Designing Zones in a Great Room

A combined living/dining area is carved into a modern space for entertaining and relaxing.

hdivd-1103-before-greatroom

Peter and Anna decided to undergo a full-scale renovation of their home to double the amount of living space. But just when they thought the end of their work was near, they ran out of steam, and ideas, while attempting to finish the last room, their great room.

They wanted the combination living/dining room to be the focal point of their house -- a hip, modern space in which they could relax, entertain and have fabulous dinner parties. The room was uninviting and bland, with walls that were still covered in primer because the couple couldn't decide on a color. So I decided to turn this merely great room into a fantastic room, with heaps of style and substance.

hdivd-1103-after-greatroom

The room is open-concept in nature, so the challenge was to seamlessly connect the living and dining areas to each other and to the adjoining kitchen. I started by painting the whole room in a subtle, neutral shade and then set about creating zones that would differentiate the living and dining areas but have them work together in their shared space.

In the living area I created a stunning feature wall. On half the wall I put up rich cherry-toned wood cabinetry that discreetly incorporates a media center and matches the cabinetry in the kitchen; on the other half, I installed a streamlined gas fireplace with a modern facade of back-painted glass and a surround of river-stone tiles.

I anchored the space with a gorgeous faux-sheepskin area rug and brought in some comfortable furniture: two cotton-striped club chairs, a caramel-colored, L-shaped sectional and a variety of modern and traditional accent pieces with wood and mirror finishes.

I generally use only one feature wall per room, but this large space required more drama, so I added a second in the dining area. Along this wall I created a supersize upholstered banquette and seating bench in a dreamy shade of pool blue. Next to the banquette I placed a dark wood dining-room table with new tan and green upholstered chairs that speak to the furniture in the living room.

To create a seamless flow between the two zones, I put up a whole wall of light gauzy sheers in a soft striped pattern. They're flanked by luxurious, handcrafted cream-colored drapes.

The ceiling was already full of recessed lights, so I simply added small puck lights near the banquette and a chandelier over the dining-room table for some added pizzazz.

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