Divine Intervention:  Candice Olson transforms an older living room

  • Updated: April 26, 2013 - 11:02 AM

AN AWKWARD LIVING ROOM GAINED MODERN FUNCTIONALITY WHILE RETAINING ITS TRADITIONAL ROOTS.

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This space seems twice as big as it did before the renovation, and there is a purpose to every single corner.

The problem

Poor lighting, uneven walls and intrusive radiators were just a few of this home’s problems. Homeowners were continually moving furniture around in an effort to come up with a functional layout, trying to compensate for the room’s two warring focal points: an ugly wood stove and the television screen.

The solution

This older home came with high ceilings, character and charm aplenty. Designer Candice Olson disguised the less-charming features, saying that sometimes with older houses, it’s better to conceal than reveal.

How it happened

• The hideous old wood stove was the first thing to go. Olson brought in a sleek new gas insert and updated the fireplace with a new custom mantel with white marble tile on the surround and slate on the hearth.

• The old radiators were covered with white radiator boxes, effectively transforming them into useful pieces of furniture instead of obstacles to work around.

• Olson’s plan called for the creation of distinct zones. The area rug and sectional sofa create a place for the homeowners to relax, either alone or with friends. Behind the sofa is a cocktail lounge area, where a radiator cover can serve as a buffet or bar surface.

• Molding added architectural interest to the ceiling and the walls, while a silvery chandelier, positioned within a ceiling medallion, takes center stage. A couple of wall sconces, some track lighting over the fireplace and a few table lamps completed the lighting upgrade, and a large sectional sofa solves the room’s seating dilemma.

• The color palette for this century-old living room was inspired by the selection of an elegant area rug, rich with shades of dark plum and gray. Gray is repeated on the walls, while the ceiling, radiator boxes and trim work are painted a crisp white. Dark mahogany furniture, with matching tables flanking the fireplace and a sofa table, coffee table and glass-fronted display case round out the new furnishings.

Best trick

The bumpy, uneven ceiling was covered with a paintable wallpaper resembling the tin ceilings of yesteryear.

Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service. Interior decorator Candice Olson hosts “Candice Tells All,” which appears on HGTV.

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  • This living room had poor lighting, uneven walls and intrusive radiators, to name just a few problems.

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