Three years ago, interior designer Darlene Molnar and her husband moved from their one-bedroom condo in Friendship Heights to a single-family home in Reston to grow their family. She had grand plans, wanting to furnish each room carefully and thoughtfully. She wanted to love every piece.
Molnar trained her sights first on the dining room. Her absolute must-have for their new, upsized home was a long, uninterrupted slab table—literally sliced from a tree.
“When I knew we were going to move into a house and I needed more furniture than seating for two,” she laughs, “I wanted a big table like this.”
She pictured the table in her mind’s eye—she just had to track it down. Eventually, her search led her to a Philadelphia artisan’s slabs of chamcha, from the tropical acacia tree. At 6-feet long and with its distinct blond and brunette woodgrain, Molnar knew she had found the one. She recalls the day it arrived. Effortlessly, two deliverymen whisked the 400-plus-pound tabletop from the truck, carried it through the front door and had it assembled in no time.
The gleaming statement piece, with its curvilinear edge facing the kitchen—Molnar wanted the widest part of the table to open into the room—is a showstopper. True to her contemporary and organic design style, she loves the warmth wood brings to a home, and employs it to boost interest in a client’s breakfast bar or powder room vanity.
In her dining room, a large picture window bathes the space in natural light. A sleek and modern black linen lighting fixture that she designed herself hangs above the table with a dimmer. There’s a large, framed textile by a Senegalese artist on the wall at the head of the table. Molnar says she appreciates its beauty and meaning: the hexagonal pattern promises prosperity. A fan of the classic combination of black and white, Molnar loves the complementary low-slung white linen dining chairs.
At precisely the same height as the table, they support its starring role. “With the table being the focal point, I wanted chairs that would have no competing fuss,” she says.
“My philosophy for this room was to have an approachable dining space that’s adult-friendly but wasn’t too severe, and not too formal,” she says. “And that’s where I think wood comes in—not just in here, but in general. I think natural elements really warm a space up.”
Favorite Feature of the Room
The beyond-statement-making tree slab table. “It’s my joy,” Molnar says lovingly. The dining room seems custom-made for the table. As the table ages, it will darken, and she’s excited to see it change. She applies a protective oil to limit cracks and maintain its high-gloss coat. “I wanted the organic shape,” she says of the future heirloom. “I like the way it feels casual and warm and welcoming.”