Pop Artist Transforms Formal Study

Whitewashed walls and curated artwork bring life to a formerly stuffy space.

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.