Ideas for Family Room
kshoquist
December 24, 2013 in Design Dilemma
We recently purchased this house and are looking for ideas on what we can do with the Family Room.

Family Room: The fireplace is real and takes up 9.5ft of the 17ft wall which doesn't allow any symmetry. The door on the right side of the built-in leads to a 3 season porch and needs room to open. Not sure whether to take out the fireplace and built-in and start from scratch (ideally not), take out just the built-in and hang the TV, put TV on the wall where the left wall, or...?? The furniture are hand-me-downs and are looking to replace.

Appreciate any/all ideas and suggestions. Fireplace, Built-in, TV, Furniture, Flooring, paint color, etc...
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decoenthusiaste
I'd be taking down all those high cabinets - at the FP and over the desk as well. This will open the feeling of the entire space. The base looks like it is a bit of an impediment to the door swing too. Could the bottom of it be pared down so as to fit under the window? Then you could just wall mount the TV in that area as you mentioned.
December 24, 2013 at 11:10am     
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PRO
DMH DESIGN
If you are not commited to a wood burning f/p, consider conversion to gas. Removing it in total has ramifications to this room, and any rooms above and below. Fix the facade and the fuel, but don't go to the expense of removal unless absolutely necessary. Yours has wall brick which can be removed, but the hearth is a bit more challenging because of the "heatilator" air draw. As long as any wood is kept a certain distance away from any portion of the opening, you have some options for removing the brick and creating a paneled look, over the top of some stack stone or something else which is more of a current design trend. If this is approached corectly, the fact that the fireplace is off center will matter less. Frankly, the door opening into the space at the corner is much of what is dictating your options for relocating the f/p, and how you furnish around it. Check out this article. http://www.ehow.com/info_12116102_required-convert-wood-fireplace-gas.html. Merry Christmas. Happy Houzzing.
December 24, 2013 at 11:11am   
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erinsean
I would take the cabinet down that is over the TV. If you want to hang the TV, that would be okay but IMHO not necessary.
December 24, 2013 at 11:35am     
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mfwolfe
I am not a designer so I am going out on a limb here. I don't see the fireplace as an issue. It just has too much strength in the room because other elements are weak. The art on the right hand wall is beautiful, it is just too small. Twice the size would be nice. Paint the grates on that wall to match the wall. With windows some drapes in a pattern would be another way to sap the strength of the fireplace. The carpet is nice but also weak. Maybe an area rug over it, if you are of a mind. Some folks don't like to do that. Pillows on the furniture. And take down the two high up cabinets. These are very inexpensive ways to balance the room. Try something like this before you consider taking out the fp.
December 24, 2013 at 12:10pm   
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Melanie Hon
I agree with a lot of the other suggestions, especially about painting the wall grills, replacing the 3 pictures in a row with a larger piece of art, and removing the cupboards above the TV. But I find the room generally to be very cozy and welcoming, and that's probably because of the fireplace.
December 24, 2013 at 12:27pm   
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dclostboy
The spindles are dated...consider replacing with pony wall, more modern railing option, or open / low bookcase / shelves.
December 24, 2013 at 12:41pm   
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tennisanyone
Without spending any money this is what I would do. I would turn the tv unit into a bar area/serving area . I would paint it first. I would put nice stemware/wine bottles in the upper cabinets/and use the base as a serving area with a tray and more glasses. This could be used all year, everyday even if you don't drink,use for just snacks while entertaining. I would put the couch under the window, get panels for the windows, turn the coffee table and put the tv on the blank wall, taking down the three small prints, leaving the chair where it is all for no money, just using what you own.
December 24, 2013 at 1:12pm     
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rinqreation
Reminds me of another post. Could only find the scetch I posted there:
December 24, 2013 at 1:39pm     
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rinqreation
Some recolors. Trying to work with the current cabinets.
Try painting the inside of the bookcase and the door on the left a similar color as the brick. And some extra weight on the mantle might look good, a more square shape.
December 24, 2013 at 2:13pm   
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PRO
Margot Home Staging / Interior Design
Lets try making the couches in an L shape. That way people can talk to eachother and enjoy the fire and TV and talk! The TV would go on the left wall on a table. The couches would look like this _I and a coffee table in the middle
December 24, 2013 at 3:19pm     
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rpolli
I'd buy an L shape sectional with coffee table or ottoman and place it under the windows and along railings. It appears you would have room for end tables if sectional not too large. I would definitely remove the built in cabinets and leave it open for through traffic to door. I have a feeling this may have been the architect's intentions. Finally, I'd then place a TV stand with storage below on the blank wall and if room allows, a smaller occasional chair where the current chair and ottoman is. It's a nice cozy space and I'd leave the fireplace and paint color alone : )
December 25, 2013 at 9:23pm   
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mhteb
I agree about removing the railing. The stepdown and change in flooring is enough. If you purchase new furniture I suggest a regular sofa and chair with less bulk in the arms and back. Also, smaller rectangular side tables instead of the large square. You don't need symmetry, you need balance. Before you know it that beautiful brick fireplace will be back "in" and whatever you replace it with will be considered dated. Good luck, have fun and ENJOY!
December 25, 2013 at 10:52pm   
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emmathwaits
Maybe you could remove the mini fence/ gate because that will open up the room- also you could put a small comfy chair by the fire place in a diagonal angle facing the tv. For where the tv is- I think it might look for out together if you put that on top off fireplace and full in that blank area with matching cabinets. If you don't like that idea then you could put a huge picture of your family or someone above the fireplace. Just some ideas..
December 26, 2013 at 4:20am   
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axlee
Your room has great elements but currently looks unwelcoming because you have the furniture spread too far apart from each other, and from the room's focal points. You also have two competing focal points in the fireplace and TV placement and need to make one of those clearly lower priority to the other. Think about your room from a bird's-eye view and play up that fireplace. 1) Make a core gathering spot around the fireplace. Two traffic areas that allow people to descend the stairs, turn right, walk, turn left, and walk will allow people access to what looks like a back door, push your furniture into a conversation grouping and create two other areas in the two traffic zones. Take the furniture you already have and form an L facing the fireplace and the left (in the photos) wall. I suggest having the back of the chesterfield face the kitchen and the armchair with its back facing the door/window wall. This will allow you to angle the armchair in your final arrangement and give you an ambiguous delineation between the cabinets and the core conversation area and ensure a clear view of the fireplace. 2) Move the TV to either above the fireplace mantle or onto the left wall. Have it professionally installed to hide the wires and secure it properly. If it is possible to hang it above the mantle and heat grates on the fireplace, you can have it hung from an arm that will angle it downward, making it appropriate for viewing. If you opt for the left wall position, keep in mind that the TV will not jump out at you as you enter the room as you will be looking at its side profile. Either solution works -- one combines your two competing focal points and one demotes the TV so you have a clear focal point in the fireplace. 3) Assign a purpose to your two newly-created traffic zones by bringing in some minor furniture and accessories and creating vignettes. A sofa table or drop leaf table could back the couch. Top it with some meaningful and useful accessories, making sure to keep them low and not block the view of the fireplace. If it is a sofa table with a lower shelf, this could be where you store magazines and throws -- now the back of the couch says "welcome" and not "stay away." Two very small chairs (think wooden chairs, dining chairs or slipper chairs) could face each other across a small wooden table against the windows. This can now be a place for sipping wine, having a snack or playing a board game. To complement this set-up, the cabinets can now be assigned the purpose of bar or games storage. You will need to replace the now-absent TV with a mirror (bar) or artwork (games area) to fill in the visual. Fill the display cabinets above to be useful and look plentiful. You could paint the cabinets any colour you want (perhaps to match new wooden chairs under the window), but I would proceed cautiously there and think about what a change from the wood will do to the rest of the room's scheme and to the adjoining kitchen (wooden cabinets there? Trim work looks like it matches?) 4) Play up that fireplace and give it scale. Put some fireplace accessories next to either side of the fire hole. The fire hole is undersized compared to the heft and width of the mantle so broaden the visual weight of it by placing things like a wood carrier and fireplace tools to the right and left, but snuggish to the opening. Black accessories might work very well here to give the visual weight you need. Do the same on top of the mantle. If you have mounted the TV here, you will need to keep the accessories low, but as beneath the mantle, the accessories need to have some visual heft. If you haven't mounted the TV here, put a very large piece of artwork above the heat grates -- a heavy woven tapestry might look good here. Whatever set-up you use here -- TV or art -- be sure not to block the heat grates -- whether or not they are functional, they look like they are, and so blocking them with even a candle looks odd.
December 26, 2013 at 5:21am   
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khillen
Hanging a TV over a wood burning fireplace is problematic. I have a similarly shaped room. We put the TV on the wall. Had it hung professionally. No wires showing. You will need a console for the components under it. We painted the wall a dark blue, and it is less of a focal point than the FP. The railing is functional with the table and chairs so better to keep it for safety. I bought a sectional with the chaise lounge parallel to the railing. Your builtins are functional and balance your FP. Like the idea of a game/ drink centre. I'd paint out the crown moulding to match your ceiling.
December 26, 2013 at 5:44am   
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khillen
Another thought: with the space left when the TV moves, build more shelving there, and paint it white.
December 26, 2013 at 5:48am   
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