Family Room remodel - Greene & Greene elements ?

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Forum topic by mart posted 05-01-2010 02:40 AM 2248 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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190 posts in 3588 days

05-01-2010 02:40 AM

We are embarking on a remodel of our family room, which will be more of a den/man room after we are finished. It was just a nondescript 80’s type family room with no theme or real thought to decorating. In fact the windows had never been trimmed out. We are replacing the hearth and the floor covering (we just ripped out the old carpet). The hearth will be in multicolored slate tile and the floor is going to be a light colored (off white) ceramic tile. I will be building in some book cases in the Greene and Greene style as well as some free standing furniture such as a hutch and desk. We won’t be going with as dark a finish as the original Greene and Greene tends to be.

My question is how to tie some of the other elements such as window trim, baseboards, hearth trim and lighting to the Greene and Greene influence. We are looking for track lighting that has a more organic look to it. Most of what we have found so far is very contemporary looking. I have done a quite a bit of looking online and most suppliers seem to have much the same to offer with little real variation. I have a couple of books on Greene and Greene furniture and am going to order some more that more thoroughly cover the homes but would love to get any input you might have on the areas I need inspiration on.

Thanks in advance.


4 replies so far

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5621 posts in 3677 days

#1 posted 05-29-2010 12:33 PM

Jenn and I are also in the process of redoing our living room. She is the one with the design ideas I just make the long pieces shorter and lift and carry so can’t really offer any advice on what goes with what…I hope you figure it all out.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View CaptainSkully's profile


1590 posts in 3522 days

#2 posted 05-29-2010 04:10 PM

My first thought was that an off-white tile wouldn’t be in the G&G theme. If not wood floors, what about a darker, more natural looking tile. Natural slate is expensive and chips easily, but they have some fabricated tiles that are mottled and look somewhat natural.

The mantle is pretty easy. If you just want a shelf, then a couple of nice, large finger joints in the corner between the face and the return, possibly pegged with ebony. If you want support columns, then that gets a bit trickier. Maybe a cloud lift above the fireplace, under the mantle.

Window trim could be just a small-scale version of the mantle to form a small shelf/sill under the window. Possibly a cloud lift detail under the sill or above the window, depending on the treatments. I’ve found some very nice gauzy curtains here.

I think the base should be relatively tall and flat, with just a decorative bead on top and a quarter round at the bottom. I highly recommend “Robert Lang’s “Shop Drawings for Craftsman Interiors, as well as his Greene & Greene furniture book. They can be found in just about any woodworking store, or on Amazon too.

Depending on the wood you use, tung oil will give you a nice finish without darkening the wood. Just make sure you give it plenty of time to harden/polymerize/cure after it’s dry to the touch.

I will tell you that most contemporary imitators of G&G overdo all the finger joints, cloud lifts, pegs, etc. Just small splashes here and there will set your room apart. If you overdo it, the eye will be drawn just to the trim work, which is supposed to recede in the subconscious background for an overall effect. There’s my $0.02. Free advice is worth what you pay for it. Good luck and keep us posted. Sam Yerardi a nice blog about his process, and he’s got some good stuff in his projects page too.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View thatwoodworkingguy's profile


375 posts in 2894 days

#3 posted 05-30-2010 09:42 AM

First thing that popped in my head was cloud lifts GAG style on the door casing header.

-- ~Eagle America~ ~Woodcraft~

View mart's profile


190 posts in 3588 days

#4 posted 06-10-2010 04:57 AM

Sorry for the delay in replying to these posts. We were gone for 3 weeks and not really near a computer. My dad still does not have a computer nor does he want one. Sometimes I have to wonder if he isn’t the wise one. It was nice to get away from the TV and computer for three weeks.

In response to Captainskully our floor tile does have slight hint of mottled brown in it. The lighter color though is a concession to the long winters here. We both wanted a little lighter look to this room than what is typical for G&G rooms. Ours remodel will have nowhere near the wood that a true G&G room would have. The hearth is a surround for the wood stove so no mantle. It will occupy a portion of two walls in the corner of the same alcove that will house one of the built in bookcases. The alcove is nine feet wide and seven feet deep. We will most likely use native Alaskan birch for the bookcases and trim, perhaps coloring it slightly towards a red of mahogany or cherry. We are really leaning towards using a few of the G&G design features with some lighter woods and colors to get away from the darker heavy look of original G&G. I guess this will be an experiment in how G&G will respond to lighter woods and colors.

I have Lang’s book on G&G furniture and just picked up Makinson’s book “Green and Green, The Passion and the Legacy”. Both are good good references.

Thanks for the replies. I will post some pics later in the year. Summer in Alaska is to short to spend inside working on remodels.


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