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White dining rooms can be nuanced and dynamic.

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What do you think of white for a dining room? Am I just inviting disaster?

I just finished a striking all-white dining room that has white linen walls, white linen drapery and crisp white linens on the table. The effect is both nuanced and dynamic, each subtle gradation in tone coalescing into a lively whole. Adding to the drama is the contrast provided by ebony dining chairs, a black Baccarat chandelier and a black carved-marble fireplace mantle. Was my client crazy to commit to an all-white foundation? I'll admit that serving red wine in such a room takes courage, but memorable spaces are rarely achieved without a little risk-taking. More practically, almost any fabric can be treated with a protection spray these days and therefore readily cleaned. If you're still uneasy, leather and vinyl fabrics (which are available in a variety of finishes, from glossy to embossed) can be simply wiped clean, making white shades a viable choice.

Architect and interior designer Dee Dee Taylor Hannah is the president of Taylor Hannah Architect Inc. in Toronto.

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