Today we’ve got our second installment of Designer’s Take, our latest series where our favorite designers and stylists share what they would do if they could ge their hands on our new/old house {reminder: I’m calling it that since the house is 140 years old!}. In this edition, our very own spring intern Ali Hartwell is offering her take on the perfect dining room. To jog your memory, here is what the dining room looked like! 

14_800px-e1427065388156 (1)

Definitely scary on the surface, but here’s what we’ll have to work with when construction is done!

Screen Shot 2015-06-05 at 4.10.23 PM

We’re really not changing too much – everything we do in this room will be cosmetic. {What? You think we should leave the raspberry pink ceiling??} The dining room is a pretty large space with a fireplace centered on the far left wall. There are also the original pocket doors that separate the dining room from the adjacent living room. A large set of bay windows sits on the opposite wall. You can see what they look like from the exterior here. It’s definitely going to be a fun space to play with! But here’s what Ali would do.

Ali’s Designer Take: I think I’ve developed such a fondness for dining areas probably because a solid chunk of my life has been spent sitting within them. So many of my favorite memories are tied to laughing and connecting with family and friends over home-cooked meals and MANY a bottle of wine. That’s why when it comes to dining room decor, I always try to create a look that’s going to invite people to sit down and stay awhile.


If the space allows, I love defining a dining area with a piece of statement art to serve as the backdrop to the actual table setting. And what better way to compliment said artwork than with a completely badass lighting fixture?! Since there’s not really much to a dining area, I say go big or go home.

1e6b0d2451306b21ada54642b90ae3d5 home-tour-fall-out-boy-10

I imagine an Erin’s old San Franciscan Victorian to be the perfect setting for a killer dining room—high ceilings, crown molding, hardwood floors and plenty of natural light streaming in from oversized windows make for an already inviting space and the perfect blank canvas.

Here’s a look I think would play nicely in Erin’s dining room:



  1. Table
  2. > Light
  3. Chairs
  4. Art
  5. Pitcher
  6. Dishware
  7. Planter
  8. > Rug


I think Ali has the right idea when it comes to our dining room. I see a statement chandelier in my future and I’m very excited about that. And a eye-catching piece of art over the fireplace would be quite nice too. The search for the perfect dining table is likely to be the ultimate treasure hunt but only time will tell. Once our walls are closed up and we’re moving on to finish work I think it’ll be much easier for a design direction to take shape.

Where do you think it should head??

To see more of Ali’s design work, you can visit her website or follow her visual musings via Instagram @athartwell.

For our first Designer’s Take on what we should do in our kitchen, CLICK HERE! And for even more inspiration for our renovations you can check out my remodel Pinterest board and our Tumblr!


image 1 via The Design Files // image 2 via arper // image 3 via My Domaine

What do you think?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. I actually really like a lot of what you already have going on in the dining room…but that thing above the fireplace is kind of freaking me out. Some fresh paint on the ceiling and walls and a gorgeous light fixture (as you said) would do wonders!


    1. Isn’t that thing terrifying Colleen?? Homemade art at it’s most scary! Thankfully the purple lady is long gone, as are the fake parquet floors and the horrible false fireplace front. Now it’s just going to be about picking the perfect paint color, finding some beautiful art and the ultimate dining table!!

  2. I think your dining room is going to turn out fantastically!!! I love this series and Ali’s taste!

  3. what can i tell you….i hope you checked for bodies in the basement :). man was that room scary. also, i think, for what it’s worth, first picture is stunning. and pretty doable , not necessarily with the budget of a small country 🙂

  4. Erin, the ‘art’ over the fireplace reminds me of Phoebe’s art in Friends (Gladys I think it was called) that Rachel and Monica fight over NOT getting! Scary! Hope you find something fabulous for that space. Don’t rule out New Zealand artists…