Home & Garden

White paint, new lights tame Wild West cabin

Fran and Jeff never dreamed they would raise their family in a log cabin. But when they found a rustic, revamped log house on the outskirts of the city, they decided to be modern-day pioneers and move right in.

Outside, it was all trees, ravines and greenery. But inside it was another story. Some of the rooms had been updated, but the home's main space (what the couple call their "great room") was still stuck in the Wild West. The gigantic space had tons of promise, but it was overshadowed by all of the outdated lighting and shabby furniture, not to mention a huge wagon-wheel chandelier.

The couple had no idea how to make the huge room more elegant and sophisticated while keeping the room's cabin vibe. So they called me in and asked if I could give their great room one great big update.

The space boasted soaring ceilings, rich wood paneling and a beautiful stone wall, all of which added to the lodge feeling. I wanted to keep all of those natural elements, but decided to add a few modern upgrades — sage-green paint on a few of the walls and a crisp white coat on some of the wood paneling to breathe new life into the room.

I then started the redesign at the focal point of the room — a soaring stone fireplace. I used this fireplace as the jumping-off point for the colors in the room — a palette of sage, stone, taupe and caramel — and for the scale of the new furniture.

To add interest to the fireplace wall, I put up a long mirror in a beautiful wooden frame that reduces the scale of the stone and reflects a good portion of the room. I got rid of the dated furniture and arranged a new lounge area around the fireplace with two huge sofas, a wooden coffee table, an area rug and beautiful pieces for storage. As a replacement to the old wagon-wheel fixture, I installed an elegant chandelier with an antique finish that I centered in front of the fireplace and above the new seating arrangement.

Adjacent to the lounge area, by a big window, I created a library nook. I put in a beautiful round wood table and two antique-leather lounge chairs and flanked the window with two dark-wood bookcases. Above this area, which also boasts a beautiful piano, I installed a smaller version of the larger chandelier.

The space had five quirky windows of varying heights, so to unify them, I put up long, beautiful draperies in linen, light sage and orange hues. But while the windows gave some light to the space, the room was still fairly dark owing to the wood paneling. So in addition to the two new chandeliers, I put up track lighting, flanked one of the big windows with two traditional sconces and filled up the room with an assortment of lamps.

After some accents and accessories, including patterned pillows, baskets, plants and artwork, the space was finally transformed from rural shabby to rustic chic.

This room had a good start but needed a great finish. So I added layers of lighting, fresh furnishings and modern accessories, and gave Fran and Jeff a great room that lives up to its name. Now that's divine!