Amazing home transformations

Get ideas for your own home or garden makeover

2 rooms, much improved

Easy upgrades to dining and living rooms transform a typical tract home

After: living room


Eric O'Connell

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Before: living room
Before: dining room
After: dining room

Kirk and Suzanne Hoffman had all the right ingredients for a beautiful home: open spaces, large windows, and some good pieces of furniture. Yet the living and dining areas of their 1960s suburban ranch house, though adjacent, never seemed distinctive or visually connected. Interior designer Gregory A. Peters helped them pull together a harmonious whole.

Living room

BEFORE (click first thumbnail image, below left): The room felt dowdy, and the fireplace front of dull gray limestone and two-toned wood wasn't doing its job as a focal point.

AFTER: After contemplating wallpaper found elsewhere in the house, Peters established a palette of pale gold for walls, ivory for molding and architectural features like the fireplace, and celadon for accents such as pottery, pillows, and upholstered seats.

He replaced the stone of the fireplace front with glossy white marble tiles. "This room is meant to be a little more formal, and the fireplace reflects that," says Peters. "It also ties in with the white marble floor of the entryway." Texture ― in the form of a sea grass rug, silk curtains, and silk and velvet pillows ― helps soften and define the room.

Peters retained the original coffee table and added a couch. Reupholstering an existing armchair and draping a round table with pale ivory quilted fabric adapted them to the updated color palette. He replaced the array of stereo, speakers, and framed pictures on the mantel with a few strong celadon-colored pottery pieces that reinforce the fireplace's function as the focal point of a casually elegant room.

Next: The dining room


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