Easy-does-it decorating makes this cabin an inviting place to gather and relax.

It's a new year with the same old decorating dilemmas: Howdo you invigorate rooms with style and still max out comfort? Howcan you surround yourself with creative design and still have afamily-friendly home? Jan and Bob Barstad make it look easy. Theylove the woodsy setting of their cabin in Mount Vernon, Texas, butwhen it came time to transform the inside, they wanted more cozyand casual, less dark and rustic.

Pretty Place To Dine
The soft green wall color plays up the cabin's watersidelocation. Two outdoor light fixtures, glazed a frosted gray, keepthe style informal and add balance above the long table. DesignerJennifer Spak painted the table base blue and then brushed on aglaze to mute the color. Store-bought slipcovers soften the hardlines of the chairs and form a border along the dining room. Acustom monogram on each slipcover dresses up chairs without ashocking price tag.

Fireside Family Room
Jennifer focused on softening existing pieces and stagingseparate conversation areas in the large space that contains theliving room, dining room, and kitchen.

Jan needed help fighting the urge to use an all-white palette,so Jennifer brought in subtle, toned-down color with milky andpickled glazes. "It's a bit tricky to divide a large space,"Jennifer says. "The key to a cohesive look is making your colorchoices work together." Here, pale green; watery blues; and a rich,warm terra-cotta in the kitchen make up the magic color scheme.

Next on the to-do list: a fireplace makeover. To lighten thedark red brick, Jennifer gave it a sandblasted look with paint andwhitewash. The painting above the wood beam mantel complements thebits of red that still dot the brick.

Along with the fireplace, the distressed custom bookcases anchorthis end of the room. A glazed coffee table and a sofa set the roomapart from the dining area. Sage-colored wildlife-print fabrics anda bowl of pinecones bring subtle outdoor touches.

"Cozy & Casual" is from theJanuary 2007 issue of Southern Living.

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