The Washington Post

House Calls: Prepping for lots of holiday guests


In anticipation of the holiday season, Jo Ann Pinney of Burke wants to reconfigure her dining area to accommodate more people. She’s struggling with an open floor plan that connects the dining room to the living room and raised foyer. The designer who decorated the space 20 years ago called it “French country,” but now it’s dated. Including grandchildren, the new table should seat 12 comfortably.


By extending the hardwood and adding a table with three benches and eight chairs, designer Annette Phillips gets this home holiday-ready.

Phillips, of Your Style Inspired (703-819-1071), is based in Vienna.

Rooms with open floor plans should look cohesive. Define the individual areas with rugs or a table and chairs.

Paint the walls a buttery neutral color. Walls are Toasted Pine Nut by Sherwin-Williams.

Jo Ann Pinney. (Leah L. Jones/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)

Designate a seating area across from the piano. Two benches double as a coffee table.

Drapes should highlight the view, not distract from it. Swap the dated curtains with subtle, sheer panels.

A long, rectangular table offers plenty of room for guests. The piano bench can be dragged over as emergency seating.

A mirror above the piano makes the room look larger. Flank it with two hurricane candle holders for additional light.


Furniture: Large Avery extension table ($1,629,; cottage benches in black ($79 each) and Coventry armless chair (no longer available in bittersweet), both from

Lighting: Orland pharmacy floor lamp ($270) and Henderson Glass Dale Tiffany lamp ($151), both from

Accessories: Elena Palampore linen sheer drape ($67 each), hurricane candle holders ($99 each), color-bound sea grass rug in cardinal red ($299 for 8-by-10-foot rug), all from; Shirley Fintz stoneware lion ($129) and chevron crewel pillow cover in red ($39), both from; Harmonie mirror ($164), Season’s Frenzy I and II wall prints ($239 each) and Prairie I area rug in red ($119 for 3-by-5-foot rug), all from


Grayson chairs in red ($249 each,

Bonita chandelier ($1,189,

. . . OR SAVE

Elizabeth Parson side chair in red ($170, Progress Lighting Cantata Collection bronze chandelier ($189,

See past room makeovers by local designers.

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