My wife and I designed and built a 1.5 story farmhouse style home that had an open concept design. We designed the house based on two things: Feel and functional purpose.

For myself, when I walk into a room it is important for me that the room has the appropriate atmosphere. Our new home had ALL the bedrooms in the basement, for reasons I will go into in Renos - Where to Start #4 It's Gotta Function (to come). What that meant was that the upper two floors had a ton of space to fill. This was an open concept main to an upper loft floor. 

We wanted to create a home that felt very warm and grounded. We wanted to come home from work, from skiing and feel like we just put on a warm blanket. A place to relax and just enjoy our family time together. With such a large space that can be difficult to do. There were four main aspects that allowed use to obtain what we were trying to create:

  1. Flooring type - We picked a character type maple flooring that brought a variety of earthy tones into the main and upper areas. 
  2. Wall color - With such a large space, it can easily feel too big with a lighter color. We went with a deep chocolate brown that played off the highlights in the flooring and created a warmth making the large space feel more grounded.
  3. Made use of the features of the room - We had a large, open stringer, Douglas fir staircase and a wood stove central in the room (with purpose). These two brought the key components to define this room and house. This often can be created by your furnishing. 
    • your dining room table set 
    • a beautiful sofa a granite top kitchen island  
    • a beautiful sleigh bed in the master bedroom. 
  4. Lighting - It was important to use layered lighting. We used a mixture of lighting throughout both floors to allow the rooms to serve the specific purpose that we needed them to at a given moment. Ultimately, the lighting choices can define how a room it utilized or underutilized.

What is the atmosphere or feel you are hoping to create with this new room?
Is this going to be a place to rest and relax, to get work done, and to be a family space, warm, cozy, modern, clean?

This ultimately comes down to personal taste:
  • Are you looking for a rustic, modern or a contemporary feel? 
  • What style do you naturally gravitate towards? 
  • What features of the room can you can make use of? 
  • What current furniture pieces are you going to keep and will be a focus of the room? 
  • What colors are you considering for both the walls and ceiling? 
  • Floor type and color? 
  • Lighting choices? For example chandeliers can produce either up-light or down-light (indirect or direct light). Depending on what "feel" you are looking to create will determine which type of chandelier you may choose. 
No single light fixture can cover all purposes of a room. We will look closer at some of the key features to creating effective lighting in any room in future articles.

So, what feeling are you looking to create with your renovation? Pay attention to the homes, restaurants and business you visit. Pay attention to what you are naturally pulled towards and to what type of decor rubs you the wrong way. Look online and start collecting ideas and images to form your final idea. 

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