I dreamt last night that Joanna Gaines joined me on a walk-through of the home that reoccurs in my dreams. Modern, sprawling, with multiple kitchens, this home is far from what I would pick in reality, but I've come to know it well over the years. But this time it was nice to have Joanna's eye on the space (it will be interesting to see if I actually make progress in my next dream). She threw out a few ideas, but mostly she kept saying..."you've got this." I kept assuring her that I wasn't an interior designer and designing a kitchen (let alone two) wasn't my thing, but she would keep saying, "you've got this." We had a good heart to heart and I even made her laugh, but upon waking the message was heard. Keep doing what you're doing.
So....here we are. Another project measured with before and afters. Another project to examine how my skills are growing and changing. Another project to share with you.
It's incredibly fun (and rewarding) for me to see the progress a room makes and see how families are enjoying their new spaces. I went to Minnesota earlier this month to catch up on a few projects and I was finally able to photograph this space. It's a good one.
Here is what things looked like when we began.
My client's biggest issue with the space was that things felt like they were floating. Disconnected. They had just moved the couch into the basement in anticipation of getting a new one. And even though a larger piece of furniture helps with grounding a space (it used to be on the wall across from the window), the bottom line was that this room needed a larger rug. A large, rich-in-color, grounding rug.
My inspiration was in the dining room.
That painting! It was done by a family friend and wow is it beautiful. I wanted to pull some of its colors into the living room and that blue was just the ticket for the rug.
Ahhhh. Now there is an inviting and calming room. Thanks rug.
People are often uncertain about rug size. Really it's about going as big as you can go. Your furniture can have the front two legs on the rug and the back two off the rug leaving a bit of breathing room around the perimeter. 1-2 feet. We could have gone a bit wider but then the length would have invaded the foyer area, so we made a call on an 8x10.
Another major element was a new wall color. The previous color was sponge painted, and well we all know what happened to the sponge paint trend. It died. So....fresh walls were a must.
Really from there it was mostly about furniture arrangement.
People also ask about furniture arrangement. It's a case by case situation, obviously, but in general people make the mistake of not creating conversation areas. Isn't that what rooms are for? For creating spaces where people can converse and enjoy each other's company. Or at least we hope that's what we all desire.
Instead I find rooms where the furniture is too far apart or not grouped well, leading to awkward conversation areas. Or lack of. In this case putting the couch in front of the window allowed for the WHOLE main floor to feel more connected. With the couch on the opposite wall, yes you had a bit more of a 'view' (mostly cars whizzing by) but this arrangement helped create a more natural conversation area with the two chairs and credenza filling the space on the opposite wall.
The credenza also helped break up that large wall so we didn't feel obligated to fill it with art. Two simple pieces did the trick. And that opened up the other wall for their gorgeous stained glass window! Which used to hang in their bay window. My client mentioned that it had had it's moment and she was willing to part with it to the basement, but on this wall it has new life!
Another thought on rug sizes. In the foyer, it is important (and kind) to put a rug down that gives enough room for your guest to actually enter the room. Ha! A little 2x4 isn't gonna cut it and your guests will feel like they are standing on a little wool island, unsure of their next move. Instead...a long runner or depending on the space, a 5x7 is nice. Something to give ample room for them to enter and feel welcomed INTO the space.
Okay, back to the photos. Really it was about curating what they already had...putting everything in its proper spot. A lamp here, a picture there.
And now that this room was feeling good, we had to address the dining room. You may remember....
Again my client felt like this room floated. The table seemed to be a point of contention. One would push it towards the wall to create a greater walking path and then two hours later the other would push it back centered under the light. So...to keep the marriage thriving I made a minor adjustment which my client later said was her favorite change in the whole project.
Can you see what happened here? I turned the table ninety degrees and voila! Problem solved. For their family of four it is perfect and when company comes, the table is easily rotated back for a grand feast. This room really is lovely.
We added curtains, a gorgeous chandelier, and my client reupholstered the chairs in a rich blue family-friendly fabric. With a few pieces of art, this room felt finished.
So there you have it folks. A few rug tips, a gorgeous makeover, and a little reminder from Joanna Gaines to just keep doing what you are doing. Thanks, Joanna!