So I didn’t have a chance to post properly on this before our winter holiday trip but the Saarinen table was delivered just hours before we left for the airport. Yay! You can see that I went off to vacation extremely happy as the table looks even more amazing in the space than I had hoped!

For those of you just tuning in, earlier this fall I posted a three-part series (here, here and here) on trying to decide what to choose for our dining room. Years in small homes in NYC and Tokyo meant that we never really had space for a proper dining room set up. After writing about the Saarinen table as option 2, a dear friend living in Malaysia wrote to say that she had one and didn’t need it anymore as she was moving back to an already furnished home in the US! Since the table is not available here in Doha we looked into shipping and it really wasn’t an unreasonable proposition for a table this fabulous. Six weeks or so later, it arrived.

I always planned to do a mix of chairs as I find a matched set around the oval table to feel very heavy and dull (peek in Google images and you’ll agree). Mid-century chairs are one of my favorite looks but there are none to be had here. On the other hand, a curvy French chair, like this bergère, also sets off the lines of the table perfectly.

lilly bunn oval saarinen tulip weinrib ikat french bergere

French chairs look great mixed with more modern ones too.

tulip table french chairs

Remember those French chairs I got for free? That story still needs to be told but when I got them I knew they would be perfect for the table – it was just a matter of reupholstery. While I am still considering patterned fabrics, the light backgrounds on those seem like they might disappear against all that white and pale gray. I’ve also been weighing up using a solid, in particular a strong clear green to pick up the color from the Japanese screen at the other end of the room.

French chair with green fabric

To balance out the more serious formality of those (and perhaps because I just don’t have many other choices here) we are going with 4 IKEA Tobias Chairs to round out the seating. Using a clear lucite chair with the tulip table is common as it lets the lines of the table shine through with less leg clutter. Typically people use a Louis-style Ghost chair but I have seen only a single one for sale here and I never actually find them that comfortable to sit in. The Tobias is very comfy, simple and so inexpensive that they can serve as placeholders until I find something else.

tobias-chair IKEA

I’ve been assuming the addition of a Madeline Weinrib dhurrie underneath for some time. I’m thinking Mandala in Platinum or Steel, but more likely the former as I love the striations in the weave.

Screenshot 2014-01-11 04.44.49

The fun part is layering in the unusual accessories. The long stored Chinese embroidered bed valence is coming out for the window treatment.

instagram Chinese embroidered bed valence

A pair of Italian gilt sconces that I scooped up antiquing in New Jersey this summer will be the new family coat of arms.

Italian gilt sconce

A gallery wall of favorite art including this etching by Shinji ANDO as well as my many shrine sale finds will grace the wall above the Empire dresser, which funnily enough is the first real piece of antique furniture I ever bought as a young adult. It has followed us from home to home, country to country and is still one of my favorites.


And a massive gorgeous painting by Doha based artist Pip Hoy will be the centerpiece of the opposite wall.

Sway Pip Hoy

So not to get ahead of myself, but here’s a sneak peek of progress as I publish…

dining room progress

Not finished with all the art hanging, but as you can see, I’ve been a busy beaver since we got back.

Related Posts:
Dining Room Option One…Inspiration from Isabel Lopez-Quesada
Dining Room Option Two…Inspiration from Angie Hranowsky
Dining Room Option Three…Inspiration from T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings

Image credits: All photos via my Instagram feed or as linked with the exception of #2. Lilly Bunn, #3. credit unknown, photo via The Green Room Interiors.