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Family Room Preview

I know it's been a month or so since I've posted any of my projects on our house -- but don't worry, I've got some pretty big plans up my sleeve for the great room. As you can see, our family room (which opens out onto the kitchen/breakfast area) is a great two-story behemoth, wildly popular with builders across the country. And I'll admit that it does make for a great first impression. But it's also very tricky to design around. After all, a family room should feel cozy and welcoming, not imposing or grand. So how do you take the scale down a bit?

I think the biggest key here is to add some softness to the large windows. I knew I wanted to do curtains here but I wasn't quite sure how to work with the two-story windows. So I enlisted the help of my mother's designer Lisa B. to give me some guidance (and to act as a much-needed springboard for my ideas). Lisa suggested that we needed to do floor-to-ceiling curtains, thinking that simply hanging curtains on only the lower windows would give the room an oddly choppy feeling -- and look like we finished decorating halfway up the wall. And I, much as I feared having to purchase that much fabric, had to agree with her.

So exactly how much fabric were we talking about? We were quoted 60 yards -- that's an entire bolt. Yikes! So now the next task was to find a fabric I loved that was as inexpensive as possible. After going through countless samples and memoing out a number of trade-only and retail fabrics, we decided to go with this great suzani navy and cream print from Calico Corners:

It's 100% cotton with a Duragard finish that gives it some sheen and a bit more weight (though we'll be lining the fabric to get the proper drape). We'll be doing four fixed panels: one each on either side of the group and two down the center between the separate windows. Hardware will be simple as the rod will be hung so high as to not be especially visible. I'm thinking of going with this simple antique silver hardware from Restoration Hardware.

I love how the color palette works perfectly with the navy, Chinese blue and cream color scheme in the rest of the room but that the pattern itself is something of a departure from the very geometric rug and chinoiserie pillows. We're getting the final measurements made today and I'm so excited to see how they'll look in the room.

The other major project I've been working on is also for the family room. We're going to be having built-ins made for either niche, complete with storage for books, TV and components (on the left side of the fireplace) and even built-in benches at the base, to accommodate extra visitors when we entertain as well as to provide additional closed storage. I think these will go a long way towards adding that cozy, lived in feeling to the room and I can't wait to get in and start styling the shelves. I've even stock piled a few great accessories to mix in with our books. While the built-ins will match our existing white trim, I'm planning to paint out the backs in a different color. I have leftover paint from our bathroom and dining room and am contemplating using one of those colors, but I'm open to suggestions -- what do you think?

In any case, fabrication and construction are set to begin while Dave and I are away on vacation so stayed tuned for the big reveal shortly after I get back!

And lastly, on a totally unrelated note, I'm guest blogging today over at High-Heeled Foot in the Door while Camila is away on vacation. I'm revealing some truly stylish accessories -- all of which retail for under $25! Please stop by and say "hello"!

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