Family Style


If you love to get the whole family around the same table at the same time, you know one reason Diane Plumlee and husband Mike van den Akker are so happy with their recent remodel. This Granite Bay couple hosts several parties and gatherings a year, and with a blended family that numbers 16, they needed a more creative solution than a huge dining room table. They got it. “This was Janice’s idea,” Plumlee says, talking about interior designer Janice Stone Thomas, who had three tables custom made (by Dessin Fournir) so that they can be placed end-to-end when the whole family sits down. The table in the dining area is the largest and anchors the space year-round. A game table moves in from the family room, and a charming little bistro table, housed in the couple’s wine-tasting room, completes the setting. “We line up all three tables, and we can have 16 people in here with plenty of elbow room,” Plumlee says. “It’s fabulous.” And it’s just one element of a nine-month remodel that turned a Mediterranean-style home into what Plumlee describes as an “eclectic, neoclassic” haven for family and friends. “We’re so happy with the way it turned out,” she says.

DESIGNER 411: Janice Stone Thomas, ASID and Certified Kitchen Designer, owner and principal at StoneWood Design Inc. of East Sacramento

CONTRACTOR: IDI Custom Builders of Colfax

RENOVATION RUNDOWN: Downstairs, two walls of the dining space were pushed out, the family room and laundry room got bigger, a mini home-management office was created off the kitchen, and the former dining room was turned into a cozy space for wine storage, wine tasting and intimate dining. The kitchen was a complete redo. Upstairs, above the dining space, the master bedroom was expanded to include an en-suite master bath.

CURVE APPEAL: Stone Thomas’ signature use of curves—the arch of the kitchen window, the stove hood, the tops of the dining room chairs, the mirror above the fireplace—softens lines throughout the new space.

AMERICAN TREASURE: The wall in the new dining area was built to accommodate a prize antique American cherrywood bookcase that now serves as a china hutch. “When we reconfigured the kitchen, this was a beautiful way to add storage,” Stone Thomas says.

UNDERFOOT: Van den Akker found the oak planks for the floor. “It’s reclaimed wood from tobacco barns in Virginia,” Plumlee says.

SCANDINAVIAN STYLE: Stone Thomas discovered the Swedish clock cabinet for the family room in the online store of an antiques shop in Maine. Fabric on the wall behind it makes the color pop and softens the room’s acoustics.

ILLUMINATION: “We did the lighting through Lumens Light + Living,” Stone Thomas says, adding that one exception is the dining area’s chandelier. She found the source on a trip to Europe and then ordered the ultra-glam fixture online.