Project Planning: Sister's Casa

My sister, Brooke, and brother-in-law just bought a "next step" home. It is spacious, and has a lot of potential, and I can't wait to get my grubby little hands on it! So, I guess it's a good thing she's already been hitting me up to put together some inspirations and ideas. I wonder if there's such a thing as putting a decorator on retainer? Hmmmm....

Anyway, because the house is quite a bit larger than their starter home, they'll need a good amount of furniture - not to mention the layering it'll take to make it feel really special. Almost the entire house will get a new coat of paint - right now, it's a mish-mash of colors they'd never select. Obviously, some rooms, like the family room and master bed/bath, will take priority.

The dining room probably isn't one of them, but I keep coming back to it for some reason...
markandbrooke dining before

Since it is one of two rooms seen immediately upon entering the house, I pause at the idea of leaving it blank for too long. I also pause over the fact that someone recently sponge-painted ANYTHING, but I can see why the previous owner might have tried to give the room some sort of architectural interest. It is screaming for it, is it not?

I immediately thought of panels, and likely using them to frame out some wallpaper or fabric. I recently spied this particularly brilliant idea - bamboo yoga mats framed out to give the incredible texture of grasscloth, without the investment. It's waaay more interesting, too!

Brooke isn't looking for a tightly traditional aesthetic, and so far her color palette is neutral. Something soft like this might work, if she wants to keep it calm.

I'd be more inclined to go the way of something like this. It maintains a "safe," traditional element, without going geriatric.
We're heading to The States for Christmas, and I'll have about three weeks to pull together at least a room or two, so let the project planning begin! BTW - it's Brooke's birthday, today - so this post goes out with big hugs, kisses and Birthday wishes!