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Island-Infused Living Room

These homeowners want their bland living room to have a relaxed island feel.


Ric and Arvella Williams take an annual vacation to Hawaii and love the laid-back resort atmosphere. They would like to have that same relaxed island style reflected in their bland living room.


The Dilemma

Host Lee Snijders pays the couple a visit and learns that cool coastal colors such as aqua blues and seafoam greens are favorites of these fun-filled vacationers. The new couch, love seat and chair with ottoman are a neutral tone, making them easy to incorporate into the new design; however, their large scale dwarfs the run-down coffee table. A breakfast counter doesn't get used since there is nowhere to sit; adding barstools would make it more functional. Large windows provide plenty of daylight but the space could use some additional lighting as well. The windows and plain entry will need to be addressed as well.

The Solution

The design team brings a subtle tropical look to the living room on the $1,000 budget — here's how they do it:

  • The living room's white walls are painted a dusty blue color to evoke a clear blue sky. A darker shade is used in the entry to help visually separate the two spaces.

  • Snijders creates an indoor waterfall using a 1/2-inch slab of slate. He constructs a wood enclosure to house the slate and plumbing materials; the entire piece rests atop a wood credenza, which provides a stable base.

  • Design coordinator Charles Burbridge creates a folding screen out of okoume plywood. He cuts the plywood into six panels and rounds the tops for an organic, free-flowing look. He uses a 1/4-inch router bit to create a groove on the surface, which he paints black to define the lines. The rest of the screen is stained with oak and slate tones to tie in with the look throughout the room.

  • Design coordinator Summer Baltzer dresses up the vertical blinds with a padded fabric valance and adds color to the sofas with new throw pillows.

  • New furnishings include a slate-topped wood table and a pair of barstools for the breakfast counter.

    The Cost

    Accessories and lighting — $492

    • floor lamps: Target — 074020317
    • poster frames: IKEA — Sann, Blue/14667
    • glass bowl: IKEA — Stril, Blue/16795
    • art prints: Canadian Art Prints, 8247 and 8283

    Furniture — $215

    • slate-topped coffee table: Cost Plus — Talavera, 00000340206

    Fountain — $150

    Paint supplies — $75

    • paint: Benjamin Moore — HC-151 Buckland Blue and HC-152 Whipple Blue
    • slate-colored stain: Lowe's — Minwax

    Fabric and valance — $65

    Project Total — $997

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