We bought our house last year and now need to start making it our own. The great room is huge in this house and is really the heart of the home. Our house has one gigantic great room with huge vaulted ceilings covering 2/3 of the room. We need to update the furniture and design elements of the living room/dining room/kitchen area, as well as the very spacious entry way that attaches to the great room. The floor is tile that looks like hand scraped wood. It stays. We may one day update the kitchen, but for now, we'd like to leave the white cabinets and black silestone counters as they are. The same goes for the built-ins in the living room. One day we may change them up a bit, but for now, we really just want to work on the furniture, paint, and decor. Your design can change the kitchen and built-ins, but it also has to work with the existing cabinets/bookshelves, since it isn't something we are looking at changing right now. The biggest challenge to this space is livability--function AND form. We have two small children and a great big dog that thinks he's our third child. Furniture has to be able to accommodate the entire family. I do not want to live my life in fear of a stain or tear. We've had a leather couch the last 10 years, and it has really stood up to the wear and tear of living with animals and kids. We bought this home because it's large, but it's still a space that forces our family to be together. We want to live in this space, not throw cocktail parties to impress our friends. The design needs to reflect that.
Our style is laid back and stress free, casual with simple lines. If we could live on the beach, we would. We usually go with neutrals, but that's more because our design ideas are limited rather than any sort of color aversion. We usually prefer colors that are on the blue/green end of the spectrum. The house itself is very classic in style and architecture, and we'd like that to be a part of the design element as well. We don't want modern or contemporary, or anything that is too ornate or chic. Simplicity rules our life.
Overall, it needs to flow throughout the entire space. When you stand at the front or back doors, you see all the living areas at once. We also have large windows along the back of the space that look out to our pool and outdoor kitchen. We love the natural light we get from the windows, as well as the wonderful indirect lighting built in above all the cabinets and shelves in the kitchen and living room. We would happily replace the lighting fixture in the entry way and dining room, as well as the ceiling fan lights in the living room. We really want all new furniture in all the rooms, as well as area rugs. We need new wall color, art, and decorating elements throughout.