Opinions Solicited: Fabrics to update Dining Room

kswl2December 15, 2013

So, I have needed to update my DR for a few years now. We've had so much else going on that this was just a blip on the radar until New Decorator produced these when she was here last week to discuss the brick floor in the basement renovation. She had not been at ADAC shopping for me exclusively, but was looking for another job at Brunschwig et fils and pulled some stuff she thought might do for my DR. So these are from a single rep at the decorative arts center. I am making that point because although I like these (only these out of the 12 brought), they just scratch the surface of what's available--- and very expensively. Other points to consider: the silk curtains in a large plaid are staying, and I am open to toning down the walls of the DR by a few shades to a lighter red.

First up is a fab silk embroidered chinoiserie. It is perfect, yummy feeling and I love it, but it is about $350 per yard. With the designer's discount it would still be around around $240 per yard.

Second is a Kravet fabric that I also love. It is as close as you can get to plaid without being plaid. The background color looks especially wonderful with the pale limestone floor, and I think it plays nicely off the first fabric.

The third is a green tiny stripe with a woven raspberry fleck. I only like this one as a foil for the chinoiserie, as piping probably. I do not like the fabric by itself, it is too dark.

The question is, to use these fabrics or not, and where in the room? After a lot of looking and playing with the calculator I think the biggest bang for the Brunschwig red fabric is on the host and hostess chairs (piped in the green) and as a sideways runner across the table (backed in the green with a fabulous fringe, which would be used when the cloth is not on or when we are using service plates instead of placemats.)

Looks good on the table top and with silver:

The Kravet off white fabric would go on the seats of the other chairs and on the two upholstered shield backs on either side of the breakfront. But--- need contrasting fabric for back of those chairs that can also serve as piping -- maybe a solid in the lighter green? (Do NOT like the other green paired with raspberry fleck with this off white fabric.)

I first liked the idea of doing the fully upholstered chairs in the Bronschwig fabric, but up against the red walls--- even toned down--- they sort of disappear. They look good with the off white fabric, but might look equally good in the Brunschwig if the walls were a different color.

Existing curtains:
Best shot of true color of curtains (previous Christmas table):

Other side of room:

China cabinet at far end of room. The sideways blue runner (from a former DR) is the same size and shape the new one will be:

Note Chinese half lamp sconces, please consider how eitherfabric will look under these lamps:

So... Paint walls green or gold? Use these fabrics and look for one more? Ditch these all and start again? Call previous designer who came up with perfect array of paint colors and fabrics? He would be doing it by photo as he is in NY and I am here (although he has seen house and DR many times and harangued me to change old plaid stuff not chosen by him when we moved here 8 years ago). I am not used to having incomplete choices from a designer. Never had to ask previous one to go back and find other things. But, this one wasn't really looking for me for DR, just grabbing things on the fly from one rep. I do like these but not sure why she would suggest the super expensive fabric because heretofore, $90 per yard has been my virtual ceiling. And of course, now that I have seen it I want it but might be equally happy with something for half that if I knew it existed! :-(

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Annie Deighnaugh

While the choices are very pretty, for me, when I redo a room, I really want it redone so it looks very different from before. So in your room, I'd want to tone down or eliminate the red and amp up the green and/or gold so the room had a completely different feel...and the drapes could remain. But YMMV.

I'd also be concerned if the embroidery on the chinoiserie were tight enough to stand up to being sat upon and rubbed...same with the other fabric as piping which, on the bias and on the edge, can get even more wear.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 8:47AM
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Thematically the Chinoiserie fabric is perfect with the furniture.

I think that at $240 a yard you may be trying to maximize its impact and minimize its yardage and I don't blame you. But I think that it will get lost on the seats of the chairs and I would want something that I would be less concerned about spills on the seats.

I plugged Chinoiserie in the Thibaut search and came up with some similar patterns--in prints, nothing of the tactile quality of the embroidery. However, the point is, I think you could find something that has the visual impact of the of the Brunschwig Fils and possibly maximize its impact by using considerably more of it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Thibaut

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 8:55AM
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Ineffable, I have the Thibaut Oriental Toile (black on red) wallpaper in the adjacent laundry room, love those Thibaut patterns! It was chosen for the red dining room-- to look coordinated when the laundry door is open, as it is so bizarre to have a laundry next to a DR.

Agree completely there is a world of choice out there not as pricey as the Brunschwig. If I could find the right something else I could still use it as a sideways runner. What do you think about the Kravet? The blobs of red are raised and my first thought was that no one with bedazzled jeans could ever sit on that fabric, lol! It feels sturdy and durable, but anything that can be picked scares me a little.

Annie, I am trying more to update than redo. The furniture and curtains remain, and since the entire surrounding walls in the halls and LR and kitchen are green ( basically the main floor central public area) I wanted a small sea of red or coral. I am not 100% sure I want to lose the red either! I think perhaps I am seeking just refine and edit, if that makes sense.

The dining room in context, note green walls and pink and green and red everything else:

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 9:45AM
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I had the same reaction as Annie. All of these fabrics look like they could be added to your existing DR; if you are updating, what it the purpose of the update? Unless something is worn or not working, I am not sure I would make a change for a look that is very much the same ...

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 10:23AM
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Wow, kswl, I love your taste. I can't see the embroidered toile on your seats though; not practical for actually eating in the DR in my opinion. It is gorgeous but I like a chair to be inviting to sit in, and I'd be afraid to sit on those, especially if some food and wine were involved.

Using that fabric on accent chairs against the wall would work, especially if you changed the wall color. Since you have green in the adjoining room I'd vote for gold.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 10:26AM
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Really the only thing I feel like I NEED to change is both fabrics comprising the existing upholstery. I like the red, but am feeling it could be toned down--- refined a bit. Purpose of the update is to stay with existing color scheme and, well, update the fabrics. The current plaid on chairs is super dated. I have had it for more than a decade...it was actually not really "stylish" when I reuphstered the chairs with it then, but we lived in a very classic Colonial home and it was perfect there.

The embroidery on the silk is very tight and smooth and could be sat upon with impunity. However, it would not last very long (probably ten years at MOST, as we use our DR often). It would last longer if used on the chairs on either side of the breakfront--- they aren't used for nuclear family dinners. But an embroidered scene would need to be centered on both the seat and the front of the back (assuming we use a diff fabric for the back of the back). The repeat would mean a LOT of wasted fabric, which is why I thought a runner would be perfect in addition to whatever else is chosen. Maybe!

So, just not sure about these specific fabrics--- or how to integrate new wall color into existing scheme of green and red that surrounds this room --- and with which I am still completely in love. Have just sent previous ID all this info and can guess he will find perfect fabrics and colors for me on first pass. I hate to pay two people for advice about one room but I guess I should have known to go to him first.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 10:52AM
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Okay, I see your response above to Annie.

I don't think you should stray too far because of the context of the adjoining rooms.

I would go gold on the walls, us that fab chinoiserie on the upholstered chairs and for a runner. I like the off white Kravet for the chairs... or something simpler. I would also change out the drapes. I do agree with your designer about the taffeta plaid. Nothing wrong with it at all (I had a very similar plaid in a very similar DR in my last house), but it probably isn't something you'd choose today.

IMHO, if you aren't going to repaint the walls and change the WT, I would leave it as is and just buy a Brunschwig runner.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 10:59AM
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So two votes for gold walls--- I have considered it, but it could not really be yellow at all, but gold. Without being OTT. I would really prefer a lighter red/coral but that has to be picked in conjunction with everything else. (Jjim I saw your other thread about the chairs and want to reiterate how much I love your curtains!)

I haven't been clear-- well that's probably par for the course for me--- but the curtains are staying, it is the plaid CHAIRS and other chairs I want to change. The plaid curtains I had made for this room in this house, and still love the fabric. It is a large scale silk plaid of red, coral-y pink, gold and a watery blue green that is the starting point for all other choices. The chair plaid and the other fabrics (dustier red with embroidered blue green and gold thread dragonflies are dated (IMO) and are what I want to change. The extra chairs were reupholstered right before dragonflies became a cottage industry all their own--- the fabric is a Chinese jacquard that now looks dated/ trendy!

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 11:14AM
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Do you have access to a design center? We have 2 in LA and one allows customers to browse (no samples given). It makes a big difference when you can see large (floor to ceiling) fabric samples and you get to see much more selection than a designer could ever bring to your house.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 11:50AM
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I can totally see the gold walls in there. Also, I see you don't have a rug. If you miss the red, you could always find a rug with all of your colors; the golds, reds, and greens. I would then go fairly neutral with the chair seats but use something with texture that feels good when you sit down on it. Your chairbacks are so interesting I don't think you need more pattern on the seats. You could use accent pillows on your armchairs for more color. Your current drapes would be happy with all of the new "refreshed" looks.

Then when you are finished it will be a new look that still echoes the old. Sounds like that is what you are after. It's a beautiful room!

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 12:02PM
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Yes, I could go with local lady to ADAC in Atlanta. However, still need someone to point and guide and not sure she is the one to do it. Have never been disappointed by ID in NYC so am going to email him with entire problemand see what he comes up with.

But--- just for fu n--- IF you were going to revamp the whole room, curtains too, BUT keep the red/green with a touch of gold color concept, what would you do? Have antique mirror over sideboard, two antique botanical prints reframed several years ago, two wall sconces/pockets from Chelsea House, very beautifully finished green varnished wood with hand painted gold fleur de lis, all Staying. Persian Rose transferware previously belonging to granny Florence Mary could be eliminated.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 12:09PM
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Jjam I almost have a phobia about rugs under tables and chairs.... Seems very unhygienic. I had a rug under a table for about a week when my kids were small and that skivved me off the idea completely and seemingly forever. I like a hard surface floor under a table. Otherwise, that would be a great way to unite colors--- but all I've got to unite anything g is the large plaid curtains.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 12:19PM
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Just a thought -- for a complete change that still works with your gorgeous curtains (and blue-and-white china) -- how about re-painting the upper walls in white to blend with the paneling -- and the ceiling in a metallic (burnished) gold (Ralph Lauren paint?) ....and presto! a "neutral" room ....

For another (warm-weather seasonal) change -- perhaps consider white slipcovers for the chairs by the china cabinet? And seat slipcovers for the chairs by the table? Maybe add a monogram?

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 12:21PM
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I like Jjams and Teacats ideas. To me, the bright red walls are a bit trendy and I totally agree about changing that. I LOVE Teacats idea of a neutral room and using your fabrics for color. If you must use a color on the walls, I would go with the gold shade in your drapes.

I'm not wild about a table runner that matches any other fabric in the room - just my opinion, but that seems too "matchy" to me.


    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 12:27PM
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Possible gold-toned fabric for the two chairs by the china cabinet -- a simple gold linen which might change that area "just enough" to update the room?

And you could have the dining table runner backed with this fabric -- so you could do a fast change simply by flipping the table runner! :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Fabric guru -- possible fabric for two host chairs

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 12:48PM
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I read your post last night & was just going to suggest you contact your previous designer who knows your home & you trust. I reread the posts & see you did that. There are so many different directions you could go. There are those designers that know their client & can just put it all together. Lucky you for having one. Just picking paint can be so darn hard.
If the other designer picked out some fabrics on the fly, that should not be a large bill.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 3:03PM
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Seeing the room in the context of the others I would be tempted to get a sample of Thibaut Ting Yuan in gold for fabric and wallpaper and see what I thought of that on everything except keeping the existing drapes.

It could be interesting with, but it could be awful with, the existing drapes, I would have to see it in person.

Here is a link that might be useful: Thibaut Ting Yuan

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 3:38PM
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Pal, I love that print both for wallpaper and for fabric. I haven't even thought about wallpaper because of the strongly patterned Thibaut Oriental Toile in the next room over. I am afraid that a competing wallpaper will be Just Too Much, even for me. The fabric that is most likely to go is the tan background... I agree that it's a contender though.

Romy, the other designer is actually helping me with our basement renovation. She is going to be the liason with the contractor. There's more to do than I had first envisioned.... digging up existing tile throughout and replacing with brick, re working existing fireplace and movie screen built in, raising ceiling, redoing one wall, all electricity, etc. I mentioned the DR to her and she just picked them up, so I don't think it will be much in the context of her overall charges. I was just venting on principle. The original guy is always right---always!--- and he has done houses for my mother, SIL and friends. I'm dumping the entire thing into his lap. Still interested in opinions, though, because knowledge and knowledgeable opinions are always GOOD!

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 4:52PM
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What do you think of this wall color for your walls?
SW torchlight

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 10:35PM
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That's a lovely color but it is very caramel custard-y and not really gold.

The more I think about having a gold room opening on two sides into green hallways / entry and being next door to a room with very bold red black and cream chinoiserie toile wallpaper, the more I am leaning towards keeping the room some iteration of red/coral/raspberry or white.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 11:16PM
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I, obviously, love the red room. How can red be trendy? The White House has had a red room for about 200 years....

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 11:19PM
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Please, please keep the walls red. Red is classic for a DR, and it is the perfect coordinating color for YOUR home. Golds are difficult to get right.

Also, keep your drapes and pick an awesome fabric for your chairs. I also like the idea of a coordinating or solid for the center of your table if you are not using a rug. You should really think about a rug, though, now that your children are grown. I find that I don't get food under my table unless it is a few bread or cracker crumbs - sweeper takes care of that :).

I use a lot of greens, reds, and soft yellows, so of course, I LOVE your home. Glad to see you haven't jumped on the "shades of gray" bandwagon.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2013 at 7:37AM
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I know it's "been done", but what about BM Wilmington Tan for your walls? It's not mustard-y at all. It's classic for a reason....it's beautiful in itself and plays well with others. That being said, if you love red in your DR, I don't think it's trendy. I had one for awhile and found it hard to live with because my DR opens right into my kitchen. It was a bit much first thing in the morning. If you keep your room red, I'd steer toward the gold/green for your fabrics though.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2013 at 7:43AM
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I understand wanting to keep the red! I keep trying to pick a new color for my dining room, which I painted red 10years ago, but I can not find inspiration that I like as much as I like red dining rooms. I have a picture in my idea folder of a coral papered dining room that I almost like as much as red walls. the room also has silk plaid curtains but with less red and more coral, so not sure if a color of this nature would work with your curtains, but it would possibly give enough of a change but with out losing the vibrant warmth the room presently has.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2013 at 8:03AM
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I also don't think red is trendy---- if anything, down here it is considered more a southern cliche, lol! This is the part I think is so difficult, coming up with a truly cohesive concept and having the fund of knowledge (and encyclopedic knowledge of fabric styles and companies) to come up with the right selections. I find when items are selected piecemeal the end result--for me, anyway---is something less polished and intentional.

I like Wilmington Tan a lot, jjam, but again problem with wall color is that it will be visible in the context of a very distinct green ( custom color, hard to coordinate with) AND next to a room papered with Thibaut oriental toile in red and black. It's a bit of a conundrum, and I agree with Tuesday that golds are very difficult to get right!

The rug issue... I just think it is icky. Not to mention, I really like the appearance of a bare floor, either stone or polished wood. There's also the problem of the expanding table. We frequently have two leaves in the table to a length of 130". Since there is a clipped corner in the room (don't get me started, the clipped corner is a design feature throughout this house, it is an architectural affront to me but the PO lawyer who designed this house must have thought it clever, or a metaphor, or something!) we would have to have a rug custom woven for the shape of the room. Given that I don't even like them in DRs, I'd never do it.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2013 at 8:16AM
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Rorah, LOVE that look, and a toned down red is exactly what I had envisioned. If I could find a muted red wallpaper with a gold pattern that looked okay with the surrounding elements I would do it in a red hot minute!

    Bookmark   December 17, 2013 at 8:19AM
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How about hiring someone to do a wallpaper stencil in the colors you have in your curtains? Just a thought....

    Bookmark   December 17, 2013 at 8:27AM
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Red has been an "eating room" color at least since the 18th century.

Bright yellow (Monticello's dining room notwithstanding) and orange are colors that fast food restaurants use to stimulate people to eat fast and leave.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2013 at 8:41AM
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If you read what I wrote earlier I said the BRIGHT RED walls are trendy. Of course that is just my opinion and what I see in my area. I think there are shades of red that are more popular now.

I'm also in the south but I have not seen many red rooms in a while. I'm not saying red rooms go out of style, but I think the interest wanes a bit over the years. Then wait a few years and they are everywhere again.

If you are like me, you need to do what YOU want to do (and your husband of course). I'm all for having what we love in our homes.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2013 at 9:00AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

If you don't want a rug for cleaning reasons, you might consider a painted floor cloth...classic, durable, easy to clean and easy to customize for your clipped corner, and a way of adding color and/or pattern to your floor.

Here is a link that might be useful: floor cloths

    Bookmark   December 17, 2013 at 10:39AM
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I don't think of red as at all trendy, in fact, it is probably against trend if by trend we mean what MOST people do, which is currently the Pottery Barn palette of muted colors.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2013 at 10:50AM
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Is this a muted red with gold? I think it's lovely but perhaps too overtly Christmas-y

Here is a link that might be useful: red and gold

    Bookmark   December 17, 2013 at 10:55AM
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With your other spaces being bold and colorful, I might consider something quieter in this room as a counterpoint. Cream or another version of white? You could still have bold or colorful fabrics and accessories. Or go for something completely understated. I think contrasting it with the other areas could make it really stand out or give it that wow effect.

This post was edited by snookums2 on Tue, Dec 17, 13 at 15:09

    Bookmark   December 17, 2013 at 3:06PM
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Tinam, you are right that it's all about the region one lives in.....red may be trendy in some areas and not others. I was kind of hoping to hang on to it until it was in again :-)

I like the idea of a stencil, rorah, as that way I could get exactly the right colors--- but mtn has got the red completely right with that Cole and sons wallpaper. I like it, it is a bit toned down but the gold is fantastic, as in the coral and gold paper. Maybe I am just longing for bling and don't realize it!

I have to admit I am also liking the idea of a very white or shades of cream room, although that is completely unlike me.

Lots of ideas to consider here and I appreciate all the input. Creating a room that is lovely and welcoming and comfortable and elegant is not an easy task!

Many thanks! I will post later after I have seen what ID #1 has to say.

And VERY good news--- finally got the bid on the basement renovation and it is about 50% less than my "worse case" scenario and about 20% less than my expectation, so I am seriously excited and we are starting right after Christmas! Not getting the handmade brick made a huge difference in the price of the flooring. Luckily, I found a locally made brick I like even more, the brick size is better and they are doing a run just for my basement, then slicing off 1/2" for my floor. The rest of the brick will be pulverized and recycled into more brick. This stuff is so reasonable I am now going to brick the service hallway on the other side of the house AND the wine cellar!

    Bookmark   December 17, 2013 at 9:36PM
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