Spacious enough for a crowd but intimate enough for a quiet conversation, our 2011 Idea House living room is worth a look.

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The first thing you notice when you walk into the living room of the Escondido Idea House are the high ceilings, looming 18 feet and capped with roughhewn fern beams reclaimed from a 110-year-old barn. The rustic wood imbues the room with rich texture and a sense of age. A 5-foot-tall paneled wainscot grounds the voluminous space making it feel more intimate. A local decorative artist scraped and painted the wainscot to resemble aged, weathered wood. Down below, hand-scraped wood flooring mimics the look of antique wide-planked floors and continues the room's warm, rustic feeling.

Creamy plaster walls add a reference to Mediterranean homes and give the entire house subtle texture. For the furnishings, Austin interior designer Marcus Mohon created a look that is elegant but also relaxed enough to reflect the home's lakeside location. Separate seating arrangements highlighted by dual chandeliers promote multiple conversation areas and visually divide the room. A combination of chair styles illustrates Marcus' design principle of "mix, don't match." No two chairs are alike allowing for more flexibility in room arrangement. Stenciled and embroidered accent pillows introduce pattern and may be easily changed out with the season or a mood. Juxtaposed finishes in materials including acrylic plastic, wood, and painted pieces create a look that appears to have been collected over time. The round upholstered coffee table is actually two demilune ottomans, keeping edges soft and offering even more flexibility in the room's arrangement.

A large, clear story window above the fireplace provides views of the live oaks surrounding the house and floods the space with natural light at all hours of the day. Its shape mirrors the arched openings throughout the house. A full wall of French doors lead directly to the rear patios. Using simple curtains and a sheer fabric invites romance, yet still allows plenty of light to illuminate the room. Looking back, the cased opening between the foyer and living room is enhanced with stone detailing, which gives the visual impact of grand columns. Up above, an open attic-like loft is a creative use of space that takes advantage of the high ceiling height of the living room. This living room is spacious enough for a large crowd, but intimate enough for a quiet conversation.