Giving focus to a family room

When Myra and Marvin Wittlin downsized to their new place in Eastport nearly two years ago, the two weren't sure what to do with the family room. "We spent a lot of time in there, but it just wasn't comfortable," says Myra, 71. "We had the sofa recovered and had a console delivered," says Marvin, 79, who owned a street lighting company that helped light Central Park. The TV and two chairs were the only other pieces in the room when they turned to Caroline Wilkes of Caroline Wilkes Interiors of Merrick. "I wanted to give the room a focal point," says Wilkes of the decision to dress up the fireplace. The harder sell was the relatively inexpensive use of paint on the wall. "They weren't ready to dive in and paint the entire room," Wilkes says. "So, I'm easing them into it with an accent wall. The subtle green works beautifully with the fireplace." Total: About $8,600 (includes $1,490 fee from Wilkes, whose usual fee is about 25 percent of project cost). -- Sylvia E. King-Cohen

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