These days, formal living and dining rooms are on the way out, says interior designer Kalah Talancy, an interior designer who teams with her husband, architect Kevin ten Brink, to run KT2 Design Group. For this new Wellesley home on which the duo collaborated, the first-floor plan centers on a more casual great room that opens to the kitchen and dining room.
“If a home has a fancy formal living room it’s seldom used,” says Talancy. “Here we made sure there was no wasted space.”
The house has classic finishes and a neutral palette of earthy pale tones. Youthful accents and durable finishes are geared toward the young family that lives in the home. “The guiding factor was that kids live here. They sit and swivel in the leather chairs nonstop,” says Talancy. “They play hide and seek in the built-in cabinets.”
The great room’s focal point is a handsome fireplace made of Connecticut fieldstone. Above, a massive painting by modern artist Linda Lindeberg disguises the TV. The 60-by-60-inch mahogany coffee table is a showstopper that draws people into the room, says Talancy. “It’s big enough that the whole family can sit around it and play a board game.”
To make the space feel homey, Talancy selected a large soft Karastan rug with a gridded motif finished with a wide chocolate brown binding. “The rug is a grounding element in the room,” says Talancy. Stripped sheers by Lulu DK frame the windows. “While drapes weren’t necessary from a privacy standpoint, window treatments soften the room,” says Talancy.
In the eat-in-kitchen, where the family eats most meals, a built-in bench — upholstered in easy to clean indoor-outdoor fabric — maximizes the number of people that can sit around the rustic table. Instead of hanging the kids’ artwork on the refrigerator, two burlap bulletin boards from Ballard Designs give them a place to express themselves. Plaid roman shades add dimension to the mostly neutral space.
“Since there isn’t a lot of color, we introduced patterns to create depth and add interest,” says Talancy. “Some items are incredibly custom, but many aren’t. You don’t have to go over the top with everything.”