Fine dining starts with a fine dining room, designed with practical luxury in mind
PUBLISHED: 16:03 09 November 2020 | UPDATED: 09:03 10 November 2020
Fine dining at home is a rare treat and should be an holistic experience, which is why Kunal Trehan and Thomas Hope are planning a superb dining room in their Sandbach self-build home
Gazing at the designs for Kunal Trehan and Thomas Hope’s dining room, one would be forgiven for forgetting, for a moment, to breathe. The words ‘fantasy’ and ‘stage set’ spring to mind and in fact aren’t so far from the objective Kunal and Thomas set themselves when designing this space.
“I think it’s really important to have a formal dining room, if you are able,” Kunal says. “Of course in every day life we use the kitchen and dining area for convenience and ease, but I just think there’s a beauty about a formal dining space. It’s where you make memories – Christmas, family occasions, dinner parties...”
“We both lead such busy, hectic lives,” Tom adds, “and I think there’s a different sense of relaxation and stopping and enjoying the moment in a formal dining room, rather than in your kitchen, where you can still be very linked to the mayhem of the cooking.”
Kunal interjects: “And that’s why, from a design perspective, you can go super-luxurious and not everything has to be really practical in the room. It’s not going to be used every single day but when it is you get that wow, for yourself and your guests, because it’s not just a room for you, but to host in. It’s a really important room.”
So, where does one start when designing your perfect dining room. Kunal and Thomas, of course, have designed this house themselves, so the size and shape of the dining room was entirely within their control.
“The number one rule,” Kunal says, “is how many people do you need to accommodate. There is always a number. I have done designs for houses where that number was 24, for us it was 12. That will accommodate our family for special occasions and a good sized group of friends for dinner. Once we had decided this, then we started placing our shapes. I love round tables, but a round table needs a square room, but with a rectangle or oval table you can have a rectangular room. I love playing around with shapes and developing the contrast with this and having quite a linear room. Next, you need to be sure of your lighting. This room has a double aspect, so will be bright all day. We have softened that with the window treatments and built a layered lighting design to give us the ambience we want in the evenings.”
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“We started the design of the dining room very much when we started the design of the house,” Thomas says. “It was vital to get the interior architecture – the recesses above the windows, the coffered ceiling, the recessed carpet area under the dining table – agreed, for which you need to know what you want the end result to look like. You can’t go back and bolt-on or add in these things later. Lighting, such as the LED in the coffered ceiling and the wall lamps, and sound, have to be part of your electrical plan when the house is built, not a post-consideration.”
Kunal, with his interior design business, Touched Interiors, is renowned for his ability to create timeless elegance with a luxury feel and this room distils everything he stands for.
“I knew I wanted to incorporate a sense of the Art Deco in here,” he says, “which is where the chevrons come in. On the walls there is a wood veneer with a chevron design. From this evolved the idea of having the wine display in a chevron design. The pendant lamps and the wall lamps reflect this geometry. I wanted a light, airy, simple design but nothing boring.”
In case you were wondering about the practicality of such a room, don’t.
“We want to live in a home to be enjoyed, not a showcase. There are lots of tricks you can use to ensure that. There will be no ‘shoes off at the door’ rule in our house. It’s all about relax, enjoy and don’t worry. On the back of the chairs is embossed leather suede, however, the chair fronts are covered with a washable suede, so nobody need fear dropping anything, and the inset carpet is also easily cleanable. People can sit, eat and enjoy a beautiful meal in a beautiful space – and hopefully make some memories.”
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