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Bursts of color and Old World touches brighten a family room

For a Winchester family with three children, creating a relaxed atmosphere in their new home was key.

photograph by Michael J. Lee

With abundant windows, high ceilings, and a spacious layout, this new house in Winchester was well suited to the young family that recently moved in. Yet the family room felt stark and formal. “And it was painted a depressing shade of beige,” says Melrose-based interior designer Ana Donohue, who worked with the homeowners to create a more lively aesthetic. With three young daughters living in the house, a relaxed atmosphere was key; color was a big component as well. “The wife loves bright, big pops of color and elements that have an Old World vibe,” explains Donohue. The room now has a welcoming appeal with vibrant patterns, a mix of materials, and eclectic accents that make everyone, including the family dog, feel very much at ease.

1. A turquoise and off-white upholstered chair and ottoman is from Wesley Hall.


photograph by Michael J. Lee

2. A low-profile Bernhardt chair with a wood frame and multi-stripe upholstery doesn’t obstruct the view of the backyard through the French doors.

3. The Currey & Company chandelier draws the eye up to the high, coffered ceiling and adds warmth to the room.

4. Antique wooden weights (that have the look of bowling pins) found at the Brimfield Antique Show make intriguing accessories on a table behind the sofa.

5. All fabrics were selected for their durability, says Donohue. She chose an indoor/outdoor fabric by Pindler for the upholstery on the Duralee sectional.

6. Framed acrylic boxes on the wall add vibrancy. “Separately, each one has a beautiful note of color,” says Donohue. “Together, they read as a really big bolt of color connected with the fabrics you see in the room.”

7. Orange throw pillows around the room provide more bursts of color that are bold but not overpowering.

8. A large brass box from Bernhardt serves as a striking end table.


9. Donohue selected the whitewashed wood coffee table for its light appeal and because it has two levels. “It has storage underneath where the kids’ toys can be stashed in a pinch.”

10. The plaid carpet by Stark grounds the space.

11. The bold red clock was an affordable find from Pier 1 Imports.

12. Walls are painted Benjamin Moore Silvery Moon, a gray hue with a blue tint.

13. Red buckets from Darby Road Home in Waltham are both decorative and useful. “We worked to find containers for toy storage that went with the Old World aesthetic the wife really likes,” says Donohue.

14. A high-gloss black chest from Horchow offers concealed storage.