Tying the Look Together
Dark mahogany unites the hearth and the media cabinetry in this Candice Olson design. The living area centers on this gas fireplace topped by glass panels (each 7 feet long by about 1½ feet high), back-painted in gray and framed in polished aluminum trim. Tiles of tumbled river stones embedded in clear resin flank the fireplace, enhancing its cool demeanor. "Adding informality," says designer Candice Olson, is a soft, 9-by-12-foot flokati carpet, made of hand-woven wool. The cognac-hued polyester brushed-velvet upholstery on the sofa and the multi-hued cotton-rayon striped armchair fabric look elegant and are easy to keep clean.
Best Seats in the House
Designer Marjorie Skouras loves to tweak tradition and favors runway-inspired mixed marriages. The furry Pouf beanbag chair from and vintage chrome sofa upholstered in a bold linen and velvet give this living space cum media room a fantastic flair.
A mahogany-clad fireplace wall with a black granite surround is the antithesis of the ornate oak Victorian mantel it replaced and with sleek plasma above it—this is classic 21st century design. A symmetrical arrangement of furniture, coupled with the layering of luxurious textures, creates a soothing visual rhythm, while splashes of blue and subtle stripes on accent pillows punctuate the calm.
Craving a dedicated media room but lacking space in the house, this family turned their garage into an arena for entertainment. Art Deco upholstered pieces from the 1930s are paired with '40s tables and a contemporary credenza in the new room. Built-in cabinets and a patterned area rug belie the space's former life as a car park; track lights compensate for a ceiling that's too shallow to accommodate recessed fixtures.
The All-Accommodating Family Room
The family room is literally the core of this house. At over 480 square feet, it's large enough for two focal points, a fireplace and a plasma screen television. The built-in maple cabinetry and fireplace mantel match built-ins in the adjoining kitchen.
The Mirror Mask
devised a clever solution to cover the television when not in use, which came from a client's comment that she didn't like that "big, black eye" staring at her. Over the gas fireplace, they built a 6-inch-deep recessed niche that holds a 42-by-3-inch plasma screen television. Then a one-way mirror was placed in front of the TV. The mirror is held in place by a frame of wood molding that matches the fireplace mantel and surround. "When the television is off, the mirror reflects; when it's on, you can see right through it," Kalman explains.
Highlighting the Wall
The wooden floor to ceiling unit echoes the shape of the white wooden pilasters, making the entire wall a cohesive architectural display. On the main expanse of the walls, a rich, linen-finish caramel color was laid on top of the custard hue. And a deep greenish brown went on the two feet of wall above the molding. The long matching sofas give a couple space to stretch out together or on their own.
Blending in the Plasma
Before makeover queen, Candice Olson, got her hands on this family room, it was overrun with children's toys and clutter of every variety. To reign in the space Olson outfitted the 20-by-13-foot living room with sophisticated furnishings and a new fireplace which acts as the television console. The dark color of the TV against the dark marble fireplace helps it blend into the scheme when off. The soothing beige-and-blue color palette makes it an easy place to relax.
For a female New York client with a penchant for big football games and political debates, Jamie Drake designed an elegant living room that incorporates a large flat screen TV and A/V equipment hidden in a custom onyx-topped cabinet behind crisp white lacquered doors inset with sparkly, crackled mirror panels. The room’s split into two zones with a formal seating area by the windows. The casual entertaining area has a deep cushy sofa and leather ottoman atop a fluffy long haired fur rug that adds a touch of Harlow-esque Hollywood glamour. Chairs can be easily repositioned to face the screen.
The Office/Media Room
Capitalizing on space and light, steel-framed glass doors separate this homeowner's office/media room from the dining area. With her television's swivel wall mount, she can angle the television toward her desk or any seat in the space. When the TV is off, images from her extensive and highly personal photography collection entertain her.
In Without a Trace actress Poppy Montgomery's home, the kitchen opens onto a family/media room, comfortably appointed with a wraparound sectional sofa in zingy red. It's upholstered in linen and topped with durable cotton-blend pillows. The versatile raffia ottomans can be used as seating or tables, and can move outdoors to the terrace as needed. Old cruise ship menus are framed for fun, wanderlust-inspiring art.
Embellishing Focal Points
By placing the large screen monitor above the fireplace, builds on the existing focal point instead of splitting the focus in the layout of this New York City West Village living room. Because the monitor size and scale are in keeping with that of the furnishings, it blends in instead of overwhelming, and by limiting accessories to a few key pieces, the room has an expansive airy feel.