Elements of light. A big experience in a small dining room.

When redesigning the dining room in her own home, Marissa Schultz, our principal designer was faced with an interesting challenge. The Wright-inspired poured concrete structure of her 80’s home was making her small dining room look dated and tired. She was faced with concrete, glass, three inspiring walls and just one small window in the only room in the house without gorgeous floor to ceiling windows! To top it all, she had a huge teak dining table she had designed with craftspeople in Bali, that was just not working in the space. It seemed likely to be the room that never got used, but instead, she turned into a beautiful mystery revealed behind illuminated glass panels.

The four sets of floor to ceiling glass doors became her first inspiration; as well they should. To dramatize their impact she placed lighting in the skylights overhead to back-light the Wisteria pattern on the glass, creating a mysterious shadow effect through the doors and into the living room beyond.

A tiffany style light fixture certainly isn’t the first thing you think of to make a home feel less dated. But the fixture, which has some of the same color glass as the doors, became the inspiration for many elements in the room: the window fabric panels, the seat cushions, and the Chinese wood panels on the wall. A celadon urn accentuated the glass color, and a fabric kimono on the wall helped to dampen sound and add another softening element.

The teak table became the warmth and artisan craftsmanship that the room desperately needed to contrast the hard concrete and glass surfaces. The hand carved border around the table’s edge adds just the right detail that makes the piece one-of-a kind, and is the start of many stories about her extensive travels. And indeed she’s had many long dinner parties at that table from which her guests seem reluctant to part. Perhaps they are drawn to the feel of the table’s smooth yet imperfect wood, the soothing color of the walls, or the glimpse of Wisteria shadows. Or it might just be the warmth of good food, wine and friends that enjoy being with her in her home.

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Marissa Schultz