I’m playing catch up on posting the before & after photos of projects we wrapped just before Christmas, and I can’t wait to show you the before and after of the Sunset Ridge Project. It was oak extravaganza makeover! The house had so much going for it and the homeowners already had several pieces of beautiful furniture on hand. But the oak floors and furniture — beautiful on their own — had begun looking drab en masse.
The infusion of black and white in the styling, and the addition of a variety of finishes and textures, now let this oak-filled room breathe! This beautiful oak furniture got its groove back!
THE DESIGN PLAN
The homeowners wanted a casual, comfortable space that embraced natural textures, colors and elements.
Natural Color Palette, Lighten and Brighten
We played to the colors found in the fireplace stone with a 9×12 muted wool rug and incorporated those same grays and taupes in the new tufted ottoman, abstract art, chairs, and pillows. Next we added additional texture by hanging soft-gray, linen curtain panels and adding cashmere-style and faux fur pillows and throws. And of course, I’m a sucker for fresh greenery, particularly at Christmas! So I hit the woods for some “free” Christmas decor and layered the space with a variety of holly, evergreen and magnolia leaves. Finally, this newly brightened color palette and addition of a variety of wood tones in the furniture and decor put an end to the previous heaviness of the one-toned oak overload.
Tip: Oak often yellows or oranges with age. If you’re craving a neutral wall color and have oak floors, furniture, cabinets, or trim (or maybe a combination of them all!), pick a neutral paint color with gray-green or gray-blue undertones. A neutral color that has too much warmth, such as beiges and tans, emphasize the often “orangey” tones of oak. Taupes and grays with blue and green undertones, such as the Sherwin Williams “Alpaca” paint color the homeowner’s used on this project, provide a complimentary color balance that plays down those orange tones in the wood. Other favorites are Benjamin Moore’s “Revere Pewter,” “Silver Chain,” or “Classic Gray.” (I used “Classic Gray” on these Design House walls.) And if you have both oak floors and trim/moldings, consider painting or replacing the trim work with classic white such as Benjamin Moore’s “Decorator’s White” (used on the Design House bedroom trim and fireplace).
The fireplace stone set the tone for this natural, casual aesthetic. And of course, though oak has gotten a bad wrap after it’s reign through the 80’s and 90’s, the warmth of the wood and texture of the grain are beautiful when used in blend with other colors, wood tones, and textures. And the fresh Christmas greenery adds life to the space! We introduced additional stone in the marble candle holders on the dining table, a beautiful solid marble accent table between the chairs, and a marble pattern on the candle holder above the fireplace. In addition the accent table beside the sofa has a thick, natural slate top which speaks to the fireplace stone and adds beautiful texture. The table also embraces the opportunity to bring in additional wood tones to the space, breaking up the one-toned heaviness of the oak. Overall, this mix of different woods, fresh greenery, natural textures, and muted colors soften the hard lines of the furniture and the heaviness of oak, and adds depth and texture to this open-concept great room.
Update the Builder-Basic Light Fixtures
Seriously, those new kitchen pendant lights – I adore them! The builder basic stainless and frosted glass pendants weren’t bad, but they were too small and were a missed opportunity to bring character into the room. The new 3-light pendants play to the mission style of the furniture, with an updated industrial spin, and the clear glass shades avoid interrupting sight lines into the kitchen. And the living room gained task lighting with a table lamp and new tripod lamp (the homeowner’s find!) beside the sofa.
Add Additional Seating and Create a Cohesive Living Room Layout
The homeowners loved their couch, and if you take a sit in it, you understand why. But other than a somewhat sad looking chair (which found a new home in the entry, and feels right at home there), it was the only piece of furniture in the living room. So we brought in accent tables (check out that great barrel-style table beside the couch and tripod lamp!), some chairs, and a tufted ottoman. The ottoman has casters and can roll around to serve as additional seating, or easily move out of the way to provide an open space for play when the grandkids come over. And the new 9×12 wool rug anchors the space. This great room finally has a defined living room, and a comfortable one at that!
Incorporate Family Photos
The black and white gallery adds dimension to the walls and anchors the oak sideboard. And of course, it’s always nice to see those years of memorable photos come out of boxes and find their space on the walls!
Decorate for the Holidays
With a reveal just a week before Christmas, I had the great fun of not only designing the new space but getting to decorate it for Christmas!
In the second phase of the project this spring, the dining room will get new captains’ chairs, drapes, and a fresh paint color below the chair rail, but things are looking so entirely refreshed already!! Check out the before & after photos…