Betsy BurnhamContemporary Living Room, Los Angeles
What Houzz contributors are saying:
7. Burnham Design sourced a vintage stainless steel fire screen and faux coral sconces to hang above the mantel and add pop to this Los Angeles living room.
AFTER: Steel French windows add a modern touch, while a new stone mantel offers sophisticated elegance. “You need a few elements like this to warm a space up,” says Burnham. The traditional lines of the fireplace are balanced with the strongly geometric fire screen and thick-framed mirror. “He wanted a contemporary look, but he didn’t want it to feel cold,” Burnham says, noting that the neutral color palette also brings up the visual temperature. “We called the style restrained luxe.”When asked if it was tough for a classicist to produce a modern interior, Burnham said no. “He didn’t really want to hire a traditional or a modern designer,” she says. “He wanted to hire someone who would listen, and I was willing.”More: Previous Room of the Day
2. Use strong lines to draw the eye. In a room that mixes straight and curved lines, crisp diagonals draw the eye to the fireplace focal point. The screen is also a good opportunity to add metallic accents to a room.
A piece of real or faux coral with a striking silhouette can become a versatile accessory. While the natural colors are gorgeous, painting a piece to coordinate with the room is a great option. Gold and silver are our favorites for adding drama; basic white can tone down a glamorous scheme.
1. "Instant Space," Betsy Burnham. A pioneer of the online decorating concept, Betsy Burnham of Burnham Design developed Instant Space, her online design service, to fill a need she recognized: offering high-quality design to budget-conscious and long-distance clients. Full-service interior design from the highly sought-after Burnham can get quite expensive. But if a client is willing to do some of the legwork, an Instant Space box complete with furniture plans, sources, fabric swatches and paint samples, plus specific instructions on how to implement the design, arrives in as little as a month — and at a small fraction of the cost.Need to know: You send in measurements and photos of your space plus inspiration photos, fill out an online questionnaire and pay the full fee up front. Four to six weeks later, you receive a pretty linen box in the mail containing a design board, material and paint samples, a furniture plan drawn to scale, a shopping list with resources available locally in your area or online and step-by-step instructions for pulling the room together.Cost: $975 to $1,950Is it right for you? Instant Space is a great option for those pining to work with a fancy decorator but who want to implement the design on their own time. If you love the Burnham Design look and appreciate receiving a luxe box with samples and professional design boards in the mail (rather than emailed documents alone), this could be the right choice for you. Also worth noting, you can choose to add trade-only fabrics and furnishings to your Instant Space design plan for an added 25 percent commission. See the Houzz interview with Betsy Burnham
Coffee tables are tough because they're functional; you don't want to fill the whole table top so you can't put down a cup of coffee. But you want it to look elegant and composed without it seeming like you fussed too much with it. I liken this to dressing up for a party: I want to look fabulous, I just don't want to look like I tried to look fabulous. See the way the objects are paired into little conversations in random locations on the table? One section is looks more scattered while the other side is stacked and structural. Effortless and elegant, and put together just enough.
It would be difficult to fully appreciate the shape of these sconces if they were in any other hue against that off-white background. In red, you see every arm and curve. More red around the home: Hollywood Glamour in Black, White and Red Your Entry: Mad About Red
The style mix is not initially apparent in this room, perhaps because of the beautiful symmetry created by the ceiling beams and drapery panels. But looking closer, the traditional mantel is in strong contrast to a contemporary coffee table, while the chairs flanking the fireplace feature traditional tufting on one and paired down modern lines on the another.
BPF: One of my biggest pet peeves is rod pocket drapery panels thrown up on cheap rods, then considered "window treatments". If someone wants tailored draperies but is on a budget, what should they keep in mind? BB: One thing we did recently was pick up ready-made panels from Anthropologie (they have a fabulous selection of them), and then to smarten them up: we had our drapery fabricator add lining and hem them so that they were just the right length to “kiss” the floor of the room. Once these updates were done, even the rod pockets didn’t bother us; the panels looked completely custom.