Learn how one Dallas designer reinvented the family room to accommodate activity in a beautiful setting.

A family room is meant to be comfortable. It's a place to sit, relax, and watch television. In most floor plans, a dining area also comes as part of the package. But is there room for comfort, style, and crayons?

Dallas homeowner Cheryl Todd believes that is the best quality of her family room. "There are scrapes on the cabinets; the carpet is spotted and designed to camouflage stains," explains the mother of three. "It's childproof."

Thanks to the quick-fix savvy of designer Cindy Zelazny Rodenhaver, Cheryl and husband Shawn have a refurbished family room that can take all that their kids dish out.

The house is Georgian in style, and so the lines were simple. "The walls were plain beige, and the fireplace was low and narrow," Cheryl explains. "But we loved the brick floors." In fact, their red tones inspired the new color scheme.

Cindy had the walls jazzed up with a mustard-colored textured faux finish. Surrounding the fireplace, existing cabinets were scraped and distressed, then finished with a dark wax to give them an aged appearance.

There was no ornament in the original setting, so details were added for interest and depth. Cindy enlarged the mantel, making the fireplace a stronger focal point. Furniture was re-covered in durable, rich textural fabrics.

Because it's next to the kitchen, the room also features a casual dining area. "We can watch TV, do homework, and eat," says Cheryl. "But we're actually sitting at a table."

She finds it comforting, too, that kitchen and family room are separate--an unusual choice in many modern homes. "I love to cook and be in the kitchen to do my thing, while they are in the other room," she says. "I had a big, open floor plan in my last house, and it was always noisy. This curbs the sound, and we're all happy."