Dining Rooms Serve up Eye Candy

This dining room by John Saladino is located in a New York highrise. It's a personal favorite of mine and has been for years. There's not one special piece of furniture in it, in fact, there isn't even a dining table, just a couple of linen tablecloths thrown over a nondescript piece of plywood. The chairs, though, are beautiful - but there are only four. The other four are probably scattered around the apartment, awaiting a dinner party. What sets this dining room above other more furnished ones, is the gorgeous mural painted on the back wall. It's a garden scene and a trellis can just be seen arching in the middle and along the bottom. The sparse display of flowering branches on the table sets off the mural perfectly. In his book, Style by Saladino, this entire apartment is featured and Saladino goes into great detail of how the mural came to be. The artist did further work for Saladino, but never, in my opinion, did he achieve the perfection he did in this dining room.

This dining room, by Cathy Kincaid, is another favorite of mine. It's a complete opposite of Saladino's in that the room is loaded with antiques, furniture, chairs, and accessories. Yet, somehow, the room remains light and airy looking, almost like icing on a white cake. The room just sparkles, helped along by the crystal lamps and Vaughan chandelier. The open back Patina chairs with short slip cover skirts exposing delicate thin chair legs add to the overall lightness of the room. Though the table is a dark stained over-sized antique, it is barely noticeable in the room. The french doors leading to the next room have mirrors instead of glass in the panes, further adding to the ambiance. Notably, the room's only color comes from the blue and white porcelain and the hydrangeas.

Wow, I love this dining room. Fiona Newell Weeks designed it for her own home and it's stunning. The walls are covered in a blue and white Farrow and Ball damask and the wallpaper is the focal point of the room. Without it, the room would not be half as striking. It takes guts to use a paper like this in a dining room, but Fiona is known for her bold strokes. The whimsical boat chandelier plays up the room's youthful feeling. Is there any doubt that the owners are fun loving people? I love how the khaki color plays against the blue and white and how skillfully Weeks repeats the color - in the chair's wood stain, the leather upholstery, the frames' mats. The unusual oval shape of the mirror further sets off the young, adventurous feel of the room.

This dining room features Swedish antique furniture and elegant Niermann Weeks chairs. Simple seagrass keeps the quiet, simple tone going. That is, until you look up at the lighting fixture. An absolute stunner, it was commissioned by the designer, Jacqueline Segura, especially for this family's beachside home. The artist who makes the fixture was challenged to expand on the size of the glass blown ball. Little bits of round crystal attached to the iron, gives it subtle sparkle. Again, the chandelier gives off hints that this family is young and full of life.

This dining room's draperies become it's focal point. The designer, in dealing with tricky arched windows, uses square top valances to solve that problem. The quiet two toned stripe is matched by the softness of the linen material. Large blue and white porcelain vases on the mantel play up the room's height. The chandelier all curvy, matches the round table.

Fabulous French detail makes this room a stunner. The gorgeous antique gilt and wood chandelier matches the rustic feel of the table and the buffet. Simple, oversized white plates rest on the wood shelves. Dreamy blue and white toile slipcovers - what could be more French?

Young, hot designer Windsor Smith showcases her own dining room. I love the wallpaper, an aqua handpainted design. Gorgeous. Simple sisal matting on the floor and mismatched chairs and benches lend more informality to the room. Silver pitchers filled with leaves are an unusual centerpiece. Domino's current issue showcases this room if you want to see more of it.

Ah, I know this room well. The house was on the cover of House Beautiful this year and it belongs to a good friend of mine! Houston designer Carol Glasser and the famous English designer and author Katrin Cargill turned a traditional English house into an authentic Swedish home. Each piece in this room, and the entire house for that matter, was bought especially for it. The chairs are reproductions, but it's hard to tell that. The chandelier is a Swedish period antique. The walls are soft pink with traditional Swedish handpainted flowers not visible in the picture. There's no rug to cover the difficult to achieve limed floors. Once inside the house, it's hard to believe you are in Houston, not Sweden, so faithful to the design were Glasser and Cargill.

Symmetry and silk drapes become the focal point in this room designed by Birmingham designer Mary McKee. Luscious silk drapes paired with bamboo blinds is a favorite of many designers today. Choosing short skirts instead of upholstered seats brings the formality down a notch. Impossible to overlook, highlighted in the middle of all the symmetry, is the drop dead gorgeous double, crystal chandelier.

I've saved this picture for years and have no idea who the designer was, but I've always loved the romantic French screen on the wall. It's an unusual place for a screen, but somehow it works here.

Pam Pierce, Houston great, uses linen as her focal point. The tailoring of the skirted table is unusual, but so effective! A few bold antiques - a large trumeau with attached sconces, a French chandelier, period arm chairs, oversized bowl - is all that is needed to make a simple dining room special.

Here the shades become the focal point, along with the large, gorgeous French chairs. The only color - a purple hydrangea.

The room is beautiful, the walls are lacquer perfection, but I show it to highlight a design that puzzles me. I absolutely never understand two tables, the same size, in one dining room. Here, the designer, Markham Roberts, tackles the issue by using two different tablecloths. Somehow, he pulls a quirky design off.

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