How does an outmoded, overworked family room become a gracious, functional space for living? Designer M. Lee Younger of The Pineapple House Collection and his assistant Anthony Warfield effected a dramatic facelift for clients Tara Lamb and William Shaddy of The Landings with a basic stop, look and listen approach.
"We put an immediate halt to the notion that redoing a room means total annihilation of everything in existence," explains Younger. "This couple has a wonderful collection of art from Europe, India, Cyprus, Russia and Asia amassed during Bill's 10 years overseas with Pepsi Cola. They also have a very fine down-filled couch that was custom built for them in Europe and a comfortable overstuffed chair they wanted to save. There is no reason not to use these pieces."
Younger and Warfield then took a close look at the room, the couple's work and recreational activities, color preferences, family hobbies, even the way they dress. "How a person clothes himself reveals a great deal about how casual or formal he is, how willing he is to take a design risk and whether he is contemporary, traditional or eclectic," says Younger.
Finally, they listened. Lamb and Shaddy outlined what they wanted and how they saw the finished project. Younger and Warfield took notes. And then it was time to begin.
At once, the family room's lackluster 1980s-era fireplace and its surround of Victorian floral tile were redesigned in stone tile and expanded to accommodate a large-screen television and state-of-the-art stereo equipment. The couple's cluttered "office" of mismatched oak desks and clumsy bookcases gave way to a streamlined workplace designed for two. A skimpy, seldom-used window seat was widened and now offers an ample daybed or cozy reading nook. Under the seat cushions are hinged doors concealing generous storage space. Faded upholstery and blah beige walls were washed in fresh prints and vibrant color, and a sofa that sat too low got new and higher legs.
Coral paint warmed up walls; complementing shades were repeated in paintings, floor coverings, fabrics and upholstery. An oversized chair in a multi-hued woven cotton was brought in to balance the room. Occasional pedestal tables in dark walnut topped by handsome lamps in a mix of woods and metals added warmth. A ceiling fan with wide bamboo paddles replaced the old ho-hum model. Windows were minimally dressed in simple wood blinds, and the glass sliders to patio and pool were kept clear of any window treatment. An adjoining pool bath was stripped of its scarlet wallpaper and tired hexagonal tiles and redone in the same stone tile as the fireplace. A white alabaster pedestal sink and toilet that repeat the strong square design of the new tile were added, along with polished nickel fixtures.
"Tara is a realtor and Bill is a businessman and they have a seven-year-old boy," says Younger. "Their family room needed to become a place where they could work or relax and entertain friends. Now there is more to this room. The space is defined with less clutter. There's s more seating, greater comfort and a terrific new look. It's now a real reflection of this family."
Furniture and accessories by Classic Imports and The Pineapple House Collection
Painting, tile work, upholstery and carpentry from The Pineapple House Collection workroom