Sepia-toned dragons, 18th-century French chairs and hand-colored studies of Japanese pagodas, framed in white lacquered bamboo, all come together under the careful direction of designer Alan E. Brainerd in this anything-but-stuffy dining room.
Four McGuire Cracked Ice side chairs, lacquered in a high-gloss white, are the perfect foil to the E.J. Victor table with host and hostess chairs in cane/wicker completing the table seating. “Juxtaposing that very formal table with some very relaxed elements—like the simple sisal rug—really keeps things fresh,” Brainerd says. The chairs are upholstered in Lilly Pulitzer’s ‘Tail Lights,’ named for the Chinese dragons swinging lanterns from their tails. The navy linen fabric inspired what the designer describes as the most exciting feature of the space. “Artist Margaret von Kaenel painted an interpretation of the dragons on the ceiling. They’re just fabulous!” The dragons surround an elaborate chandelier that Brainerd says is very similar to one in New York City’s Frick Museum.
On one wall, a scalloped-front table with animal feet displays blue- and white-lidded jars beneath contemporary art from the Philip Slein gallery. Two 19th-century lamps, resting on skirted tables, repeat the blue and white combination.
Describing the artistic freedom of designing for a show house, Brainerd says the space can be completely individual, without relating to adjoining rooms. “In a ‘true’ designer show house—and I’m thrilled that this one is—anyone walking into the room should see clearly how that designer envisioned that space. It should be a capsule of the designer’s talents.”
Alan E. Brainerd Interiors: Alan E. Brainerd
F. Schumacher & Co.
Margaret von Kaenel
W. King Ambler Inc