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Marilyn's Living Room
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Large spaces have their own decorating dilemmas as Marilyn and Jack discovered regarding their cavernous living room. The twenty-foot ceiling was finished in dark wood, which made it feel even higher. A huge stretch of windows was dressed with 'chilly' metal blinds, and the fireplace was dwarfed by a towering brick wall. All this space and the room felt drab and uninviting. The traditional spindle railing that ran the length of the long gallery overlooking the living room did not complement the architecture of the home's clean, straight lines. Furnishings and carpets were dated, and there was no cohesion to the overall design. This is a fabulous room that the family loves to live in. It was last decorated in the 70s, and begged to be reinvented for the new century.


It always helps to imagine a style you love that suits the space. Inspired by the ceiling height and the oversized windows, we decided to give it a Cape Cod feeling, and developed the mood with colors and materials. We began the transformation by painting the wood plank ceiling white, and this alone made a huge impact. Blood red paint on the walls above and around the windows as well as behind the bookshelves in the gallery heats up the space in an energetic and dramatic way. Nautical blue was used for the window frames and as an accent on other focal points such as the mantel and large mirror.

To bring the living room into scale, it helps to select some oversized pieces and accessories. Large white iron coach lamps hang from the ceiling, the tall mirror over the fireplace is framed with sections of wide baseboard, and the spectacular floor is laid in an exaggerated pattern of dark and light laminate planks. Curtain rods are hung high, with full lengths of fabric attached by rope ties.

The flat expanse of brick was given a boost with 8-foot, veneered wood panels, and a rustic wood mantelpiece. To further ground the fireplace, the pale brick base was painted deep red brown.

All the wood, including the book shelves, new pine railing, and wall panels were unified with the same color and a paint finish that emulates wood bleached by the sun and slightly worn by time.

Click on the small photographs on the right to view each of the different angles of the room.

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Floor Table Windows Floor Slipcovers Walls Floor Walls Walls Windows Floor Slipcovers Slipcovers Table Walls Fireplace Panels Walls Panels Windows Walls Mirror