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Genevieve's Design Tips: Homes of the Brave

In episode five, the Design Stars make over living areas for two deserving military families. See what Genevieve says they did right, did wrong and how she could have done it better.

Remember the Small Details
This room reveal is like one big sigh of fresh spring air. It's light, it's open, the palette is balanced and ethereal, and the space plan opens up the entire floor to so much more living than was possible before. The hardwood floors really liberated the whole house and gave it a clean and more sophisticated look, but what I really love is the new composition. The sectional creates so many more intimate opportunities for conversation and family time as well as introducing an unexpected punch of pear into the palette. A small area rug really defines the living room space from the dining and workspace to the side.

While I'm not a big fan of the traditional entertainment center, I can't say that I'm really feeling this media wall, either. The low bench table is great but the two televisions and shutter details, along with the color block, feel a bit contrived. I don't believe at this point in time that we need to draw attention to our televisions; everyone has them now. We don't need to put the garage on the front of the house nor do we need to make enormous decorative spaces for our televisions. I believe it's almost the opposite — make them disappear, blend them into bookcases or hide them. They are only to be the focal point when they are on. A couple more accent pillows with bolder graphics would have been a great detail, as these pillows are being swallowed by the couch since they are all the same color.

The additional workspaces adjoining the living room all work for me, I would've enjoyed an additional color other than this blue, which becomes a bit institutional when overused, as well as window treatments above the desk; a nice Roman shade would've worked perfectly. A bouquet of flowers and a little more attention to lighting (where is it?) would go a long way, but these are small details in comparison to the success of this room. Well done.

Make the Space Family-Friendly
The star in this room is the focal wall with the Chevron pattern. This wall really steals the show with graphic power, a sense of depth and deters the eye from the windows that no one really wants in their home. Unfortunately, this is where the show begins and ends for me in this space.

I'm not really sure where I should walk within the space as there is no true sense of flow — each space doesn't really connect to the next in style, composition nor color. While no one can deny that it is an improvement aesthetically there is still much to be desired. Let's begin with the pack ‘n play in the corner. This was a great chance to really design a life within this family for the little one. There are so many options with baby furniture these days; I wish this team would've explored that world a bit more to make the baby living space cohesive with the adult living space.

While open cabinets look great, they are a huge hazard for young children; a simple set of doors across the bottom could have very easily secured the cabinets. While the sectional provides more seating for a family in need, its rolled arms and traditional style don't marry well with the more contemporary styling of the entertainment center. An area rug under the dining table could've really defined that area as its own space entirely, but this too is suffering from a bad marriage of overly traditional furniture with a powerfully contemporary graphic. The wall of knickknacks — who really wants to sit there? The collection is erratic and dangerously placed for children. This room leaves me wanting ... the other room.

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