Behind the Design: Family Room

I was talking with a friend recently about our favorite design blogs.  After pointing out that great blogs pull back the curtain on the creative process, she gently suggested that I do more of this, to give readers a peek into my work, from concept to finished interior.  Well, ask and ye shall receive!

The images below illustrate the process for the family room of a seaside residence in Darien, CT.  With its summer-friendly motifs, this family room seemed like a perfect choice for these sultry days.

For this space, my client needed to finesse multiple functions (media room/playroom/hangout family room) into a design that transitioned seamlessly from the more formal, tailored rooms.  My goal was to make it clubby, casual and beachy without being obvious.  Thus, I looked for ways to layer marine blue and white, adding camel tones to ground it and give it that clubby, classic feeling.  My inspiration board (below) shows how these themes began to take shape:

Materials were key to hitting just the right balance of durable and chic.  I used crisp grids and stripes in fabrics & carpets to maintain a tailored feeling…

…and chose pieces in family-friendly zinc and distressed wood to maintain a sense of ease.  Outdoor fabrics for the chairs and pillows allow for easy cleaning (and occasional mischief-making).

I wanted a sophisticated space, but with elements of fun  – these vintage travel posters were a great way to keep the mood buoyant.  The layout combined toys and a game table in one corner, a ping pong table at front (not shown), a flat screen TV and comfortable seating for all.

This room was a great collaboration and, looking back, truly captures the vibe of  this warm, vibrant family.


Images by Susan Bednar Long


  • 7 years ago LindsB

    I love seeing how a space goes from concept, to paper and then to real life. I really love all the elements of this space, the use of the bold stripe on the window treatments is perfection!

    • 7 years ago Susan Bednar Long

      LindsB, Thanks for reading and for taking the time to leave your thoughts! Your showhouse post today was terrific. – Sue.


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For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by design and the subtle impact of our surroundings. Some of my earliest influences still resonate – I think of the dark woods and textured lodens of my father’s shooting club, the smell of fresh paint on a new canvas, and the bold symmetry of the Philip Johnson Glass house just down the street. For me, it was a natural path to become an Interior Designer. I love what I do. I’ve created this Blog to share my thoughts, finds and design inspirations. I hope you enjoy it!