library

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

 

A Stunning Living Room Update!

  During a 2 hour design consultation, we can often tackle two rooms.  So after talking through the Family Room I shared in the last post, we moved on to the Living Room. I looked things over, made recommendations and left the Homeowner with a plan (and about a week later I sent her a Resource List to help narrow down her shopping search).  She really ran with it.  I was thrilled with the chance to come back and see the wonderful results.   First off, let me show you the entry:

 

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Many interior floor plans suffer from no separate foyer.  So visitors walk right into a room, which can be a bit jarring to my delicate sensibilities.  But with the simple addition of a mat at the door and a substantial plant atop a pedestal, a transition space has been created here.  There's also a pretty desk over on the left  (you can't see it, sorry), which adds to the welcoming vibe. And I want you to notice the beautiful drapery panels, which Talented Homeowner made herself.

 

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As I turned to enter this freshly furnished Living Room, I first noticed those matching velvety soft club chairs, upholstered in a neutral fabric. What a nice choice.  And the new wool rug, in a Tree Of Life pattern, is exquisite.  I'm not exaggerating--my iPhone photo does not do it justice.  It came from NOA Living, a wonderful rug and decor store in Raleigh.

 

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The custom built in bookcase is a showstopper.  Previously it was a little haphazard and now it's thoughtfully arranged.  It doesn't look like a store display--it looks like people who love books and travels and special mementos live here.  The new sofa has a tight back, single seat cushion (never looks messy) and pretty legs.  I'll bet you're wondering where the coffee table is - they didn't want one.  Isn't that awesome?  Now I love (and need) a coffee table to be happy.  But these clients did what felt best to them.  Fabulous!

 

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Please don't ever forget to pay attention to lighting in a room.  Great lighting makes a lovely room useful, friendly, warm and inviting.  Go for 3 way switches, go for pretty lampshades, go for finials.  Do it up right.  These gourd lamps are perfect for the space.  Talented Homeowner made the custom accent pillows in the room.  They are squishy delights.  The framed art on the wall are hung at eye level - perfect.

I'm so glad that my 2 hour design consultation gave this client the right amount of ideas and resources to go full steam ahead and make the changes she did.  The other day she contacted me to report that she had used one of my suggestions in her daughter's apartment - the ripple effect!  Great job!

Ciao,

Anne