Archive for the 'Living Room' Category

10
Dec
07

Design Past, Present and Future

It took a 19th century near death experience to get him there, but once Ebenezer Scrooge finally caught his clue he declared that he would keep Christmas past, present and future always before him. In the interior design world I get the impression that most people are a combination of past, present, and future with an emphasis on one more than the others.

I love contemporary design, I really do. Clean, spare lines and an emphasis on materials totally enchant me in public spaces. But for some reason I can only live with a little of it at a time in our home – a danish modern coffee table in our hearth area, a sputnik lamp, which I have yet to hang in our guest bedroom (makes me wonder if I’m subconsciously resisting it even when I love it), and our newish sofa.
New Sofa

The first two of these could hardly be considered contemporary since they were made in the 60s. And the sofa has traditional, even if spare lines.

Sometimes I wonder why I can’t shake a traditional bent. Not that I’m unhappy with our home. Quite the opposite, I love it. This Saturday John and I were sitting in the kitchen drinking our morning coffee, Sam (our wood stove) quietly blazing before us.
Sam

We were talking about how we’d rather be hanging out in our house than in any hotel we could possibly think of (at least at that particular moment), which is a good thing since we pour our spare change into the house and not into big vacations. It is full of stuff that means something to us – family treasures or finds. Auction scores, those trophies from furniture safari’s with John’s mom.

But I like to think of myself as progressive–socially, spiritually, politically. Even when I work in art museums, though I love the earlier pieces, I prefer to spend the bulk of my time with art less than a century old. Why then, when we built our new house five years ago, did we look at southern, country antecedents? Am I a closet conservative?

I suppose part of the answer can be found in how I was raised, not just the regional influence (the Arkansas Ozarks), but the people who did the job. We never had a ton of money so we learned to value the things, fine or not, that we saw at our family gatherings. Plus the 70s had that whole “back to our country’s roots”, folk thing going, which my Aunt Judy turned into a subtle, but elegant homey art form that totally worked.

Then there was my friend Felley’s mom, also named Judy. I know it is a chronological impossibility, but I’m convinced that Margaret Mitchell based Melanie Wilkes on my friend’s mother, who even looks for all the world like Olivia de Havilland, I swear. In addition to her sweetness, charm and patience (I always showed up at her house after school ready for a snack and was never, to my recollection, rebuffed or disappointed), she also had an incredibly refined, but remarkably approachable sense of style.

She was never self-conscious enough to speak in such terms,  but I learned from Miss Judy to think of interior design as one of the three essential tools of hospitality–the other two being good food and genuine thoughtfulness, two things my mom could have written the book on.

For Miss Judy, every furniture purchase or placement choice seemed to be with a visitor’s comfort and timeless style in mind. Those two things became fused together in my psyche because of her, I think. One of my sweetest memories is of sitting on her fabulous, dark blue chintz Chinois floral patterned sofa with her as she talked me through my smorgasbord of adolescent problems.

Then there is my own mom. She also has great design sense, but the most valuable lessons I learned from her were to keep it fun and to never be afraid of color, especially red. And when you get stuck, call a designer (luckily she has a friend and next door neighbor who is one). And never apply your lipstick with the aid of a compact mirror when you’re in public. Oh wait, that was what my sister learned. Sorry.  

So maybe it’s because I’m so attached to these people, ideas and memories that I keep my feet rooted in a traditional style. From a design point of view the south is frequently criticized for being retardataire. I suspect my own observations may point to why that is, if it is. I guess for me the past is a vital part of the present and the future. Maybe there’s nothing I can do about that, and maybe I should stop feeling the need to apologize for it.           

17
Oct
07

Living Room Touch Ups

Picked up the reupholstered side chairs from T and H upholstery (cost to upholster 2 side chairs and to make three pillows from leftover fabric=$165.00). The chairs, along with the rug, the new sofa (the one on the right), and a few accessories finished the touch ups to the living room.

Living Room After

A before shot:

Living Room Before

The infamous sofa:

New Sofa

Here are the pillows T & H made for me.

Tulip Pillows

I’ve ordered down inserts, but T and H was kind enough to put some fiber fill ones in them so I could still pick them up and enjoy them. The trim is from JoAnne fabrics, and I bought all they had, which wasn’t much. Jean at T & H told me today that a new fabric place has just opened up in Indy- Heritage Fabric and Design Center at 6951 E 30th St. She said their selection is really good. I’m pretty stoked to have a new fabric resource since I’ll probably avoid Calico Corners for awhile. I’ll try to visit this new spot and post about it soon.

I originally bought the tulip fabric for the chairs, but the pattern was too big so I used the stripe leftover from the bedroom wingback instead. Even the stripe is a bit too big, but I needed to use up some of my supply. Every once in a while I have to throw my practical side a bone.

Chair

16
Sep
07

Rug Dilemma-Resolved

I wasn’t ready to spend $1,400.00 for the rug I found online.

Not that this is an outrageous price. Decent 8′ x 10′ rugs can range from 5K to 20K. But that’s not the kind of budget we work with. I ran across an awesome light blue and white crewel number at William Sonoma Home, the perfect size, for $699.00 (that’s $700.00 to people not trying to talk themselves into buying a rug). The color was too light. Sad that it didn’t work and that I had more schlepping in my future, I trudged back to the north side. I stopped in Home Goods to check out kitchen wares and as I passed the rugs I saw this one:

Living room

The rug wasn’t there two days earlier when Dave and I made fun of the giant acorns that I would later blissfully buy, actually on the same trip I bought this rug. Perhaps I was blinded by the rug’s price, which was only $399.00 (that’s $400.00 to people who aren’t trying to communicate what a good deal they just found). And Julie, the large graphics and the richer color (which doesn’t come through in my photo) work better with the rug in the dining area, a concern I know you had. Now I’m not one to assign divine credit when it comes to shopping finds, but then again…

There are a few more addditions to the room, the crewel throw pillow (William Sonoma Home) on the red sofa and the green pillows (Crate and Barrel) on the striped sofa. Here is a picture of another pillow I bought later from Pottery Barn. It had a touch of the blue which I needed to work into the room a little more.

Throw Pillow

And more good news: I need to replace the little chair at the desk with something more subtantial, and just as I was about to start going back to auctions John’s mom showed us a pair of beautiful federalist looking sweeties that she said she would sell me. I can use the leftover fabric I put on this bedroom chair on the new chairs.

Reupholstered Wingback

While I’m at it, I think I’ll have a throw pillow made for the wood chair by the TV. If you’ve already read this far, you must be a design junkie. So tell me, any thoughts on how to trim said pillow? I have little experience in this area.

Also, I think I may need a coffee table now. Ideas? I’m thinking a couple of airy, squarish and maybe metal (old gold finish) tables, but that may be too obvious. I’m open to other directions.

14
Sep
07

More on Neutrals with Color

More from September’s Elle Decor. Here is a better shot of Marjorie Gubelmann’s living room. I love the scale and finish of the hanging lantern.

Living room

And here is her dining room with its spectacular hand-painted Gracie wallpaper, proving neutral rooms are happy to live near big color walls. I find it hard to believe that I’ve never had a room this color green. I’ve always loved it.

Green dining room copy

Side note: In Bob Altman’s glamorously stuffy Gosford Park,
gosfordparkpic
a great source of design inspiration if you need it, the billiard room (the room pictured above is actually the drawing room in the film. I couldn’t find a still of the BR but you get the glamour point) is glazed the same color green as the wallpaper above. I think the billiard room is under-painted with yellow. Whatever the technique, the effect gives the space a sturdy glow. In Gubelmann’s dining room, the silver of the Venetian mirrors, the shimmering chandelier, and the small scale of the black bamboo chairs keep the room light and airy. I love it.

09
Sep
07

Rug Dilemma.

176RP04
(Loloi Blue Rp04)

Considering buying the rug above to replace the smaller one in our living room below.

P1010933

I’ve always thought the smaller one was a littly chintzy for the space (impulse buy) but rugs basically only come in two larger sizes–5 x 8 and 8 x 10. I would probably need the 8 x 10 to make a larger rug work since all of the sofa legs AND the desk legs will have to go on it (I’ll have to put it parallel to the walls).

30
Mar
07

Yellow Parlor

Nancy Lancaster’s legendary yellow parlor in London.

yellow parlor

I love:

This yellow.
The silver accents.
The mirror panels around the door.
Hand painted pillows.
Desk behind the sofa.
Blue chairs peeking from behind the skirted table.
The dirty water in the flower vase.

(Photo from Martin Wood–Nancy Lancaster: English Country House Style)