In theory, the family room is a place where generations gather. In reality, grownups and kids don’t always enjoy the same activities. How to bridge the divide?
A young family of four in Wayne found themselves avoiding the family room adjacent to the kitchen, showing up only to watch TV. There was plenty of space—24 by 18 feet—but they didn’t know how to utilize it.
To come up with a plan for a multipurpose space, the owners turned to interior designer Lucy O’Brien of Tartan & Toile, whose household mirrored their own—two parents, two preschoolers and a dog. She organized the space into three zones: a large seating area with built-in storage, ideal for kids’ games and watching movies; an intimate nook with banquette seating where mom and dad can enjoy cocktails with friends; and a small table with seating that acts as both an entry to the space and overflow for the other two zones.
The design also called for replacing an undersized window in the seating area with a much larger one. Inside, the window ushers in more natural light. Outside, it enhances the home’s symmetry and curb appeal. To make the eight-foot ceiling appear taller, draperies and shades on all windows were raised to just below ceiling height.
“To make the different areas feel cohesive, we used a palette of blues,” O’Brien says. “We grounded the space with a neutral carpet that looks like a natural sisal rug but is actually polypropylene, which is extremely durable.”
Throughout the room, materials are luxurious yet durable. The banquette is upholstered in chenille, soft like velvet but with a tighter weave. The designer poured soy sauce on a sample of the performance fabric she chose for a large white sofa to prove it truly does repel stains. A cowhide rug defines the grownup niche. “Cowhides are very hardy,” O’Brien says. “Think of how cows roll around in the mud and still have those beautiful coats.”
Tartan & Toile
228 Garrett Ave., Swarthmore, (610) 457-4442, tartantoile.com