Before: Outdated SunroomHeather, Brett and their little girl, Adelaide, are happiest when they are close to the water. Whether it's a tranquil lake, a majestic ocean or a backyard pool, the family finds any body of water relaxing and rejuvenating. So when they bought a house in the city a few years ago, it's no surprise they opted for a charming turn-of-the-century home located just blocks from the beach.
After renovating the house to feel more like a cottage in the city, the place was perfect, except for one eyesore at the back: a large, outdated, 1980s sunroom. The space, complete with peach paint and forest green carpeting, stuck out like a sore thumb, yet tended to be the room everyone gravitated toward. It was also the passageway to the family's stunning backyard. The couple was desperate to resuscitate the room, so I gathered my crew together and got set to breathe some life into this listless space.
The sunroom was bland — and chilly to boot — so I wanted to create the warm ambience of a chic, coastal retreat. I decided the room should feature colors, fabrics and finishes that would make it feel both breezy and beachy.
After: Nature's Color PaletteTaking my cues from nature, I chose a color palette of sand, sea and sky tones. I got rid of the ghastly peach and painted the whole room in a watery blue shade. I then ripped up the green carpeting and replaced it with dark wood flooring with an antique finish and electric radiant heating to keep things warm.
The ceiling also needed some attention, so I added character by creating faux beams and incorporating a pre-finished tongue and groove paneling system. I painted it all a creamy white for a real cottage feel. For a little drama, I put up a huge, tropical-looking ceiling fan with woven bamboo blades and antique brass trim.
I created areas or "zones" along each wall. One, I left as a wall of windows leading to the backyard. I turned the second wall into a seating area with a few high-backed, linen lounge chairs and a coffee table. Along the third wall, I installed a series of creamy cabinets that house a media center and lots of storage space.
I turned the fourth wall into the room's focal point. I took the existing fireplace and gave it a modern facelift by removing the hearth, squaring off the façade, creating a surround in wood moldings and adding a rough sand-like finish that has the appearance of limestone.
Then it was time for fabrics and furniture. Along the fireplace and cabinetry walls I created an L-shaped arrangement of window seating. Other furnishings, which I placed in the center of the room, included a gorgeous velvet blue/gray sofa, a wood coffee table and two brown leather chairs, all nestled atop a beautiful area rug that grounds the room in lakeside luxury.
The room had many windows of differing heights, so to bring them all together I put up both roman blinds and full-length drapery panels in a sunny, nature-inspired pattern. I added some halogen track lights and put up a few dramatic hurricane fixtures.
After some final accents and accessories, this sunroom was ready to shine. With nature-inspired fixtures, finishes and furnishings, I created a modern but cottage-like atmosphere for Heather, Brett and Adelaide that will remind them of the beach — even when they're stuck indoors.
(Interior decorator Candice Olson is host of Home & Garden Television's Divine Design. Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service.)