Making it work: The living room in this 100-year-old KC home has space for a piano

When Colleen and Mark Patterson downsized, they left behind the large home where they raised five children. The two oversized living rooms in the old house always had an eclectic, on-trend style born from their use as showrooms for Colleen’s interior design company.

“Almost everything that came in the house had a price tag on it,” Colleen says.

For the new house, a Colonial in Brookside, Colleen wanted an open space that felt more organic. The house they purchased was over 100 years old and had small – not soaring – spaces.

The couple called on Kevin and Molly Jarvis at Brasstacks Design + Build to help them create a spacious yet comfortable interior. Of importance in the living room was room for Mark’s piano and family gatherings when the kids came home. It also needed to feel cozy for two.

“They wanted a great place to entertain, provide a fire and have conversations over a glass of wine,” Molly says.

They also wanted a clean, modern style that didn’t clash with the home’s traditional architecture.

The redesigned living room features a monochromatic color palette, with vintage rugs paired with modern club chairs. The result is a space that feels both classic and modern.

Separate couches instead of a sectional make the space better for gatherings.

“When you have a sectional you have a lot of people sitting next to each other, which is comfortable, but not as good for entertaining and family parties,” Molly says. “We focused on how you would have conversation with two couches facing each other.”

Colleen’s favorite elements of the room include the comfortable cream-colored couches. The rustic coffee table is darker on the bottom and lighter on top, which keeps it from being too heavy in appearance. The cowhide-covered poufs serve as extra seating or footstools and complement the piano. Pops of color in the room are primarily in accent pieces like rugs and pillows, which can easily be changed.

“It feels really homey,” Colleen says. “Mark says he feels like he is in a cabin. The kids all love it better than the other house.”

Why it works

1. Limestone fireplace: The fireplace surround was covered with limestone to bring in a light natural color. “We felt like bringing a focal point to the fireplace would really ground the space,” Molly says. The project also allowed for the wiring and fire protection necessary to hang a television over the fireplace.

2. The piano: Some pieces are important enough to design a room around and this was one of them. “I planned all the furniture around the piano. It had to stay,” Colleen says. “That’s what my husband does. He loves it. It’s his hobby and it’s not going anywhere.” The piano inspired the black, white and muted colors in the space.

3. Roman shades: This simple choice is elegant, but does not overpower the windows. Colleen chose them for the entire house to provide privacy while maintaining a sense of openness.

4. Brass light fixtures: Brass is both trendy and beautiful. It was a dramatic change from the brushed nickel Colleen had in her other home. She wanted to try something she had not done before — and she loved it.

Get the look

1. This industrial screen by Stoll Industries is available at Fireplace & Bar-B-Q Center in Overland Park. It comes in more than 30 finishes and can be made any size.

2. Golden & Pine in Prairie Village sells pillow covers in varying textures. This hand-woven Adjoukrou lumbar pillow is made by Five | Six Textile.

3. The Frame QLED Smart 4K UHD TV from Samsung hangs on the wall and looks like a piece of artwork when the TV is not on. This model is available for purchase locally through Nebraska Furniture Mart.

4. Western Chandelier of Overland Park carries this fixture by Nuvo Lighting. It comes in either nickel or satin gold.

5. The Dakota Sofa by Rowe Furniture can be custom ordered locally through Crowley Furniture and Mattress in Overland Park and Lee’s Summit)