Wednesday, February 26, 2014

My Living Room Re-design.... Part 1

I'm quite sure this is going to be a rambling post.  Unlike the projects I've worked on for clients, I haven't put together any succinct "inspiration" board for my own living room re-design.  I've turned ideas over in my head as to how I could nicely present my living room plans.  Yeah, that won't happen because, I suppose, my plans just aren't succinct or thought out!!!  Ha!

(My "in transition" living room)

Ok, that is somewhat untrue.  Succinct?  No.  Thought out?  Yes, kind of.  I've always known that I wanted my living room to have a specific feel: comfortable, cozy and warm while still being light and bright.  Also, relaxed and sophisticated all at once.  Hmmm....  

In terms of colors, I want this room to be a mix of neutrals.  I've toyed with bringing color in seasonally, but every time I add a bright pillow, flowers, or throw, I like the change for a day and than take it out of the room asap.  SOOO, I've decided I will stick with color in my back family room and neutrals in this room.  This room will be a mix of ivory, grey, black, and brown/caramel.  Can't see it?  Let me help you, here are some of my inspiration color pictures:

(UPDATE: I stumbled upon the two images above once again.  They are from the home of blogger/photographer Paula at Two Ellie.  I found her house tour originally via Eclectically Vintage)

This is where I'll admit I'm a bad blogger, if you weren't already sure.  ;) I saved these pictures to my iPad as I came across them, and now I can't find the original source.  If anyone recognizes these images, please leave me a message so I can provide proper credit.  The following images tend to lack the caramel/brown colors but I still find them inspirational:

 (two pictures above were designed by Rachel Halvorson, via NestEgg.  I really wish she would start blogging again!)

The other common theme you might notice in these images is the use of natural woven / textured materials through the use of bamboo / matchstick shades, rugs, or baskets.  While I really want to change out my rug - a "dark" purchase we made to mask the "baby damage" we anticipated once a child arrived - and thought of using a sisal, my husband seems to be putting his foot down on this one.  "No new rug!"   Boo.  Sooo, for now it will stay, but as an alternative plan I'm going to add bamboo shades to the wall of windows in this picture (and he approves):

Now is the right time to mention that this sofa has already moved locations in the room and will be replaced by two wingback chairs; it was never meant to stay here, but more on that in a bit.  Speaking of said sofa, that may have been the "impulsive" part of my plan.  I've always wanted a light sofa.  I actually owned a white sofa in my condo.  SOOOO...last fall I made a somewhat impulsive purchase of the Restoration Hardware Belgian Classic Slope Arm sofa, and even more impulsively threw in the little side table you see next to it.  Both fit within my color plan though so bonus.  

So what, I bought a sofa, right?  Well, did I mention, my last sofa was only almost three years old?  Ummm...yeah.  It was actually in great condition.  But the fabric was not light.  In fact, I bought it specifically because it was not light!  I had a baby and suddenly all my design decisions changed.  Everything I once wanted went to the wayside because I thought it all should be dark - so as to hide stains and fingerprints.  That is why this time around I went light but used RH's perennials textured linen....supposedly I could use bleach on the fabric and it wouldn't become damaged.  I hope I don't have to go there.

Also, my room was kind of lacking a focal point.  Well, it had a fireplace, but it was really sad:

 (via the real estate listing for the home.  sad, very sad) 

(once we moved in and had made some changes, but still sad)

And today (well two weeks ago before sofa = rearranged):

Happy!  It's not quite finished, I'm waiting for warm temps (and by warm I mean 20 degrees Fahrenheit warm - we've been stuck at 0 degrees or below for months now) so that I can go select my marble remnant.  The fabricator stores his remnants outside.  Bad business move? Maybe.  The former banker in me is contemplating how much lost business it would take to offset the additional cost of storage it would take to store his remnants inside!  Are your eyes crossing yet?  Yeah.  That's why I quit banking.  ;)  

Anyway, since our walls were light (they are white with a slightly grey undertone), I decided to go bold for the mantel.  I'm leaving the fun leapord / zebra print chair because I love the way the caramel warms up the grays.  But, I LOVE THE GRAY (Benjamin Moore Gunmetal): 

(a tv now resides in the fireplace but I don't mind it; because of the dark color of the wood, the tv almost blends right it)

Ok, so here is a quick floor plan for the room with the new layout.  All pieces are currently in place accept the chairs and little side table:  
So....that is the beginning of the evolution of my room.  I think I will pause there.  Next time, I will be back with the details that will finish the room.  I'll be back later to talk more about the floor plan, where the two wingbacks are going to come from, the lighting and art I will be adding, and how I'm going to use this awesome fabric in my design:

(note the sofa in it's new location and the not yet updated frames on the wall)

Please stop back by because I'm going to want some input!

Finally, I know this post is long and rambly, but if you stuck with me, I wanted to tell you that I shared this not only for my own benefit to help organize my thoughts, but in hopes that someone out there might benefit from my own experiences in decorating this room....  I hope you gained something from this post, and if not, at least you got to see my fun inspiration pictures?!?!?!?!  Let me know!


  1. This is how my head works too! I sometimes feel like I can make a decision for my client at a drop of a hat, but for my house I am paralyzed! I am loving the mix of neutral textures! That fabric is amazing! And your fireplace... AMAZING! The marble is going to be beyond fab!

  2. Oh I love it! I think what you've done so far works....a couple of questions if you don't mind..we just added a fireplace to our living room wall (and by "just" i mean November ;)) and I love the wood...we are also putting windows on either side of the fireplace with window seats under them. I'm trying to convince my husband on the short windows as opposed to longer this post is perfect! did you do the wood wall/mantel yourself or did you have someone install it? If you did it, is there a tutorial? thanks

    1. I honestly think that longer windows can work just as well. If I were choosing the window size for my space, I would consider the view out the window. If the view is green and pretty and privacy is not an issue, I would go for larger windows. If the view is of your neighbors siding, I'd consider smaller windows. How much light does the room get? I that an issue? Since your comment is anonymous, I can't email you but I have some great pictures of both options.

      No, we did not build the mantel ourselves. Not that talented. :). I do believe The Lettered Cottage shared a mantel DIY a few years back in her first home. Maybe you can find that one!

  3. Also, a window seat works just fine under larger windows, if you were concerned. If you search a few posts back, you will see I just added one in my own home:

  4. I read every single word of course :) It must be a designer thing because I'm the exact same way (sort of). Sometimes I'll do a design board just to get some ideas together for myself. But of course that design board changes like 5 times at least. I REALLY love that leopard print chair next to the fireplace - what a great touch. And of course you know I love your fireplace too - total inspiration for whenever we do ours. I'd also love to see a photo of the TV above your fireplace too because I think that's the route we are probably going to go in our LR but we have a few possibilities. My hubby really doesn't like the idea of it being hung to the right of the fireplace but I can totally envision it. Now i'm rambling :) Looking forward to seeing part 2.

  5. Thanks Dawn...all of your ideas are very helpful....our fireplace wall is north facing and the view is of our land and the only building is my husbands "barn" for all his man toys. So now I'm thinking the longer windows would be the best option..but I still wonder. I will definitely check out the link you provided for the window seat you built. I would love to see the pictures you spoke email is boylanite2 at comcast dot net. Thanks much :)

  6. Dawn it is looking great! Love all your inspiration. x

  7. Everyone seems to aim for comfortable, cozy and relaxing living room design. Thanks for posting.

  8. That is such an awesome fireplace makeover! I love how you really have a focal point now and it has added structural interest to the room. Great job!