The Chi Omega dining room is not only a space for the 300 sorority sisters to come together during meal times but also for chapter meetings and other community events. However, the space didn’t fit their needs and was outdated, cramped, and presented some potentially hazardous conditions.
Chi Omega hired our interior design services to transform their dated dining room into a modern, welcoming, and aesthetic space for students.
- The vintage shutters on the windows were difficult to operate, which meant the room hardly saw natural light. Along with that, the old overhead fluorescent lights made the space look even more commercial and dingy.
- There wasn’t enough space to seat everyone during service times and other community gatherings. The tables and chairs were also being constantly repaired because the laminate was chipping and for other issues that cropped up due to robust everyday use.
- The area would often get congested during meal times because the furniture layout plan wasn’t optimal. For example, the steam tables (for keeping food warm) and serving tables were not large enough, which held up the line due to overcrowding.
- They also had a large ice machine that took up a lot of room, and the beverage area was not set up to handle full capacity during service times. This area also had a non-working sink (which caused crowding) and a hazardous floor drain causing people to trip.
- Cleanliness was also gradually becoming a major issue. The older laminates were getting more difficult to care for, and the self-serve area at the back was dated, dirty, and not large enough to accommodate everyone who chose that option.
- The previous flooring option - a combination of carpeted area and tiles - also made the dining room appear smaller than it actually is and more difficult to clean.
- Storage was also a major challenge that needed to be solved. For example, cabinets around the beverage area were not being used to their fullest potential because the drawers were not working properly.
- Finally, code compliance was an issue - some of the doors leading to the courtyard were either outdated or not up to modern standards.
- For this dining room remodel, we blended efficient room planning with timeless trends in interior design. We focused on creating a bright, airy space that felt warm and welcoming and could function optimally when the dining room was at capacity.
- To solve the seating issue, we commissioned large custom tables made with solid butcher block wood and metal table bases. The butcher block tops can endure a lot of wear and tear, but they look good as new with some polish every 4-5 years.
- We chose dining chairs with metal bases/legs and commercial-grade vinyl for durability, stability (no more wobbly chairs), and easy cleaning.
- We also designed extra large built-in benches along the perimeter of the dining room (about 3/4th of the room), ensuring enough space to accommodate all of the students during chapter meetings. These areas are also equipped with electronic outlets for charging laptops, phones, etc.
- A new built-in motorized projector screen (great for large chapter meetings) was also among the latest tech upgrades we made to this space.
- To resolve the lighting issue and ensure the room gets natural light often, we replaced the dated, bulky wooden shutters with more modern, motorized light-filtering shades.
- We also switched out the fluorescent lights with softer recessed can lighting in the new tongue and groove ceiling we designed to add depth and warmth to the room.
- To avoid overcrowding during meal times, we custom-built a 16-foot hot and cold steam table with additional food layouts at the end and ample storage for plates, bowls, and cutlery.
- To resolve the additional storage issues, we rebuilt the cabinets with large drawers that are easy to operate. And we chose a nanotechnology material for these so that they remain resistant to scratches, dents, or other abrasions for years to come.
- We also changed the layout of the beverage area. Since the space was overcrowded with too many machines, we moved some of them to the self-serve area at the back. We also redesigned the self-serve area and replaced the commercial ice machine with under-counter ice makers.
- This created more space in this part of the dining room for other essential appliances like commercial refrigerators, toasters, and microwaves.
- To make the space look bigger, we removed the previous flooring layout (a combination of carpet and tiles). We replaced it with a more cohesive option that’s durable, easy to maintain, and makes the room look larger.
- Since cleanliness - both real and how the surfaces looked - was a major challenge, we replaced all the laminate countertops with quartz (white with grey veining), which opens the space up and makes the room look spotless.
- Moreover, quartz is antibacterial and antimicrobial, which makes the countertops and other surfaces easier to clean and overall more hygienic.
- The plexiglass sneeze guards (to protect the food in the steam tables) were also replaced by real glass, which accumulates fewer scratches and is easier to maintain.
- For code compliance, we updated the exterior door to 10ft tall black metal and glass doors that comply with updated fire codes while also giving the space a sleek and modern look.