Designer Stephen Saint-Onge instantly saw the potential when he walked into this typical, tired living room. The fireplace and built-in bookcases had the potential to be an outstanding focal point, but were hidden by layers of picture frames.
The Mission:Clean out the clutter and give the family a new floor plan that would suit the room much better.
The main seating area needed be the anchor point of the room. Stephen chose a sisal rug, which softens the beautiful wood floors. He thought it was appealing to keep earth tones and neutrality coming to life in this once-hectic space. Four wicker chairs (bought on clearance for $25 a piece) keep with the natural look and add additional seating that can be moved around as needed.
The tiny windows in this very large room were a design dilemma. To make them look larger in scale and soften the look, natural linen drapes from Ikea were hung on old rods found in the homeowner's closet.
Designer Tip: By placing the rods higher and having extra drapery length, the windows have more of a presence in the room.
One of this room's biggest challenges was too much stuff especially the mish-mash of picture frames around the mantel. Stephen said the room needed to calm down and relax.
Stephen's final ensemble for the fireplace area is worlds apart from what it once was. The number of display items was greatly reduced and Stephen introduced a common theme -- simple and natural.
Stephen chose oversized frames with wide mats for a modern twist on the mantel artwork. Leaning the frames against the wall, instead of hanging them, makes it easy to change out and rearrange pictures. With the new and improved mantel space, there is more room for creativity.
Stephen found an old camera collection elsewhere in the homeowner's house. He used their vintage style as works of art. The antique pieces also fit in with the other black accents found throughout the space.
Because you can see this part of the room from the foyer, Stephen wanted it to be a focal point. The display is a great introduction to the room as people walk in the front door. A trestle table top and saw horse legs were assembled to create the table. Black chairs from the dining room create another seating area.
Designer Tip: Shop your house before you start a project. See if there are pieces of furniture that can be moved into your makeover space. This will save you big bucks.
The original black cabinet would have carried too much visual weight for the neutral space so Stephen gave it a quick makeover that anyone could do.
In a money-saving move, Stephen decided to prime and paint the cabinet with leftover paint from the walls. Then, he took a steel wool pad to distress the edges. Inexpensive knobs from Ikea also revive the old cabinet. The finished product has a vintage look and re-introduces some of the cabinet's original black finish.
Like what you see in this makeover? Re-create Stephen's look with these resources:
Designer: Stephen Saint-Onge; www.stephensaint-onge.com
Paint: Benjamin Moore; Monroe Bisque HC26; www.benjaminmoore.com
Rug: IKEA; www.ikea.com
Frames and Mirrors:IKEA; www.ikea.com
Drapes: IKEA; www.ikea.com
Lamps: Pier 1; www.pier1.com
Wicker Chairs: Pier 1; www.pier1.com
Stephen's keen understanding of the homeowner has moved him into the spotlight in recent years through his work on television and in magazines. This understanding, accompanied by his friendly, approachable, and creative style, is making design accessible to everyone -- no matter who they are, where they are, or what their budget may be.
As a husband, father, and homeowner, he understands the needs of the family-focused lifestyle. "I have the same to-do list on my refrigerator that everyone has," he says. "There is always something to be to done with our homes and hopefully what I bring to the table will help everyone see the best in their homes." He draws upon his background in film and design to help homeowners create a home that truly captures who they are, but at the same time captures a mood they are looking to bring to life that represents their home in the right light.
Good home design has the power to change lives.