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design

A dark living room, refreshed with cream and teal

The living room, with a bold animal print ottoman.

Michael Casey

The living room, with a bold animal print ottoman.

When the homeowners built their dream home in Framingham several years ago, it seemed ideal. But time progressed, and the heavy draperies, the burgundy, tan, and gold color scheme, and leather furniture made the living and dining room feel dark and dated.

“It really needed refreshing,” says Hingham designer Cecilia Walker, who collaborated with Wellesley designer Dulcey Connon to revive the space. The living and dining areas were essentially one large room; however, two columns and an arched ceiling defined the two separate spaces.

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To make the space more comfortable and inviting, Connon and Walker infused the room with a lighter, calmer color scheme and new lighting to brighten things up. Curtain panels in both areas fashioned out of Osborne & Little fabric and patterned with a flower motif with shades of white, brown, and turquoise lightened the palette. Walls are painted in creamy Hushed Hue by Benjamin Moore.

Avid entertainers, the homeowners frequently hosted dinner parties. While 12 to 14 guests often gathered around the dining table, the living room was seldom used. The four leatherclub chairs were replaced with a plush sofa and armchairs upholstered with Osborne & Little printed velvet. An oversize ottoman sheathed in Cowtan & Tout animal print chenille adds a bit of wow factor.

“It’s a bold statement where everything else is calm and serene — it’s a big huge pop,” says Walker. “Dulcey and I loved that the owners were willing to take a chance with that.”

The living room chandelier, made out recycled Coke bottle glass, echoes the turquoise in the drapes. The dining room chandelier, made of blown glass balls, shares a similar hue. Since the chandeliers were a splurge, the rest of the lamps in the space were scored at Home Goods.

Midway through the project the homeowners decided to take down the columns separating the living and dining areas, which enhanced the connection between the two rooms and allowed more natural light to flow through.

While the new scheme was designed according to the original floor plan, on the day of the install the husband requested a change of plans. He wanted to see what it would be like if the living and dining rooms were flipped.

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The homeowners had designed the home with the fireplace in the dining room; an unusual element that seemed alluring in concept, but one that proved to be uncomfortable in reality. “Over the years, the homeowners rarely used the fireplace because when it was on during a dinner party the guests who had their backs to the fireplace would be complaining that it was too hot,” says Walker.

The fireplace, with brick facing and a heavy iron front, contributed to the dark, heavy feel of the original design. A key to the room’s refresh was refacing the fireplace. Now, a black granite surround is encased with white paneling and a refined traditional style mantle. “It looks formal, classic, and clean,” says Walker.

The homeowner’s existing dining table remains in the space, with new side chairs from Wisteria and two custom host chairs upholstered with an Osborne & Little speckled grey and teal fabric.

A gilded World’s Away console is situated under a gold-framed oil painting by Bill Cloutman, one of several works by the artist in the house. “We wanted to include some gold pieces to pull in the frames,” says Walker. “But we didn’t want to be too matchy-matchy with finishes, you can mix them and still be cohesive.” In the living room, another console table from World’s Away is made of limed oak and embellished with stainless steel studs.

While the new scheme was designed according to the original floor plan, on the day of the install the husband requested a change of plans. (His wife was on a business trip.) He wanted to see what it would be like if the living and dining rooms were flipped.

He loved the fireplace and thought it would be a beautiful focal point for the living area — swapping the spaces would also mean that guests would no longer be scorched during dinner.

Upon her return, his wife “was totally wowed by it,” says Walker. “The living room has become her favorite part of the house.”

The new dining room with glass-ball chandelier.

Michael Casey

The new dining room with glass-ball chandelier.

A gilded World’s Away console.

Michael Casey

A gilded World’s Away console.

Jaci Conry can be reached by jaci@jaciconry.com
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