Transitional Living and Dining Rooms

Designer Maria Toczylowski blends contemporary and traditional styles with a touch of rustic charm to create comfortable, family-friendly living and dining rooms.

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For this Haddonfield, N.J., project, designer Maria Toczylowski of Beach Dwellings Design needed to create a space that worked for both adults and kids, as well as reflected the home's style. Contemporary and traditional furnishings mix with rustic architectural details for a cozy living space that is formal and casual at the same time.


Browse More Photos of This Cozy Living and Dining Room

Describe the homeowners' wishlist.

They wanted to keep the integrity of the house, but do a complete update to reflect their taste. The house had last been decorated in the late 1950s/early 1960s. They wanted it to be elegant, but work with the fact that they have two small children.

What were the homeowners' design problems?

Since we had to work with the bones of the house, we needed to enhance the architectural details and make them feel fresh. We did it mostly with color in the paint and fabric choices.

What was your biggest obstacle in this space?

The biggest obstacle was how to keep the spaces as formal living and dining spaces, but comfortable enough to be used every day. The furniture and fabric choices look elegant, but can withstand everyday use.

How does the end result match up with your original vision?

We had a few hiccups on finding the right paint colors, but in the end it all came together.

What lessons did you learn?

I learned that sometimes older homes have the best character. You just need to find it and use it to its potential. Tearing down and rebuilding isn't always the best option.

What are the "hidden gems"?

I think the interesting lamps, side tables and artwork help make the room feel like it was layered over time. It doesn't feel like it was completed in a matter of weeks.

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