Reaching the milestone of downsizing from your family home into a space that suits the next phase of your life is an occasion to celebrate. It is also an opportunity to refresh your style, keeping the items that still resonate with you while bringing in new elements. Our client recently had a home built in the Village of West Clay in Carmel, IN to serve her and her family in their next stage of life. The open concept of the house design differed from her previous traditional house, offering her the opportunity to adopt the transitional style. The great room design is a perfect example of how we were able to meld the comforts of her old home into the modernity of her new space.
A spacious entryway leads into the great room and kitchen which are open to each other. The goal of the home’s design was to create a spacious, airy feeling. A large wall of windows helps achieve this look by bringing a lot of light into the space. Tall ceilings and crown molding add to the open feel. To ground the space, we added rich medium-brown wood flooring. The soft greys and creams of the kitchen were pulled into the great room as well for a cohesive look.
Our client wanted a favorite piece of art to serve as the focal point of the great room, which would also drive the color scheme. A fireplace was built in the center of the wall opposite the kitchen, serving as the architectural focal point supporting the painting. The fireplace surround was finished in a soft beige-coral to complement the art piece without distracting from it. We built cabinetry on either side of the fireplace for storage, accessories and television placement.
The blue, pink and green hues from the art piece were pulled into the rest of the space in many ways. A sofa upholstered in a highly textural blue fabric was brought from her previous home, as well as the cream and rose chairs. We added green and pink to the sofa through the throw pillows, and continued the blue into the kitchen with a window treatment set on a wall opposite the painting. The creams and muted blues of the rug complement the colors of the space while softening the rich tone of the sofa.
Our accessory choices supported the colors in the art piece and sofa as well. Blue and cream Asian ceramics dominate the large open space above the cabinetry, complemented by reflective elements and color variations. The apples bring in the green, also adding an organic look. We continued that nod to nature on the table tops by including fresh flowers and plants. By including our client’s glass lamp in a medium blue we were able to provide reading light to the sofa without obstructing the lovely view of the windows.
The final result was a comfortable, open, and light-filled space that highlighted one of our client’s favorite art pieces. She was able to meld the items she loved from her previous life into her new home.
You can learn more about this new construction project in a previous blog post:
One of the first places we begin with when creating an interior design scheme is determining the activities that will be going on in the space. If television viewing is going to be an important part of the needed functionality, then we have many factors to consider. Knowing how to place a TV in a room requires a complete understanding of the available space, the size of the TV, how the homeowners view the TV and how the TV will fit into the rest of the design scheme.
Recent interior design trends can make placing a television even more complicated. Preferences toward great rooms rather than separate living and family rooms means the TV shares another focal point in the space, usually a fireplace. Competing focal points make creating a balanced design scheme a challenge. Also, the move to more open concept home design means there are fewer walls to place a TV against. TVs do not float! They need either a wall or a piece of furniture for placement, plus a way to hide the ugly cords. With wall space coming at a premium it can be difficult to find an appropriate spot for TV viewing.
Another design aspect to consider is that as TVs get larger, they take up more visual space. And, when they are not on, they can turn into black holes! We mitigate this issue by either hiding the TV behind cabinetry, or by hanging a collection around it to offer visual interest when the screen is dormant. There are applications that allow you to show your photo stream or place a decorative image on the screen; however your TV must be on for those to have impact.
Finally, it is important to consider how the TV will be watched and by whom. Is the TV for family time, entertaining or quiet, nightly relaxing? Do you sit up, lie down, or even hang out on the floor when you watch TV? How many people do you need to seat? If you and your family have regular movie nights, you will need more seating suitable for viewing. If you live alone, perhaps one comfortable spot is enough. Depending upon what is needed, you may end up with asymmetrical furniture placement or an unusual spot for your TV to accommodate your viewing needs.
Shared Focal Points: Hanging a TV Above a Fireplace
A popular solution to the conflicting focal points issue is to hang the TV above the fireplace. Unfortunately, this design can make television viewing uncomfortable with the TV being set too high. We have found that this placement works in large rooms where the furniture can be arranged far enough way to keep viewers from having to strain their necks. Also, placing a TV too close to the heat source can cause damage. We determine the appropriate hanging height by considering the size of the firebox, the placement of the mantel if there is one, and then some breathing room for heat dispersion. When we are remodeling or building a new home, this design concept can be implemented much more easily than when we are trying to fit it into an existing space.
For the home pictured above, we were able to place the TV above the fireplace in a great room adjacent to the kitchen. The space is large enough to provide comfortable viewing, as well as allow the TV to be seen from the eating area. Since the TV shares space with the main architectural focal point of the room, we were able to create a seating arrangement that allowed the homeowners to enjoy all of the activities they planned for that space – enjoying the fireplace, watching the TV and chatting with family members and visitors.
In another design project, we hung the TV on a large stone fireplace wall with no mantel. The size of the space allowed us to place the TV far enough away from the heat source while providing comfortable viewing. The homeowners were able to sit in chairs or lay down on long sofas when watching TV, and the placement also allowed for easy use while entertaining a crowd.
Using a TV as a Secondary Focal Point
In the home pictured above, our client did not want the TV to be the main focal point in her great room. Instead, she had a favorite piece of art that she wanted to highlight above the fireplace. Since she was building a new home, we were able to integrate custom cabinetry on either side of the fireplace, one of which would house the TV. We chose to keep the nook open; however the TV was placed on a bracket that could be pulled out and angled for comfortable viewing, then pushed back in when not in use. The other open shelving and large space above the TV provided a place for large accessories that would distract from the black screen. Finally, though our client lives on her own, the seating arrangement was created to accommodate visits from her family.
TVs as the Central Focal Point:
In the project shown above, we were asked to design a basement for family TV time. Since the TV was the focal point of the room, the functionality of the rest of the space was created around it. The placement of the TV was chosen to allow flow from the entrance to the game room, as well as comfortable viewing from a counter-height bar space. Seating was chosen to accommodate the whole family, and we even provided side tables that wrapped under the couch to bring the useable surface closer to the seating. To balance the wall space, we added a piece of furniture and accessories, which grounded the TV.
Television viewing has become a central design consideration in today’s homes. Understanding how the TV will work with the available space, how it will be watched and who will be watching it all need to be factored into where it is placed. Creating a cohesive, balanced and comfortable interior design scheme is always the goal. If you are struggling with placing a TV in your home, send us an email, or give us a call at 317.253.8986. We’d be happy to help.
There are many layers within an interior design scheme. Once the architectural details, cabinetry, flooring, furniture and vertical spaces (walls, draperies) are set, it is time for what can be the truly fun part – playing with accessories! Our design philosophy behind accessorizing a space is edit, edit edit. We find that many homeowners want to cram as much stuff into their rooms as possible, arbitrarily placing items because they like them, not because they work with overall design scheme. Every piece has a job to do. Each accessory vignette needs to be crafted within its own space, as well as how it fits into the room as a whole. Above we picture one of two niches that flank a fireplace with a stunning art piece hung above it. To keep the balance and flow throughout the room, we needed to fill the large-scaled niches with oversized, simple pieces that would compliment the artwork while standing on their own. The Asian ceramics added interesting shapes to a room that had a lot of rectangles in it, and the rich blues and whites complimented the artwork and furniture. The mirror brought reflection to the flat wall, and the framed intaglios introduced another shape and a tone-on-tone three-dimensional quality. Pops of green through the apples and the plant soften the look, while pulling in an unexpected color into the overall look.
We created a complementary design in the other niche with similar accessories, balancing the two spaces around the fireplace. Bringing in varying heights and shapes within the ceramics and the other accessories added visual interest without overwhelming the other elements in the room. Not all of the space within the niche is used, allowing negative space to become part of the show as well. Remember, less is more when it comes to accessorizing a room. If you have any questions on designing with accessories, send us an email, or give us a call at 317.253.8966.