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    A designer and cancer survivor creates a happier family room

    After recuperating in the room, Boxford’s Linda Holt tackled the project, transforming it into a favorite spot.

    ERIC ROTH

    Interior designers, says Linda Holt, often put their own homes last. That was the case with the dated, mismatched family room in Holt’s Boxford home, a project she postponed for two years. Then she was diagnosed with breast cancer. “I spent the better part of the summer lying on the sofa thinking about how much I hated the room,” recalls Holt.

    Now cancer free, she recently tackled the project, updating the space’s aesthetic. “The last thing I wanted was a sophisticated, dark room,” says Holt, who shares the home with her husband. “I chose bright, happy colors that make me feel good.” Furnishings are a range of high and low, and many pieces have sentimental value, including blue-and-white china from her mother-in-law, showcased in the corner cabinet. The warm, cheery space is now one of Holt’s favorite rooms.

    ERIC ROTH

    1. A gallery wall was entirely do-it-yourself, says Holt. She hung vacation photos taken on her iPhone in frames from A.C. Moore, along with some cherished plates.

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    2. The neutral custom Kravet sofa was an essential splurge. “It was really important that the sofa be comfortable and beautiful.”

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    3. The room’s focal point is the large campaign dresser Holt bought for $85 at Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Lawrence. She had the piece lacquered a bright blue and the gold-tone hardware polished.

    4. A chair that belonged to Holt’s grandmother is reupholstered in a neutral fabric: “A new chair would have cost over $1,000,” says Holt.

    5. Holt had wooden chairs reupholstered with a taupe stripe fabric in front and green velvet in back. “The backs of the chairs are the first thing you see when you enter the room, so I wanted something striking to draw the eye,” she says.

    6. A brass sculptural table from West Elm echoes the gleaming hardware on the campaign dresser.

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    7. The custom-cut sea-grass rug is from Landry & Arcari. An animal hide on top adds interest.

    8. The neutral linen drapery fabric was an inexpensive find that Holt customized by adding a strip of higher-end Duralee patterned green fabric on the edges.

    9. The curved black iron lamp is from a studio Holt had when she was a photographer in the 1980s. “I just can’t get rid of the lamp — it reminds me of that period in my life,” she says.

    10. A rich velvet “Cheetah” print fabric by Schumacher revives an old chair.

    11. Holt bought the wicker table with elephant-shaped base at a flea market and spray-painted it crisp white.