Sunday, October 27, 2013

Tudor Project Living Room Design: Before and Progress

Well hello there!  My blog silence has lasted a bit longer than I hoped for; but I hope the wait was worth it.  I'm really excited to share some images and design plans from one of my recent interior design projects. 

(client progress picture)

I've been in process with a few clients for several months now, so I should have several other before and progress pictures from other clients soon, as well.

This summer, I was referred to a couple that recently moved into my neighborhood.  They bought a beautiful historic home with lots of charm and character.  Having moved from a small condo, the couple needed more seating/furniture and wanted to start making purchases for their living room.  However, they had no idea where to start given the large scale of the room (25 ft' x 21 ft including an alcove area) and they were also challenged by the homes architecture.  Furthermore, this home has not been updated much over the years and they had to make some large scale expenditures to make the home more functional for their family.  This of course meant a tighter budget upfront! 

In summary, the following were the major challenges I had to address:
  • Design has to work with current architecture but also work with possible changes to fireplace / lightening of ceiling down the road;
  • Large scale of room along with an alcove and balcony complicating the design;
  • Dark heavy ceilings and poor lighting;
  • Phased purchases over time;
In terms of style, Beth, my client, leaned toward transitional rooms; however, she also liked a bit of an eclectic mix of new and old.  She wanted color, but wasn't sure what direction to head.  So, taking into account our inspiration pictures and her room, I came up with the following design:

With Beth, I charged a room fee which provided her with a floor plan, inspiration board, budget broken out by item, and suggested items for purchase.  The products in the boards above may not be the exact plan, but provides a general guideline for her purchases.  Once I create the plan for a client, they have the option to make purchases themselves or pay me an hourly fee to implement and finalize the details.  Further, as more products are brought into the room, we may make changes accordingly.  Just today, the client shared that she would like to purchase a "splurge" chair that I shared with her so we made a few tweaks to her plan.   

In terms of room function, we worked in lots of seating as this is the space the family would like to entertain.  We also brought in a table and banquet in the alcove for game playing or reading and enjoying morning coffee / breakfast.  Finally, both the clients work from home once in awhile, and with no other rooms delineated as an office, they wanted to have the option to have a space to work at.  We addressed this in two ways: the alcove table can be used, as well as a secretary's desk that will be placed on a large empty wall.  We did leave this part of the plan flexible, as she isn't sure if the family will want to bring in a tv down the road.  If so, we would place a credenza and TV where the secretary's desk is at, and Beth and her husband would strictly use the alcove seating for work. 

The rooms ceiling is quite dark and could be overpowering.  Therefore, we wanted to offset the dark-ness and kept the large purchases - rug, sofa, and chairs - light and neutral.  Further, we wanted to bring in lots of lighting to help in the evenings.   

Ok, so here is the fun stuff: before and in progress pictured.  Here is the overall space as seen in the real estate listing:

And how they had the room set up my first visit:

Ironically, the couple had the same exact leather sofa and chair as the previous owners so they did what most people tend to do: set up the room in the same exact way.  I didn't love this layout as you walk into the room and are presented with the back of a couch.  Given the amount of seating we wanted for the room, a behind the couch sofa table didn't work in this spot, so I came up with the new seating plan. 

Here is the room today after purchasing a sofa, several light fixtures, and one of the rugs (we are layering this rug over a jute rug - to be purchased - as she ultimately needs a larger rug in this room):

The light fixture was a big change when it first went in.  If you look back at the original room, the previous light fixture was teeny tiny and gave off no light.  So, bringing in a light that certainly makes a statement and was a much more appropriate size for the room was quite the change.  When I first met Beth, she thought she would put in an oil rubbed bronze lantern to match the rooms architecture.  However, she also wanted a fixture that would stand out, and I pointed out that a dark lantern would disappear into the ceiling.  When I shared the Morris Lantern fixture with her, I thought she might take pause...  but she loved it immediately and didn't want to look any further. 

This lantern is certainly a statement and juxtaposition to the rooms ceilings.  However, it mimics her windows beautifully (and also the geometric print in her rug), is stunning to view from the street, and provides a wonderful amount of lighting in the evening.  Also, once we brought in the rug and lighter couch, the fixture started making a lot more sense to her and she fell in love again.  Phew.  ;)

We went with soft greys and beiges in the couch and rug, which helps tie in the existing fireplace.  We also felt these color choices would work well in the long haul, and she can bring in more color with her pillows, throws, and art. 

The above picture shows how the sofa and rug pulls in the colors of the fireplace.  Ultimately, she would like to make changes to the fireplace down the road.  Painting it, in the meantime, wasn't an option when I first met with the couple.  So, we've addressed it through drawing color inspiration from it.  So far, I'm feeling good about the progress! 

I also convinced Beth to bring in the ever so popular fiddle leaf fig.  Her rooms proportion would work best with the tree, but, given that they can be pricey and she is a first timer, we started with two Ikea bushes for practice!  We put them in raised zinc planters to give them some height as they start out.  The next few purchases on her radar is the coffee table, chairs, and drapery/window coverings.  I'm excited and will have more to share over time!

Anyway, if you are still with me, thanks!  I have so many comments and emails that I want to follow up on.  It's been more challenging as business has picked up for me!  I spend so much of my time in the evenings trying to get work done.  I didn't forget and will try to get back to everyone to answer questions soon!

Linking at:  Give Me The Goods , Home Stories A to Z


  1. Thank you for using my art from Suzanne Gibbs Studio in the inspiration board. The work is still available at:
    Custom sizes can be made as well.

  2. really great vision and execution. what an amazing space to be working with...seriously love your design. The pendant is to die for and I love the textural elements. Thanks for linking up to Give Me the Goods, I shared this on IG and FB, already!!!

  3. Nice space and love your choices Dawn! Miss your blog:)

  4. The plans look fantastic. Can't wait to see the whole room put together!