Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Hey Everyone.  Hope all is well?  The other day I posted on a house for sale right here in Burlington with an odd fireplace.  Well I have another fireplace today.  As you can see in the pics below the Architects/Builders have tried to build a lovely Family Room with some Grandeur.  However...and I mean HOWEVER..... a room like this is VERY hard to live/decorate with.  Let me tell you why so that if you are in the market for a home with a Family Room like this then you will be able to make an informed decision.

I really wish Builders would stop building this sort of room.  I get it...they are trying to make a not so big room- Grand.  Don't get me wrong I would be happy to have a Family Room this size myself- minus the soaring ceilings.
On first glance one thinks- Wow all that height, those amazing.  Well....not so much. Here's why:

In the above pics one can get a sense of the scale of this room.  A lot of times they end up feeling taller than they are "round" or big as it were(which may or may not be in this case).  You end up feeling like you are in a tall box.  Which if you are OK with that, then fine- just mentioning it is all.
If you see the 2 above pics one can see how the owners have been left with quite a few decorating dilemma's  to deal with.
The first being that huge fireplace between the sets of windows.  I think you all may know by now how much of a HATE ON I have for this type of fireplace.  Meaning I can't stand a fireplace between windows. This one itself has way too much going on....the fireplace, the windows, the TV, the plaster is way too much.  Obviously not too much for the owners but I think that for the majority of people it would be overkill.  Secondly, Have you ever tried to decorate around this style of window- NIGHTMARE!!  Your options are limited due to the size, the placement and the actual fireplace itself. All you can really do is have blinds.  Yes you could have side panels in the corner but a large portion of the side windows would be blocked so what's the point of having those side windows??- more on those in a minute. Third, have you ever tried to watch a TV while staring at bright windows.  Can you say EYE STRAIN??  And, I am one of those people that is NOT a fan of having TVs above a fireplace.  From an Ergonomic stand point it is a huge NO, NO.  The TV is way too high to watch comfortably- neck strain.  You ask most people who have done this and they will agree with me.  Also, if you use your fireplace, the heat from it can be an issue for the TV.  Not to mention if you have a wood burning fireplace it can be bad for the TV due to the Smoke and Creosote.
Now to those side windows......  I myself would have NOT had them at all.  Why you ask?  Well...... They really chop the walls that they are on.  See the above pic and the one below.  Do you see how difficult it would be to put anything on those walls?  The Side Windows cause a huge visual imbalance to me.  That being said... having walls that tall makes it challenging to put anything on them.  Put something too small and it looks puny and ridiculous. Put something too big and it is completely overwhelming.  Personally I would have not put those windows on the sides, move the fireplace to one of the side walls and had all windows across the back.  In addition by making the top windows at the side "palladian" it makes it impossible to have drapes without blocking out the fact that you indeed have a "palladian window".  Having all those windows does indeed provide tons of light, however, getting rid of those side ones in the first place would not have changed that and made it much easier to decorate- even with stacked windows.  Stacked windows are a pain but much less painful than the way they are now.

The last point I want to make and it is a HUGE one..... Having all that height with all those hard surfaces- walls, hardwood, the lack of drapes, and the open area at the top(the railing and landing area) make for a VERY NOISY family room.  I cannot tell you how many times I have heard from friends and clients how they wished they did not have a vaulted space.  The amount of noise that bounces around or carries upstairs is incredible- I cannot stress this enough.   I think a way more effective way of designing would be to have 9 or 10 foot ceilings that is coffered.  Way more visually interesting than a tall vaulted ceiling.  Not only is a coffered ceiling beautiful to look at but now you will have cut down on the noise AND.... you don't have lost heating or cooling in that vaulted space.  Do you know how hard it is to regulate temps in a space that is vaulted like this??  All those windows make for in the winter great loss of heat or in the summer a great source of heat.

So there you have advise on a window wall with a fireplace.  The whole point of this is NOT to insult the lovely people in this home (that is so not me), but to inform you all out there the pitfalls with having a space like this.  I am sure that there are those of you out there that LOVE your vaulted space- well that's great.  However, I think there are a lot more of you out there that are giving second thought to that vaulted space you purchased or hopefully will give a second thought now with the info I have provided.
Just one more little detail you may want to look into..... if you do have this style or are planning this style of space ........please.....please.....paint or colour match your Vents on the walls the same colour as the wall.  Every time I look at spaces like this the first thing my eye goes to are those vents- when they are white (when not on a white wall) they stick out like a sore thumb....just sayin'.
On a side note the kitchen is quite lovely.  I am a huge fan of that style of hood.  There is just something about the lines I have always loved. And what a lovely big island.  It is such a great social space to be in.  I really do love a kitchen open to the Family room.

Well that's it for now... hope I have given some food for thought.
Have an awesome day everyone.

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