Sunny living room remodel

Raising the ceiling helped transform this room into a natural gathering place

After: Sunny living room remodel

Raising the ceiling of this nondescript 1940s tract ranch house infused drama and light into what had been a cramped, dead-end living room.

Now a soaring ceiling, a striking stairway leading upstairs, and a sculpturally ribbed cast-concrete fireplace create an inviting gathering place.

Tall glass doors replace the small windows flanking the fireplace, brightening the room. Bookshelves built into the staircase add a library look.

Inset stainless steel tiles on the fireplace echo and update the painted brick on the original fireplace. A large mantel mirror draws the eye toward the balcony. The random-plank flooring is reclaimed antique chestnut.

What makes it work

  • Stair storage There's room for books and art objects under the landing
  • Fireplace focal point The inset stainless steel tiles draw  the eye and reflect light
  • Tall glass The doors allow in light and shadows that wash the floor

Design  Terry Martin Associates, AIA, Los Gatos, CA (408/395-8016). Interior design: McDonald & Moore, San Jose (408/292-6997). Builder: De Mattei Construction, San Jose (408/295-7516)

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