Before: Throwback to Another EraNewly engaged couple Patricia and Lawrence inherited a great midcentury home from Lawrence's grandparents. The do-it-yourself couple had already remodeled the bathroom with a contemporary, Zen-like feel, but when it came to their living room, they simply ran out of ideas. The room was very elegantly decorated back in the 1950s, but it hasn't changed since. Patricia and Lawrence would like to get rid of the fuzzy gold wallpaper, gold carpeting and gold poles that stick up from the pony wall. The couple wants to incorporate the same sophisticated, Zen-inspired design they have in their bathroom into this room.
After: Relaxing RetreatThe newly exposed hardwood floors provide the perfect backdrop to set off the space with patterns and colors. A centrally-placed ottoman/sofa makes a great focal point. The homeowner's hard work paid off — their hand-built water feature is a hit. The restful sound of the water creates a nice, relaxing environment. The bamboo divider brings texture into the room, and the natural material contributes to the Zen-like feeling.
Square SofaThe large rectangular room is balanced with a square ottoman-like sofa placed in the middle. The sofa's two arms can be moved to any corner so the homeowners can both face the large picture window or face each other. The sofa is covered in durable, heavyweight chenille. A large slate square in the middle of the sofa is the perfect spot for a drink or a floral bouquet.
Kenneth's Tip: Tightly woven fabrics are more durable.
Water FeatureThe room became truly personalized when the homeowners built their own water feature. The pony wall by the fireplace gets cut down and then resurfaced in a faux-concrete finish. On top, stone and slate are randomly stacked to create the natural-looking waterfall.
Rug and ShelvesThe dark-stained hardwood floors set the scene with rich color. The golden pattern in the brown area rug anchors the room and ties in with the unique, custom shelving. In turn, the shelves are designed to mirror the pattern on the rug. The seemingly random, intersecting lines of the rug help create a sense of nature and calm.
Kenneth's Tip: Wood floors bring in a natural element.
Wall TreatmentThe grass-cloth wall covering ties the whole room together by brightening up the space and adding even more texture to the Zen-inspired feel. The subtle pattern of the natural material adds elegance and makes the perfect backdrop for the room.
Kenneth's Tip: Texture is key to Zen-like design.
Pony WallBefore the makeover, the half wall that separated the living room from the hallway was filled with plastic plants and had gold poles on top that extended up to the ceiling. The walls are now resurfaced with faux concrete, and the plastic plants are replaced with stalks of bamboo. The arbitrary pattern of the bamboo divider creates unique shadows on the wall and brings in another Zen-like, natural element.
FireplaceThe fireplace is given a faux-concrete face-lift and then decorated with colorful artwork. Having the faux-concrete finish match the pony wall planter and water feature adds a nice balance to the room.