I saw a funny sign the other day that said…
“The only reason I have a kitchen is because it came with the house”
The same might be said of our formal dining room. Built in 1999, our home has a more compartmentalized layout than today’s preference for the open, great room concept. Call me old school, well let’s be honest I am old school, but I prefer having at least some partial separation between the areas in our house.
So while our kitchen is half exposed to the great room and has its own eating area, we have a separate, more formal dining room. I didn’t go in search of a home with a formal dining room, but since we have it, we use it as often as we can.
The dining room is immediately off of the entryway. The room is basically a square, with a hutch and a traditional dining table that can seat 8-10. With all of the leaves in the table, it is cozy at each end, but it works. If there are 8-10 of us, my husband just can’t sit down until everyone else is seated. But other than that…..no problem!
We use our formal dining room several times a year, for dinners with friends and family, parties and holiday meals. Often, I use it as the food table during our holiday open house. For those occasions, although no one is sitting at the table, it makes a great buffet surface for guests to help themselves to.
There is something about having it be a separate room that says the meal is special and it’s time to light some candles. The cozy setting makes it a great place for conversation after dinner and there have been times when we have lingered in this room for hours with guests. while we go through wine, dinner, dessert, coffee, with a lot of laughs and storytelling.
We recently had the interior walls of the house painted a creamy color called Patience from Sherwin Williams. This has made the dining room light, and the south facing window assures it is bright most of the year. We replaced the carpeting a couple of years ago, and I love the color and waffle weave texture.
The drapey panels are in a Jacobian print of brown, green, rust with some metallic, on a cream background. I love the nature inspired hues. We recently changed out the lighting from a more basic chandelier to an oblong, open cage design that really holds the table. We purchased the companion piece that is square for the adjoining foyer. The new lights are really a departure for us, but fit the style of our home. They have bronze, copper and black metal, so they go with almost anything. Additionally, there are two recessed can lights above the glass console, and all lights are on dimmers to control the amount of light.
.Over the years, we have moved a few times. Some of our homes had the dining room at the end of the living room, some had a separate room, and once we had the open great room concept so popular today. Life has many phases and I try to enjoy them all. If and when we downsize someday, we may not have a dining room at all.
No matter how casual or fancy your dining area is, whether it is an open space or a separate room, or even what you’re eating, the most important thing is the people you share it with.
When I was growing up, we would travel to my maternal grandparent’s house for Thanksgiving each year. My mother is one of seven children and I am one of 13 grandchildren, so on any given year, there could be 20 people or more for dinner. The home was of average size, so for this once-a-year celebration, they would use sawhorses covered with plywood, that stretched the entire length of the living area. Once covered with tablecloths, it looked like a beautiful, very long, table.
Prior to dinner, my mother, her sisters, and my grandmother would talk non-stop about everything imaginable, while preparing the meal. The men would sit around and discuss the price paid for gas to get them there. And we cousins would run in and out of the house, screaming, laughing and maybe even fighting a little. One of us was invariably banging out Heart and Soul or Chopsticks on the piano. It was complete and total mayhem. It was a house full of family, fun and great food. It was wonderful.