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Martin’s MAKEOVER Magic…

"Ann Storck Loving That Lobby"

Written By Martin Amado

The Gizmo House living room was initially a challenge because not only did I have to make the new design pleasing to the six residents that live there, all with different personalities and styles, but I also had to keep in mind their needs. The goal was to update the look of the space by replacing all the mismatched and torn furniture, highlight the artwork on the walls, and provide enough seating for the residents and their families to enjoy spending time in the living room.


I began by painting the walls a warm, yet neutral color because I knew I wanted the beautiful artwork done through the Ann Storck Center’s Expressive Arts Program to be the focus. Painting the upper portion of the walls a creamy off white and a darker khaki below the chair rail allowed the architectural molding of the room to be appreciated much more.


The new furniture needed to be durable, so the best choice was leather for the main seating because it’s easy to maintain and looks better with time. However, instead of typical brown or black leather, the powder blue sofas and butter cream accent chairs reflect a more contemporary style. The new color scheme creates a serene and inviting environment with cool shades that remind us of being near the beach … definitely captures the South Florida lifestyle! This is balanced by the darker wood tones of the end tables, armoire and coffee table that add a richer contrast in the room without overpowering the space.


One of the simplest changes that made a big difference in the room is the new furniture layout. Before, the old armoire was tucked away in the corner, but by placing the new espresso-color armoire in the center of the wall, it not only becomes a focal point, but also distributes the visual weight of the furniture evenly throughout the room. This move allowed us to frame the armoire nicely by adding an accent chair on both sides, which helps to balance the two sofas on the opposite side of the room. Now the living room can accommodate seating for ten, including the new ottoman, without having the furniture appear to crowd up the room.


The same consideration for style and function was given to the nesting coffee table. Its round shape doesn’t interfere with the traffic flow and the scale is perfect because it can be moved for easier wheelchair access if needed. Every design choice was made with the residents in mind. Yes, I wanted the living room to be beautiful, but most importantly, it had to be livable.


The final layers that brought the entire design together were the window treatments that I purposely kept in a similar shade to the wall color, so that your eye is drawn to the artwork; the area rug that defines the seating area and adds softness to the terrazzo floors; and finally, the toss pillows on the sofa and chairs help to unify the colors throughout the room. A great tip is to use down toss pillows because they will always retain its shape — just fluff and it looks brand new — more elegant, too. Of course, the artwork now complements this beautiful backdrop.


I absolutely love how this space turned out! It makes a great first impression when you walk into the Gizmo House and has a contemporary and casual style that appeals to everyone. After getting to know the residents and the amazing work the Ann Storck Center ( does, it was truly a privilege to be part of this makeover and a very rewarding experience on so many levels. It’s a great example of what can be accomplished when companies and individuals come together for a good cause and for the good of others. Thank you to DUO Magazine, City Furniture, Lowe’s, Ricardo Smith of America’s Total Home Improvement, and the many individuals involved, who collaborated with me throughout the entire process. Seeing the smiles on the residents’ faces made it all worthwhile!-DUO

DUO Do-Overs



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