Set the Tone

A great room transformation kicked off an entire home renovation.

By Melissa Mauzy

Photography by Anne Matheis


A young family of five purchased their home with the intention of giving it a fresh facelift. After 18 months in their new space, it was time to make the 16-year-old residence reflect their taste and lifestyle. The couple was referred to experienced interior designer Nancy Barrett to help undertake the large project.

At the top of the to-do-list was the great room, which is the first thing you see when you walk through the front door. “The couple wanted the space to look good for guests as a first impression when entering the home, but it also had to be comfortable for their family and young children,” Barrett says.

Shades of gray with teal accents established the color palette and set the tone for the whole home’s design. Carpeting was removed in favor of ebony-stained wood floors that are carried throughout the first floor. After paint and flooring, the next design element Nancy selected was the patterned area rug, which helped pull out the teal accent color. “The first item I usually select in a room is the rug,” Barrett explains.

Nancy then drew up a few different floor plans to find the best option for the family. They needed comfortable seating options that were also kid-friendly and a TV in the space, but they also wanted the arrangement to face the fireplace. Nancy chose fabrics that would be easy to clean. The tweedy texture of the loveseat and sofa could hide any spills, and the medium gray tone fit perfectly into the color scheme. A teal leather ottoman can serve dual purposes as a table and seating, and the leather material is a great kid-friendly option.

The expansive fireplace wall is the focal point in the great room. Nancy worked with the existing fireplace, mantel and wall trim, but she modified the elements for a more transitional look. The marble surround was retiled with gray ceramic tiles in a hexagonal pattern. She covered the large, framed out space with a neutral grasscloth that is also found in the dining room. In lieu of a lot of artwork to fill the space, Nancy stacked three circular mirrors to highlight the height of the fireplace.

The circle pattern is repeated in the swirling cascading chandelier, and the entry foyer has a smaller matching fixture. The base of the sofa table also has a circle design, and Nancy selected it to soften the look instead of walking in to see the back of the sofa.

Before they began purchasing furnishings and accessories, Nancy did a full sketch of the space, including window treatments. “The homeowners have a beautiful wooded lot, so we didn’t want to cover that up with too heavy of window treatments,” Nancy explains. She also kept the panels on the outside of the window frames because the fireplace mantel ends at the windows. The floor-to-ceiling sheer panels soften the room and add a finishing touch. Touches of gold in the light fixtures and mirrors as well as artwork and accessories with tones of teal complete the transitional design.

Refreshed and polished, the new great room design became the catalyst for the rest of the home’s renovations fit for a family.



Interior Design: Beautiful Rooms