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Challenge No. 9 – A Contemporary Country Dining Room

In the ninth episode of House & Garden Magazine’s Creative Responses series with Janine Stone & Co., our design team was briefed by the Magazine’s editors to come up with an eye-catching scheme for a contemporary, new-build country dining room.

On the brief

The scenario given to us this month was one that’s become increasingly common over the last 18 months. A new generation of city dwellers moving out to the countryside for the good life. Along with these new clients often tastes that differ from the traditional country aesthetic, tastes influenced by previous lives in today’s modern cities. Thus, we were tasked with creating the perfect dining room for owners who’ll want to entertain in more contemporary country surrounds. 

Modern Country Dining Room

Our response

Open-plan kitchen-dining rooms may be en vogue, but our design focuses purely on the dining room as a separate entity. Many people have forgotten the benefits of having a separate space to wine and dine guests. If you’re a messy cook or someone who prefers to leave the cooking to a professional so that you can give your full attention to hosting and enjoying the company of your guests. In our minds, the ultimate dining room is a momentary escape from the outside world, a space to relax, be comfortable, indulge and celebrate with friends, family and acquaintances throughout the year. The interior scheme we’ve developed here very much aims to heighten all those joyous emotions people associate with these occasions and celebrations.

Feasts and celebrations are times when it’s acceptable to don all your glitter and gold. The palette we’ve chosen for the scheme very much reflects this. There are precious metal accents of gold, bronze and platinum observed in the wall panels, dining chair legs, cabinetry, chandeliers and fireplace, which add that sparkle and glamour to the room. Sticking to a contemporary brief, we’ve set the accent colours against a backdrop of light naturally inspired tones.

Materially, features such as the oak flooring, ash briar side tables and eggshell tabletop, draw a line between the dining room and its countryside surroundings. The combination of natural textures and colours, helps guests to feel natural themselves. There’s nothing worse than arriving at a dinner party and feeling out of place. Our environments have a powerful effect on our moods and enjoyment of activities.

In terms of the furniture and fixtures for this space, we opted for dark timber flooring, bronze chandeliers (with papyrus detailing), rock crystal wall sconces and a long banqueting style table. Someone in our subconscious was perhaps the image of a medieval feasting hall, which we’ve interpreted in a more contemporary way by selecting pieces with a few more organic edges and styles. This point is illustrated most notably by the dining table with its circular legs and curved edges, but also the dining chairs with their flowing form and the floor rug, with its wavy striped pattern.

Across all the mid-century antiques that decorate the space, the showpiece furniture item is of course the bone button dining table by the Belgian designer, Ado Chale. Here we have customised the piece, by lacquering the tabletop in the style of French Designer Jean Dunand (1877-1942). Broken eggshells are inlaid to resin to create a decorative pattern that radiates across the surface. It’s only thanks to our black book of artisans/craftspeople that we’ve developed over 30 years, that we can re-create such rare techniques to ultimately produce one-off furniture designs. The unique eggshell table (along with the platinum leaf walls and panoramic glass façade) is ultimately one of the bespoke features of this design that makes it such a special setting to enjoy dinner. Whilst we could have opted for a solid wood or wood veneered option, this design embodies something more contemporary and will leave an impression on guests, without offending traditionalists too much.

How To Follow The Series …

A summary version of Janine Stone & Co.’s ninth design challenge and their response is available to read on the House & Garden website.

Further exclusive content and behind the scenes information is available on the Janine Stone website and Instagram (@janinestone_co), where you can keep up to date with the various design challenges House & Garden will be setting us over the course of this year .

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