French Country Garden Room
Candice Olson transforms a neglected basement into a relaxing space for entertaining.
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The room's existing bland green walls did not scream "bonjour," so I repainted them in a softer shade of cream to match the terra-cotta floor tiles. Three of the four walls had doors and windows, which I softened with striped curtains, but it was the fourth wall that was to be the piece de resistance. I jazzed it up with faux red leather wallpaper and turned it into a focus wall with cabinetry and display shelving.
After the colors, patterns and fabrics were selected, I attended to the organizational aspects of the room. I decided to divide the basement into two main areas: a dining/kitchen space and a lounge/conversation spot.
For the dining area, I chose French cafe style. On the new feature wall, I built up a "satellite kitchen," complete with a mix of ebony cabinets and open shelving, a two-tiered counter, an under-cabinet fridge and a beverage storage area. I then installed an eclectic furniture mix by incorporating Toby's traditional French antique dresser and table with funky chairs upholstered in sizzling red and eye-catching black-and-white checks.
I also combined the expected with the unexpected in the lounge area. I put in a beautiful black-and-white toile sofa and then kicked things up with a mirrored coffee table, a black leather chair and a faux cowhide area rug.
To lighten and brighten this newly decorated room, I pulled out the old recessed lighting and added a bit more sparkle. In addition to an abundance of under-cabinet lighting that helped showcase Toby's French treasures, I installed a nontraditional, whimsical crystal chandelier in the dining area and a single, stunning crystal pendant light in the lounge area.
After adding a few more finishing touches decorative bowls, vases, candlesticks and pictures the room was complete. Toby's French-flair basement now matches the rest of her stunning home and rivals any country villa in France. Ooh la la!
(Interior decorator Candice Olson is host of Home & Garden Television's Divine Design.)