Candice Tells All: Contemporary family room is rustic, yet refined
Kate and Sean run a busy household. They have two teenagers, a couple of dogs and a pet snake named Onions. After hectic days spent at work, school or playing sports, the family likes to gather at home for some good, old-fashioned R&R. There was just one problem. Instead of being a welcoming retreat, their ugly basement family room made them want to run away from home.
With such memorable features as a sagging drop ceiling, harsh fluorescent lighting, thin paneled walls and a dated deep red brick fireplace, this room was long overdue for a makeover.
We were fortunate, however, because while Kate and Sean's basement came up short in the looks department, it earned full marks for its cavernous size. It was important to plan a flexible and functional design that incorporated the family room's many roles: casual home office, entertainment central and cocktail lounge.
Here's a great tip for you when you're designing a huge space: divide it into distinct "zones" that are tailored to the room's uses. In Kate and Sean's basement, I defined an entertainment area with a large sectional sofa covered in a durable and soft olive-colored fabric. The sofa faces the TV and media center, as well as the fireplace, which was treated to a facelift with a new gas insert and some gorgeous white and gray marble cladding. Lots of pillows, a comfy leather club chair and round accents -- including wall mirrors, coffee table and pillared side tables -- combine to finish off this zone that spells pure cozy entertainment.
Right behind the sectional sofa is a harvest table that doubles as a desk. With a rustic yet refined appearance, this table is deep enough to accommodate high school homework while doubling as a buffet surface during parties or as a games table. A couple of stylish indigo croc patterned chairs with nail-head trim pick up on the color of the two black-shaded table lamps. One of the things I love most about the office zone is the nature-inspired wall mural right beside it. The mural makes you feel relaxed without being too overpowering, and the colors mesh perfectly with the rest of the decor.
Behind the harvest table, the far end of the family room is defined by two dark-wood cabinets that flank a white French door leading to the hallway. These spacious storage solutions are crowned by white countertops and custom floating shelves with built-in recessed lights that wash down the wall and counter. Everything from home accounting records to board games to family photo albums can be neatly tucked away in these cabinets, while the shelving provides the perfect display surface for stylish art pieces.
I've taken you through the entertainment zone, the office zone, and the storage zone. Next stop: the bar. Kate and Sean wanted their new basement to lend itself to entertaining, and this stylish and modern wet bar delivers the goods. The cushiony broadloom we installed throughout the rest of the basement gives way here to durable vinyl flooring that looks like salvaged wood. A contrasting countertop made of salvaged wood and refinished extends from one wall and is supported on a chrome pedestal trumpet base. Stylish yet comfortable white and chrome stools surround the counter, inviting family and friends to take a load off. The combination of dark cabinetry and white countertop is repeated here, with the addition of a sink and a clean white and gray smaller format tile backsplash that extends up to the ceiling. Here, too, shelving above the counter provides open decorative storage space for platters and glasses, and whatever else is needed to entertain in style. Under the counter, more cabinets and a counter-height bar fridge complete the look. With its ultra-modern feel, the bar is the perfect contrast to the family room's contemporary cottage appeal.
Recessed halogen lighting shines down in the bar (and throughout the basement, in fact) and a modern, yet simple, pendant light and various table lamps provide additional illumination. Just off to one side of the bar, and right beside the fireplace, is a custom high-backed banquette. Upholstered in a rich stripe, this bench delivers a real "wow" factor as well as extra seating for Kate and Sean's next cocktail party.
We've come full circle in our tour of this multi-functional new basement. The inspiration for this makeover was the luxury lodge, which embodies the perfect combination of rustic and refined. This super-busy family now has a warm and welcoming retreat; one that is as suitable for quiet family movie nights as it is for the end-of-season hockey party. Let the fun begin!
Interior decorator Candice Olson is host of HGTV's "Candice Tells All." For more ideas, information and show times visit http://www.hgtv.com/candice-tells-all/show/index.html.