I used to hate my living room. It’s the first room you see when you walk in the front door and for some reason I didn’t consider it inviting nor did I think it had a cohesive look or a focal point. No matter what I tried nothing seemed to work. So I went back to the drawing board. Without a fireplace in the room or something for the eye to land on I had to create a focal point on the one long wall the room had. The couch acted as the anchor and to create some symmetry I flanked it with two matching sideboards we inherited from my husband’s grandmother. These are substantial pieces of furniture and lend the kind of weight the room needed. Since the couch is relatively modern I updated the sideboards by getting them sprayed a warm chocolately-brown and for fun I replaced the hardware with pale blue milk glass pulls. Sticking with the symmetry theme we put two matching cream lamps on the sideboards. The cream really pops against the grey-brown wall colour, which matches the couch perfectly!
Now back to that focal point; I decided to create a gallery of art work above the couch and that would be the focal point. Some of the pieces came from family while others are inexpensive prints. I think using all black frames gives the gallery a cohesive look without looking too contrived. We added to the gallery as we acquired the pieces and the only thing that ties all of them together are the frames.
My favourite thing in the room is probably the carpet–a wool Sumak rug that I can only describe as a perfect marriage between traditional and contemporary. There are a multitude of colours in it–peach, aqua, taupe, burnt orange, forest green, cream….I picked fabric for the throw pillows based on the carpet and I had so much fun doing it!
My husband’s biggest coupe was finding the Huber bucket chair and ottoman (made in Canada!) on Kijiji–from two different sellers no less. The original fabric was *hallucious* so I had to hunt down a durable fabric that honoured the era of the chair without being too hokey. I must admit the cream and green fabric wasn’t my first choice, but my husband liked it and since he found the chair I figured he could choose the fabric. I’ve got to hand it to him, it looks great and works really well with the rest of the furniture in the room.Â
We spend more time in this room now than we ever did before and I’m really pleased with the results. It’s eclectic, cozy and full of Â family mementos. Now I love my living room.
I have been trying to come up with a practical solution to my front hall entrance since the day we moved into our newly renovated home just over six years ago. I’ve tried a number of seemingly practical solutions to storage, seating and organization, but in our 4-foot wide entrance, it all ended up looking cluttered and, well, not pretty. So I had to find something practical and pretty that would satisfy our need to store keys, hats, shoes, gloves and other miscellany. I didn’t want to spend a fortune but I didn’t want to cheap out either and end up with yet another unsatisfactory solution.
So I started with the Norden occasional table from Ikea and had it sprayed in Cloud White. I found the brown woven strap baskets that hold all of our hats, gloves, sunscreen and other necessary but unsightly objets at HomeSense. The mirror hanging over the table is also from Ikea and works perfectly, given that sense of light and sparkle that the hallway really needed. My absolute favourite piece is the stool. I had it custom made by my upholsterer. Not only is it practical for putting on and taking off boots and shoes, but the fabric is so much fun! I found it on Etsy, but if you’re looking for it, it’s an Alexander Henry print and it’s called “What a Hoot!” and it certainly is a hoot. The other touches include oil rubbed bronze and porcelain hooks that I found at Restoration Hardware and the chocolate ticking runner is from Dash & Albert.
I know I spent a little more than I probably should have for an area of the house that takes a lot of abuse since it is essentially our Grand Central Station, but I love looking at it every time I walk by and I think first impressions are important. When a person walks through our front door that front hall sets the tone for the rest of the house. It’s fun, it’s relaxed and it’s our family’s way of saying “welcome to our home.”
Cleaning a house can be gratifying for me in many ways; it gives me a sense of accomplishment, order and well, cleanliness. So for the last couple of days I have been on a cleaning rampage doing the daily chores of dishes, laundry, sweeping and even tidying up the garden. I even did some dusting, but that’s where the rampage got derailed. The built-in shelves in our family room are home to AV equipment, photo albums along with numerous tchachkas that I’ve acquired either from family members or various shopping expeditions. As I began to eradicate the perfect circles and lines of dust left behind by a bowl or book, I decided it was time to redecorate. Truth be told, I got my inspiration from Nate Berkus, who had recently been on Oprah and suggested going “shopping” in your home and move your favourite objects from room to room to create newly decorated spaces without spending a dime. So I took this sentiment to heart and began poking around the house, moving things from place to place until I had created a new vignette on my shelves.I stuck with my colour palette of celadon (which is watery bluey-green) and threw in some glass and crystal pieces along with some wood to warm it all up. I tried stacking books and even putting some artwork at the back of the shelves. The one of the top shelf was painted by my mother. The oil on the bottom left belonged to my father’s parents. My husband made me the wood box that’s sitting on the upper left shelf. The glass bowl on the books belonged to my mother’s parents and the other glass bowls were wedding gifts. There really is an art to “dressing” shelves, and I’m no pro, but I think my first attempt was not half bad. If you’ve got any advice on what to add, take away or change, by all means I value all opinions.