OK, that’s quite enough. Just look at the room, pre reno’. A shocker, huh?
We remember our client referring to it as his “cottage in the city hideaway” and his suggestion that it “wasn’t too bad”. His wife, on the other hand, was exasperated. She’d had enough of the dark, oppressive space and fully accepted that an intervention was required.
So as she wiped her husband’s nervous brow, we packed away bear skin cushions, dozens of hockey sticks and enough clutter to occupy even the most ardent home stager ad infinitum. We promised to deliver a huge transformation.
Our brief? To construct a relaxing TV room which the entire family could enjoy. With another (more formal) living area elsewhere, the reworked den would serve as a crash zone for casual times. Into boxes went family pictures, prints, files and a terrifying assortment of associated clutter that had built up over four decades of family life.
The room clear, we pulled frantically at the faux timber paneling like over-zealous children unwrapping cadeaux on Christmas morning.
The walls underneath, fortunately, were relatively smooth and with only a little sanding and a coat or two of latex they breathed once more. But for one wall we had other plans.
Would You Wood Wall?
Timber effect Karndean, a 21st century ‘woody’ update that combines commanding visual focus with ease of installation. Low profile product like this (while designed for floor application) is
perfect as it wall mounts easily (with grip-type adhesive) and is a joy to drill through, which makes picture hanging a breeze. For a full range of exotic Karndean ‘wood-a-likes’, www.goresilient.ca
Breaking news: shagging, wall to wall, is once again acceptable. We’ll admit the textured carpet is redolent of the less desirable end of the ‘Mid Mod’ period but, played properly, it translates well into the modern idiom. Imagine padding around barefoot as those cosy fibres seduce your toes sending you into high, textural orbit. Just make sure, though, that your vacuum is up to the challenge of the deep luxuriant pile. Get your Austin Powers vibe on by visiting www.dominionrug.com
Map Out Your Artwork
Maps, these days, aren’t just for those who’ve lost their way. Indeed the educative cartology medium has become popular artwork, which makes it perfect decorative fodder in family rooms. Scan eBay for secondhand world illustrations or visit www.inkshuffle.com to source an image you love. Scale it to size, stick it in a frame (or affix it to a flat artists canvas) and you’re done. No fuss. No drama. And you’ll never feel lost again.
L-shaped sofas optimize seating (and are great in corners) but perform just as well to section off different functions (living/dining, for example) in an open-concept room. This one was made to our specification by www.ultraupholstery.com and affords loads of bum space and bags of style thanks to its long linear shape and brightly toned fabric.
Plan In Advance
At the planning stage, think about where you want to position TVs, cables and speakers and factor for their inclusion — and installation — before wielding the brush. We installed wall speakers and cabling for the wall-mounted TV before the Karndean cladding went up. Sure, we had to raggle the walls and install wiring (in association with a qualified electrician), but the finished look is sleek and avoids trip-hazard cables scarring an otherwise lovely esthetic. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: “To fail to plan, is to plan to fail.”
Keep Track of Lighting
Surface mounted track lighting is an easy way to proffer ceiling-wide illumination without having to over-drill drywall to accommodate pot lights. Many of today’s systems have slide and lock positioning (at multiple points along the line), which means that directing light — where you need it most — is simple. The upshot is that you get to change your mind on a whim; if you hang new artwork, or change the position of a chair or sofa, you can redirect light accordingly. Visit www.canadalightingexperts.com and prepare to be thoroughly illuminated.
Their family room transformed beyond expectation, our clients finally have a space that combines contemporary necessity with just a whisper of days gone by. And the journey through time, they attest, is proof perfect that even flat-lined space can be paddled back to life to groovy (thank you, Mr Powers) effect. Bear in mind, however, that some design deaths should never be revisited; the avocado bathroom being one. The resurgence of that particular faux pas would be a terrifying resurrection indeed…
About the authors: Colin and Justin are interior designers, style commentators, Hollywood celebrity interviewers and lifestyle gurus.