Even the best-laid plans are sometimes no match for the unexpected, but designer Megan Pisano knows how to pivot. Thus the family room she created from a blank canvas in a new-construction Chatham home hit a crescendo of “wow”— after rising from disappointment.
The unexpected? The manufacturer discontinued the gray that Pisano and the homeowner had chosen for the family room’s predominant feature: a comfy, spacious sectional. The alternative was a lovely but initially nervous-making blue.
Although she trusted her designer, homeowner Cindy feared the color might overwhelm the room, which already had long blue draperies—Seaglass by Stout. This sectional, from Parker Southern in the Carolinas, would be key to the room’s minimalist design—as well as the family’s lifestyle, with its performance fabric. As Pisano recalls, “They wanted a family-friendly, big, comfortable sofa they could all lounge around.”
But when the sectional and ottoman came through the door of this five-bedroom colonial and fit right in with the window treatments, it was a “ta-da!” moment. Cindy knew she had the ideal gathering spot not only for her husband, Matthew, school-age son and lab mix, but also for good times with family and friends. Pisano cemented the harmony by crafting pillows in the seaglass fabric that elevated the drapes to a work of art.
For the “wow” in this “super-coastal” room, Cindy points to the reading nook, where a top-grain leather chair with side buckles and metal legs joins a Visual Comfort burnished-brass arc lamp in kindred sophistication.
Pisano describes the stone fireplace as the inspiration for the plentiful organic elements, which include lots of greenery (the designer’s signature) and wood elements such as a moss-filled bowl. Though the room’s style is transitional and a bit monochromatic, Pisano drew a pop from industrial elements like an auburn poplar sideboard with black leather—a separating mark, in this open format, from the kitchen nearby. Black elements such as the drapery rods are inspired by the modern staircase spinals, while the lamp’s gold tones create visual warmth.
Yet the piece that unites it all is the geometric area rug—a hand-knotted viscose-and-wool with a silk effect by Surya. Without the rug over the light oak flooring, it would just look empty, Pisano says.
In reflection, Cindy now thinks the room was meant all along for blue. “I went back to the original color palettes,” she says. “This could have been a much darker room. Now it’s more serene and ocean-like.”
Of course, the room needed to succeed as a gathering place, not mere eye candy. The real test came on Thanksgiving, just after the project’s completion. When friends and family marveled at the comfort—as well as the beauty—of the room, it was clear that Pisano has that pivot down pat.