Style Watch

A woodsy, warm, and welcoming family room makeover

This family of five in Jamaica Plain commissions a cozy haven perfect for together time in winter.

Emily O'Brien Photography

Sybil Urmston of SirTank Design always finds a way to work wood into a room. The family room in this old colonial in the Moss Hill neighborhood of Jamaica Plain is no exception. “Wood makes a room feel more homey and cozy,” the designer says. Since the clients — a couple with three children — love to hang out and watch movies in front of the fire, Urmston made the fireplace the focal point by lining the wall with boards and designing a statement steel face that shows off the flames and stores plenty of wood. New ceiling beams provide even more interest. “I went with a Scandinavian approach with wood, steel, white walls, oversize pattern, and bright colors,” Urmston says. “I enjoy mixing wood with other natural elements and sharp color.”

1 The Cisco Brothers sectional, purchased from Comina in Wellesley, is upholstered in velvet by Schumacher. “Kelly green doesn’t compete with the natural wood,” Urmston says. “Instead, the color helps the wood feel contemporary.”


2 The color of the black and white drapery fabric by Jim Thompson Fabrics plays off the steel face of the fireplace while the wavy pattern counterbalances the linearity of the wood paneling. “They really tie the room together,” Urmston says. “And the homeowners loved them.”

3 Local studio Arcart Furniture made the paneling and beams out of reclaimed chestnut. The television is recessed so the screen is on the same plane as the wood paneled backdrop.

4 The Shades of Light sconces and Schoolhouse ceiling fixtures are fitted with bulbs that emit what Urmston describes as a “wicked, wicked warm light.” She explains, “Between the lights and the roaring fireplace, the room is embraced by orange hues so it’s really cozy at night, which is when they use the space.”

5 Urmston designed the weathered black steel mantelpiece, also fabricated by Arcart Furniture, to replace an uninspired, traditional one. “The steel is ebonized and sealed for a matte black appearance.”


6 An Orbit chandelier by Townsend Design hangs above a cement table from CB2 that the family uses to play games. “We wouldn’t have done a wood table with that feature wall,” Urmston says. “The combination of materials and genres creates a cozy feel.”

7 A pair of Lloyd swivel chairs by Cisco Brothers are upholstered in a linen fabric from Svenskt Tenn called Aralia, a bold botanical print designed around 1928 by Viennese architect Josef Frank.

Marni Elyse Katz is a regular contributor to the Globe Magazine. Send comments to magazine@globe.com.