Our Favorite Room: Family Room

WHERE IT BEGAN As the room that no one wanted to claim at the 2010 Designer Show House to benefit The Children’s Hospital. When designer Tonya Frank showed up on the scene of the house-in-progress, a 1929 gem designed by late architect Temple Buell, she was left with this dark, cramped space and just three weeks to work a transformation.

But Frank, the owner and principal of Denver/Vail-based Dromma Designs, was energized by the tight turnaround: “They always say the last-minute things tend to be the most successful,” she says.

A first glance told her the room needed to be brightened and expanded, made to look bigger than it actually is. And she wasn’t afraid to do a little maneuvering to get there. Frank had the heavy-looking cabinetry and bar  removed, the skylight sealed and ceiling lights installed. Then everything was slathered in a coat of fresh white paint—and kept open and airy. “I didn’t want to bring in drapery to cover any of the windows,” Frank says. “I was trying to bring the outside in.”

PERFECT TOUCHES The designer wanted to create a fresh vibe like you’d find in the Hamptons (apparent in the floral upholstery and crisp pillows and benches), but she ended up tempering the look with comfortable, natural materials that feel at home in Colorado: a textural jute rug, a twiggy side table and floor lamps, and organic-themed artwork by Denver artists Heidi Jung and Jeffrey Keith.

STYLE TIPS How do you master a bold mix like this one? Fearlessly, the designer says. “Don’t be afraid to use color and mix a lot of patterns together.” Find that audacity here in the pairing of sleek orange lamps and a rustic table, or the python-skin-covered side table pulled up alongside a lounge chair upholstered in a floral print.

From the result, you’d never know the designer pulled it all together so swiftly. “Most people came and relaxed here during the show home,” she says, which proves the design’s success: though it makes a statement, it’s livable and inviting.

Don’t miss the 2011 Designer Show House to benefit The Children’s Hospital, April 8-10 and 15-17, 10 am-5 pm, featuring the work of 28 designers at the historic Cowperthwaite Estate in Denver’s Country Club neighborhood. denvershowhouse.com

Categories: Furniture & Accessories