dining room with coffered ceiling and checkered wood floors
Photo: Pascal Blancon
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The Formal Approach

From For Starters, December 1999

I'm a sucker for a formal dining room, probably because my favorite family memories involve about 20+ of my extended clan lolling about after gorging ourselves on a 5-hour feast, telling tales about each other from decades past. This happened in my grandfather's house more than half a century ago (or so they tell me), and the tradition continues at my mother's and aunt's houses every Thanksgiving and Christmas. Whenever I come across a room meant for holiday occasions, I just want to start cooking.

This one has all the earmarks of a great dining room: red walls to stimulate the appetite, corner cupboard to hide the dozens of dishes, and a low but architecturally interesting ceiling that makes the room feel intimate. My only criticism: The table's not nearly big enough.

—Alexandra Bandon, senior editor
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