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  • Jennifer Chartier

Return to Sweetleaf - The Dining Room


Last summer, we continued to dabble in the blog world with a giant feature on our Sweetleaf Sunroom project. It was only our second post, and we packed it full of details, but reaching the finish line of this project was definitely something to celebrate! As a brand new addition to the back of the home, it checked nearly every box on the project adventure list- altered roof lines, creative problem solving, heavy project management, custom cabinet designs, and a fair amount of patience for the process. But in the end, we were able to transform a dark, seldom used back porch into a spectacular, versatile space our clients have been thrilled to enjoy year round! (Here’s a link to that post, just in case you’d like to hop over and get reacquainted with the Sweetleaf house. )

There’s nothing more encouraging than seeing these new spaces continue to function well and bring joy to our clients. And there’s no higher compliment than having our clients return to go on another design adventure with us! So we were delighted that the Bordens invited us back to collaborate again this year! Ron and Karen are a vibrant couple who love to entertain, so naturally the next space on their list was another hosting hub! After living through such a large sunroom build, the opportunity to simply “revamp” their dining room's style was just the kind of tame (but none the less fulfilling) project they welcomed! This time around, they only had to endure a few days of painting, and then wait for all the gorgeous new furniture to arrive. We’re happy to report, the Sweetleaf dining room update was a fun, uneventful journey from start to finish!

While photographing the polished new dining space, our favorite camera guru Frank asked Andrea for a peak inside her creative process. She smiled as she began “I know Karen and Ron so well now that I feel really tuned in to their style and what they gravitate towards. That level of familiarity is truly exciting. It means I’m also in tune to those little moments when I can stretch them a bit outside their comfort zone and introduce a new element that will elevate the design or the function of the room for them!” To achieve this, Andrea occasionally introduces what she calls her “wild card” approach. She presents a few options that while gorgeous, are perhaps a safer choice, along with a selection that might be a little more “outside the box”. More often than not, that “wild card” excites the client the most, offering that big wow moment they knew the room needed all along! In the case of the Sweetleaf design plan, Andrea explained “this time, I presented the Bordens with three different designs, and Karen initially chose option one. Later that night though, she texted to tell me that believe or not, Ron couldn’t stop thinking about the more bold third option and they wanted to switch! It was really fun to see her branch outside her comfort zone a bit more. This space is the first thing you see when you enter the foyer; it’s really the home’s first impression and I love that it makes a big statement!”

We couldn’t help but notice a reoccurring theme after we dove into the first Sweetleaf story again. We concluded that sunroom blog post with the following: As Karen proudly showed off her new sunroom, she laughed about Ron’s initial hesitation noting that “every morning we walk in and admire the [ceiling] color, it just makes the room, and every day he promises me he’ll just trust her next time!” So it seems to have come full circle; this time Ron lead with all the trusting! And from the looks of this stunning dinner party waiting to happen, we’re VERY glad he did!


Before & After- Before walls and windows could be transformed, it was time to part ways with the heavy, traditional dining set. Mixing wood tones with painted finishes and metal textures lends to a more layered, modern aesthetic.

Before & After- Dark upper walls, plantation shutters, and a busier area rug seemed to swallow the natural sunlight in the space before. Now, the revamped sunroom beams with a bright and airy ambiance. The wallcovering is a "wow" moment in the space; it adds just enough visual interest, while still allowing your eye to travel seamlessly from the creamy board and batten molding to the ceiling.

Before & After- We cannot cheer enough about leaving matching furniture sets behind in favor of curating unique pieces that speak to one another, yet have something to say all on their own. The corner cabinet is one of our favorite finds, with light fluted wood doors and gold accents that echo details in the new chandelier and lamps across the room.

Before & After- An unexpected pop of blue in the new buffet seems to ground the new scheme and electrify it all at once. Our clients are the ultimate hosts, so we're already imagining that marble top decked out with fresh flower arrangements, appetizers, and all the cocktail accompaniments!



Dining Room Design/Styling: Andrea Wilson @ Wilhouse Designs

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