Warm and Welcoming Living Room

Designer Kathy Geissler Best updates an uninviting living room with refurbished wood paneling and antique furniture.

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A San Francisco couple needed an updated living room that would serve as an inviting and practical space for their family. They asked designer Kathy Geissler Best of KGB Interior Design to create a room that would encourage the homeowners and their guests to relax and linger.

Kathy shares how she addressed the existing wood paneling and made strategic changes to ensure the design was warm and welcoming.


Browse Pictures from this Living Room Remodel

What were the main items on the homeowners' wish list?

The clients wanted to update the space and also make it more useable and inviting. They seldom entered the space before the remodel, but now they use it often. When we were finished they thanked us for "adding" a room to their home.

What design issues needed to be addressed?

The layout and furniture needed to be changed to better suit the family's needs. The existing space plan didn't function well and made the room feel cold and uninviting. We needed to improve the flow and function so the family would be comfortable in the space.

What was the biggest challenge?

The room was fully paneled in old-growth redwood that had been whitewashed in the 1980s and looked very dated. Removing the wood seemed wasteful and expensive, so we needed to assure the clients that changing the finish would be a beautiful update to the room. Instead of tearing it out, we stripped the whitewash, re-painted it and then re-stained it. To keep the room from being too dark, we added a special multilayered, iridescent ceiling treatment by decorative painter Willem Racke.

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