friend. “Katherine was great about incorporating things we already had but in completely new ways,” Leslie says. “The bench was sitting on the front porch, and I walked past and thought, Oh my gosh, we have to use it somewhere,” Katherine adds. Linen drapes, framed art prints, and a bright coat of paint inside the hutch complete the look.
“They were a little skeptical about wallpaper at first, but when they saw this pattern and the scale and color, it was a no-brainer.”
—Katherine Spicer, designer
The Zieglers’ wedding china on display in the hutch pays homage to both Leslie and Aubrey’s love of science and their careers as medical professionals. “These dishes show all different botanicals, and I just loved how it shows the common name and Latin name,” Leslie says. Across the room, Katherine hung two framed, large-scale botanical prints to play off this collection.
A tray table that formerly belonged to Leslie’s mom was turned into a bar. Over it hangs a framed print of “The Painter’s Honeymoon,” a memento from one of Leslie’s trips to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
Katherine chose solid drapery panels to coordinate with the room’s paint color and wallpaper. “Draperies always add some softness and coziness, and that additional fabric creates more interest,” she says. Linen fabric with a tailored pleat echoes the comfortable yet traditional aesthetic of the room.
The Perfect Move
Sconces that coordinate with the chandelier were originally placed too high on either side of the window. When they were moved to make room for the new draperies, Katherine had them installed on either side of the framed botanicals to create a focal point on what was previously a blank wall.
Palette & Pattern
Blue performance fabric on the chairs and bench cushion pull the hue from not only the inside of the hutch and antique rug underfoot, but also other rooms throughout the house. “We have diamond shapes scattered here and there throughout the room, and I positioned the pattern on the back to kind of repeat that,” the designer says.
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