Margie and John's country living room, before

Margie and John have cows in their backyard, but that doesn't mean they should have stuffed ones inside. "Country decorating, if somebody loves it, great, go for it. But what happens is people get stuck in a rut," Nate says. "You don't even know if you like it and you just keep going in that direction."

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Margie and John's family room, after

It took 23 workers, seven trucks of furniture and 20 gallons of paint to turn this country space into something more current. Earth tones and natural fabrics give the room a clean, modern feeling. "You had thought that the inside has to match the outside of the house," Nate says. "This room, I think, matches the nature outside the house."

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Margie and John's family room, after

Margie says the family room is the heart of her home—but the old foofy décor had John hiding out in the garage. 

In the new space both are happy and comfortable. Nate swaps two floral couches for one sleek sectional and replaces an overstuffed mauve recliner with two cane-backed chairs, creating an inviting conversation area. "I wanted as many people piled in here as possible," he says.

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Nate Berkus adds doors to built-ins to create more storage in a family room.

In the old space two built-in nooks made for great home office and crafting areas, but every pile of paper was exposed for company to see.

Nate's new custom doors and frosted windows make a statement while keeping paperwork and crafting clutter out of sight.

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Nate Berkus shows a family how to add personal touches to their fireplace.

The fireplace is Margie and John's favorite part of the family room, but its red brick and gold accents were ready for an update.

Nate adds bookshelves on either side of the fireplace and gives it a fresh feel with a coat of white paint. He also replaces formal family photos with images inspired by Margie's trip to the Virgin Islands—an instant update Nate says anyone can do. "I love travel photography," he says.

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Nate Berkus shows a California family how not to make their television the focus of their family room.

For fifteen years Margie and John used a television stand made from junk lumber. Not anymore!
Nate builds a flat-screen into a timeless bookcase. Now the family has more room to display family photos and favorite books. The real bonus—the television is part of the furniture not the focal point of the room.

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The new ceiling

Nate's impressed by the peaked, knotty pine ceiling John built for the family room. The ceiling fan, however, had to go.

To accent John's handiwork, Nate chooses green paint for the ceiling and replaces the fan with a traditional lantern. Color, Nate says, is a great way to spruce up any boring, white ceiling.

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The new bay window

Instead of making a statement, Margie and John's bay window was bland, boring and bare.

Now, nature greets them before they even have a chance to look out the window. A seating area with a tree branch table base brings the outside in. Woven bamboo shades provide elegant coverage, while animal-print cushions complete this organic, inviting area.

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Nate Berkus tackles a matchy-matchy country bedroom.

If the family room felt too country, Margie and John's master bedroom is downright prairie—and not a bit masculine. John, a police chief, must fall asleep in a room with pink walls, pink nightstands, floral curtains and the most feminine black quilt ever stitched. Not to mention the collection of teddy bears! Even Margie, who decorated the room 16 years ago, is ready for a change.

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The new bedroom

Nate creates a California-style suite for Margie and John. A simple furniture arrangement and neutral color palette (that John and Margie like) gives the room a chance to breathe. "When you just do a bright, simple color on the walls and bring in just a couple of things that have patterns, you really do feel like you have much more space," Nate says.

New window treatments make the room feel taller. "I actually faked it," Nate says. "I mounted these even higher than the window frame."


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FROM: Nate's Time Warp Decorating Rescue
Published on August 19, 2009

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