Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Wallpaper in an Open Concept House?

Finding Niches and Alcoves for Pattern

Many years ago I saw this dining room by Sarah Richardson, for a charity lottery house in Vancouver, in Canadian House and Home. I cut it out. I knew one day I wanted my dining room to look like this.
Since then, I have seen countless other gorgeous wallpapered dining rooms in magazines and books, and I'm sure you have, too. I wonder how many poets of the past ate in wallpapered dining rooms?

In the Master Class of the December/January House Beautiful, Alexa Hampton says, "Dining rooms can be challenging to decorate because the furnishings are so prescribed. A table and chairs, always in the center of the room, with perhaps a sideboard. How do you make it interesting?"

The answer, of course, is wallpaper.

But the dining room in my new house was actually a dining area, defined by a light fixture, a partial wall, and little else, part of a larger open space.

One advantage of an open concept house is the feeling of spaciousness, even in two thousand square feet. However, for one who loves pattern, the opportunities to wallpaper are not great, as I mentioned here. Besides bedrooms, and other separated spaces, like the powder room and maybe even the front hall, there are little spots which seem to want to draw attention to themselves. The pattern of wallpaper can help make these spaces special, as I have read.

In our dining room, there is a little bumped out space where our sideboard perfectly fits, which eases dinner time space issues.  At first I painted it BM Blue Grass, but then the whole front two rooms became Blue Grass, so it needed something else to distinguish it.

Something like this tropical house featured in the book Rooms to Inspire by the Sea, which I bought last summer.
(If I put grasscloth on my sloped roof, would it look like this one?)

Dining area alcove with Shand Kydd Budgie in aqua/green.

Here is the alcove in my house. If the wallpaper looks familiar, that is because it is in my bedroom with a different background colour.  Why so repetitive? Because I love it more than any other pattern and this colour wallpaper is almost a perfect match to Blue Grass.  How could I resist? I also think in a small house, it is comforting to the eye to have repetition of finishes, and that's a paraphrase of something I read Michael S. Smith write in his book Kitchens and Baths, which I have signed out from the library.

Here it is from a wider view, from the stairs.
Dining Room from above

Dining Room

The lamp is from my grandpa's house, as was the dresser I wrote about. The sideboard was my parents', which will be in a future blog, and is painted Georgian Green. I got the idea of putting beach sand in the base of the hurricane lamps from Frances Schultz's dining room in Bee Cottage.  The green buddha is there to confer peace on the diners. While I have read several books by Thich Nhat Hanh and Pema Chodron, and therefore influenced by Buddhism, I am not a real Buddhist. The hydrangeas were my birthday flowers.  The painting is by Manly MacDonald, a nephew of J.E.H MacDonald.

It does make the nook special, yet blends in perfectly, n'est-ce pas?
I think it is a little bit of my inspirational picture of the dining room by Sarah Richardson.

It makes me wonder if there is another little spot to use up more of the roll?  Yes, I have a few ideas, but I will save them for another day.

1 comment:

Susan Telfer said...

Excuse me, earlier readers, for the dark pictures. I have since taken more with a flash and changed them.