Project Details: Parlor and Dining Room | #ClientBigGrayHouse

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1800s Italianate Mansion in Historic Savannah, Ga

Parlor and Dining Room Details

Former Parlor turned Dining Room

Former Parlor turned Dining Room

In our last blog, we discussed the Foyer and Powder Room for #ClientBigGrayHouse and the elements that welcome you into the home. As seen in many Historic Savannah Row Houses, the foyer which encompasses (typically) the stairs is referred to as the Side Hall. It runs the total length of the house and is the portal into the Parlor and Dining Room. Row Houses are typically narrow—14' to 25' wide—and normally just one room plus hall across the width, two-to-three rooms deep. The “Parlor Room” is a fancier/historic name for what is often referred to as the “Living Room”. Because our client wanted his home to feel casual, we had to rethink not only the specific pieces of furniture used in the space, but also how each room would function. He was clear there was no need for a formal dining table and wanted as many areas “to relax” as close to the kitchen as possible, which is at the back of the house.

We listened and then we challenged. By convincing him that some form of dining would be key (and fit for this magnificent home) he could entertain his friends and family who live close by. We decided the best solution was to flip the location of the Dining with the Parlor. Refer to Floor Plan. By swapping the dining location (now the first room you see upon entering the Foyer) it became even more critical to create a unique interpretation. It started with an inspiration image of this beautiful round (53”) 1969 marble table within an urban modern library loft space in, of course, Stockholm. If you know anything about us, you know we have a love for Scandinavian Design. The image was perfection! It sparked the idea to create a large statement piece that read more like sculpture rather than dining and is also reminiscent of foyer tables used in grand homes.

We searched high and low for the perfect 72” round tapered marble top with base and we came up empty handed. Anything smaller would have gotten lost in the space. Truly, the room probably could have afforded a table a bit larger, but impossible with marble. There are a handful of great marble tables at or below 60”. We could have also surrendered to wood in order to get to 72” or greater, but then, well it would not have been the table we knew was “it”. So, as designers, we chose to partner with amazing artisans and craftsman to create and perfect the most beautiful multi-faceted brass table base that’s balanced with a hand selected marble top and fabricated with an eased tapered edge profile. We got our 72” table! We worked with local Savannah artisan Aaron Heisler from Pique Studios and Creative Stone to build this incredible structure. This was not an easy undertaking as we went through two pieces of marble to get it right! “Can I get a Doctor. Stat.” We got a few grey hairs in the process, but we gained perspective and years of knowledge and, ultimately, this beautiful piece of functional sculpture.

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Perfection. It all started here

Oscar Properties’ Conversion Project in Stockholm. Angelo Magiarotti 1969 Agapecasa M Table

Next step was to pair the table with the appropriately scaled chair that allowed the eye to see past to appreciate the table. It was the simplicity of the Scandinavian chairs, from Asher + Rye, and rounded backs that perfectly hugged the table and enhanced its beauty. The lighter white oak wood frame makes it less formal and lighter in appearance.

 To further emphasize our concept, we designed delicate but masculine blackened metal, brass and fumed wood étagères fabricated by our friends at Forsyth Metal Works.

The étagères were meant to give the room a library like feel rather than going with your mother’s china cabinet. They not only hide the audio components, but also the bar. It was important to design pieces that were light and not too formal. We created mostly an open system that was built above the baseboard to not obstruct the natural beauty of the architectural details.

When it came time for the space (envelope), we maintained the white walls and deep ebony floors to showcase the architectural elements. Specifically, the molding details, the Victorian Eastlake wood valances and the overly impressive full-length peer mirrors that bookend each space. It was these details we initially questioned – do we paint them? As designers, it can sometimes be our initial reaction to create a clean canvas. Listen, paint can do wonders; however, restraint was key in this situation. Once the house was cleared of the previous homeowner’s ornate furnishings (beautiful in their own right), we could fully appreciate the impact, and drama, they provided in a more minimal setting. 

The same holds true for the “new” Parlor / Living Room.  It was important to showcase these architectural beauties by bringing in a low profile sofa and other furnishings on the same plane.  By bringing the eye level down there became a better visual connection to the Sitting and Kitchen to make the room the perfect place to entertain.

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The sofa is an import from Denmark by Asher + Rye and paired with a hand-crafted Italian marble coffee table. By keeping the colors neutral, the eye could rest and focus on other key features of the home.  However, the use of various textures from the rug and vintage hemp pillows to the oversized macramé and accessories, the added layers provided extra dimension and interest in a subtle and calming way. Allowing us, and the client, to not take things too serious.

Former Parlor turned Dining Room overlooking Columbia Square   Fun Fact: Metal shavings from the shop were soaked in vinegar to create the blackened finish. The vinegar and metal mixed with the tannins in the wood causes a chemical reaction which is why it blackens. Not all woods have the same tannins so oak is the best choice to accomplish an ebonized look.

Former Parlor turned Dining Room overlooking Columbia Square

Fun Fact: Metal shavings from the shop were soaked in vinegar to create the blackened finish. The vinegar and metal mixed with the tannins in the wood causes a chemical reaction which is why it blackens. Not all woods have the same tannins so oak is the best choice to accomplish an ebonized look.

First Level: We opted to flip flop the Parlor and Dining Room This created a more casual approach to the back of house towards the Sitting Room and Kitchen. At the same time, by having a sculptural dining table the former “Parlor” still stands to do the job: it greets the guest upon arriving.

First Level: We opted to flip flop the Parlor and Dining Room This created a more casual approach to the back of house towards the Sitting Room and Kitchen. At the same time, by having a sculptural dining table the former “Parlor” still stands to do the job: it greets the guest upon arriving.

Episode 2 of 6 takes you through the parlor and dining room of a modernized 1800s Italianate Mansion in beautiful Historic Savannah, GA. Husband-and-wife, Joel and Erika Snayd, walk you through the design of the two spaces sharing along the way their decision choices and tips.