Conjured by designer John Eyring, this gracious living room reveals a hidden talent, magically transforming into a large dining room with abundant seating.

Photos by Lindsay Salazar Photography

Styling by Noelle Wright

For designer John Eyring, the true test of a home’s design often comes when crowds of friends and family descend for celebratory gatherings. “Regardless of a home’s size, there inevitably seem to be more guests than seats at the dining room table,” says Eyring, principal of Altalux Studio. And, he adds, no one wants to feel like they’re sitting at the kid’s table.

Years of holiday meals spent seated at flimsy folding tables often motivates Eyring to create rooms that are as suited for large-scale entertaining as they are for every-day use. Case in point: Eyring recently designed this living room to convert into a large dining room in only minutes—and without any furnishings being carried in or out of the room. “The space transforms from an intimate conversation area and breakfast nook into a formal dining room,” the designer explains.

As a gracious host, Eyring’s inspiration for the room came naturally. “I wanted my clients’ large groups of family and friends to be able to gather together for special occasions at a beautiful table on comfortable chairs,” he says. This required savvy design solutions. “In most homes, large and small, it would be impractical to create a single-purpose dining room that seats twenty or more people. In fact, many people don’t have a formal dining room at all,” says Eyring, who sees the solution as simple. “They just need furniture and rooms that work harder and do more.” After all, the designer points out, “It doesn’t make sense to use furniture and layouts that don’t function well for our most important events.” With that in mind, Eyring created this unique space and its curated furnishings to live beautifully and, when needed, to entertain large—very large.

How’d He Do That?

Eyring’s innovative design turns a gracious living room into a big-party dining space.

1. In the living room, the coffee table’s adjustable pedestal base rises to become the center of the dining table.

2. The small, round breakfast table comfortably seats four for intimate meals by the window, but splits in two to anchor the ends of the converted dining table.

3. Flip-top consoles frame the fireplace. They have contrasting tops when closed, but match the other pieces when opened and connected to the elevated coffee table. Each table has retractable mortise and tenon connections that align and level the assembled dining table.

4. A hand-carved V-groove borders the top of each individual table, as well as gold-leaf striping with a single half-round bead that runs continuously around the apron of the assembled, custom-designed dining table.

5. Wing chairs in the main seating area are proportioned to serve also as host chairs at the end of the dining table. Skirted, channel-back loveseats are gently curved to balance the architecture in the room and create soft lines when arranged with other seating at the table. Tall, narrow side chairs surround the small full-time dining table and rearrange easily for use in any part of the room. A pair of low-slung, camelback benches were designed to serve as a piano bench and float in front of a floor-to-ceiling window. Hourglass ottoman stools tucked under the console tables have storage inside to hold books and accessories when the room is used for dining.

6. Hurricane candle holders and low floral arrangements sit on the console tables and transition to become tablescapes at a moment’s notice.

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Brad Mee
Brad Mee is the Editor-in-Chief of Utah Style & Design Magazine.