An Elegant-Natural Dining Room

Designer Nancy Van Natta brought a room in the sky back down to earth. Van Natta’s dining room for the Icons of Design at San Francisco’s Millennium Tower is an aerie saturated in comfort.

Elegant Natural Dining Room

Wallpaper Close UpOther rooms in the space have jaw-dropping views of the San Francisco Bay and surrounding city, but this room is different. “I wanted it to be an intimate and cozy nest in a sleek, sophisticated high rise building,” said Van Natta.

Van Natta began her design with the deep red, iridescent silk wall covering, with a wood-grained pattern. “The color created a warm, intimate feeling and the wood grain started me on the path of elegant-natural,” said Van Natta. “I also wanted to include something of nature in the room as grounding in a space 52 floors in the air.”

“I found the branchelier in a shop and I loved its sculptural quality. It also fit my theme of elegant-natural,” said
Van Natta. She upped the formality of the twigs with a coat of metallic paint.

Elegant Natural Dining Room Nest

Then she looked to echo its theme. “Because the branchelier was so unexpected I felt it needed support and I looked for artwork that would give it more of a reason for being there,” said Van Natta. “The birds nest photos picked up on the texture of the twigs and they celebrated natural beauty in a sophisticated way.”

Elegant Natural Dining Room TablescapeThe color scheme mixes bold, rich colors. “I painted the ceiling red and the trim black to support the red walls,” said Van Natta. “Then I needed a second strong color to play with all the red and I chose an electric blue fabric for the chairs. The table is a golden color. I picked up on that color with some yellow-gold vases.”

I was struck by how well the strong colors worked together so I asked Van Natta her advice for homeowners trying to do the same.

She said, “If you use a strong color on your walls you can’t be wimpy with the colors you introduce on the furnishings. They have to have the same intensity
but they need to play well together and not fight each other.

If you have a question in your mind about two or three colors going together you can consult the color wheel and figure out in a more left-brained way why your colors work or don’t work.”

Nancy Van NattaWill diners in this room miss the view?

I doubt it.

“I wanted the ‘view’ to be the person across the table,” said Van Natta.


Nancy Van Natta Associates provides a full range of interior design services for homes and public spaces from their two offices in the North and South San Francisco Bay Area.


How have you brought into your rooms natural elements or intense color? Are you happy with your results?

Ta Da! Challenge # 19 Results

Patterned Pumpkins

Thanks to the participants in our Patterned Pumpkins Challenge! Jeepers those entries were varied.

I thought Diane in Brentwood, California rocked the theme with this fall-leaves design:

Diane Fall Leaves and Carved Patterned Pumpkin

Here’s what Diane had to say:

“I love the colors of fall so wanted to use them on my pumpkin. I found an oak leaf with an interesting shape and used it as a template to make the design, which I then painted in fall colors. Where the leaves overlapped, I mixed the two colors to give it a transparent look.

I then carved a scrollwork pattern in between the leaves to give it some texture. I plan to use it as a centerpiece on my Thanksgiving table! Why let Halloween have all the fun?”

And I wonder who was the model for Renee of Plymouth, Wisconsin’s sexy, free-form airbrushed pumpkin face?

Renee Airbrushed Pumpkin


Congrats to Lana of West Bloomfield, Michigan for winning the $30 Michael’s Gift Card! She was randomly-selected using Lana, you’ll want to get going on some holiday projects for sure, so email me and let me know where to send your prize!

And Design Junkies, be sure to jump in and take part in one of the other Easy and Fun Challenges we have going!

Bungalow Built-Ins

Built-in cabinetry can add storage and charm to a space. Case in point? This San Francisco bungalow dining room.

Bungalow Dining Room Before

“The clients wanted a space to store their large collection of books, collections from travels, linens, and personal photographs,” said designer Jennifer Jones.

Bungalow Dining Room After

“The room is a generous size for a dining area (compared to the rest of the house) so it made sense to design built-ins here to make up for the lack of storage in the remainder of the house.”

Built-in Cabinetry Detail

Jones designed the white-painted cabinetry in character with the room’s architectural details like the wainscoting. “I wanted the built-ins to blend seamlessly, to look as if they had always been there.”

“My contractor was able to match the existing moldings in the room and carried it through the top of the built-ins,” said Jones. “Recessed panel doors and drawers and antique bronze hardware completes the look.”

I fancy the window bench that Jones accentuated with a Swedish-inspired print from Pindler & Pindler. “The built-ins provided a great opportunity to create a window seat, taking advantage of the sunlight and creating a cozy place to read and a spot for the client’s cats to hang out,” said Jones.


Where could you add built-in storage?

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