Colorful and Bright: Armonk


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The round, tiered chandelier was the first element chosen, inspiring everything else—including the swivel chairs and shelving unit—by its shape.

Photo by Tim Lee Photography

Designer Debbie Gottlieb’s job was to turn a dated (built in the ‘90s) Mediterranean house into a chic and comfortable living space for a young family with three children and a dog. With the main living space to be used for TV viewing, reading, making a fire, and playing games, she set out to create a flexible floor plan, comfortable furnishings, and a modern, rustic style. 

“Since the kids are small, we took precautions to use stain-resistant fabrics, and outdoor fabrics when possible,” says Gottlieb. “We upholstered oversized pillows for the floor so the kids could be comfortable and placed whimsical numbered ottomans to do puzzles at a game table or eat a snack. The game table has various heights to change the function as the kids get older. Flexibility is key in this floor plan.”

Because the room has high ceilings and large windows, ample-sized furniture was needed to anchor the room, but the windows are low so the sofa needed to be just the right height. Next, Gottlieb played off of the two-tiered circular chandelier by introducing rounded club swivel chairs and a round cocktail table, as well as a round industrial-looking bookcase (also great for stylish storage). 

The homeowners love blues and greens and wanted to use warm, neutral colors. Because the dining room is open to the Great Room, both spaces had to relate to each other. Gottlieb used this color palette to bring them together. “The Ikat rug in the dining room, which has taupes, teal, and a hint of chartreuse, inspired us to introduce those colors into the Great Room,” says Gottlieb. 

The design is colorful and modern with rustic touches, while being comfortable and appealing to the eye upon entering the room.

Gottlieb’s Tips for How to Make a Great Room Better

Common Mistake: Too many focal points. “Homeowners need to identify the function for their living area before a designer can design the ideal floor plan.” 

What to Focus On: Flexibility. “Comfortable chairs and sofas are key to a successful great room for reading, listening to music, and TV viewing. Good lighting is also important.”

Tricks of the Trade: Organization. “Good storage closets are important, as are built-in cabinets. Everything [should be] in its place. If a room doesn’t have the space, use baskets to store toys on a bookcase low enough for children to reach.”

Trending Now: Modern rustic and natural elements. 

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