Family Connection ........................ 44
this photo: A round table in the eating nook keeps everyone in the conversation for this family of six. Turquoise high chairs convert to regular chairs—homeowner Erin Furtney likes the mod look as much as the throughthe-years functionality. opposite: Kids don’t cramp Erin’s style; they just tweak it. A big ottoman won out over a hard-edge coffee table, and the great-room sectional wears a washable slipcover.
One big room equals one big happy family. It’s a living-cooking-dining space where they can all be together—but each still do their own thing.
That’s the operating principle that keeps life at the Furtney home in Kentfield, California, humming along. A wide-open main living area—which includes gathering and eating spaces, plus kitchen—makes it work. Erin and Tom can catch a game on TV while their four kids (Ford, John Ryan, Audrey, and Fiona, who range from 18 months to 8 years old) pursue their own kind of fun but remain in visual range.
The couple added brightness to the great-room by whitewashing everything—beams, walls, and fireplace bricks. Even 1970s wall paneling looks like cerused wood after a decorative paint finish was applied. Then Erin further lightened the mood: Notice the “Beware of children” sign on the mantel? “You need to have some whimsy,” she says.
Pillow-lined window seats at both ends of the light, bright space beckon budding readers, and the ottoman is sometimes a racetrack, sometimes a doctor’s exam table. For homework, crafts, or puzzles, the young Furtneys can take their pick of three tables spread throughout the space. “This allows us to all be together, yet not have to do the exact same thing at the exact same time,” Erin says. Come Friday, though, personal space goes out the window. It’s movie night plus popcorn on the sectional—all together.
Together, but not too together.