updated traditional rooms

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

A Family Room Goes From Tired To Terrific!

Before - back wall.

Before - back wall.

It was time for an update in this beautiful home in Chapel Hill, NC.  The owners are well-traveled art lovers and wanted their home to provide respite in between trips and be an easy place to entertain in.

Before -  side wall.  

Before -  side wall.  

Let's cut to the chase:  here's what we did to maintain the warmth and coziness, but also give it a terrific update that will last for many happy years!

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The walls were painted in a cooler color, the ceiling got a touch of warmth and we headed to Furnitureland South near High Point, NC, to gather up a few new key pieces (the entertainment center and coffee table).  At the same time, we reupholstered sofas and 2 chairs that were lanquishing in the basement.  New window treatments and other accents finished the room off beautifully.  

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There was a lot of furniture in the basement.  The recliner above is the Mr.'s favorite chair. The Mars and Venus war about recliners wages on, but I embrace them--as long as they're not the huge, pillowy version. We decided to surprise him by using it.  But first we gave it a new upholstery.

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I kept those curvaceous arms, the lovely tufting and nailhead trim. Then polished them all up a soft, neutral fabric with leather contrasting welt.  I'm the self-proclaimed queen of contrast welt and I wear that crown with pride.  

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Before nails go into walls to install new arrangements of shelves or art, I "draw" out new arrangements on the computer, usually giving the client both symmetrical and asymmetrical options (I do love asymmetrical arrangements, but they still have to be balanced).   The arrangement shown above was the winner, but then we laid everything out on the floor and tweaked until it was just right. We also added awesome LED recessed cans to properly light what's being displayed.  You can see the resulting wall next:

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The art wall now has a great mix of favorite, meaningful pieces.  There's a pretty sofa table right behind---the sofa!

Beautiful blue paisley fabric was chosen to replace the dark plaid on this chair and it's matching ottoman.  Fabulous upgrade!

Beautiful blue paisley fabric was chosen to replace the dark plaid on this chair and it's matching ottoman.  Fabulous upgrade!

We usually hide the arm covers under the seat cushions, but somehow they were left on during the photo shoot, which is okay.   My upholstery guy makes the most beautiful fitted arm covers.  They've got contrast welt on them too!  See the nailhead trim at the base of the sofa?  Little custom details are everywhere.    Like the lamp?  That came from Home Goods!  It was a score. 

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I wish I had a good photo of the desk we put in the corner--it's a beauty.  We kept the artwork on that wall--it's all paintings of their former homes.  Karen and I love those cushy animal print pillows so much that we had some made for our own sofas!

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Here's a peek at the Ralph Lauren accent lamp in a blue and white chinoiserie pattern.  Can you make out the titles of the books?  I have fun picking those out from my collection for photo shoots.

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The blue and white color combination was so easy to work with.  We kept the window treatments simple, but not boring (never boring!).  See the little buttons on them?  And the lovely blue welt at the top?  Micropiping on the curvy bottom edges, too.  

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I love meeting the pets of every client and this one was no different.  Sweet Riley was always happy to see me and even agreed to pose for the photographer.  Good dog!

Ciao,

Anne

3 ways to decorate with black and white

Here's a quick look at how versatile,  restful AND dramatic decorating with black and white can be.  First, some favorite shades:  

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White - it rests the eye and widens the space.  My favorite white for interior moldings in a traditional space is Ben Moore's Decorators White in a high gloss finish.  More modern decors get Sherwin Williams Alabaster.  It has a hint of gray in it.  Want a tad more warmth?  Sherwin's Dover White has the slightest golden undertone.

 

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My favorite shades of black are among my favorite colors- period.  Use them with a matte finish and they're almost suede.  Gloss them up and they'll bring down the house (in a good way).  "Almost black" is more of a charcoal because I think a true black is harsh.  This one is fab on a kitchen table--I know, because mine is.  "Black Bean" is actually deepest, darkest brown.  Yum.  I've got an accent wall this color.  It sparkles in a sunny room.  And "Hale Navy" is a great choice because in art classes I learned that illustrators don't really use black, they use a dark navy, like this one.  It reads as black but in a much more interesting way.  Try it.  You will LOVE it.

 

 

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A black and white palette can be very soothing, as the board above shows.  The white sofa is a creamy shade, the black leather chair is sharp, but warm. And I added some glass to keep the room visually light and add some sparkle.  The rug marries warm and cool tones, that little accent table adds texture and white linen drapery panels with a black ribbon trim add intimacy and height--and they frame the view.

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Then I went darker.  Don't you just love this monochromatic look?  I put drapes made with our Links pattern in Warm Grey on the window to keep the drama going, but they also take the edge off any cold vibe that could result.  I mixed in some warm wood tones to temper the steely grays and I mixed metals--the coffee table has a brushed chrome base while the floor lamp has gold accents.

 

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Here I took the same dark look, but added a strong splash of color--our Vreeland panels in Dandelion. Almost any color can be added to this palette.  I coordinated the accent pillows to draw the yellow around.  Looks glamorous and pulled together!

 

A couple of weeks ago my favorite Duralee rep sent me a bunch of new fabrics to look over. These black and whites were in the pile:

 

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Ciao,

Anne