Sophisticated Dining

Designer Emily Butler shares how she added charisma to a Houston townhome's bland dining room.

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Prepared with a $3,000 budget and a short deadline, designer Emily Butler added lighting and architectural elements to transform a townhome's plain dining area into a dining room with pizazz.

By adding architectural details, like wainscoting and trim, this dining room now has plenty of style with welcoming appeal.

What was on the homeowners' wish list for this remodel?

Without molding, this space lacked architectural interest and character, so we added traditional beadboard and wainscoting along with trim on the built-ins. By replacing the back door and adding a gorgeous light fixture, we were able to create some affordable ambiance.


Browse photos of this great dining room transformation.

What was the largest issue you wanted to address?

Lighting was an important issue here so we added an especially attractive amber glass chandelier. It gives the room a warm and inviting quality as well as providing an excellent light source.

Were there any obstacles in this space that you had to overcome?

The limited budget and short 30 day time frame to complete the remodel were challenging, but we focused our attention on remaining organized and decisive. The remodel included the entire townhome, including the dining room, so we combined our efforts to find great deals quickly and at an affordable price.

Does the end result match your original vision for this project?

Our vision might have changed had we been given more time, but based on this and a limited budget, we stayed true to our original concept.

What lessons did you learn?

I honestly think that seeing the chandelier disassembled on the floor was probably the most shocking event that we encountered. We maintained a successful project through managing our ideas, materials and workers in an effective manner. It was surprising to me how efficiently the project came together as a result of good management techniques.

What are the "hidden gems" that made a big difference?

I think the true hidden gem is the warmth and personality created through thoughtful design.

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