We moved twice in the last two years, and in the process, I gave away a lot of things. I feel like the universe has decided to reward me by sending me two great finds. First, I found this vintage … Continue reading
We recently moved into our new house, and I’ve been busy arranging and re-arranging things to get us settled. In this process, I was fortunate to receive a beautiful new sideboard cabinet from Hernest.com. This item was generously gifted, but … Continue reading
For this year’s Chinoiserie Christmas, I mostly used decorations I already had from our “white and woodsy Christmas,” with the addition of these hand-drawn ornaments! This post is coming late, because it took me all month to finish these ornaments, … Continue reading
It has been a busy few months here, but I’m sitting by the fire and finally have a minute to share our Christmas decorations – just under the wire this Christmas Eve. If there were a graph showing how many … Continue reading
I’m decorating our foyer and wanted to feature a beautiful console table. While I found some already-finished options I liked, I needed something very specific to help disguise a radiator – but not block it off – so I decided to dive in and customize my own!
I knew I wanted the feel of a lacquered Chinese table, but I couldn’t find one in the right size and shape. I looked for something else with simple lines and hoped that with a few tweaks, some paint, and new hardware, I could pull off a transformation!
I started by assembling the sideboard except for the lower shelf. I wanted to leave the bottom open for baskets or stools. I had to fill in a few holes with wood filler. I also filled in the holes for the hardware and drilled new ones to match handles I bought on Etsy.
After sanding for a smooth finish, I started painting. I really debated the color choice, because the hall is already quite dark. In the end, I just knew I had to go with the color I loved and (with credit to Tim Gunn on Project Runway) make it work!
The navy paint is Nocturne by Behr, which I also used to repaint our master bath vanity. After painting, I added several coats of a glossy varnish, both to create shine as well as protect the finish.
My plan is to use some light-colored and neutral accessories to balance out the darker table.
Finn, the rug model, and the new console.
Can’t wait to see the whole space put together!
Our living room has evolved over the years. Here’s a look at some of our latest additions, including the color block drapes and these pretty turquoise chairs from Article (formerly Bryght). I have to admit I was pretty nervous when the intense color showed up in my living room, but I am so glad I took a risk!
Over on the other side of the room, I have a little bar set up next to the dining area:
I recently moved this painted Chinese screen over the bar area when I was rearranging our art. I really like how it brings the eye up and emphasizes the tall ceilings.
And here are two paintings by my mom that I recently added to the living room. These remind me of De Gournay wallpapers and add an authentic bit of Chinoiserie to our home.
Hope you enjoyed the details in our living room!
Did you just move into a new place? Or perhaps you are settled in your home but ready for a change of style. It can be challenging to plan a space from scratch, but it’s also a great opportunity.
For better or worse, Steve and I have moved a lot over the years, and on the “better” side, I’ve gotten a lot of experience designing spaces. Though I could have transferred our furniture and look directly from home to home, I used each move as an opportunity to refine our collection and re-consider our style. Of course, each home had its unique features of architecture, layout, and lighting, and adapting to each of these became an opportunity to try something new.
Here are some tips for creating your own dream room:
- Define the look you want
- I like to look at magazines and online – Pinterest is perfect for this – and collect images of rooms I like. I start by collecting everything that catches my eye, and then I will edit the collection and look for common themes.
- Once I have a collection of images that I like, I try to summarize the look in words, defining the color scheme and style. Having the style summarized helps keep me focused when I start decorating.
- Go slowly
- I like to add elements bit-by-bit, to help me see how everything will fit together. I’ll often revise my plans as I go.
- Don’t rush, or you may end up buying a lot of cheaper items to stay within your budget instead of focusing on slowly acquiring quality pieces.
- Use what you have! I’ve had a lot of success re-using furniture in new ways. Sometimes it’s as simple as changing the purpose of a piece of furniture. For example, we used this bedroom dresser as a dining room sideboard for a while, and more recently, I switched to using a former TV stand as our side board.
- Other times, you can repaint or reupholster an item to give it a new look. For example, I spent quite some time looking for black dining chairs with architectural lines, only to realize that I could repaint our existing dining chairs, and by adding a whimsical chinoiserie fabric to the seats, they fit in perfect with our new look.
3. Make it personal
- While most rooms work best with an overall vision and cohesive style, the unique and unexpected touches are what make a room feel complete. This could be an accent of an bright color or modern art displayed in a traditional room.
- To make your room feel personal and warm, It’s also important to make sure that you use a mix of new and old items in a room, so your home doesn’t feel like they came straight out of a catalog. I like to find vintage furniture on craigslist like this wooden chest or our marble top coffee table. I’ve also found a lot of great vintage picture frames and ceramics at local thrift stores.
A fun room to demonstrate this process is our living-dining room.
The style I honed in on for this room was based on a Hollywood Regency mid-century look. The main colors are silver/grey and blue. One of my favorite inspiration rooms is this one, by designer Elizabeth Gordon. I love the clean-lined feminine upholstered pieces, with touches of metallic glamor.
While I am well on the way to creating our dream living room, my rooms are never really done. I’m always tweaking things and looking for ways to change things around. One piece I have an eye on is this Chinese cabinet from the online auction site invaluable.com. They have a variety of fine art for sale, including paintings and sculptures that would make a great jumping off point for your inspired space! The folks over at invaluable inspired me to write this post, and I have big ideas for a cabinet like this.
I would like to turn this into a bar cabinet, by adding mirrors to the inside and displaying glasses and bottles. The doors would keep clutter hidden, but the screens would allow glimpses of the glass and bottles on the inside. I think it would be a spectacular addition.
I’ve already been scouting out the accessories I would need:
I hope I will be able to do this project soon and show it to you!
We’re in the early stages of planning a kitchen remodel, and we interviewed several architects. One, whom we didn’t end up hiring, became somewhat fixated with this large picture window in our living room. It’s the first thing you see when you walk into our house, and admittedly, the view is mixed. You can glimpse the western sky at the top, which is often stunning at sunset, but much of the view looks out on our neighbors and also on our own cracked concrete driveway, including parked cars and a basketball hoop. This particular architect couldn’t help himself from repeatedly bemoaning this “tragic” window. He coyly promised a solution, but I guess he’ll never get the chance to tell us about it.
Meanwhile, here’s my decorating solution. I love how this table makes a pretty focal point that screens and distracts from the less picturesque parts of this view. I realize it’s not technically in our foyer, but the table serves a similar purpose of dressing up our entry.
The table is actually a small dining table we had. Without the leaves, it works as a large display table in this space and doubles as a serving area for parties. The Craftsman style pedestal looks pretty standing in front of the window. The chairs are made over from a craigslist find and deserve their own post!
I can’t say I’m not a little curious what our sassy visiting architect had in mind, but for now, I’m very happy with the way this little vignette dresses up our living room while screening the less attractive parts of our view.
More on those dreamy chairs soon!
After some peeks into the small spaces in our house – the powder room, the nursery, the laundry, the master bath – I’m glad I can show you our living room. It’s actually only one half of the original living room – we are using the other half of this enormous room as our dining room, and we turned the separate dining room into a family room.
I am not sure quite how to describe the style – it’s a little bit contemporary but classic. It has Chinese elements, but more of a Regency Chinoiserie feel than traditional Chinese. Is this the Asian fusion of the decorating world? Anyway, I love the cool soothing blues and grays warmed up with some green. It satisfies my desire for a grown-up space but is still a very comfortable spot to hang out.
Not much more explanation needed, so I’ll get to the pictures. I’ve included links to the many DIY projects in this room.
A view of the living room side of our living-dining room, from the foyer.
This picture was from the Holiday House Tour:
I love this elegant old Chinese chair that I picked up at the flea market. It’s sitting by the window, next to a craigslist-find chest that I painted in teal.
Here’s another sunny view of our living room. I love that it has so many windows.
These nesting tables are from a consignment store, and the silver box is a rummage sale find that I painted in silver.
This vignette on top of a bookshelf includes some art from a favorite calendar, an antique Korean vase given to us by Steve’s parents, and a little Japanese dish I picked up years ago while shopping with my mom and sister.
The bookshelf on the other side of the window has a similarly sentimental display – art from a calendar and from an old friend, a small blue and white Chinese vase from my grandmother’s house, and some candle sticks I found in thrift store.
Thanks for visiting!