Mediterranean isn’t really my style but I have to admit that I was intrigued by this challenge:
Dilemma: This is our new custom Mediterranean home & the entry needs some warming up – it’s currently cold & bland. To start with, I do not want to block the view to the backyard with a table in the center of the entry – the house was designed so that you can see the waterfall in the backyard when you walk in the front door and there isn’t much room to put any furniture in such a small space anyway. Secondly, there is a lot of empty wall space where the sconces are in the arches, so I am hoping you can come up with something to help that area – I have tried a gazillion ideas & nothing works! I would also like a couple of floor vases with some artificial foliage or flowers with a lot of height on each side of the door. I made a note of it elsewhere but keep in mind that there is an alarm keypad & light switches that we need access to on the left side.
Here’s what we’re dealing with:
Very grand and pretty, but yes, very bland. How do you bring warmth and interest to this space without adding any furniture, and what the heck to do with those niches?
I was originally going to add iron wall decor above the sconces, something curvy and scroll-y, similar to the sconces and the metal work in the doors that would take up some of the empty space. I also considered a glass floating shelf below the sconces that would allow me to add decor around them. Neither option worked – well, at least, not in my opinion. The iron wall decor looked like a blatant attempt to take up wall space, and the glass floating shelf above the existing niche ledge looked redundant and out of place.
So I cut out the backs of the niches in PhotoShop and that’s when the fun began…
I tried all sorts of tile options, from Travertine split face tile (which, though very Tuscan, didn’t provide enough contrast/interest), to sparkly glass tile which stems from my own personal love of sparkle but didn’t work at all here.
Eventually I arrived at this as my favorite:
I wanted to take advantage of the niche areas to create dramatic focal points and I love how this arabesque baroque tile does that – it brings in texture, pattern, visual interest and makes the existing sconces pop. Instead of a floating shelf, I anchored the niches with mantel shelves in a black finish that ties nicely to the doors, and frames the niches. To meet her specific requests for greenery, I added a 6′ ficus to the right of the door, and staggered the height of plants on the left side using a combination of a shorter plant along with flowers on a plant stand. Since I couldn’t add furniture, I included a small rug that repeats some of the pattern and texture on the floor, giving the space a cohesive feel.
In case installing tile was too big of a project, I included a couple of faux finish paint options as well:
Option B: darken the niches with a faux Tuscan finish, adding texture, warmth, and a little bit of drama.
Option C: lighten the niches with a faux marble finish that will brighten the space, add texture, and draw the eye.
Overall, I feel like the space is a lot more inviting and interesting, and though Mediterranean is pretty far from my personal style, I had a lot of fun playing around with options for the niches.
What would you have done with those niches?