Happy freezing Thursday! Can someone hire me to design their home in Barbados, stat?
If you follow me on Instagram, you may have already seen these photos I shared. I worked with these clients (a couple with two young boys) last year to decorate/update their living room, family room and kitchen. Today, I’m sharing the living room/dining room. It’s one long, narrow room that you see as soon as you enter the home and is typical of the homes in my neighbourhood.
But first let’s look at the Before.
Pretty much a clean slate except for the dining table and chairs that they recently bought so they were staying. The room basically sat empty for nine years. I see this all the time. Clients are unsure what to do so they live with an empty or half finished room. This is one of the benefits of hiring a designer – they can get you “unstuck” so that you will have a space that you will use and love.
I thought that the two rows of nail heads on the chairs were a bit too much of a good thing, so my client painstakingly removed one row and they look much better. (I think she will eventually end up selling them as she realized they were the wrong scale for the small room.) We were going with a vibe that was not so “blingy” and more in keeping with the house and their lifestyle.
They had two leaves in the table so I suggested that they remove the leaves as they only had large gatherings infrequently. This way we could orient the table in the other direction and create an actual living room in the space.
This is how the wall to the left of the opening to the kitchen looks now:
Notice how we changed the yellowish paint on the wall to something more fresh and clean – a light grey (Benjamin Moore Balboa Mist.) This alone drastically changed the feel of the house and this colour has been my go-to lately (which if other clients are reading this, they will know what I mean. )
They needed more storage for dishware etc so I sourced this buffet and had it painted a shade slightly darker than the wall colour (Benjamin Moore Collingwood.) I love its clean lines and it fits perfectly on the wall. The bronze knobs are more stunning in person but again are simple in design. (If you scroll from the Before photo above to this one you can get a sneak peek of what we did in the kitchen. Quite a transformation.)
And this is their new living room. We took our cues from the serene colours in the art which is a photograph on canvas from Anewall. We only placed one chair (with a pattern on the back) in the room as it is a very tight space and we needed a walkway from the front hall to the dining room. We added roman shades and layered them with linen drapes. The coffee table is one of my faves and it is from West Elm. It is the perfect size for a small space and I love the simple metal base paired with the marble top.
We needed some pattern underfoot and this broadloom we had bound is an economical but impactful solution. It has become my go-to area rug of late as it comes in a few different patterns and many colours. Update: For those that have asked below, it was sourced from a local supplier and it is broadloom that I had cut to size.
Photography: Stephani Buchman
I love having clients spaces photographed because that means we are accessorizing and styling – getting everything camera ready. Oftentimes, I am called in by clients to select just the furniture ensuring the scale is perfect but then we don’t take it to the next level which includes the area rug, the draperies, lighting, accessories etc. This space would have been fairly nondescript and neutral if we hadn’t layered it with pattern and textures in the area rug, the velvet pillow, linen drapes, wood, marble and the greenery.
Almost 5 years ago, I interviewed Margot Austin, Senior Design Editor at House and Home magazine and I never forgot what she so eloquently said:
“I think many people don’t decorate at all, they merely furnish. To decorate – even for a modernist or minimalist – you need a plan (the furniture is only one part of that plan). To decorate is to create a whole environment – the walls, the floor, the ceiling, the art, the accessories, the windows etc etc etc. I compare it to eating a meal: Meal A is steak frites, Meal B is a 5-course bistro meal with aperitif, appetizer, entrée, cheese course etc etc. Both satisfy your body’s need for fuel (and can cost the same amount) but the 5-course meal is a complete and complex experience. Most people opt for the Meal A of interiors. It’s a missed opportunity.”
I love how this room turned out but most importantly, so do the clients. In one of her recent emails she said “The pictures look awesome, can’t believe it’s my house.” Yes it is your house and I’m so glad you love it!
We took a blank space and created this layered, comfortable yet elegant living room. I will be sharing the family room and kitchen which I worked on as well in the coming week.