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Formal Dining in a Great Room

To create a tastefully formal space to wine and dine visitors to his new mountain home, Brian Patrick Flynn mixed and matched tableware, furniture materials, and a few unexpected finishes and textures …

See and shop Brian’s formal dining picks here.

There was a time (think 1950s) when families gathered for dinner within dubious, designated spaces called, “formal dining rooms”. Flash-forward a handful of decades to 2013, and this area within the home is nearly extinct. Why? Asteroids. Just kidding; it’s actually the fault of the open-concept floor plan.

You know that quaint area just off the kitchen? The one where laptops live and people gather to look at YouTube videos? That’s the modern-day version of yesteryear’s formal dining room.

After buying my own dream home in the mountains (the kind with bears, large trucks and lots of camo), I was determined to turn a 9- by 11-foot space just off the kitchen into a full-service dining nook. Here’s how the project went down.

First up, I banished the yellow pine walls by spraying them with a two-in-one paint-and-primer. Against a softer, stone white backdrop, the room’s colors read more clearly. From the area rug to the dinnerware to the drapery panels, slate blue provided color pop, while rich black and other neutrals grounded the scheme.

Sideboards - also known as serving buffets – come in a vast assortment of styles suitable for all aesthetics and storage and entertaining needs. While most dining tables – and desks, for that matter – stand 30 inches tall, sideboards and buffets range from 36 inches to 4 feet.

Stein World Xenia Metal Table Lamp

Stein World Xenia Metal Table Lamp

OK, so you know how the entire universe has been on a stainless steel kick for, like, 15 years? And suddenly: boom! … oil-rubbed bronze everything? Well, what about brass? Take the Stein World Xenia Metal Table Lamp, for instance. When choosing brass accents, opt for a satin finish rather than polished; it’s the difference between bad 1980s and good forever and ever.

Short and sweet: I liked these Reed and Barton Montauk Picture Frames and now I have them. I liked this Bashian Greenwich Collection Rug, and now it is mine.

I tried three different rugs in the space, and here are the other two contenders. To play up the masculine vibe contributed by the table, chairs, sideboard and taxidermy, this plaid black-and-neutral Joy Carpets Bit O’ Scotch Area Rug will be perfect during the winter months. For a slightly more feminine touch, I also chose this Nourison Calvin Klein Home Loom Select Camilla Area Rug, which is super soft and makes the otherwise manly space a bit more gender-neutral.

Uttermost Davion Squares Wall Mirrors - Set of 2 - 18W x 18H in.

Uttermost Davion Squares Wall Mirrors - Set of 2 - 18W x 18H in.

Three antiqued Uttermost Davion Squares Wall Mirrors were used to reflect light into an otherwise dark and shadowy corner.

Zuo Modern Soma Dining Table - Black

Zuo Modern Soma Dining Table - Black

Table talk! Here, I used the Zuo Modern Soma Dining Table, a rectangular six-seater that’s transitional in style and rustic in finish, making it the perfect choice for a designer’s mountain house.

Minka-Lavery 9-Light Chandelier - 28W in. Liberty Gold

Minka-Lavery 9-Light Chandelier - 28W in. Liberty Gold

A brass chandelier? What? Why? Well, the Minka-Lavery 9-Light Chandelier is not that kind of brass chandelier, y’all. When I mentioned to friends and family that my mountain house was going to be filled with brass -especially brass-toned lighting – they immediately envisioned those awful, contractor-grade shiny brass fixtures that builders stick in houses just so people don’t trip in the dark while house-hunting.

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To keep the look rustic and masculine, yet tailored, I selected transitional Rocket Dining Chairs featuring a dark metal frame and tobacco-toned leather with a graphic, stitched detail.

Whenever possible, I avoid matching sets of tableware and instead mix unlike elements for a layered, evolved, and collected look. Playing up the room’s black-and-blue color scheme, I mixed solid blue plates and bowls, patterned plates, black plates, and brass chargers with a variety of linens, flatware, barware and drink ware.

Oklahoma Casting Trophy Stag Antler Wall Art

Oklahoma Casting Trophy Stag Antler Wall Art

Masculine spaces are my calling card as an interior designer. Nothing says man like antlers.

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