Lounge Showcases Art and Personality

Artist Mark Boomershine reinvents a formal study as a chic showroom for his eclectic taste.
Eclectic Living Room With Fireplace

Eclectic Living Room With Fireplace

An eclectic living room design features a fireplace and built-in bookshelves. An L-shaped sectional provides ample seating to admire the unique items on the shelves and the Wonder Woman art on the mantle.

In 2005 pop artist Mark Boomershine purchased his 5,000-square-foot Northern Italian-style villa in the Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta. Although the house was, for the most part, his dream home, its 22-by-30-foot study was too formal for his taste.

Passionate about art, Mark saw the study as a place to display his growing collection, one that ranges from fine antiques to flea market finds, pop-art pieces he created to framed 1950s paint-by-numbers he picked up at estate sales. He also wanted the space to double as a lounge where he, his wife, Cinda, and their dog, Bentley, could watch movies and hang out in front of the fire.

An upgrade of the room's function as well as its form would make it the center of the home's social life. As it was, Mark explains, "It was too dark to display art, the electrical plan needed to be updated in order to accommodate the state-of-the-art media components correctly, and the wood-burning fireplace needed to be changed out to gas." These changes would upgrade every aspect of the room's use, including providing proper lighting to see the true color values in the art.

Pop Artist Transforms Formal Study

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Dark Beginnings

When artist Mark Boomershine purchased his house in 2005, he was determined to turn this dark, formal study into a more relaxed and urban lounge. To accomplish his vision, he planned to lighten the finish on the wall paneling and install recessed lighting.

On Display

Architecturally, Mark's lounge is packed with focal points including a fireplace, grand built-in cabinetry and European-style arched windows. To avoid making the home theater screen the main attraction, Mark had the 63-inch flat-screen TV installed along the room’s left-hand exterior wall.

Custom Whitewash

Mark refinished the wood paneling by stripping the old sheen with acetone, then applying a diluted white primer. He applied a pearlescent, water-based polyurethane to seal the custom finish.

Cohesive and Custom

To create a seamless look between the wall paneling and the narrow entry doors, Mark updated the doors to match the same custom finish as the wall paneling.

Dark to Light — Just Right

The lounge is sectioned off from the rest of the house by narrow double doors painted in black lacquer. The dark color of the doors creates a dramatic entrance when entering the well-lit space.

An Artful Nook

Mark hung his favorite pieces in a salon-style wall grouping. After trying his hand at arranging a gallery wall, Mark learned that there’s plenty of math involved with hanging art. “Proper spacing between pieces is key,” he says. “It’s best to lay it all out on the floor first, measure the distance between each piece and create a template.”

Gallery Wall

The neutral wall finish serves as the perfect backdrop for carefully selected pieces of art, including an abstract orange painting by Koko, a gorilla who paints.

Bargain Furnishings

Mark's lounge is packed with a mix of high and low price points. While certain custom pieces such as the L-shaped sectional and shag rug were on the higher end, vintage finds such as this 1970s console table and pair of cork lamps from the 1950s were scored for next to nothing. The table was $5 at a church sale and the lamps were less than $50 from a local flea market.

Illuminating Features

In order to light the room properly, Mark had recessed lighting installed in the ceiling. Ample light from above counterbalances the dark-brown paint color on the ceiling, plus keeps his art pieces on display after dark.

Attention to Detail

Though the existing fireplace was architecturally stunning, the dark finish was too formal. Mark matched the same whitewash treatment from the room's wood paneling and doors to the mantel's corbel and dentil molding.

Hot Focal Point

Something Mark was set on from the start was changing the wood-burning fireplace to gas. Not only does this make using the fireplace during the winter months more efficient, the couple also prefers the look of white birch gas logs to the orange-brown tones of traditional firewood.

Hidden Package

Determined to keep his lounge uncluttered by media components for his home theater, Mark keeps all electronics concealed behind cabinet doors. An electrician worked to run wires through the room's crawl space.

The Scope

Mark and his team of contractors completed the following punch list in eight days.

  • Stripped and refinished hardwood floors in a custom finish
  • Installed recessed lighting in the ceiling
  • Changed the existing fireplace from wood burning to gas
  • Updated audio/video capabilities to accommodate a 63-inch flat-panel TV
  • Installed custom surround sound into the walls and ceiling
  • Installed a wall-mount TV bracket

Originally, the elm-paneled walls had a dark finish that Mark decided to make lighter through whitewashing and glazing. Determined not to sand 600 square feet of wood paneling, Mark decided to try his own refinishing approach by using acetone.

Mark set aside three full days and tackled the project in four steps: He applied the chemical to the wood to remove the existing sheen; diluted basic white primer with water to create a custom white tone; applied the whitewash with a brush starting at the top and working down toward the bottom; then applied pearlescent, water-based polyurethane to seal it and give it a sheen. "The pearlescent sheen really brings all the millwork details to life," he says.

Mark chose to only use water-based products because he sees several advantages over oil-based options. "As an artist, I work with water-based paints, and I really despise having to clean brushes with chemical cleaners," says Mark. "Oil-based paints take forever to dry, they're harder to work with and they have a really strong odor that's hard to live with. Water-based dries quickly, it's forgiving and there's no smell involved."

Hiding the Wires

With the paneling updated, Mark turned his focus to the audio/video wiring needed to put his new 63-inch flat-panel TV to good use. "I didn't want media components to be seen," he says. "The room is so sophisticated and clean and its focus is meant to be on the art and architecture. It was super important that the wiring remain hidden and the components stay concealed inside cabinetry."

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With Mark's art currently in high demand, he notes that the art in his lounge changes frequently.

With Mark's art currently in high demand, he notes that the art in his lounge changes frequently.

In meeting with contractors, Mark learned that the room was actually built directly on top of the concrete surface of the house's rear courtyard, something Mark wasn't aware of when he bought the house. "It's amazing what you'll discover once you start tearing things apart or crawling under small spaces in a big, old house," he says.

In order to properly outfit the space with cables and wires, the electrician worked in the crawlspace between the room’s floor and the exterior concrete. "The electrician definitely earned his fee," Mark reflects. "There's no way I'd ever have worked in that tight of a space for a full day. It definitely would have made me claustrophobic."

A Work of Art

With dust behind him and the project now complete, Mark doesn't regret any of his remodeling decisions. While the biggest masterpiece in the space is his own four-by-four-foot pop-art interpretation of Wonder Woman hung above the fireplace, Mark only included three of his own original pieces into the space.

"I didn't want it to be all about me but more about my favorite pieces, whether they're my own work or part of my collection." With so much visual stimulation packed into one space, Mark often finds himself unsure of what to focus on: his newly curated art collection or his brand-new 63-inch flat-panel TV.

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