Wood finishes set tone for harmonious blend of his, hers

Manny and Patricia are ready to get married. They already have a gorgeous 1920s house with loads of character, but are waiting until after they tie the knot to move in together.

While Patricia has been living with her parents until the big day, Manny has turned the living room into quite the bachelor pad. There is a stainless steel keg fridge, a giant TV, video-game consoles, samurai swords. It’s all frat house and no feminine. Before they can achieve marital bliss, Patricia wants to get rid of the masculine mess. She wants a more sophisticated, functional, female-friendly space in the main room of their new home — and she wants it before she will let Manny carry her over the threshold.

The husband- and wife-to-be asked me to help. Do I take this male-dominated room and promise to turn it into a warm, stylish home? I do! I called in my crew and geared up to transform Manny’s dude den into a marriage of his taste and hers.

The only thing they both liked about the room was its rich wood finishes — Manny especially loved the fireplace mantel. Using the rich brown of the woodwork as a jumping-off point, I chose a color palette of chocolate, caramel and oatmeal — a female-friendly scheme that isn’t girly. I also selected stainless steel accents for a modern touch (in memory of Manny’s goner of a beer fridge). Then I got busy dividing the room into three zones: a TV area, a home office and a library lounge.

The focal point of the TV area is the fireplace and the new flat-screen-TV set into the wall above it. For the fronting inside the mantel, I found a gorgeous, metallic tile in bronze, stainless steel, brass and copper. That tile works with chrome lighting sconces to add a modern feel to the room while serving double duty to highlight the traditional details. Across from the fireplace, I placed a sofa upholstered in oatmeal tweed with stainless steel legs. A couple of chocolate-brown velvet armchairs, a rustic coffee table and an area rug in various shades of brown complete the space.

I built the office area into a big, gorgeous bay window that had been dominated by a radiator. Patricia said she loved the heat the radiator gave off but hated looking at it, so I had a custom radiator cover built with shelving on both sides to match the original woodwork. The whole elevation looked like it had been there forever. A desk in front of the radiator hides the box and will give the newlyweds a place to work the family finances. Woven grass blinds in a medium wood tone over the windows provide privacy while letting light in. Finally, I framed the entire area with floor-to-ceiling velvet drapes in a delicious paisley banded in chocolate with caramel and walnut tones.

I used the same velvet paisley, which ties the room’s color scheme together, for drapes beside the window in the library lounge area. Two oatmeal-tweed armchairs facing each other provide space for quiet time as a couple, and a long shelving unit serves double duty as a console behind the sofa and a bookshelf for the library.

Some final touches — including a gallery of Patricia’s photographs on the wall, some chrome lamps and a ceiling fan — and the space was complete. What had been a frat-boy funhouse is now ready to be a matrimonial home. It’s a marriage of traditional and modern, masculine and feminine, where Mr. and Mrs. can both live happily ever after. Now that’s divine!

Interior decorator Candice Olson is host of HGTV’s “Divine Design.” For more ideas or information visit Her column is syndicated by Scripps Howard News Service.

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