Room We Love: Casual Elegance
LIKE MANY COUPLES today, Elaine and Jim Martin enjoy entertaining—but don’t feel comfortable in a stuffy, formal dining room. They turned to designer Traci Zeller, who developed a light, airy, and casual space in their Longview home that’s used daily, no matter who stops by.
Typically, the Martins favor a more traditional look, Zeller says, “but they’re not afraid to occasionally push the envelope” with items such as this Currey and Company chandelier. Light reflects off the pieces of antique glass, setting the mood for the room.
When Zeller first suggested grasscloth walls, the Martins balked. “They were thinking of a thicker, nubbier material, and they weren’t very excited,” she says. They were surprised by how much they loved this Phillip Jeffries grasscloth, which is soft and fine, creating a neutral backdrop for the rest of the room.
The Martins both have professional experience in the textile industry, so choosing the right fabrics was important. The fronts of the Wesley Hall dining chairs are covered in a durable fabric—but the backs feature rich, blue Osborne & Little cut velvet.
A niche along one wall of the dining room called for a piece of furniture, so Zeller chose a Gabby china cabinet with a French country farmhouse look. It’s less formal, but still has storage for table linens, plates, and vases.
Instead of the polished wood tables found in so many dining rooms, Zeller opted for a rougher grain from Hooker Furniture. The texture complements the grasscloth walls, and it has a leaf, so the Martins can add more space as their crowd grows.