Tucked away in a far corner of the home and overlooking the back porch and courtyard, the family room demands attention, not only for the choice of retro furnishings and a formal gas fireplace but for the room’s focal point; it’s an eye-popping piece of modern art Dream Home house planner Jack Thomasson and interior designer Linda Woodrum discovered in San Francisco. “We always knew coming in the front door that the space above the fireplace was the big WOW of the home, so we really had to find the perfect piece of art to bring it all together and make it work,” Linda explains.
The mixed-media painting, "On Being Mortal Part One" by Anthony May, serves as the room’s unifying ingredient. “When we saw the painting, it was that perfect moment when it all comes together,” Linda recalls. “That is definitely the moment you work for when you are on a project for a year.”
The room’s striking Heat & Glo gas fireplace features a honed Absolute granite surround and a deep Victorian-style mantel. On cool Sonoma nights, warmth and ambiance are only a remote-control click away.
The family space is illuminated by industrial-style floor lamps dressed with whipstitched vellum shades. Light fixtures and accessories found throughout the house share the shades’ boxy shape.
“The coffee table was found in the area and is such a great scale,” Linda says of the glass-topped, cross-legged rustic furnishing. “(It’s) big and hunky and a good balance for the leather sofas and a nice contrast in style.”
A flower-filled vase would have seemed too expected; a sculpture would surely have drawn the eye away from the dramatic fireplace artwork. Linda chose instead to focus on simple, organic tabletop ornamentation in the modern living space. “The figs were chosen because figs are such a part of Sonoma,” she adds, “and they are beautiful in their own right.”
Was it a picnic basket or a travel case in a past life? One of the room’s most intriguing tabletop accessories, the weathered wooden basket lends itself to lively conversation. “The wooden box is old,” says Linda, who bought the one-of-a-kind treasure at Sonoma Country Antiques. “And, as always, a nice contrast against the other objects on the table.”
Candlelight heightens the casual vibe in this laid-back living space. Oversized glass hurricanes cradle pillar candles, which are held in place by dried black beans, an inexpensive alternative to glass beads or decorative pebbles.
The finishing touch for this informal family room, a cushy shag rug invites guests to kick off their shoes and get comfortable. “The shag feels great on the feet, and it is retro and that fun play of textures we were working with,” Linda says.
The family room furnishings seem more Manhattan loft than Victorian parlor. What’s the unifying design element that connects the modern space to its more formal surroundings? Stately white doors, complete with custom antique-style hardware, flank the fireplace and open to the back porch and yard, where an inviting courtyard and flower-filled gardens await.