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Dining Room Renovation Serves a Feast for the Eyes

dining room renovation
Photo by Andrea Giarraputo

Before you even taste a morsel of food, experts say, you first eat with your eyes. Naturally, you’ll want your home’s dining room to be as aesthetically pleasing as the food that follows is pleasing to the palate.

As part of a recent whole-house renovation of a 1930s center hall Colonial in Garden City, interior designer Liz Kohart fixed up the 13-by-13-foot dining room, which is attached to an adjoining kitchen.

“The goal was to give the house a fresh, modern feel for its new, young homeowners,” says Kohart, whose eponymous design firm, Liz Kohart Interiors, is based in Garden City.

Step by Step

In renovating the dining room,  Kohart first assessed the homeowners’ tastes, which, she learned, include a love for elaborate moldings and trim work. Her first addition: a decorative coffered ceiling.

“This gives the room some real substance and makes a statement through mill work,” explains Kohart. “It really adds interest and gives depth to the room.”

Bowing to the homeowners’ appreciation of moldings, Kohart kept the box panel moldings below the chair rails on each of the dining room walls.

With an eye toward freshening up the room, Kohart painted all the trim white and next replaced the wallpaper that came with the home, which they purchased in the fall of 2020.

“The old wallpaper was a very dated, large-scale floral damask,” says Kohart. “The new homeowners are young and had just moved out from New York City. They wanted to still do a wallpaper in the dining room to create interest and texture, but wanted a fresh feel.”

They settled on a navy and gold wallpaper, which, Kohart notes, gives the space a modern yet sophisticated feel.

“We also loved the dramatic, dark-navy paper, as it popped against all the white moldings in the room,” adds Kohart.

The designer completed the room with new lighting, furniture, window treatments and a rug.

Formal Furnishings

As the home has an informal eating area in the kitchen, the aim of this design was to create a more formal and elegant look. For the centerpiece, Kohart chose a rich dark-brown mahogany rectangular table in a high sheen that typically seats eight, and with the added leaves, up to 12. For a bonus eye-catching element, she added  decorative gold stripping around the perimeter of the table.

To offset the dark table, she selected a set of chairs upholstered in a bright, off-white performance-velvet fabric. Under the table, a tasteful sisal rug lays atop the hardwood floor.

“It has natural and gold undertones and gives lots of interest and texture to the space,” says Kohart.

Bright Lights, Nice Windows

In place of the old, dated chandelier, Kohart chose a modern yet sophisticated brass and crystal linear chandelier.

The two windows, which had been covered by old blinds, were transformed with a relaxed look and feel with off-white custom Roman shades in a sheer fabric.

“This gives the room privacy and also adds a soft custom look to the windows.”

Dinner can now be served. And, in keeping with its refined surroundings, it will undoubtedly taste great.

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