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Masculine environments

Creating an airy, warm and comfortable sunroom without feeling too feminine for my gentleman client was a welcome change of pace for me. Fortunately, I was hired before construction began on this custom home which allowed me to attend to all architectural and decorative aspects of the room. I was able to begin the design process with selecting trims and moldings, the flooring, hardware and other finishes.

Ignoring normal floral prints in brightly colored pallets that I love so much to work with, I turned instead to fabrics with warm tones and lots of texture. A floral fabric on club chairs set the stage for the sunroom; yet, its warm golds, greens and terra cotta colors printed on course linen helped to change the effect of flowers in this man's space. For more texture, I placed a high back tufted love seat, selected for its manly size as well as well as its comfort, in a pale beige chenille. The wood legs on the love seat contributed to its light look while the medium tone wood frame and brass nail heads helped give it a more masculine look.

Using a variety of woods helped add interest to the space. A cherry end table and a redwood plant stand blended well with the wood of the loveseat. An extremely light wood shelving unit and a white washed cabinet added contrast and depth. And, cherry wood blinds added another dimension to the oversized windows facing three sides of the home. Leaving transom windows exposed helped achieve better window proportions for the overall height of the room. It also allowed ample light in for the plants. With neighbors very close to the side yard, the blinds also served as a screening for privacy while allowing light to filter into the room.

To accentuate the high ceilings, I left them white and painted the walls dark gold. The white ceiling also helped to reflect the natural and artificial light….adding a brightness that is welcomed in any sunroom. And, I installed a dark wood paddle ceiling fan for easy adjustment to air flow. The installation of a ceramic tile floor helped to keep the room cool and outdoorsy. A soft plush rug helped with echoing from the hard floor surface and high ceilings. A linear pattern on the rug mimicked the feeling of the tile and grout which it is covering.

There were many other decorative components to be noted in this room. The black wrought iron floor lamp, bronze framed coffee table and gunmetal baker's rack, an unusual mixture of metals, blended well with one another. Pottery done by local artisans as well as commercially done pottery and decoupage animal plates hung over the loveseat added an interesting composition of accessories. And of course, the most important feature was the live green plants needed to complete the true sunroom environment.

Published in Elegant Lifestyles Magazine, April 2008

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