Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Living Room Post

A year ago, this was what my living room looked like. Well, this was the best corner of the living room, anyway. On the opposite wall I had my grandmother's old and very worn sofa and facing the armoire in an "L" to the sofa were a pair of recliners that I regretted buying the minute I did it. You know, they say that you should really live in a house for a while before you invest a lot of time and money into decorating it. They're right! I decorated this room before I even lived in the house! We knew we hated everything the previous owners had done, so we were only too happy to put our own stamp on the place. The carpet needed replacing and we had lived with apartment beige for a long time with children. We wanted something that would hide the occasional spill. Hmm, royal blue. What can I say? I'll just claim momentary insanity! It hides spills alright, but it shows every speck of dust and every pet hair. There's a reason apartments have beige, I guess! Not to mention it's just plain ugly!

Anyway, point being, when we refinanced last November, we know we wanted to make some changes. Here's what we have so far:

An area rug to cover the blue carpet. My mother's "moderne" hope chest that I love. Same armoire. Cool asian print that was also Mom's. I wish I knew more about it because it's really pretty. And the biggest change- new paint. Above is the accent wall in Khaki by Ralph Lauren. Below are the remaing three walls in a custom color. I think originally it was Toast by Dutch Boy, but I hated the formulation of the paint and had it made in a Ralph Lauren formula. They are all satin finish.

Here's Buddy modeling the rug! The chairs I snagged for free outside a closed chiropractic office. They'd been in the same location since the early sixties and these chairs just might be that old. I love them, but want to reupholster them in the same fabric of the curtains which is a heavy chenille. Strange choice, but this room is south facing and needs the light blocking quality of chenille. (BTW, I hate sewing drapes, but I'm too cheap to pay for custom.) The paint looks very yellow in this photo. It's a little more true in the pictures below.

The sectional. It's actually a subtle tweedy plaid. I chose the throw pillow fabric in order to relate to the carpet and rug a little more, but I think I'll keep looking for something more subtle. This is where some input is needed. Also, the wall above the couch is so bare! I have a couple of options that cost nothing. One is a dark wood mirror, but I'm worried about the glare from the sun. The other is that asian print. It's a little small so I was thinking about painting a larger rectangle of the khaki paint to act as a kind of frame that would give it more importance. Also, where on the wall do I hang it? Center over the length of the entire sectional, I guess? This seems like the obvious answer, but when I'm in the room, I experience the sectional as two love seats placed in an ell. Then it seems like my art should hang centered over the two end sections. That's probably just weird, but if I am going to paint a rectangle on the wall, I better be sure about where to do it! The gorgeous clock is going to be relocated elsewhere in the house, but I'm not sure where. Mom brought that back from Holland and I love it.

When you walk in my front door this is the first thing you see. We bought a console table to keep children from vaulting over the back of the couch, but it does tend to be a clutter collector. We also have the ugly smelly shoe basket there. On your right as you walk in there is this homemade coat rail:
That white door to the furnace is now painted brown as is the front door. This is where I'd like to hang the mirror. These things aren't pretty at all and I would love to train everyone to put shoes and garments away properly, but I've lived with my family long enought to know that that's never going to happen! So I'll just do my best to keep it tidy.

I love this scotty dog doorstop, but I always feel guilty when I look at it. Doesn't it seem like something Jenny should own? Well, you know, McComb is a Scottish family so I guess I do have some right to it! We bought the console table, the much-too-big coffee table and this end table all together. So far the console has held up fine, but on this end table, the veneer is chipping away. And now there's a little spot on the coffee table. To tell the truth, I'd love to get rid of the coffee table, but Earl's not ready to admit the mistake yet. Anyway, did we do this? We're not super-fastidious about coasters. I try, but there are kids in my house when I'm not there. I can't be on coaster patrol all the time. But it's really bugging me. Shouldn't it be more durable than this? We bought them 9 months ago? Should I contact the furniture store? Your help on this will be appreciated.
So, whew! That's a lot of typing! One more thing: lamps. Sandra gave me the lamp on the end table and the standing lamp. I don't hate them and I'm grateful for them, but I think I should look at some other options. The room is sort of casual traditional, I think. Where can I improve it? It seems somewhat lacking to me. Any and all opinions are welcome! Thank you, Friends!

8 friends said....:

  1. your home is so peaceful and cozy! thank you for sharing pictures. I love seeing how others live and decorate. :)

  2. Hi Bettsi,
    I love the Asian print where it is already. Don't move it girl!

    Now about your wall space..I like the idea of a huge rectangular mirror-will make the room more dimensional. The wall needs that, or a large picture, or many small pictures.

    I have a lot of decorating magazines, and I will go and look if there are any ideas suitable.

    I am not keen on the please don't hit me. I just think they are a little flat on the tweed sofa. A slighty lusher plain fabric would be cool on the cushions-like in a pale aqua, duck egg blue, or even deep red. Don't be frightened to combine different shades and shapes.

    Hmmm, coffee table-uh, "wear and tear" doncha love it. Rub some boot polish into it to disguise it.

    Head off to the library, and grab yourself a mountain of decorating books.

    I am probably the last person who should be giving you decorating advice. I feel like all that I own at the moment is either broken, shabby, mismatched, or out of date. lol. Combined with a toddler who is passionate about decorating the walls with his drawings.hehe

  3. Me again,
    Sorry I was pretty full on with all that 'advice'. I hope you're not offended in any way. I usually suffer from "foot in mouth" disease.

    But please strike what a said about plain cushions-having thought about it-I am thinking lush textile Asian inspired designs.

  4. What a great room, Bettsi!

    Here are my suggestions, for what they're worth.

    I like the idea of Asian-inspired couch cushions because you could make extra and put them on your Mom's hope chest underneath the Asian print. Or, if not Asian themed, the pillows could pick up a colour from the print, your new rug or the opposite wall.

    I would suggest taking the items off the top of the armoire and bookcase.

    Do you have more pretty plates that you could hang above the couch? Or a quilt?

    Could you paint the coffee table, etc? (Although it would be too much work for me personally.)


  5. Thanks guys! Coryn, you are not pushy at all. I value everything you said. Thank you, Josephine for reminding me about my plates. I hadn't really thought of that! I agree with both of you that a nice asian floral would add a lot to those throw pillows. Sandra called too and gave me a lot of ideas to think about. I had been limited in my thinking about furniture placement due to the cable coming in behind the armoire. She really opened my eyes to some other possibilities and amazingly, Earl didn't have a cow about moving the cable! If he'll commit to it remains to be seen!

  6. I love how the colors create a sense of calm. What a lovely idea for a living room. I have no ideas because you're doing fine on your own. Love the Scotty.

  7. Hi Bettsi, and hi there Josephine.
    I agree with Josephine too-I thought about the extra cushions going on the chest too...excellent look. Wall plates would be gorgeous too.
    Right on Josephine!

  8. I think your living room is lovely, but I especially like your chairs from the chiro office. What a find! they are gonna be gorgeous when they get reupholstered.


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