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Divine Design Candice Olson



After: Above, with a new palette of colors and a new look, this living room gave the homeowner a fresh beginning to single life. Before: Left, with a new start in life, it was time for this living room to get a new look.   SHNS photos courtesy HGTV

Change is Good
Homeowner looks for a fresh start

A change in seasons, a change in your family’s needs or a change in lifestyle — these are great reasons to become inspired to try something new. This is exactly what happened to one of my clients, and her new living room shouts of new life and a fresh start.

This homeowner and her husband recently went their separate ways, so my client asked me to help give the living room in the family home a fresh look.

The home was a typical midcentury two-story, and the living room was located at the front of the house. Since the living room opened into an adjacent dining room and the main hallway, there wasn’t much wall space to deal with. The room had two great features — a large bay window and a working fireplace. And that’s exactly where I started.

The space didn’t have a focal point, so I created one using the fireplace. It was well worn, with brick that had been painted white. Throughout the years, the soot had discolored the paint to a dingy gray, and the brick was starting to crumble.

So we knocked most of the brick off, leaving only a 12-inch surround at the opening of the fireplace. We made a simple surround and mantel out of wood and stock moldings and attached it over the brick. Instantly and inexpensively, we had a new look.

I painted the walls a muted sage green to make the exotic colors I chose as accents stand out. If my client wanted a fresh start, I thought, why not give her something zesty and exciting? I chose deep cognac, cinnamon and pumpkin-spice colors to use in various accents throughout the room.

The large bay window at the front of the house was framed by two rich, raw-silk drapery panels lined with velvet trim. To offer privacy, I brought in simple but sexy sheers to line the inside of the window. This allowed all the light to filter through without being transparent.

A gorgeous gold-leaf, beaded chandelier was hung front and center and was further enhanced by a mirror placed on the fireplace mantel that reflected the light. For even more sparkle, the mirror was flanked by two crystal and iron wall sconces with silk shades. A few strategically placed recessed lights shone down in all the right places and completed the rich, exotic look I was after.

A generously proportioned two-seater sofa and a few comfy side chairs set the stage for this new space. Instead of a traditional coffee table, I used a large leather ottoman instead, which also functions as additional seating. I hid the television in a large cherry-wood corner cabinet and brought in some small side tables for photos and books.

With this new infusion of zesty colors, rich fabrics and the newly appointed fireplace, who wouldn’t feel a new lust for life?

Editor’s Note: Starting next week, Divine Design will appear bi-weekly.

Interior decorator Candice Olson is host of HGTV’s “Divine Design.” For more ideas, information and show times, visit or

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