Woodland Dining room – before & after
April 13, 2020

Photography: Colin Faulkner

The dining room used to be partitioned off from the rest of the house by a solid wall that kept the room totally isolated. We took the wall down and rebuilt a half wall so the ground floor is open but still somewhat compartmentalized. We both felt that this treatment suited the Victorian age of the house better than an open concept plan. At one point I wanted to put a multi-paned wood framed window in that opening but decided it would make the room feel like a fishbowl. Now I’m a big fan of the combined open and closed feeling.

I’m so enamored with the woodland themed wallpaper by Timorous Beasties in the dining room. When I’m in this room, I feel like I’ve stepped into a forest on a reprieve from urban living. It is incredibly soothing and magical — especially for a nature lover like myself. And it makes for a wonderful transition to the back patio.
It’s always fun to see a trompe l’oeil effect with real flora like this magnolia branch blending into a wallpaper backdrop.

In & Out by Tres Tintas Barcelons through Newwall
Indie Wood, Ruskin Collection by Timorous Beasties through Newwall

But it took me ages to select this particular paper. It was a big commitment so I researched a ton of papers. Here are a few others I considered including another colourway of the paper I eventually went with. The mural on the left was simply stunning and I’ve used it in one of my client projects but i found it a bit too serious for the room. And it was almost too realistic. I wanted a bit of whimsy.

Newspaper Pieces Grey from the Random Papers 1 collection by Cordonné through Newwall
Chinoiserie 2.0 from the Random Papers 2 collection by Cordonné through Newwall

Here are two more options that didn’t make the final cut but I still adore them.

One of the things that sold me on this house was the old double wood screen doors with their tarnished brass handles and weighty hinges at the back of the house. They remind me of screen doors from the original cottages in Georgian Bay and long summer days where the doors were always creaking open and slamming shut with a bang. When we were viewing the house during the sale, these doors triggered such wonderful memories of a simpler time.


In its former life, the dining room had been outfitted with a round table, which was great for flow but just not my ideal set up for entertaining. I am definitely more of a rectangular table person. And the beige walls just don’t feed my soul. And in an eighties move, one wall was wall-to-wall mirror. It was kind of groovy but ultimately had to go. I still put a mirror on this wall but it’s an antique wood framed piece that i picked up in NYC when i was in my thirties — and way smaller.