Photo by Steve Henke
Where: Minneapolis - Designer: Nadia Haddad
It’s old news that traditional dining rooms have been elbowed aside in favor of modern kitchen islands and informal seating areas. What’s new is that some people are reimagining the original heart of the home as capable of hosting more than a sit-down dinner. For the Bent family of five who live in south Minneapolis, the dining room is the favorite and most used spot in their Georgian Colonial house, which was designed in 1922 by the prolific Minnesota architect Jacob Liebenberg.
“We live in here,” Kelly Bent says. “We don’t have a modern kitchen—this is where we eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner; read the paper; do homework; even play Ping-Pong on the table.”
To tone down the formality of the space and give it a multi-functional feel, Bent hired designer Nadia Haddad to help her funk it up and give it a stylish, organic vibe that would work well with the bones of the woodwork and architecture. Haddad refused to let Bent get rid of the walnut chairs and table she purchased years ago at the former Dayton’s furniture department—“The Windsor style is beautiful, classic, and worth keeping,” says Haddad. But they changed up the walls with a warm grey hue, and chose a wool rug with a neutral, folky pattern for the floor.
And then there’s the piece that everyone talks about when they first walk into the house: a giant textural light fixture from Anthropologie. “It’s even more stunning from the outside to see this paper orb glowing in the front window,” says Haddad.
Those windows are often lit as the Bents entertain frequently, gatherings that tend to be on the informal side—soccer parties, an ’80s-themed party, a bunch of girls rainbow-looming around the table. But for the holidays, the room comes back to its roots. “Last year, my husband’s entire family was here for Thanksgiving and we squeezed in 17 people for a sit-down dinner,” says Bent. Because for some occasions, only traditional will do.