Make It Your Own: Designing a New Great Room

Put Your Touch on Your New Home with These Design Ideas

The great room of the Cypress plan by 2 Creeks Construction sits unfurnished, giving homeowners a chance to put their design mark on it. Located in the Camas Meadows community in Camas, WA.

The Cypress plan, a new home by 2 Creeks Construction, shows so much potential in its great room. The Camas Meadows community in Camas, Wash.

A new home is a blank slate. The possibilities are endless. Your new home has never been lived in before, has never been decorated and is ready for you to personalize it.

But where do you begin? An empty, untouched room can actually be daunting. Consider this great room in a three-bedroom, 2.5-bath home at 2 Creeks at Camas Meadows by 2 Creeks Construction.

The focal point in the room is a built-in fireplace and a flat screen wall. Other appealing features include tall ceilings, built-in shelves and cabinets, wood floors and ample windows.

This is a homeowner’s dream. Not to mention a designer’s. We asked interior decorator Rachael Celinski of C3 Studio to visualize a completed space here and to help inspire homeowners to finish their own new rooms with style, detail and personality.

After analyzing the “blank slate,” Celinski noticed all of the attractive details and focal features and also considered the opportunities to enhance the room.

Complete the Thought

While she liked the stone around the fireplace, she felt it needed something more to enhance the feature. “Since this is the focal point of the room, it needs more attention,” Celinski says. To give the space more of a focal feature while adding texture and verticality, she wanted the stone to extend all the way up to the ceiling on the bump-out.

To draw the eye upward and take advantage of the high ceilings, Celinski’s illustration shows the stone reaching the full height of the wall. This creates balance in the room. She also converted the existing floor fireplace to a wall-mounted unit to echo the width of the television and create more symmetry.

Photo illustration of great room design. To give the great room of the Cypress 2 plan by 2 Creeks Construction more of a focal feature while adding texture and verticality, designer Rachael Celinski extended the stone of the fireplace all the way up to the ceiling on the bump-out.

A finishing touch on the fireplace: Celinski extended the mantle the entire width of the bump-out. Lengthening the mantle brought the stone, fireplace and TV into a cohesive design, while still blending in with the existing built-ins.

Embrace Embellishments

“These built-ins have so much to offer the homeowner, but right now, they are plain Jane,” says Celinski.

To liven them up, she added unique cabinet hardware to the bottom cabinet doors. “There are so many directions you can go with hardware. There are a variety of materials such as acrylic, metals, agate stones and even leather. They all come in different dimensions too, so you can make the space very personalized” she says. “Your choice says a lot about you and your taste. I always encourage people to customize their hardware any chance they get. Even a hand-picked main entry handleset can set the tone for the overall style of house.”

Another piece of the puzzle to recognize is the way heat moves through the room. Because this room is oriented to the fireplace, the family living here will naturally gather in the room to seek warmth. Adding a ceiling fan will help move the heat — which would normally accumulate close to the fire — all around the room.

“A ceiling fan shows your style. From vintage-looking to modern, you can find a fan that you connect with style-wise and that is more than just a functional piece in the room. Always consider the finish of the motor and the blades. Make sure they blend nicely with the overall room style,” Celinski says. “Fans and lighting often make a statement in the room. But if you neglect them by picking whatever is accessible and easy to pick up at your nearby home improvement store, you might be missing an opportunity to fully realize a room’s design.”

Soften the Edges

Natural light is your home’s best friend and this great room doesn’t disappoint. But what these windows bring to the room in strength, they also lack in softness. “A new home is bound to have a few harsh features. That doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong or a problem,” she explains. “It just means you need to use textiles or other treatments to help soften the space. You want it to feel like home and fabric has an amazing way of accomplishing that.”

 Photo illustration of how to furnish an empty room. Designer Rachael Celinski added a strong vertical element when extending the stone facing around the fireplace up to the ceiling and leveraged the vertical spread of floor-to-ceiling curtains to emphasize height.

Just as she added a strong vertical element when extending the stone facing around the fireplace up to the ceiling, Celinski also leveraged the vertical spread of floor-to-ceiling curtains to emphasize height. At the same time, the curtains soften the room with their textile and opacity level and help to add privacy.

“Textiles are so personal. They tell a story and they can even change an entire room. You can pick out pre-made curtains from a store, but if you are really going for a custom look, think about buying fabric you truly love and having them measured to reach all the way from ceiling to floor so it’s a perfect fit. If you take care of them, curtains last forever and they are worth the investment,” Celinski says.

Once the major elements were tackled, the rest was stylizing. A furniture arrangement and patterned rug to complete the room, books and decorative objects for the shelves and a pop of color on the accent pillows and this room was complete.
Sarah Kinbar is a freelance writer and editor for leading print and online publications. Formerly editor in chief of Garden Design, she has also written and edited for Cottage Living, Modern magazine and Orlando Arts. You can find her on Google+.

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