As Steiner Homes we love to design great rooms that people love and that make it very inviting for family and friends to gather in. Here are some things that we focus on to make this a “great” room.
My wife and I are very relational, so we try to set up our great room so that is a place where we can gather, talk and laugh. Here is what we do:
Our couches and chairs are pulled out from the walls and face each other. The center focus is our fireplace which is always decorated for the season but the seating is intentionally close and facing each other. We found that a floor outlet or two are great for putting lamps alongside couches and chairs for nice warm lighting without cords tripping someone behind the seating. We put a coffee table with cool building ideas on top for great conversation starters.
Tall windows with transoms over the top make the room warm and bright. We put lighting on the exterior of the house outside the great room so that in the evenings you can watch the snow, wind and rain. It’s very relaxing to watch snow fall against the trees. As a builder I try to encourage people to have the great room, kitchen, and master bedroom facing south wherever possible. This gives great light, warmth, and sunsets to your main living areas. Large windows make all the difference.
Fireplaces with a raised hearth are really nice to have. A raised hearth is perfect because it provides seating and a great spot to warm up with a nice fire going. We usually put in fireplaces where you can burn real wood or put in gas logs depending on your preferences. A nice deep mantle gives you a place for candles, seasonal garland and vases for flowers. We like a fancy mirror above the mantle so that the light from the candles or lighted garland shines off of the mirror. Make sure to put an outlet on top of the mantle so that you can plug a small lamp in or your garland. We love the smell of a real fire and Yankee candles burning.
If possible a cathedral or vaulted ceilings in the great room give it an open feel. Warm paints that aren’t too bright seem to make the room more inviting. We also try to connect the great room to the kitchen, nook by columns and arches or by doing that with a half wall in between the rooms. A half wall is nice in that furniture can be set but you still feel a part of what’s happening in the kitchen. Some people don’t want to eat in the great room but my wife and I want people to have a snack or a glass of wine without us being upset about it. There are 2 ways to deal with this: one is to have wood flooring with a large rug in the middle, this ads a small amount of noise but feels rich and warm. The other is to install a carpet type that is easily cleaned. We installed a short tight woven commercial carpet that is very easily cleaned even with a wine spill. We love our carpet and it feels and looks comfortable.
Often times we build bookshelves alongside the fireplace, this provides a great area to decorate and to have interesting books close at hand. Built in shelves can be fairly inexpensive to build but give the room a really nice feature. We have made a lot of our fireplaces either with stone, tile, or brick surrounds or with a limestone cap on the hearth. Side columns and a well built mantle seem to anchor the fireplace as a focal point. Often times we take the stone all the way to the ceiling and that is really a stunning effect.
Some people prefer a television in their great room so we try to decide on a location before we build so that we can get an outlet and cable into the wall for a wall mount TV. We have found that a television over the fireplace works okay if you lower the hearth so the television is not too high. When we do that we will put a 2” conduit pipe through fireplace wall to run your cables. That way, any changes in cable technology don’t force you to rip apart your drywall.
We have pictures on our website so that you can see many of these ideas. We also customize almost all of our homes so that you can really design the great room that you love. We have many floor plans with pricing and standard features on our website. We work very hard at designing a house of your dreams quickly and with your input in mind. People have been very happy with our pricing and keeping it within their budget. Feel free to check out our website and to understand what we are all about. It has always been my wife’s and I dream to build unique cool homes that people love to live in.