Franca and Pat both come from big Italian families that love to cook -- and eat! In fact, Pat turned his love of good food into his livelihood and opened a downtown Italian eatery that serves traditional fare cooked up by his mama. But despite feeding hungry diners day after day in their restaurant, the couple rarely entertained at home -- a traditional 1960s side-split they share with their three daughters.
While that wouldn't be a big deal to some, it just didn't cut it in a family where everyone takes turns hosting dinners, and where get-togethers of 25 are the norm. The problem for Franca and Pat was a lack of space. They recently undertook a long home renovation, but after bunking with relatives for months they decided to head home before renovating the one room that was large enough to host big parties: their family room.
The room was dark and dated, complete with a curved wet bar, scallop-edged ceiling beams and dark wood details. So I worked up a healthy appetite -- for design and food -- and got set to cook up one big "gastro lounge" for Franca, Pat and all of their relatives.
SLIDESHOW: A DINING ROOM FOR ENTERTAINING
I had to start from scratch in this room, so I pulled out the existing bar, ripped up the dingy floor, and took down the wood and stucco from the ceiling. I then painted the whole space in a light cream, except for one feature wall which I painted a darker moss. I also installed a new floor comprised of large format, butter-cream porcelain tiles.
However, the most dramatic change happened when I tore out the room's small window and replaced it with a wall of windows and large patio doors. The new arrangement not only allows light to flood into the room, it also gives Franca and Pat some much-needed access to their beautiful backyard -- and its barbecue!
I then divided up the room into two zones: a satellite kitchen and a lounge area. I filled the kitchen with subtle cream-coloured cabinets, light quartz counters and a stainless steel subway tiled backsplash. I put in new state-of-the-art, stainless steel appliances including a fridge, a warming drawer and an under-mount trough sink. I also set up a large, wooden table with a rustic feel that seats eight.
The lounge area focuses on a new fireplace. The old room had two outdated fireplaces, so I got rid of one and updated the other with a gas-log insert and a wood surround. I then put a new television above the fireplace and added some shelving beside it. In this area, I also created a big family seating area, which includes a huge quartz-covered coffee table, a creamy L-shaped sectional, a few caramel-coloured chairs, and four moss green leather ottomans that can be stored under the coffee table.
To help lighten up the space, I installed recessed lighting around the room. Then, for some extra sparkle, I put up a gorgeous mother-of-pearl pendant light over the table and matching sconces above the fireplace.
After a few final touches, this new gastro-lounge and entertainment centre was complete. By blending streamlined finishes, natural colours and windows galore, this once-dated room got a hearty serving of style and is now ready for family, food and feasting!
A DINING ROOM FOR ENTERTAINING
Before, the room was dark and outdated. The couple's three daughters had turned it into a playroom! There was a lot to be done...
Dated scalloped trim, dingy floors and that colour palette all had to go in order to turn this space into a dining delight for the family's large dinner parties and extended-family affairs.
After ripping up the flooring, removing the trim, and giving the whole place a paint job I began by splitting the room into two zones -- dining and living room. By opening up the space, the family now has much more space to accommodate their large guest list.
Modern touches like the lighting, colours and furniture took this outdated room right into the future. The space is now ready for the family of five to throw a big bash for all their relatives!