Casual, Elegant Living Room

Designer Sandy Kozar maximizes a room's height and functionality with strategically placed design elements, creating a cozy and stylish family room.

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RS_Sandy-Kozar-Living-Room-2_s4x3 Photography by Edie Ellison

Designer Sandy Kozar uses an area rug, new furniture grouping and floor plugs to prove the living room can be a space for active living that's both elegant and casual.

Describe the homeowners' wishlist.

I needed to create a living room for this couple that would be in the Parade of Homes, but would become their home, too. It needed to exceed expectations for not only the public display but to be a comfortable and inviting space. They wanted the room to feel casual, yet elegant.


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What were the homeowners' design problems?

The problems were 19-foot-high ceilings, including the fireplace wall height, the transom windows that left a blank wall space between the sliding doors and the transom windows above. This room is open concept with views of the foyer, kitchen, dining room and hallway to the master bedroom. The asymmetrical focal point of the fireplace and built-in shelving was another challenge, as was wood flooring that created a lot of noise with the high ceilings. Seating arrangements would be a challenge because of the open concept.

What was your biggest obstacle in this space?

The asymmetrical fireplace wall. A 99-inch mirror hung vertically helped to balance the height of the built-in bookcase and the fireplace. Placing a tall cabinet on the smaller wall helped to create visual balance and make the fireplace wall a focal point of the room. Lack of walls created a challenge for the seating arrangement. Placing floor plugs strategically around the room allowed for easy placement of furniture and lighting, all anchored by an inviting area rug.

How does the end result match up with your original vision?

The tall mirror hung above the fireplace helped to create a focal point. A secondary focal point was chosen because of the view out the sliding glass doors. The transom windows, wall space and sliding doors stacked to 20 feet, so I brought eyes down by creating a division of wall space with artwork, as well as providing continuity to the wall by using inverted pleated drapery panels and large ornate hardware. The only thing that changed was the arrangement of the furniture.

What lessons did you learn?

Always have floor plugs installed when doing construction in a room. It allows for easy furniture rearrangement and adequate lighting to be placed easily. Also, the drapery treatments were made with interlining. For this large treatment — 20-feet long, I would skip interlining.

What are the "hidden gems"?

They include the beautiful New Zealand wood area rug, the 99-inch mirror hung vertically and the beautiful marble fireplace, which added a focal point and wow factor when all was put together.

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