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Best Dining Room 2022 Winner

The winner of the 2022 Best Dining Room category created a modern, elegant dining space with durable-but-elegant seating for up to ten.

by Colin Shea Denniston

Jun 2022

Table in best dining room winner of 2022 Design Awards
Photos by Jeremy Mason McGraw, Global Image Creation; courtesy Denise WrightWright continued the color palette through the large archway and into the adjacent living room.

Winning Designer: Denise Wright of DKW Designs

Project Goal Summary

To create a modern, elegant dining space with seating for up to 10. The furniture needed to be durable for the large family but still elegant enough for entertaining guests.

In purchasing this southeast Springfield home, the newly engaged homeowners were not only looking for a space to combine their lives and families, but also for a fresh start and room to make new memories. With a newly combined family and a love for entertaining, the couple turned to Denise Wright, owner and designer of DKW Designs, to transform the dining room into a space that was elegant enough to host dinner parties, comfortable enough for family dinners and a place where everyone has a seat at the table.

To achieve the desired “casual elegance” aesthetic, Wright kept things simple, sticking to a light color palette with pops of rich dark tones and cool metal. The 120-inch Palecek dining table—with its dark espresso finish and subtle textured pattern—grounds the space and adds a bit of contrast against the refinished natural oak floors.

To bring life and color to the space Wright added greenery and artwork that could be easily swapped out as new items are collected. Wright knew she wanted to add a unique twist with the host and hostess chairs while keeping in line with the overall refined tone of the space. “I don’t think [the homeowner] really wanted a lot of pattern play, so the dining room chairs—she fell in love with that fabric right off the bat,” says Wright “One reason she liked it I think is there’s so much openness in the pattern so it’s not busy.” For the side chairs, Wright chose a durable performance fabric that can be easily cleaned if a child (or guest) has an unexpected spill. “I think it makes it so much more interesting when you can use a different chair fabric for host and hostess chairs. I just think it makes them stand out and makes them a little bit more special,” says Wright.

One of Wright’s favorite décor pieces is the Schlitz bar lady statue, which now sits on the mantel. The statue used to be displayed in the homeowner’s father’s office when he owned a local beer distributor in the 1970s. It had been in another room of the house before Wright moved it to the more prominent mantel location. Across from the fireplace is the butler’s bar, which houses two more family heirlooms—a pair of vintage Schlitz beer steins that pair perfectly with the lighted Tiffany styled globe of the bar lady statue.

Countertop in best dining room winner of 2022 Design Awards
Photos by Jeremy Mason McGraw, Global Image Creations; courtesy Denise WrightWright carried the same linear tile from the fireplace surround over to the backsplash of the adjacent butler’s bar. “We wanted it to be a little bit more transitional and not quite so traditional,” says Wright.