Last September, we interviewed Chentell Shannon, owner and lead designer of Convivial and Verdant, about her home journey in Kansas City thus far. In the Home Interview, Chentell shared her first experience of buying a home, updating it and finding joy in the process. Since then, Chentell and her husband Stephen have moved into multiple spaces, most recently into a Historic North East home in Kansas City. Chentell describes this home as “the perfect next step to developing our skills in restoration of homes, and for me to continue my work as a designer, in a new medium.” Throughout the journal, Chentell walks us through her vision for the home, the progress she’s made in renovating it, and the plans she has left to achieve.
Today, we’re continuing the story with more from Chentell on the progress of her home– specifically on the completion of her dining room and how she’s prepared it for hosting this holiday season.
You’ve recently been renovating your home. Can you tell us a bit about your dining room renovation?
My husband and I have been enjoying this home for just over a year. The home is a historic, brick design, built in the 1890s and it comes with its share of unique joys and special…let’s say…quirks.
One quirk about our home is the narrowness of the halls, doors and rooms. While the ceilings are tall, the layout is not your modern, open concept - you have been properly warned! Our dining room is a shining example of narrowness, measuring 12' x 9' with three points of access via narrow doorways and budding directly up to our kitchen.
Hospitality is a very important part of my husband and I’s life, so while we love our home, the size of our dining room has been a point of ongoing conversation. The challenge we have been navigating is how to make the home feel open and functional (without taking down structural walls) while also embracing the coziness of it.
Over the last year of being in the home, three rooms on our main level have undergone aesthetic renovations. The dining room, freshly completed, is our third and most minimal room to date. Just a table, chairs and a lighting fixture. There are no hutches, no wall art, no bar carts. Just the essentials for conviviality.
Take a peek!
When designing the dining room, I wanted to embrace the coziness the size brings, while still being strategic about hosting a party where everyone could be in the same room at once (our goal was 10). Carrying over the same crown molding and architectural molding that were installed in the other rooms gave us visual impact while still allowing the full floor space to be dedicated to nothing other than gathering around the table.
Three words to describe your dining room:
Bright. Simple. Crafts-woman-ship.
The dining room is bright, simple and built with crafts-woman-ship. It is dinnerware and candles, thoughtfully made by the talented team at Convivial, Winter Greenery curated and bundled by the woman at Verdant, the dried Hydrangea cut from my garden and the room itself custom crafted by hands to fit the needs of the home.
I find myself endlessly drawn to handmade, the depth and charm that it adds to both product and space.
What main design choices were made to carry out your vision for the dining room?
Speaking of quirks earlier…an additional quirk to navigate about having a narrow, compartmentalized home, is that certain rooms have less access to light due to wall placement. This has been a challenge dealt with in our dining room design, as we have a load bearing wall blocking our east facing windows from the space. Three specific design choices really helped brighten the space.
Light Walls. I skim coated and repainted our walls using Ultra Bright White in a Satin finish for the ceiling, trim and walls. This really helped brighten the space and gave it a cleaner, elevated feel.
Reflective White Table. Curated by Cb2. This allows the light that the room does receive to reflect more. Paired with the ultra bright white walls, the two really amplify the reflections of the other.
- Ivory Dinnerware! I have collected the Minimal Dinnerware Collection in our Ivory Porcelain clay body and I love layering the plates and bowls to add additional brightness to the table and to the space.
Below is a before (left) and after photo (right) to see how these elements have impacted this space.
List of Convivial items you curated for your table:
Do you plan to host this year?
Yes! We have a range of events this year, one of which is our annual Company Holiday Party.
And while Convivial and Verdant have outgrown our ability to have the entire company seated in this narrow dining room (44 people on this year's guest list with kids and significant others!), we have completed other projects - our outdoor patio and fire pit area - that allow larger parties to be hosted.
Whether it is a party of 2 or 50, I am always excited to have friends, family and staff members in our home. It’s fun to see how a space such as a dining room, or a product, such as a plate or a bowl, can give reason for life, conversation, and of course, for conviviality.
Happy Holidays everyone!
Thanks for taking a peek inside my home this year!