The designer and homeowner Melissa Adams Gruber has lived in this Hudson Valley home with her family since they built it in 1999 and the design has transitioned a couple of times during those years. For the Great Room, which is their main living space (“aside from the kitchen,” says Adams Gruber), comfort and approachability were key. With windows that look out over a garden and over the Valley, and where, on a clear day, you can see Sky Top Tower at Mohonk Mountain House, it was important that the interior selections enhance rather than detract from the view.
The starting point for the design was this idea as well as the paint color, Nature’s Scenery by Benjamin Moore. “It doesn’t jump out at you, but creates a beautiful backdrop for the furnishings,” says Adams Gruber. “The paintings in the room of moody skies, water, and land inspired the other colors, especially the rug, which is reminiscent of sand and beach glass.”
Like many couples entering design projects, Adams Gruber and her husband have different sensibilities that they wanted to combine to create a cohesive look. “His is more modern while mine is more traditional,” says Adams Gruber. “The stone fireplace and organic colors appeal to both of us and keep the room feeling warm. The large sectional in a sable color allows us all to pile in. The silver and glass accent tables give the room a boost of modern style and allow the room to feel light rather than laden with too much furniture.”
“[The tree] is my favorite part of the room,” says Adams Gruber. “The carpenter, Rich Fitpatrick, and I dragged this huge branch up the driveway. He thought I was crazy, but I love the whimsy of it.”
The molding was the last element added and was suggested to Adams Gruber by architect Daniel Contelmo. “We came up with the paneling at various heights as a way to connect the main windows, which had previously been trimmed out separately,” says Adams Gruber. “It enables your eye to move around the room in a more pleasing way.”
Because of the new design, everyone wants to be in this room. “When we’re away from home, the kids miss it,” says Adams Gruber. “It’s like fresh air to them. There is something for everyone.”
Adams Gruber’s Tips for How to Make a Great Room Better
Common Mistake: Televisions that are too big for the space, rugs that are too small, and hanging the television over the fireplace.
What to Focus On: The family and their needs. “I think the most important thing to have in a Great Room is a family that wants to be there! There should be a spot for everyone. I like the corner by the fireplace, my husband likes the chaise, and my kids hang out in beanbags on the floor. The dog makes the rounds.”
Tricks of the Trade: Clever storage. “You can never go wrong with a custom built-in, but that doesn’t fit everyone’s budget. I purchased large wooden trays that the kids use to build their Legos on so they can be whisked away in a moment’s notice. I have large, attractive baskets that fit between the back of the sofa and the wall that holds toy, blankets, electronics, and chargers. Decorative boxes in materials like leather or capiz are great for accessorizing while giving a home to remote controls.”
Trending Now: An approachable and comfortable design. “The more formal spaces are taking a bit of a back seat to family-friendly living, [though homeowners] do not want to compromise on looks.”