2013 Best Designs For Living Rooms, Family Rooms & Dens

Posted on | September 30, 2013 | No Comments

Living rooms, family rooms and dens – throughout the day and before retiring each evening, these are the spaces where we spend most of the time in our homes. Over the past month, in our 2013 Living In Style Readers’ Choice Contest, we have presented rooms designed by some of the most talented professionals from across North Carolina. Among our entries we have seen classic traditional environments, cool contemporary styling as well as comfortable modern designs. North Carolina Design asked you, our Readers, to vote for your favorite room – and the response was incredible.

Images Courtesy of Barbour Spangle Design ©

The votes have been counted and the winner of the 2013 Living In Style Readers’ Choice Contest is “Downstairs By The Fire.” This living room, with a west coast modern design aesthetic, is the work of High Point interior designers Christi Barbour and Anne Barnhardt, of Barbour Spangle Design. Voting in the contest was intense, and recognition should also be given to our second place finisher, “Conversation Before Dinner.” The timeless beauty of this living room is brought to us by Kathryn Long of the Asheville interior design firm, Ambiance Interiors.

As I shared news with Christi about the win, she in turn provided a few details about her firm’s entry. The living room is part of a home that was originally built in the 90’s. Barbour Spangle Design’s clients bought the home because they loved the property and loved the location. As for the house… not so much. The homeowners conveyed to the designers their vision of an open, family-centric space that had a relaxed and casual feel to it. Once they moved out, the renovation began and the walls came down. The result is an interior designed by Christi and Anne in which each room easily flows into the next.

The design of the living room, like the rest of the downstairs, is clean and modern, with a neutral color palette. With ample seating, I envision the family relaxing with ease or comfortably gathering with friends when the occasion arises. The patterns of the throw pillows nicely complement the fabric of the sofas. Both the three sided fireplace and the stacked stone wall create strong visual interest in the space. Pops of color are provided by the homeowners’ collection of art. Open and airy, Christi and Anne did a wonderful job realizing the clients’ vision.

Images Courtesy of Ambiance Interiors ©

It turns out that in “Conversation Before Dinner,” Kathryn Long had a client with very exacting taste to satisfy – herself. As she designed this living room in a traditional manner for her husband and herself, her initial goal was to transform a very cold space into one that was light, warm and interesting. In a house that faces north, that can sometimes be a challenge. Built in 2005, Kathryn explained post-contest that this was a second home to the previous owners, and had been lived in very little. After moving in, her efforts to create the desired mood and color scheme began first with the rug selection. From there, the room began to take shape.

Finding a tall storage piece of the right proportion and scale really “humanizes the room,” according to Kathryn. I would have to agree. This large piece really anchors the room and the deep wood tone goes far in achieving the desired atmosphere. The once stark white fireplace mantle was aged and the area above it was extended out, creating a three dimensional look. By adding to the furnishings a wing chair that had once belonged to Kathryn’s uncle and another chair that came from her parents, the design of the room definitely became personalized. With English etchings perfectly hung, a custom made ottoman accenting the fireplace and beautiful silk draperies adorning the windows, the feel of the room is absolutely inviting.

Be sure to read our next post when we reveal the identities of the talented designers responsible for the remaining entries in our 2013 Living In Style Contest. We look forward to sharing a few details about these outstanding interior design firms.

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