Echoing the Outdoors: Creating a Lively Great Room

There is no doubt that if your home has a Great Room, it is definitely the heart of your home.  By having a huge multi-functiontal space, you find yourself using that one space for most of your living.  Coming off the entry of this home, the Great Room ceilings sore to almost 3 stories high.  The architectural volume of the space is undeniable, and was begging to be accentuated.  The first time I saw this space, it was as seen below. Heavy earth-tone colors were on the walls minimizing the volume of the room.  Earth-tone colors are a strategy people often use in an attempt to "bring the outdoors in". The problem with doing that, is that the walls appear dull, and the gorgeous scenery outside your windows is diminished.  I knew that approaching this room with the intention to make it appear fresh would serve to frame the scenery while also adding to the impressive volume of the space.

BEFORE: The fireplace soars over 2 stories, but the green walls blend into the slate surround.

BEFORE: The fireplace soars over 2 stories, but the green walls blend into the slate surround.

BEFORE: This is the view while standing at the fireplace.  The kitchen is opposite the fireplace, and the ceiling drops in that area.  The varying ceiling heights are perfect for making the eventual sitting area more impressive, however the heavy colors on the walls feel sporadic and closed in.

BEFORE: This is the view while standing at the fireplace.  The kitchen is opposite the fireplace, and the ceiling drops in that area.  The varying ceiling heights are perfect for making the eventual sitting area more impressive, however the heavy colors on the walls feel sporadic and closed in.

Selecting the right paint color would be critical to giving the architecture of this room the attention that it deserved.  You may remember from my previous blog post, An Entryway Defined, that the design strategies I incorporated in this home are color blocking and geometry with rustic and modern details. In order to make the idea of color blocking work, I knew that the perfect shade of white (Benjamin Moore: Winter White) would anchor the space and frame the impressive windows.  White also reflects all of the natural light creating a dramatic burst of feeling like you've stepped outside.  Now, that is how you bring the outdoors in!

 

Adding color in the furnishings would add life and interest throughout the room.  Pulling from the slate color of the fireplace and kitchen backsplash, an accent wall is added behind the kitchen.  With the addition of that wall color as well as the bright green in the stairwell, the idea of color blocking is reiterated.

When it came time to layout this space, comfortable seating was a must.  An English-arm slipcovered sectional is perfect for incorporating the comfortable aesthetic the client requested.  Accent pieces were selected to add color and personality.  The ottoman base is a reclaimed metal and wood palette table that has been topped with a hand-made cushion created from a vintage crazy quilt.  The diverse textures and colors pop off of the neutral sectional, and are anchored by the dark monochromatic oriental rug.  Driftwood furniture, whimsical lamps, and a vintage tug boat rope spool provide more interest and detail.

A whimsical lamp atop a driftwood end table is the perfect way to add personality and rich texture.

A whimsical lamp atop a driftwood end table is the perfect way to add personality and rich texture.

This rope spool was found on an old tug boat in Wisconsin.  The metal framed modern chair is made from rich brown hide and leather.  Layering multiple textures is an easy trick to add depth to your design.

This rope spool was found on an old tug boat in Wisconsin.  The metal framed modern chair is made from rich brown hide and leather.  Layering multiple textures is an easy trick to add depth to your design.

The homeowner's existing bar cabinet is softened by using a unique piece of driftwood that they found as artwork.  It is the perfect personal touch for the space.

The homeowner's existing bar cabinet is softened by using a unique piece of driftwood that they found as artwork.  It is the perfect personal touch for the space.

Focusing on the dining area portion of this space, the homeowner knew that they would need a big table.  This will be a home full of family and friends, and the oversized natural trestle table is perfect for a large group.  Touching back on the idea of color blocking, I combined multiple colorful finishes to traditionally styled chairs making the space feel friendly and modern.

I can already imagine the kids racing for their favorite color.  And, in a house with three daughters, we knew too many fights would happen if pink was in the mix.  We opted for red, yellow, green, blue, and orange.  

I can already imagine the kids racing for their favorite color.  And, in a house with three daughters, we knew too many fights would happen if pink was in the mix.  We opted for red, yellow, green, blue, and orange.  

On the whole, the success of this space is achieved with the use of color.  Mindful selections of paint and finishes create a space that is full of life and fun.  The forest just outside the windows is reflected with rich rustic wood finishes, and the colors pop like wildflowers.