Best Dining Room

Shiplap Meets Modern  |  Brooke Sweeney
When James and Brooke Sweeney purchased their West Meadowbrook home in November 2016, it looked like it’d been frozen in time from the ’70s. “Our immediate goal was to unveil the beautiful bones that it was built with,” says Brooke, who tied the knot with James in May earlier the same year. “So we said goodbye to the thin wood paneling [in the dining room] and discovered the original shiplap underneath, handmade a 10-foot farmhouse table to fit the space and built a window seat into the big bay window.” The couple — he’s an area manager with Amazon, and she’s an advertising account manager at — wanted to keep the unique character that came with the home, which was built in 1922, and revive it with modern, artistic touches. Tearing out the old paneling to discover the shiplap inspired their design direction, but it wasn’t all a cinch. “The paneling was a roadblock at first,” says Brooke, who learned most of her DIY skills from her father, a real estate broker. “It took plenty of effort and sweat, but it was well worth it for what we get to enjoy now.” The result was a thoughtful space that accurately reflects the couple’s love of vintage, found pieces like a large hanging map passed down from James’ family and the barrel-shaped equipale chairs purchased from Bear Goods, a local-based curated homewares and accessories Instagram shop owned by good friends. A bamboo, lattice pendant light from Ikea and patterned rug add more visual interest and texture. “The rug was found at an estate in Florida and made its way on a plane, in a tiny Uber and into our home,” recalls Brooke. “Vintage pieces that have lasted through the years hold a special place for us.”

Wide Open Spaces in Westover  |  B Smart Builders
Cheryl Bean isn’t afraid to take down walls — lots of walls, in the case of her client’s Westover Hills home. Owner of B Smart Builders, Cheryl transformed a series of small, closed-off rooms by removing a large number of walls, including some that were load bearing, adding a pantry and relocating plumbing. Though it was a tedious process, the outcome was a spacious open floor plan that made the dining room feel connected and user-friendly. “Open spaces make the entire space feel much larger,” says Cheryl. “However, in a large space like this, care has to be taken to avoid a cavernous feeling and to maintain intimacy and coziness at the same time.” She and her team accomplished this by adding an additional beam to the pre-existing rough cedar versions, then covering them in a smooth maple veneer before staining them dark to create contrast between the white walls. Below, the dining space showcases a beautiful table, passed down to the homeowner by her grandparents. They’d originally commissioned it for their Japanese contemporary home, designed with the aid of their architect, Marianna Thomas, and crafted from two large concrete bases and a lacquered top. A vibrant painting sits atop the buffet, its colors reminiscent of the red and gold fall leaves on a Japanese Maple tree. More artistic touches reside on the opposite side of the dining room, including a sculpture depicting a rider swinging a whip while on his horse — it’s aptly titled “The Bronco Buster” by American artist Frederic Remington — and a Noguchi paper floor lamp, handmade with Washington paper and bamboo ribbing. The mixture of simple, beloved artwork, furniture and tall, light-filled windows culminates in a bright, clean-lined dining space that’s both welcoming and intimate. “It’s a classic case of less is more,” says Cheryl.

Essential Dining Room Design  |  KL Milam Interior Design
Often a space can feel like new again with a little reimagining — which is exactly what interior designer Kim Milam did for her client’s dining room (in less than 120 days) to evoke a setting that was both rustic and warm, yet clean and modern. A fresh coat of white paint was first applied to lighten the space, and an accent wall was clad in Benjamin Moore’s Deep Caviar to better distinguish the dining from the living room. Kim expertly selected a hammered zinc-topped table from her decor company/Camp Bowie Boulevard store, House Essential, with a reclaimed elm base that was “practically indestructible,” she says, adding that because the family has four boys, durability was a priority. “Being centrally located between the kitchen and family room, it’s almost in a constant state of use for family meals, homework, craft projects and such.” And for the first time in her design career, she incorporated Panton-style chairs in crisp white, also sourced from House Essential, which are easy to clean, lightweight and comfortable. “The chandelier belonged to the client, and I had strict instructions that it was not going anywhere,” Kim recalls of the rustic antler fixture. “It was the perfect juxtaposition to the more modern pieces.” But she did relocate one of the family’s favorite art pieces, dubbed “Pink Dog,” to a prominent position above the buffet — a far cry from its original home behind a bathroom door. Each small change or new addition came together seamlessly for a dynamic dining space the family adores. “It’s the Gestalt principle, the unified whole,” says Kim. “The visual pleasure you can feel walking into a well-appointed, comfortable room.”