A Fireplace Pick My Presto

Hey there- and welcome to another installment of “Pick My Presto”!

I had fun with a photo of a lower level family room sent in by a gal named Heidi this week. Her email read…

Hi Layla,
Here’s my “Pick My Presto” disaster. My husband and I purchased this 1972 raised ranch back in 2003. Since then, we have renovated the entire home (my sweetie is a carpenter) with the exception of the downstairs family room and the kitchen. My dilemma: I’m fresh out of ideas. I mean really – just look at that monstrous fireplace! It’s definitely the focal point of the room whether I want it to be or not. We’ve done nothing down here except pull down the “hunting motif” wallpaper (as the former owner referred to it) and paint. My design likes are simple – I like my rooms to be comfortable and welcoming. Open a Pottery Barn catalog and pick anything in there and I’ll love it!  You are more than welcome to have at it. No prior warning needed but I hope one day in the near future I’ll find my disaster of a room on one of your Pick My Presto posts!

Move your cursor on and off of the photo below to see what I had fun dreaming up for her…

(Note: My drawings are for inspirational purposes only, and the ideas shown in them are just that. Spontaneous, totally flexible, just-for-fun, ideas. And since this is a just-for-fun-photo-consultation, and not an actual-and-perfectly-to-scale-virtual-consultation, I have no idea if any of the furniture or accessories I used in the drawings would actually fit in the room. Boom.)

Based on her design likes, I immediately envisioned muted, earthy tones. Maybe a warm putty color on the walls? Maybe dusty shades of blue, brown and cream sprinkled throughout the room in the form of furniture, art and accessories? And by adding a few pops of black around the room, Heidi won’t run the risk of crossing the line between “mild” and “mushy”. There’s nothing like a bit o’ black to snap a little refinement and edge into a neutral-heavy room. To capture that “comfortable & welcoming” feel she’s after, I would also suggest adding lots of texture on texture on texture. Like the fabulous Atlanta Bartlett recently said, “Texture adds depth and soul. Contrast helps each piece look special; they’re a foil for each other and help bring out each other’s best qualities.”

As for the fireplace, I thought since Heidi mentioned her hubby was extra-handy, he could maybe build some kind of frame to cover the majority of it, and then clad the frame with painted wood panelling. If they like the warm tones in the drawing above, they could paint it a dusty cream color. If they crave a cooler, more crisp look, they could always pick a different hue for the room, and paint the fireplace surround a truer shade of white. Move your cursor on and off of the photo below to see what that might look like…

I loved the idea of scrubbing and polishing up those neat, old stones so they’re a little bit lighter in color too.

Here’s an inspiration board that pretty much sums up the look shown above:

(All of the items shown are from Pottery Barn)

Last but not least, if you weren’t able to view the inspiration drawings above in action, here are some still images for ya…

Heidi’s Design Dilemma

Inspiration Drawing #1

Inspiration Drawing #2

Thank you for the opportunity to pick your presto this week Heidi- and thank you to everyone who has submitted photos for me to play with so far. I look forward to randomly selecting another one soon!

Wanna submit a photo for our Pick My Presto series?

Send an email to PickMyPresto [at] aol [dot] com titled, “PICK MY PRESTO- Living Room. (Replace the words Living Room with whatever type of room you’re actually submitting.) In the body of the email, include your name, your blog name (if you have one) your design likes & dislikes, and one photo of the space in question. (No links please.) It should be clear, and measure at least 400 pixels high x 600 pixels wide. (In other words: at least 4″high x 6″ wide) The bigger the better! Make sure it’s a photo you’re comfortable with us showing and writing about on our blog. Then, whenever I’m feelin’ the urge, I’ll randomly select someone’s email and have a little fun creating some traditional or cottage style presto change-o inspiration. Oh, and since I love surprises, I probably won’t email you to let you know I’ve “picked your presto” unless I have a specific question for ya about your space.


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  1. says

    you’re the best! i like the blue walls – that one looks great. they both do, but i just prefer the blue walls. i hope she does this!

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