Project Reveal: Dining Room Fit for a Feast with a Side of Ping Pong

Recently I finished working on the home of my amazing clients Boe + Sophie Hayward. They are just the coolest people, and also parents to 3 kids under the age of five and a dog-baby, who make raising a family look like a total breeze.

When I met them, they’d purchased their current home just over a year earlier, and had run out of steam after decorating most spaces (they upsized from a smaller home), and what was left over were the formal living room and formal dining room. In this post I’ll show the Before & After for the dining room:

NOZNOZNOZ - Avenues Family Home - Dining BEFORE

I also happened to visit during the holidays, so all my “Before” photos show the family’s ridiculously extensive collection of Nutcrackers. The table, while beautiful, didn’t fit with their style goals for this room, and was too small. The giant china hutch is a hand-me-down from one of their parents’ homes, and the super-cool Graham’s beverage cooler ended up in the formal living room.

… and AFTER: Noz Design - Avenues Family House - Dining Room 1

What inspired me about Boe + Sophie’s vision for the room was how versatile they wanted their hosting spaces to be. As super-versatile people, they wanted their formal dining room to be stylish but comfortable – to be a space that guests loved to be in… and linger in.

Our process started with finding the right dining table. Boe’s ideal situation was for us to put a regulation-sized ping pong dining table in the space. For the record, that is a massive table for a San Francisco home: 5′ x 9′!!!! But the room was large enough, so I said, let’s go for it! After reviewing a number of options (surprisingly there are a number of ping pong dining tables in all different styles), we selected the Winston table from Venture Shuffleboard – made in the US of solid Walnut with Maple insets. And let me just say, this table is STUNNING and beautifully crafted.

Noz Design - Avenues Family House - Dining Room 2

As the house’s floor plan is very open, we opted to keep the walls in the dining room the same color as the adjacent sitting room + kitchen. That meant we could go with a bold color for the rug. Since Boe and Sophie’s three kids are all very young, I recommended a nice-looking but affordable rug (literally less than $400 and it’s 100% wool!) that they wouldn’t be afraid of having ruined. A big bonus for me was that Sophie loves this rug’s design!

Next was chairs: I found a beautiful set of 8 vintage walnut + wool chairs from my pals at Midcentury Møbler in San Francisco, and then for the head-of-table chairs, I juxtaposed the midcentury modern vibe with Scandinavian modern chairs designed by Hem. I love these leather scoop chairs, and I love that they kind of feel like baseball gloves (Boe is a major SF Giants fan). The woods on these chairs work with both woods in the dining table.

Side note: I'm pretty happy with my decorating job on the decorative shelves to the right. They are a really awkward height + depth, but I think we made it work.

Side note: I’m pretty happy with my decorating job on the decorative shelves to the right. They are a really awkward, unaccommodating height + depth, but I think we made it work. The ping pong gear goes in the little bucket on the 4th shelf.

Finally, lighting: the “before” chandelier was not working with the space – too small, too chrome, and hung too high. In keeping with the midcentury modern vibe, we went with a large Sputnik pendant in black metal, and then hung it just low enough that it feels like a part of the space, but just high enough that it doesn’t interfere with fierce table tennis matches (at least so far).

Boe and Sophie also asked about what to put on the wall. With the china hutch moved out, the room felt much bigger, but the wall felt empty. My idea was mirrors, because the formal dining room happens to get the least natural light vs. the other rooms on the ground floor, and the mirrors would bounce back light during the day and in evenings when the Sputnik light is on. Rather than go with one large mirror, we went with three in leather frames that nod to the leather chairs. Their scale is just enough to add visual interest to the wall without competing with the table and the delicious food to be served on it.

I was SO delighted that a couple friends (including Hedge, my now-fiancé ^_^) noticed that the mirrors look like ping pong paddles!

Also, I was delighted that a couple friends (including Hedge, my now-fiancé ^_^) noticed that I selected mirror frames that echo the shape of ping pong paddles!

And that’s it! What do you think of the idea of a multi-use dining table? I personally use mine as a makeshift “work table” when my desk is too small.

Next up: the project reveal for this same family’s formal living room!

CABIN TOUR: Lacey Acres

Hedge, Viv, and I got back a few days ago from an amazing 4th of July *glamping* trip – it’s an annual tradition (only the second year for me and Viv) at the stunning many-acre compound just south of Mendocino, CA, known as Lacey Acres.

On the property is a glorious cabin where big group meals for 50+ family and friends are prepped and served. The Laceys designed and built the cabin with the vision of being able to host large parties in a welcoming, open concept space – and boy did they succeed. The entire cabin, especially the main hosting spaces, is one of the most breathtaking and functional I’ve seen. And given that I suffer from cabin coveting (a side effect of having lived in cities the past 10 years) and suspect other fellow urban-dwellers do as well, I wanted to share some shots I snapped and reminisce:


NOZNOZNOZ - Lacey Cabin Kitchen

Arguably the grandest (and definitely the busiest) room in the cabin is the Lacey Kitchen, also known as the Two Step Cafe (because it isn’t breakfast without music and some light toe-tapping). The Laceys chose to use two different counter materials in the kitchen: Carrera marble for the counters against the walls, and zinc for the island. Throughout the home are antiques and vintage finds, so the old-fashioned warmth of the zinc counters enhances the nostalgic charm in an otherwise modern open floor plan.

Other details I absolutely love about the kitchen: the pot filler to the left of the range, the big 30″ griddle space on the range, the fact that the island is a farmhouse red with cookbook cubby shelves, and the view of trees from the Shaw farmhouse kitchen sink (large enough to bathe large babies in, so the sink is famously called the “baby washing sink”).

NOZNOZNOZ - Lacey Cabin Kitchen Sink


NOZNOZNOZ - Lacey Cabin Fireplace

Throughout the main floor of the Laceys’ cabin are stunning beamed ceilings with iron hardware. This fireplace establishes the main dining space within the open floor plan. It’s faced with local stone, and the firewood comes from fallen branches on the property.

(Art note: the painting to the right of the fireplace is by Brit Lacey, the second of three sons in the Lacey clan!)

NOZNOZNOZ - Lacey Cabin Dining

Another view of the main dining space, with a view of the window seat! The most amazing part of the kitchen-dining area is that the Laceys designed this cabin so that the dining table could be extended out French doors and onto their wraparound deck, to seat over 50 people. (The largest dinner they’ve ever hosted was for July 4th, 2013, where over 80 people joined!)


NOZNOZNOZ - Lacey Cabin Deck

This deck is seriously inspired. If I ever get to design my own cabin, a deck wide enough for dining will definitely be set off the kitchen.


NOZNOZNOZ - Lacey Cabin Bar

What would an amazing cabin for hosting be without an amazing bar? Not only have the Laceys collected covetable antiques to decorate the cabin, they were also super creative and resourceful to have found the bar countertop at a flea market and installed it here, just off the kitchen. The counter surface works well with the zinc island in the kitchen and the steel bar stools. NOZNOZNOZ - Lacey Cabin Bar Detail

From behind the bar, another fabulous and fitting detail is that the cupboard doors + hardware are from antique ice boxes! (Don’t mind the blue painter’s tape – that was put there to keep us youngsters out of the good liquor cabinet!)

Honestly my photos don’t do the Lacey property any justice (especially since they were taken on the last morning after a weekend whirlwind and clearly not staged); this cabin belongs in magazines! Such a privilege to be invited back each year to celebrate the USA in this exquisitely American cabin.