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Putting "S" in Style

Simple, sumptuous, shapes. That’s what this week’s column is all about. The modern/island look is hot in Hawaii right now, and that’s exactly what my clients wanted for their new Kahala home. With modern spaces, simplicity of design can go a long way.

But you know me, it can never be too simple. As you can see from the before and after photos of this dining room, simplicity doesn’t have to be boring.


We already had a beautiful palette: lustrous mahogany floors, high ceilings, great lighting and an open concept. Something I had to keep in mind in this space was that the dining area was a pass-through between the living room and the kitchen.

Because it’s a transition space, I didn’t want too much color in the design. I decided to keep it simple with whites, neutrals and reflective surfaces.


At first glance, the color palette and clean lines may look deceptively simple. But on closer inspection, you start to notice sumptuous finishes: faux ostrich and chrome dining chairs, eight faceted mirrors and shimmery platinum wallpaper. And who can overlook the rich, chunky, reclaimed-wood dining table?


If you’re keeping your space simple, instead of filling it with a lot of things, opt for a few items with sumptuous visual texture. A touch of elegance will go a long way in a minimalist space. Now, where do shapes come into play?

Repetition of a shape helps to reinforce the simplicity of a design. Do you notice the shape that repeats here? It should be fairly easy: There are squares everywhere — in the chandelier, mirrors and the dining chairs, which I selected partly because their squarish chrome-bases mirrored the huge legs of the dining table.

And look closely, can you see the subtle pattern of brushed squares in the Cowtan & Tout wallpaper? The repetition of a shape makes the space feel serene and relaxing, because your eye senses the same pattern running throughout. Sumptuous finishes make it feel opulent at the same time.

Next week, I’ll share more about the subtle details that bring this space together. If you’d like to see more photos in full color,scroll up and click on the Gallery.

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