Designer Tips for Creating a Cozy Dining Nook
Three designers create three unique dining nooks just right for small spaces.
The Look: Manhattan Hotel Chic
An inspiring New York Trip had the owner of this Vancouver home ready for a sophisticated, modern refresh with the help of designer Sophie Burke.
Mix neon with neutrals. No ode to New York would be complete without a little Warhol: the homeowner relocated a beloved print from another room for a final, lively splash of neon.
Maximize the textiles. Piles of soft-pink-and-mauve-striped mohair cushions create a cheerful, cozy scene, but the sweetly coloured accents are balanced by sophisticated grey linen Maxalto chairs and an oversized Iskos-Berlin-designed Muuto pendant lamp.
Keep it custom. Designer Sophie Burke’s first step in creating a chic and quirky hotel vibe? Replacing an antique wooden bench with a custom banquette and adding a slim walnut Zeitraum table with clever slanted legs that make it easy to slide in and out along the bench.
The Look: Mid-Century Eclectic
A young family gets a little help from Tanya McLean at Mango Design Co. to turn a simple townhouse kitchen in Kitsilano into a celebration of retro cool.
Don’t be constrained by a time period. The Sputnik-style pendant lamp, vintage curios that line the open shelves, and heirloom painting—a portrait of the homeowner’s great- great-great-great-grandfather—may seem like a mixed bag, but the crisp custom millwork provides a modern framework for the whole collection.
Circle takes the square. With so many straight lines in the cabinetry and the sleek seating, the round chrome-and-glass table is a welcome visual change. “It works well with the solid-rectilinear lines of the millwork,” McLean says.
Create easy-access storage with drawers. The custom bench includes three pullout drawers. “We preferred this to a lift-top bench, as drawers are easier to keep organized; there’s no need to move seat cushions and there’s less chance of hurting little fingers,” says McLean.
The Look: Scandinavian Glamour
When it came time for Aleem Kassam of Kalu Interiors to renovate his own townhouse, he turned his Nordic influences and penchant for drama into a dreamy new kitchen.
Let nature in. By Nature Design created these custom framed greenery pieces for Kassam. “I love bringing the outdoors in—it softens the setting and prevents these modern elements from feeling cold and sterile.”
Wall-mount your chandelier. The original light fixture mount was terribly misaligned (“It would’ve dropped over the left dining chair!” says Kassam), so he decided to install a CB2 swivel chandelier that extends from the wall instead. A custom diffuser made from black vinyl at Victoria Lampshade completes the one-of-a-kind look.
Get experimental. Bowls become beautiful decorative objects when mounted on the wall, and an ultra-durable patio table from Inform Interiors works just as well indoors here. “I didn’t want glass—too high-maintenance—and lacquered tables scratch. But a weatherproof table can be touched up with just Windex or a Magic Eraser,” explains Kassam.
Repeat, repeat, repeat. “Whether it’s a lighter or darker design scheme, repetition creates cohesiveness,” advises Kassam. Here, he added in a white table to match the white walls and brought in threads of black and gold throughout.