Mix wood with metals and fabrics for a mountain modern dining room
July 29, 2016
VAIL — The dining room table is often the only place in the house where the entire family and guests come together all at once. Bedrooms, kitchens and even living room spaces offer either autonomy or transience for busy parents and flocks of children, preoccupied roommates and visiting friends.
This versatile surface in the home is a focal point piece that will last through time, but sometimes the embellishments around it will change.
"Tables are an heirloom piece that you will have forever," said Heidi Jarski, co-owner of Mountain Comfort furnishings and design store in Frisco with her husband, Andy. "But sometimes with chairs, style or fabric goes out of style."
You can't go wrong with a prominent wooden table as a lasting piece, made from maple, teak, cherry, walnut or pine, but there are some trends emerging around material and style.
"Rustic tables have always been a part of a mountain look, but it used to be log tables, and now we are seeing more reclaimed pieces," Jarski said.
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Reclaimed pine, from beetlekill trees, for instance, is very popular in all styles of home design. A specific furniture style known as "live edge" adds an even more rustic element to the reclaimed pieces.
"Each live edge table is going to have a different kind of shape," Jarski explained. "The tree is cut, and the edges are left as their natural shapes. Sometimes, the bark is left on, and sometimes it's taken off."
Like most furniture pieces, clients can give input for what they want the completed piece to look like. Some want a finished look, and some want a more rustic feel; sometimes the wood tables are stained, and sometimes they are left their natural color.
Chairs are where you can bring the flair. A current design trend pairs "timeless" wood tables with more modern, mixed material chairs, and in Summit County, that translates to "mountain modern."
"'Rustic modern' or 'mountain contemporary' are two ways of describing this type of trend of combining two design concepts into one vignette," said Sara Pridgen, owner of Rustic Point furniture, gifts and gourmet goods in Evergreen. "Clients are looking for that unique combination, but with an overall relaxed feel."
An example of this trend, Pridgen explained, would be to combine a reclaimed barn wood table with a sleek, leather parsons chair.
Large, rolled upholstery armchairs are no longer pushed up against rustic tables. Instead, streamlined chairs are popular, with higher backs, thinner arms and cleaner lines — almost "industrial looking," as Jarski explained.
Reclaimed wood is also used in the chairs themselves, but the natural material is mixed with copper or zinc pipe-style legs or accents. Gray and brown color combinations are being used now, rather than brown on brown.
Fabrics are often incorporated into the modern, mixed material designs.
"There are still a lot of really cool fabrics that are trendy right now and in-line with the mountain look," she said. "We are seeing a lot of grays and gray leathers; everything was so brown for so long, and now we're seeing a combo of those colors."
Balance is the baseline for integrating natural elements with modern accents for a comfortable, cutting edge dining room.
"Throw a little mountain in with modern by adding wood, ethnic prints and fabrics, and it makes the space a lot warmer and it adds some personality to it," Jarski said. "People want to feel cozy when they are in their mountain home, and this will help make it that way."
Pridgen said that while this trend is an exciting evolution in mountain design, she believes that "comfort trumps all."
"Many contemporary dining chairs have the look, but are not comfortable," she said. "Be sure to find the balance of comfort and look before making your purchasing decision. After all, being comfortable while enjoying dinner with friends is what truly matters."
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