When famed wedding photographer Heidi Lau purchased her home over a year ago, it was a diamond in the rough. We’re talking dusty rose walls and wall to wall lavender carpeting… yikes! However, the space also came with a tremendous amount of natural light. (And as any photographer knows, this is crucial.) She reached out to her friend Jacquelyn Clark, the talented interior designer behind the popular blog, Lark & Linen. Heidi envisioned a sophisticated, functional dining room that could also house her photography studio and meeting space, and Jacquelyn was more than up to the task. Today, Jacquelyn tells us a bit about the project and shares her top dining room essentials. (HINT: Lots of wine is involved!)

Hi Jacquelyn! Thank you so much for sharing this space with us. How did you and Heidi first decide to work together?
Heidi, arguably one of the best wedding photographers in Toronto, and I met just over a year ago when Style Me Pretty hired her to photograph my home. At the risk of sounding cheesy, our relationship has been serendipitous since it began. We instantly hit it off and have been collaborating on projects of all shapes and sizes ever since.

She wanted this to be an elegant dining room, but also a photography studio. How did you make it work?
Getting rid of the existing dusty rose walls and terrible carpeting was the first order of business. A (few) coats of Benjamin Moore’s Chantilly Lace on the walls act as the perfect neutral backdrop for her shoots, while the dark hardwood floors help anchor the otherwise light and airy feel. Typically, dining rooms and meeting rooms have similar requirements so that wasn’t terribly difficult to execute. The studio side of things was a little more challenging, but we made it work!

That does sound like a challenge! 
Not only did it need to act as a workhorse for Heidi’s various photo shoots, it also needed to be sparse, and versatile, while still feeling very Heidi. We incorporated simple sheer curtains to really take advantage of that gorgeous light, and otherwise kept things thoughtful, and understated, so it would be easy to manipulate depending on that day’s needs. A linen tufted chair, that can be easily moved or utilized during a shoot, takes centre stage, while some of Heidi’s gorgeous work is kept on display, casually leaned against the wall. Not only does it feel very elegant (bordering on sexy Parisienne loft), but it allows everything to be totally moved and rejigged when necessary.

It’s obvious you had a clear vision through and through.
The vision is one thing that we really never wavered on. Heidi has cultivated a very strong, incredibly elegant, brand for herself, which acted as the perfect jumping off point for her space. Things always slowly change over time – typically due to budget and timeline restraints – but we both couldn’t be happier with the results.

Any funny situations along the way?
Oh my god, the original mirror we were looking at for above the fireplace was a NIGHTMARE. We had major, major, issues with the supplier (he who shall not be named). It was a whole comedy of errors, but at one point they accidentally charged over $100,000 to our credit card. I’m not sure how THAT happens, but it’s something we can almost laugh about now!

We would die! Do you have “favorite” in the room?
Those marble lamps flanking the sideboard weigh about 90 pounds each, and they’re 90 pounds of pure heaven. I swear I heard angels sing when we unwrapped them. The moment we put them in place the entire room felt complete.

We know our readers would love to incorporate some of your style into their own spaces. What do you think every dining room should have? 

1. Fabulous light fixtures. It’s the easiest way to make a space feel instantly luxurious

2. Comfortable seating, especially if you’re of the dinner party throwing variety and want your guests to linger late into the evening

3. Dimmer switches and candles. Mood lighting, in the dining room especially, is essential.

4. A sideboard. Not only is the extra storage always a bonus, but it’s also a great spot for platters of food during a dinner party, plus it’s can be made into a makeshift bar while entertaining

5. An unlimited supply of wine. Just me?