Personalizing a New Home

5:35 PM

Creating a personal, lived in feel in a new home can raise challenges.  There's something so austere about freshly painted walls and pristine floors.  But our new contributor, Esther, is showing off how she established her own unique style in her new Raleigh home.  The last thing you want when you walk into a home is to feel like you've stepped into a textbook open house - nondescript styling and accents just to fill a space.  Esther wanted to bring in both traditional furniture (her home has very traditional finishes) and the modern aesthetic that she personally loves.  Here's what she accomplished in the most-used social room in her house, her kitchen/dining room:

The dining room came together from the ground up -- I started with an oversize Moroccan tiled rug from Joss and Main, my go-to source for large area rugs at a reasonable price.  It’s 8’x10’ and high pile – I’m a very tactile person and LOVE soft fluffy rugs.  Since I went with a more fun and modern rug, I opted for a more traditional dining room table that would still be cohesive with a modern vibe. The dining room table is from Arhaus. I love it because the leaves are stored within the table and it is super easy to expand the table length (just lift and pull!).

The chairs are from Ikea and match the bar stools (which are just beyond these photos at our kitchen island). 

Designer tip: I wanted to incorporate two different colors for added visual depth, and the chair covers are machine washable to boot!

Since I don’t host sit-down meals often, I wanted casual dining table settings that wouldn’t show a lot of dust. To keep with the graphic patterns I'm layering in this space to create a modern aesthetic, I layered stripes napkins and geometric place mats, all in neutral grays and whites to make a more cohesive look. The coasters are my favorite purchase; I love the pop of color from these Anthropologie geodes!  For an improptu centerpiece a make-your-own terrarium is a low maintenance counter to traditional fresh flowers. 

The Arhaus buffet is a companion peace to the dining table, and has fold out leaves to make a larger bar area.  The center cabinet is designed specifically for wine storage, so this is a full-fledged bar area in disguise.

I wanted to have a large gallery wall rather than a single large piece. I have to admit, I have trouble committing to wall art, so I had this design laid out on the floor just in front of this wall for a solid month before I finally decided to hang them up! I actually used a cereal box to standardize the space between items. Although I clearly didn’t take the time to straighten pieces before taking this picture… oops!

What kind of art belongs in a kitchen? Food photography of course.  These are actually by a local photographer found at Raleigh's Artsplosure.

 The two large focal pieces of my gallery wall are the items that I most identify with.  An aerial map of my current home town, Raleigh, and a portrait of my actual DNA (below).

Nothing is more individual than getting your own DNA turned into art.  I love this because it’s a novelty piece – visitors always ask me about this one! You make your purchase, the company DNA11 sends you a cheek swab, and they send you the product with your DNA. You can include up to four individual DNA samples, as well as select your colors and framing options. They also make fingerprint or kiss portraits. 

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