• Tell Your Friends

Hey everyone! It’s been a while since I last blogged, so let’s catch up! I’m Brian Balthazar, a Director of Programming here at HGTV. While I spend a great portion of my time on the great design programs here at the network, I spend a lot of my remaining time doing interior design for homeowners in the NYC area.

Which brings me to this post! I’m currently working on a room for a wonderful New Jersey family… but there are still some finishing touches left for the room — and I’d like you to help me decide what to do!

First, let me show you two “before” photos.


As you can see, there is a lot of potential here. But also some interesting challenges! Among them: The walls on each side of the fireplace are uneven, making everything on that wall feel off center. The bookcases on each side only emphasized the problem.

Also, the furniture in the room was so bulky that putting a table in the middle was next to impossible if you ever wanted to pass through, but without it, the furniture seemed too far apart for a comfortable conversation.

Then there was the light. The large bay window overlooked a covered porch, so rarely (if ever) did the room get direct sunlight. As a result, the homeowners had decided against any sort of window treatments.

While the room is still in progress, I have some rough photos of how it’s coming along — and there will be more in my next post. First, I removed the bookcases, then I lightened up the entire space by ditching the dark rug and furniture. A fresh coat of paint in a lighter tone went up, and window coverings were installed slightly off to the side of the bay window, so they didn’t block any of the light coming in.

Now I’d like to seek the collective advice of the gazillions of loyal “Design Happens” readers!

While most of the furniture has arrived or is ordered, I am yet to be impressed by a coffee table for this room. It must remain narrow enough to accomodate walking through the room. And I’m not married to a traditional concept. In fact, I’m considering something apart from the long couch-length table that would be expected.

Below is a photo of the middle stages of the room redo. This was around the holidays, and the space has since been updated with new lamps and accessories. The holiday decorations are down, and the room is crying out for a table!


Post some of your favorite table ideas and links, and I’ll let you know which one I go with! I’ll also show you what the remaining corners of the room look like!

And finally, an interesting side note:  Last night, as I planned this blogpost, I got a phone call about a coffee table that was, oddly enough, abandoned on the sidewalks of midtown Manhattan yesterday — left to be taken to a landfill! A very smart, resourceful guy (Thanks Dennis!) found a cab driver willing to help lug it into the car and now it’s waiting for a home! Is this solid wood piece THE coffee table for the room, refinished with a dark stain? Or do I have one extra coffee table in my living room until I find it a home?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas!


Design Inspiration

49 Responses

  1. Doreen says:

    I think a trunk coffee table would would set the whole room off. Even something like an old world Bombay trunk coffee table. All the colors will tie in to the whole room.

  2. Susy says:

    I like what you have done. After reading your post, my initial thought was something acrylic, like a long bench or 3 cubes. What I also think would compliment the room nicely is a "skinny" bench with clean lines upholstered in the same leather as the chair. Top the bench with a textured tray with accessories.

  3. Kindle says:

    Hey Brian! Pop it up! Go oval or round. There are enough squares and rectangles with the big window, fireplace and furniture. Break it up!

    Use a rich color to ground the room to distract from that window. How creative are you? Can you use power tools??? lol

    Hold on to that other table for something more traditional and paint it MS Bulldog Black and add some chrome pulls.

    This room looks organic, try something with any shape other than rectangle, even cut a round table in half for a crescent shape? They will still have walking room and it would break that square up. Good luck! Can't wait to see it!

  4. L.Salomone says:

    Furniture appears to be dark..walnut? Need a coffee table…how about two very narrow dark wooden ones. Straight leg lines and open underneath to not box out the room. You have a lot of squares and hard edges. Is that the look you want or do you plan to soften up some of those edges. If so, how about 2 leather (same as chairs) squares?

  5. Bronwyn says:

    Ok, the couch you chose seems Beautiful, though I'm not sure I get the colo r exactly as it was intended. Sort of a beigy-pink, is that the idea? Then I love the concept of using the found furniture so we can jump at the chance to be green even though the project may not emphasize it this time. And cutting the table horizontally is a wonderfulidea, as is the orchis that could bring a more organic and natural feeling to your life-giving shades. Speaking of light, also, the windows may need no cover during the day, but again, energy roman shade will offset the lines of the orchid, table and couch. And again, I know the windows want to be clear to all the most light possiblem but a soft curtain, trananslucent panel on either side will dramatize during the day and maybe make the evenings a bit more cozy. Good luck, what a lovely project.

    Love, Granmabronwyn

  6. goddessofo says:

    The family is either very courageous or VERY clean to have a white rug (with a raised design yet)in this area. How about a patterned rug that shows less dirt. Ottoman instead of a coffee table (extra seating). Window treatments could be half roll ups so bottom stays down and tops let in light. Lucite cubes are better in theory than practise. Stick with the table you've refinished. Not a big fan of the B/W chair next to the couch – too much furniture on that one long wall. Overall looks way better than before.

  7. Barbara in Missouri says:

    Brian, did you ever decide on your coffee
    table? I still think acrylic cubes will
    keep the visual lines to the fireplace open. The poinsettia and the amaryllis are
    probably dead by now. You need color! The
    new Spring yellow in accessories?

  8. Sylvia says:

    I just bought a house with surprise, the same long and narrow room with a bay window and fireplace. I love what you have done so far, but I am concerned that you have sofa facing a wall instead of the view out the window., The coffee table should be painted or stained chocolate brown to tie in the brown leather chair and anchor the light carpet. I will be watching the final results with great interest., I hope you don't mind that I am going to copy what you have done.

  9. Yes, what did you decide? Can you post an updated photo to help out the curious? I was leaning toward the glass or acrylic solution, due to the lack of light.

    I am in the process of renovating and decorating an entire home at once. I would like for everything to be functional and people-proof. Due to some trees I can't remove (not on my property), I don't have the amount of natural light I would like. I was thinking of glass for the coffee table, side tables, dining table, etc., to add sparkle, reflective surfaces and visually expand the space. Now our pals on this site are talking acrylic. How does it wear? Scratches? Children rarely enter my home, but most of my friends are klutzes, so I have the same concerns as parents of small children. What do we think?

  10. maltese fuller says:

    DEAR HGTV me and my family need your help on fix up our new house please help with tips or something

See What We’re Pinning

  • Denver Broncos Team Color Design Inspiration >>

  • Carolina Panthers Team Color Design Inspiration >>

  • Carolina Panthers Team Color Design Inspiration >>

  • Carolina Panthers Team Color Design Inspiration >>