Date: September 3, 2020 | Story: Stephanie Maxwell Newton | Photography: Rett Peek |
Before & After: The owners of a 1905 Fayetteville home call on Jessica DeBari to reimagine their traditional dining room in a fresh new light
A passion for the past brought designer Jessica DeBari and her clients together for this dining room makeover. “We live a few blocks away, and our sons are about the same age,” Jessica says. “We’ve bonded over the trials of renovating older houses as well as antiques. We all love going on these little treasure hunts.”
Knowing Jessica had a background in restoration work, the couple called on her to help remove an unsightly mural in their new home’s dining room. “They have traveled quite extensively to France over the years, and they wanted to get the look of a French boiserie, a decorative floor-to-ceiling woodwork usually with a grand focal point on one wall,” Jessica says. Additionally, the designer assisted in finishing out the room with new paint, furnishings, and accessories that better suit her clients’ eclectic tastes.
First, the walls were coated in a sage green hue that plays off the natural elements of the design, including an antelope-print rug and antler mounts, as well as the green velvet dining chairs. Playful pieces abound to keep the otherwise traditional room feeling fresh. “We picked simple float frames for either side of the mirror to temper some of the fanciness,” Jessica says of the four pieces depicting blueprints for a French castle. Overall, the effect is a formal dining room that showcases its owners’ worldly style and appreciation for art.
Play on Palette
The walls and doors are painted “French Gray” and the crown molding is “Light Gray,” both by Farrow & Ball, and both with more green and beige tones than their names imply. The rest of the molding is a mix of the two colors, which plays into the theme of “subtle tonal shifts” Jessica was mindful of throughout the design.
The bar is set on an antique chinoiserie liquor cabinet from the homeowners’ collection. “That piece is one of his personal treasures he found in Austin, and it’s part of the reason we decided on black lacquered chairs for the dining table,” Jessica says.
Along with the table and chandelier, a flame mahogany sideboard is one of the homeowners’ existing pieces Jessica worked into the dining room’s redesign.
After helping the homeowners source and restore a 7-foot, 19th century mirror, Jessica designed an extension that would incorporate the new addition seamlessly into the chair rail and crown molding, thus completing the desired boiserie effect in place of the previous mural.
New Meets Old
Modern hardware from Rejuvenation is juxtaposed with the home’s original built-ins and various antiques found in the dining room. Its matte black and gold sheen echo the accent colors seen in the dining chairs, bar, and sideboard lamps.
The motif of deer and antlers throughout the room was inspired by a surreal piece of art from the owners’ collection (page 26). Over the bar, three Black Forest mounts speak to this theme while adding visual interest to the vignette.
Jessica scored a set of 1950s Maison Jansen black lacquered chairs from an online auction. Underfoot, the rug’s palette and pattern ties the whole room together. “The antelope print goes well with the antlers on display, and it has a little bit more of a modern feel that works with the historic furniture,” Jessica says.
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