dining room

Creating a library, sitting room AND music room: multi-function with "Wow!"

Today's families aren't interested in having rooms that get used once a year to eat a turkey. Multi-function rooms are great to have - and I don't mean a guest room that also holds unfinished projects, unused furniture and the laundry before it's put away.  In this post, multi-function means that the room can be used as a library, a sitting room and a music room.  In a guest room scenario, it could mean that the space is also used as a place to practice yoga, do a little creative writing and bunk those lovely weekend guests.  All things you would want to do on a regular basis.  

Sorry it's not all sharp and perfect, but this is a Before picture. It's a beautiful Dining Room that I had a hand in a number of years ago. Now the family in this home needs to use the space differently. And they want some Wow!

Sorry it's not all sharp and perfect, but this is a Before picture. It's a beautiful Dining Room that I had a hand in a number of years ago. Now the family in this home needs to use the space differently. And they want some Wow!

 

Decorating a room so that it's pretty to look at...as you walk by--is just not my style, and I don't think it's your style either.  It sure wasn't the style of this family of five.  They called me with a request to change the way they use their Dining Room and asked that I add some "Wow!" to the end result.  

Here's what we did:

 

This Dining Room was never used - and that's just NOT good. So we made some big changes and now it's a favorite destination for this busy family!

 

Same room.  Now it's a multi-functional room they use every day.  Beloved books, the piano and people are the star attractions here.  It's right off the entry to the home and everyone says "Wow!" when they see it.  Mission accomplished!

 

In an open floor plan, the Foyer really sets the tone for the adjoining rooms.

 

 

Here's the foyer.  Look carefully to see a bit of the draperies way over on the left.  You can tell that it's now a dramatic, but family friendly entrance.  Did I hear you say "Wow!?"

 

Obviously the use of color was important in this transformation.  The homeowners had to have some trust in me.  Their favorite colors are beige and brown so I reassured them that my design concept of adding strong color on custom built-ins and wallpaper (for both walls and ceiling) wasn't going to make it a scary space, but a warm, inviting space that enhanced that multi-functional vibe they were after.  They trusted and here we are.

 

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This deep teal grasscloth from York Wallpaper creates a subtle texture in a not-so-subtle color (Wow! is not a subtle word).  Another fab paper is on the ceiling:

 

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Lighting was another important element.  We used classic fixtures that had some sparkle.

 

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This Hudson Valley adjustable library sconce lets us highlight those fabulous shelves that will soon be filled with books.

 

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This handsome hunk of a table lamp by Currey & Co. is a wonder.

 

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A closer shot of the Robert Abbey pendant in the center of the room.  Those brass details are just enough.

 

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Instead of painting every inch of the custom built-in bookshelves Peacock, I asked the carpenter to stain the shelves walnut to add a little dimension.  He did a great job.  And take a look at the gorgeous Robert Allen Design fabric we used on the new custom drapery panels!  The pattern is embroidered on a linen blend background.

 

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Now the kids are playing the piano...

 

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...everyone is reading and Mom has a very nice spot to relax over a bottle of wine when friends come to visit.  Don't worry about Dad--I did another room in the house where the really big kids (men) like to hang out.  I'll show you that one soon!

Ciao,

Anne

 

Making a home light, bright and inviting!

I wrote about part of this project recently, so now let's look at the whole thing.  It's quite a change:

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Above is the Before of one corner of the Family Room...

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...and here's the After!  The room was always attractive, but it was time to lighten things up.  

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I showed you this entertainment center in this previous post, but I can't get over the difference between then....

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...and how that same wall looks now.   Are you loving that accent rug?  Me too.  Meeee-yow!

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Here's another camera angle of the room.  Since these photos were taken, the coffee table has been replaced.  No pretty objects have been placed on it yet, but I want to include it:

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Pretty fandabulous!  The metallic finish on the top makes my heart beat faster!

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We took down the sheers on the back windows and replaced them with my favorite roller shades that go up and down with the touch of a finger.  When rolled completely up, they just disappear.

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Such nice nailhead detail on the Sherrill sofas!  Custom accent pillows, window treatments and that fab rug add color and pattern to an otherwise neutral room.

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The Family Room is open to the adjoining Kitchen.  Above is a Before that gives you an idea of how it looked.  I need to find a pic that shows the old light fixture....

Found it!

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Here's the After:

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Morning coffee in here will really put you in the right mood to start the day!  

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We used french returns on the metal rods for the custom cafe curtains.  Tres bien!

Then we tackled the formal dining room.  The Before will show that it was already a gracious, traditional space with lively colors, custom window treatments and a gorgeous table.  These clients were just ready for a change.  A general updating with a calm vibe was the goal.

Here's the Before:

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And here's what we did:

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The heavy top treatments came off the windows, a new custom rug was designed and the dining chairs were reupholstered.  This room is still formal, but in a lighter, brighter and more modern way.

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I always try to use 2 upholstery fabrics on dining chairs.  It's a subtle touch.  When you're in the room, I want you to find little design surprises slowly but surely.

This entire project was a treat to work on.  We were able to make big and small changes that added up to a refresh that flows from room to room and really reflects the personalities and lifestyle of the clients. 

Life is good!

Ciao,

Anne

Sometimes things don't go as planned.

I started working with a fantastic young family this summer.  They had just purchased a gorgeous home inside the beltline in Raleigh and were ready to furnish and decorate it.  We had an exciting start--and then a job offer whisked them away.  Just like that, the project is over.  

Raleigh realtor Wilson Crow generously shared his listing photos of the rooms we were working on.  He's done an excellent job of getting this home under contract quickly.

Here's the Dining Room:

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The walls have been painted (Salty Dog) and that beauty of a rug came from Robert Fritz Oriental & Fine Rugs.  We selected the awesome light fixture and the dining table is new. Left undone--window treatments, new chairs and artwork on the walls.  Oh well.

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A large leather sofa was immediately installed into the Family Room, another fabulous rug from Robert Fritz's shop added warmth and that big club chair is a recliner from Bassett.  A console table behind the sofa and window treatments were planned.  

 

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The leather sofa is bigger than it looks in the photo.  It's from Restoration Hardware and the whole family could fit on it for movie night.  Do you like the sleek fan up there amidst the coffered ceiling?  You can't really see the barstools, but their stainless steel backs are cool.  I love mixing modern with traditional (and a bit of rustic and some industrial.. .).

 

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In the back of the house, a Sitting Room looks out on a lush back yard. We furnished that room with the pieces you see in the photo, including the sisal rug (it's a faux sisal--soft on the toes and super easy to keep clean).  I love the chair in the foreground.  We purchased it from Dexter Furniture.  They've got an extensive fabric library, making it easy to customize.  This is a swivel, so visitors can look out the windows at the view or turn to face the fireplace on the opposite side of the room.  The prettiest drapery panels you have ever seen were going to frame those windows.  Alas, not to be.

 

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One more photo - obviously not the realtor's, just taken quickly with my phone. We chose this gorgeous LED light fixture for the foyer.  The owners said it reminded them of fireworks on a summer night!

I wish this family all the best.  Maybe the new owners will give me a call!

Ciao,

Anne