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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

Dislike my mineshaft dining room :(

Sue SoFebruary 26, 2013
Would love to repurpose it - but to what? The double ceiling, and 11' by 12' space makes it feel like a mineshaft.
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It's better than many I have seen. What is it that is bothering you?

I love how you have balanced out the squares with square artwork. Possibly a more dramatic pendant light would work and a console or buffet table by the stairs.

But I love the fact that you have used the empty space to make it work... less really is more in this case.
6 Likes    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 1:01AM
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Patricia Pelgrims
I kind of like it.
One of the things I would change is the table. For me it is too light weight for the room and a more 'solid' looking would work better. I would also give the table more length.
And yes, a more dramatic pendant AND, AND... an area rug.
4 Likes    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 1:14AM
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Rosemary Burton
All sorts of ideas come to mind but you might start by playing up the tall shaft of a shape with curtains like these?
Jane Lockhart Interior Design · More Info
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 1:52AM
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Rosemary Burton
I would install fancy grill work in the openings to the seating area something like this maybe?
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3 Likes    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 1:55AM
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Maybe a light warm color on the ceiling?
1 Like    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 2:11AM
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Sue So
Wow, love and appreciate all these ideas and examples. Yes, the pendants will be replaced - any thoughts? I am looking at a living edge table to give a more rustic look due to "Elvis" the elk head but not sure how it would work with the staircase (Elvis came from hubby's hunt and he's very proud, can't bear to take it down). I've also disliked the color for some time b/c it's very cool. Considering repainting - maybe the tall wall an accent color?
    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 2:45AM
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Maison Pompeii Antiques and Interiors
What a cool space! Not sure what is bothering you but being actually in the room may explain it. i agree with trying with some long drapes( going to be expensive). Since this room has no wall space i would certainly use a very patterned fabric for the drapes. As i write this I think the problem is that the space is way cool but the furnishings are more mondane. They need to be sleeker and interesting and catch the eye. I agree with Patricia start with the chandeleir which really needs to make a bold statement in the room. It is all about proportion and form following function.
    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 2:52AM
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A Crew of Two
Gorgeous space! After choosing a new table the area rug is where I would start. I love this brown zebra. I think bringing the eye down will help with some of your issues. Most of your accents are placed high which is perfect, but now you need to fill the lower room. I love the idea of warm, gold and brassy tones in this space. Please post after pics!
3 Likes    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 3:52AM
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Dar Eckert
Room is nice. The one thing I'm not fond of is the windows into the living area. A buffet along that wall would help. I would also consider something like Japanese Shoji screens over them.
    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 4:24AM
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It's hard to suggest how to re-purpose this space without knowing more about the rest of your home and your lifestyle. What I can see is how the room would not be very comfortable for dining as it currently is. So much of interest is either up high or part of another space so there is nothing to pull the dining space together. You really need to make a dining area feel more intimate and less exposed.

I would suggest putting screens or decorative glass in the openings to the sitting area, or even closing them up and hanging your art work in the resulting alcoves - with such a high space you need to bring the eye down to a level that relates to the table. If 'Elvis' is the one item that is high he will have more impact and you will feel less like you are a small child in a giant's castle when you are dining. Change the light fixture to something lower and more connected to the table. Curtains on the window, a large rug and a console table would give the space more definition and help get rid of the feeling that the table is dumped at the bottom of a mineshaft.

Great space and I would love to see what you end up doing with it.
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 4:35AM
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Frances Temple-West Architect
This looks like a pretty amazing space that is crying out for a statement pendant fixture over the table. The volume of the space can handle something fairly large and sculptural that takes advantage of the height. Definitely consider a dining table with more heft and a strong area rug. I think the pendant should be light and airy to play off a grounded table and rug. I would also think about sconces that could wash the walls up and down with light and help create mood.
3 Likes    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 4:50AM
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Multiple pendants hung just over the table (normal height), possibly hung from a suspended piece of wood. Add some glamour, shimmer. Remove the pendant over the stairs, so all attention will go to the center/table. Some (dimmable) wall sconces will give the extra light you'll need.
Get a more rustic natural (light) oak table, the dark one gets lost in there. Make the table and lamp over it the focal point of the room. Drapes will only emphasize the height of the room. I like how the windows look now, clean and open.
And Elvis should not leave the building.
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Tubular 1 Light Mini Pendant · More Info
1 Like    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 5:29AM
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Interiors International, Inc.
It's a great space. Have you considered flipping it with the living room?
1 Like    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 5:36AM
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Dar Eckert
Have you considered removing the 1/2 walls? It would make the area flow into the living area better.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 4:34AM
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Sue So
Can't thank everyone enough. @Dar, by happy coincidence, the original home builder (Joyce Homes) will be visiting us next week with the blueprints so they can tell us if we can remove that wall and any other remodeling. Opens up lots of possibilities for the entire space. To really open up the space, I'm considering continuing the open black & white railing into the upper loft area (replacing the wall with the art work if we can remove the cut out wall. Thoughts? How to tie it all together? @Interiors Intl, yes will consider that now. It has carpet but would put in hardwood. @rinqreation, love the lighting ideas! Will be able to rethink everything if we can get the structural changes done. It may be expensive but we're building such great family memories in this house... :)
    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 10:03AM
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Sue So
Oh any thoughts on how to place the piano would be so very welcome. It is well used and loved (albeit loud).
    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 10:05AM
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I would seriously reconsider removing the wall with the two art frames on it. My guess is it won't turn out to be what you hoped for. (better a shaft than a huge hall) Woodcuttings in the openings below (or artful iron panels, some fretwork), think horizontal lines, not adding more space. Just a hint.

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2 Likes    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 1:29PM
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Sue So
Thanks Rinq! Will take your suggestions to heart - and will look into covering the openings. I've tried to find things before but nothing at beautiful as your suggestions. Question: When you suggested pendant lighting at normal height, you mean hanging closer to the ceiling rather than dropping all the way to the table?
    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 1:40PM
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I love the room. Yes a much more substantial chandelier would help alot. I suggest that you hang it lower over the table. I believe the standard is about 30 inches above.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 1:52PM
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When rooms are built for drama instead of comfort it feels funky inside. You feel uneasy for the same reason that looking up can throw you off balance.

I suggest you drop an open trellis element of wood stained your floor tone. It could imitate the outline grid of a cove ceiling, or follow the more linear elements shown in the Susan Susanka books. Hang the four corners just below the juliet openings above / above square art using cables from ceiling eyebolts to eyebolts on the trellis. This will give people in the room the sense of enclosure they need to feel comfortable but will be open enough to still appreciate the architecture. It should be as big as the room less 2' on all sides and not extend over the path through the room. One rectangle grid of 1 x 3 with the 2 x 4 frame will do it. You have probably been in a restaurant with this kind of treatment/ borrow the commercial trick.
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 1:59PM
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Barbara Griffith Designs
I rather like it as a dining room somewhat as it is..just dressed better. First, no accent wall..it would only make the space taller and smaller. I would put dark frames around the 2 square pieces of art. A large magnificent chandelier. A patterned rug..large. Very tall drapery panels off the window. Agree about a bigger..bulkier table..not rustic..antlers are used a lot today in design..it is not about a lodge feeling. I think they are fantastic. Consider bifold shutters on the 2 openings in the wall (2-1/2" slats). What is the finish on the walls in the stairs area..it almost looks like grasscloth..one of my favorites which I would do on the walls in this room as well. Another thing..with walls need color..I think the coldness of the area is compounded by the non color.
    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 2:06PM
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Jeffrey Brooks Interior Design
Options for the space above............1. pendant fixtures hung at different heights spread around the room with three notably larger ones over the table. 2. Find an artist (online) who constructs mobiles. I've seen some amazing examples made of light weight fiberglass and dyed in every color of the rainbow. 3. Purchase some well made kites. 4. Commission a grid (big lattice) built from wood and painted any color you like. Suspend it from cable. You'll have a screen which will lower the ceiling height and make the Dining table more important. Replace the lamp shade fixture with somethng more sculptural.
    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 2:27PM
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Sue So
@Barbara, no not grasscloth but just paint (orange peel texture), so just a trick of the eye in the photo.

The pendant was lifted b/c we tried to repurpose as a sitting room, but the mineshaft feel made is uninviting. Still playing with that idea though - we don't need/use the dining room because we do most entertaining in at the kitchen island and eating nook. I really don't like unused space, so maybe move the piano into this room? Oy I'm so bad at this! (And yes, I had a designer help me originally - she was great to work with and improved the house a great deal, but I'm still not comfortable with the result)
    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 4:04PM
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lewis + smith
check out Nils Finne's huge custom light fixtures. Something large floating midheight would make the room seem much less tall.
    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 4:12PM
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Most of us use the kitchen table for the majority of meals but I think that dining is probably the best use of this space - you just need to get it feeling more intimate and there have been some good suggestions. If you move the piano here you would need a grand piano to fit in the space and it will still feel uncomfortable and be more like a hotel foyer than part of a home. Bringing the apparent ceiling height down with light fixtures or other installations according to your taste is critical.

If you do have a massive budget you could install a concert grand piano with a dramatic chandelier above it and hire a professional pianist to play to you while you drift elegantly around your home (and maybe a few other staff to plump the cushions and bring you cocktails!).

It really won't take too much to get the space working for you and then you will find that you will enjoy using it for some entertaining and special occasions.
    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 12:28AM
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Answer: Normal height as in right over the table, like you would do with ordinary ceilings.
    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 12:28AM
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You already like the glass bubbles I see... add more with a chandelier!
    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 12:40AM
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Sue So
@finndian, was just looking at that one last night! Challenge is finding one that is long enough. What about these? I've decided to go with drapes on the window wall, covering most of it, but something semi sheer to let in the light.
    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 10:14AM
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Some lovely lights. You need ones that all hang at a single level above the table to hold the eye at this point. The cascading ones work well in stairwells as they lead you up/down with the stairs but this is not what you're trying to achieve here. If you can get ones with adjustable cables then a range of heights above the table would be nice, but only if you keep it within a variation of about 12" or so. Might be an idea to speak to a specialist lighting store and explain what you are trying to achieve.
    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 10:31AM
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here's my two cents worth. Make this room into a games room/library. Put your piano on the wall with the railing . Create built ins on the moose wall for the books and collectibles , put a buffett/cabinet (perhaps Ikea) to store games , TV, Wii console etc. and change the table to a round one, perhaps on wheels so it can be moved for floor space when needed. A brighter wall colour would be nice too. Put the moose on the wall with the pictures. Good luck and please keep up posted.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 11:16AM
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Sue So, your home is already lovely! Sounds as if you are just ready for a change. I agree with Patricia about replacing the dining table and chandelier ... That would make such a difference! I also agree with ringreaction regarding the removal of your wall. It seems like a lot of expense for minimal effect. If you want a noticeable change a simple solution would be painting the entire area a warm color. You obviously have great taste so whatever you decide to do will be lovely I'm sure!.
    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 11:40AM
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Sue So
@pollyannagal. We're working on training the 9 year to play at department stores and cocktails parties for his teen job. I could train the 13 and 3 year old to serve drinks...oh wait they already do that. :) I'm leaning towards the bubbles all at one level for the dining room, and staggered for the staircase. @oneofeleven, thanks so much for your 2 cents. We already have a game room (actually two, ugh). Will noodle on the library, reading area idea, but leaning towards the dining room. but you're right, will definitely bring in some color. Maybe yellow as an accent...
1 Like    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 12:07PM
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I agree that cascading bubbles will add to the ceiling height issue. Maybe something like this light can be an homage to the bubbles you like.
Logan Circle Modern · More Info
1 Like    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 12:13PM
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This is really nice! I love the square artwork. Maybe you could have bright accent colors in some places?
1 Like    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 12:38PM
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Denice Shuty
Talk about mineshaft, here's mine. These 18' foot walls and offset windows are a pain to work with.

Your artwork is perfect on that wall. The window treatment should be changed to something that "appreciates" that wall more. How about a big graphic wallpaper on the wall with the animal's head.
    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 11:38AM
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Marie Hebson's interiorsBYDESIGN Inc.
Bring down the ceiling height by adding detail - like I did in this gorgeous dining room by running a chair rail at the normal ceiling height, then wallpapering the dining area - looks amazing, and you can use alternate colours of paint but not as dramatic. Good Luck with your project.
1 Like    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 11:45AM
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I agree that Elvis should not leave the building! That just cracked me up. Seriously, I love him.
You have great taste. Just bring the chandi down and give it some weight. I loved the idea if building the grid as a false ceiling, but I found this fixture that might help make the space more intimate.
Greenhouse Indoor-Outdoor Chandelier · More Info

Give the room some lower weight:
Bulky table, chairs with texture and a rug! Everyone had great advice. Good luck.
    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 7:03AM
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Maria Ruskova
I think you can add some feminine touch. What about a chandelier like this one? http://www.chandeliersandmirrors.co.uk/amina You can also consider similar wall sconces at eye level instead of the glass bulbs. I like the ideas to put a big colorful rug, bigger table and also to use a warmer color and fancy grids, or maybe some greenery? I can't tell what's on the wall under the head but it need to be brighter. And what about mirror(s)? It is a sophisticated space and I don't quite appreciate the idea for a rustic table. Sorry but I'd better find another place for the head. And I'd also round at least the upper squares if not the window(s). The artwork is fine but I think the accents should be put lower. Play with colors.
    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 8:09AM
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Add some fun and interest to that dramatic, wonderfully high ceiling of yours! Many people wish they had such high ceilings. Our pendant lighting can be customized to fit your space. You can cascade multiple glass pendants from the ceiling to any level above the table.

My favorite for you is our Tanzania pendant which will help mimic the squares in your design.
    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 8:44AM
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Sue So
Wow, so appreciative of everyone's time and energy. Thank you thank you!

UPDATE: We have decided to repurpose this room to the kids study and stuff area. I know, heretical, but formal dining doesn't fit our lifestyle. Entertaining almost always means kids, noise, furry guests, and more noise. Our home is spread out over 3 equal levels and this is prime real estate on the middle floor. So....I'm going to be posting a new dilemma more focused on that topic.

@Writely - Thanks for sharing. I feel like I'm in good company...and off center windows to boot! Oy! But it looks like you've done well with your space. @hockey - Yes, Rinq totally cracked me up too!
2 Likes    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 9:28AM
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Oh, goody ! A new DD! Can't wait!
1 Like    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 10:43AM
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Handcrafted natural wall panels that deliver the look and feel of raw nature into your home. And due to it's design, it's easy to implement your own creativity. Look here for the endless possibilities: http://www.eccidesign.com/?utm_source=analytics&utm_medium=online&utm_campaign=vp6
    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 2:55PM
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If this was my house I would repurpose it as a music room with a massive grand piano in the centre with an over-the-top modern chandelier. Please post pics when you are done!
    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 3:11PM
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I think Sue So's piano is in the piano/music room next door to this one.
    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 6:00PM
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Sue So
Yes it is...and it's a Yamaha studio upright that's already been abused. I won't complain b/c they are using it, but if they abused a grand that way, I would definitely lose it! And it would be difficult to explain to CPS ...
    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 6:09PM
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