Makeover for Family Room Fits Venus and Mars

A combination of feminine and masculine touches resulted in a

Stella and Chris are busy, working professionals. Stella kicks
things up in the fashion field; Chris sweats it out in the sports
world. With such hectic schedules, the couple truly values their
relaxation time.
Stella and Chris are busy, working professionals. Stella kicks things up in the fashion field; Chris sweats it out in the sports world. With such hectic schedules, the couple truly values their relaxation time.

However, they have just moved into a new home and haven’t had any time to decorate their designated leisure spot: the family room.

This style-starved space was a mishmash of “his” and “hers” that dated back to before their marriage, but now it doesn’t suit either one of them. Chris wanted a room where the guys could watch sports on a gargantuan television and stuff themselves with nachos. Stella wanted a peaceful space – without the intrusion of a giant screen – where she could have the girls over for tea and soul chats.

My challenge here would be a tricky one: create a chic, fashionable space and discreetly integrate into that a television the size of a small country. So, recognizing that men are from Mars and women are from Venus, and both have to harmoniously co-exist, I set out to create a stylish, comfortable, family room that would balance the “yin” and the “yang.”

I started the makeover by choosing the colors and fabrics. The couple was after a lush, plush look, so I decided on hot, spicy salsa tones. The drab, white walls needed some sizzle, so I turned up the temperature by creating a feature wall in exotic burnt orange, and painting the others in a luscious cream.

For the fabrics, I used a blend of luxurious, delectable colors: dark chocolate brown, rich burnt orange, delicious creams and beiges, and a beautifully rich paisley fabric.

I then got to work on the lighting. This big sunny room had a lot of light during the day, but not enough at night. Needless to say, its existing paper blinds and sparse fixtures were not going to cut it. I put in exotic-looking wood blinds across two whole walls of windows. The blinds feature blackout lighting behind them that can be pulled down for complete darkness, or up for a light, airy feel. I also installed an eight-foot track lighting system, some accent lighting and several new lamps.

My next task was a big one – and I mean big! I had to make room for a new 60-inch television. But where to put it? I decided to house it in a new, custom-made, contemporary cabinet that would run along one whole wall and also combine sleek, glass shelving and ample storage. But there would be a twist: the television would rest behind sliding doors, which would run on industrial tracks. On boys’ night, these doors will open to reveal the piece de la resistance. On girls’ night, the reveal turns to conceal; the doors, which are inset with beautiful bamboo and reed panels would slide shut and the television would be all but a memory.

I replaced most of the couple’s existing furniture with new pieces, including a sofa in tone-on-tone chocolate brown damask and a comfy sports chair in a paprika-colored, suede-like fabric. At the couple’s request, I kept their new wooden coffee table and their chaise lounge, but recovered the latter in the striking paisley fabric. To complete the look, I used exotic accents and accessories.

By combining a flourish of feminine with a modest amount of masculine, I created a fashionable and sporty family room that works for both sexes. The only thing Venus and Mars will have to clash over now is who gets to christen the room first – the girls or the boys? A divine dilemma.

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