Saturday, March 5, 2011

"D" Takes the Challenge

On my last post I talked about " Rate My Space". I asked if anyone out there would like to send me a few photos of one of their rooms and we could all put our heads together and offer ideals for change. I ask that everyone be honest, but respectful of "D" feelings. (N0 TROLLS) here !

"D" told me that she has some big events coming up and would like to make some small tweaks right away, but later she has plans for lots of change. She has her own ideals that she did not share with me, wanted to get fresh ideals before sharing her own . . .

So take a close look at "D's" space. What would you do if it were your own ? Share your ideals and let's see what a few bloggers can come up with.


  1. Hi Vicky and D. This is a very lovely primitive inspired space. I would love to see the fireplace be a focal point of the room. I'm not sure if that's possible with the layout of the space. If it is, I would make a seating area facing the fireplace and move the table and chairs to a less important area of the room. Your vinginetts are lovely, but if you consolidated them and had fewer, they would have more impact and allow for places for the eye to rest. I would keep the pieces that make the most impact and have the most importantance to me and eliminate a few others. I remember watching one of the design star shows and they went crazy about too many pillows on the sofa. I suffered from this ailment myself. For an updated look, could you eliminate some of the pillows? Maybe collect two beautiful crewl (sp?) pillows for the sofa, and one beautiful needlepoint for a chair? My last thought is that the lamps may be a little underscale for the sofas. Photos can be deceiving, so this may not be the case. Good luck with your changes. You have a lovely, comfortable home with a great sense of style.

  2. A very nice cozy space. I would remove some of the objects, especially above the mantle and the couch to simplify a bit. I would also consider moving the mirror above the piano to either above the mantle or above the couch. It would be interesting to see how the room looked without the area rug...without being there in person it is hard to tell.

  3. It is a beatiful space as is, but I know she is looking for change. One, that would instantly make the most impact, would be a ligther wall color. I feel the deep red competes with the brick fireplace and wood trim. I think both would stand out more against a more neutral color and open the space. Two, paint the chairs at the table or maybe just the pedestal of the table a neutral color. Too much wood. The mouldings she has are lovely, and need to be showcased. I would also remove the mirror from above the piano. You want a mirror to reflect something pretty, and right now it is reflecting too much. Can't wait to see what she does!

  4. I always find it helpful to strip a room of all its accessories and work with a blank canvas so to speak. So first remove all art,lamps and little pretties.
    Next I would remove the sofa in the piano area, I think the sofa a love seat are enough large pieces in that space.
    I would choose a new brighter wall color, a soft creamy tan like the check in the darling chair.
    I can see the wood is gorgeous so I am only saying this because you asked what would I do. I would paint out the trim in white, but that is just me.

    Float the sofa on the far wall where the loveseat is now.
    Move the love seat to float facing the sofa where the chair now sits.
    Move the piano to the wall where the sofa sits.
    I think I would us one simple piece of art or a mirror above piano.
    Now that the other sofa is gone move the darling chair in its place angle toward fireplace, place a table and a lamp for a cute sitting area.

    Move the round table more centered to the fireplace and back a little. I would get an $85 Ballard white floor length table cloth to hide the wood. Paint the chairs in the paprika color that seems to be in the pillows on sofa in a semi-gloss.
    Now for the fun part bring back in ONLY your favorite pieces and play house!!! Have fun

    PS I think white ceramic lamps will give the room pop!!
    Can you tell I like light and bright!!!!
    Happy Weekend

  5. Hey Vickie and "D"....Paint!

    Repainting will do two things...first it will force you to remove everything from the room, walls etc. The paint should be in the white family. When you bring your furniture, art etc. back in, if it doesn't look right leave it out until your absolutely sure it will work. Second, group objects together. When things are spread out it reads more as clutter...but when grouped together, it reads as a collection.

    Fun post and good luck!

    xo kelley

  6. Hi Vicky and D,
    What a great sized space, beautiful architecture and lovely wood. You have gotten some really great advise from these other commenters. I would just reiterate what they have said about lightening up all of the walls in a creamy white.
    I would offer that perhaps she could move the dining area into the area that I can see through the doorway next to her kitchen, removing the sofa there. Then she could make this whole area into a big living room. Removing most of the stuff from the walls would help a whole lot, too.
    Hugs, Cindy

  7. First thank you D for sharing your lovely home! Which I love BTW. Like the others I'd start with paint. I would NOT paint the woodwork!! It's oroginal to the home. But try to lighten up the space in every other way possible. I'd like to see two wing chairs flanking the fireplace with a small table between them for cosy chats in front of the fire. I can't really see the wall where the sofa is placed? But I'd go with a small settee. One without so much visual weight. The mirror over the piano would look nice with a painting....I wish I could be in the room to get a better idea of how it all relates. I'm really looking forward to seeing what you decide to do. I hope you'll share it with us. Vanna

  8. What a fun idea this is. As beautiful as the woodwork and built-in bookcases are, there must be beautiful hardwood floors under the carpet. I'd consider exposing the hardwood flooring first of all. You probably would need to paint the room lighter, as many have suggested, as the natural flooring would be darker than the present floor covering. You're fortunate to have an older house with good bones and fine craftsmanship.

  9. Here are my ideas. This house is very workable, but could really look different with some basic changes: (1) Change the wall color. The red is just too dark and dated. Lighter and more neutral. I know many others have suggested it, but it was my first thought, so I felt I should mention it. (2) Rethink furniture arrangement. A gradual plan of replacing and updating the furniture would be good, but with just the existing pieces, there could be much improvement by rearranging the furniture. (3) Lighting would be next for me. I would replace the overhead ceiling chandelier with tract lighting in the same color as the ceiling. By focusing the lighting on the art and areas you want to exphasize, this room could look totally different. Overhead lighting is just to harsh and the chandelier is undersized anyway. The lamps need some help. The modern aspect of the tract lights would updaate the look as well (4) Rehang the art and reaccessorize. This room needs more variety in size of art. A couple of larger, more graphic pieces...they don't have to be expensive, just more variety. "Editing" is an overused term these days, but it really applies here. There is too much stuff here, and I think there are a lot of things in this room that are just too sweet and sentimental, and dated for a public space. If they have personal meaning, then by all means, keep them, but reconsider using them in the more private spaces of the house, otherwise, they should be eliminated to update the look. (5) Replace the current window treatments. Simple matchstick blinds would be very economical, and add warmth, texture, and filter the light. All of the above changes could be accomplished without a significant investment of cash or time.

  10. I want to thanks everyone for all the great ideals ! I thought I would take a turn now... 1st as lots have stated ~ PAINT ! I would go with a neutral for the walls and paint the crown molding the same color. I would go with a white for the ceiling. I would even paint the fireplace brick and built a larger mantel. Though I know most would not, I would paint all the woodwork white as well. 2nd I would take up the carpet and refinish the wood floors. 3rd I would work on the lighting. I love Terry's ideal for track lighting!4th I would remove the piano and put in a built-in bookcase, painted white. 5th would be to change out the window treatments. I would do matchstick blinds with panels on simple rods on each window.
    I always start all projects with the box . At this point my box would be completed. So I would start with the furniture ... I would put a floor lenght tablecloth on the table and remove the chairs. On the table I would maybe put a vase with something tall in it and stacks of books around it to invite you to sit and relax, look at a book ect. The table would be put it in the center of the space to seperate two seating areas, one by the fireplace and one with the t.v. as a focal. I would finish with a lot less accessories and try to add larger things to the space that add interest without clutter.
    I hope this post has been fun for "D". Please comment and let us know which ideals you have liked. I am also wanting to hear about your own ideals... I hope to share the "after" photo with everyone. Thanks "D"

  11. In keeping with "D's" Traditional furnishings (beautiful accent tables BTW) I would begin with an overall plan that would ensure a continuous flow of upgrades throughout the home. (For example: The adjacent room.)

    The plan would definitely include:
    1) Replacing the carpeting with the hardwood FLOORING that I am presuming (by the commentS) is underneath.
    Footnote: In the event a section of the existing carpet is salvagable, she might wish to consider having the edges bound and transformed into an area carpet that could be used elsewhere in the home.

    2) In respect to this particular room I see
    a FIREPLACE that may be non-working (no screen) which proposes two options. a) Transform it into a focal point of the room by refacing it and adding a more substantial mantel OR b) eliminate it altogether and replace it with a multi task wall unit.
    Footnote: In both instances, a new floor plan for the furnishings/accessories would be in order to accommodate task and traffic flow.

    3) Now that the dilemma of the fireplace has been solved and since it is a fairly large space, I agree with Terry's suggestion of track LIGHTING.
    Footnote: Due to its flexability TL fixtures have become very popular and there are many styles to choose from. Don't forget to add a dimmer switch!

    4) PAINT, paint, paint as so many others have recommended beginning with the ceiling and walls. Research 'How To' and consider using quality productS. If reluctant to paint out the wood then do 'not' at this time. With the amount of wood that you have, I feel your furniture placement will dictate the deciding factor. Remember it's much easier to paint than to strip.... :)
    Footnote: 2 to 3 shades lighter of your wall color works well on ceilings. Ask your paint dealer to 'cut' it.

    5) Furniture and accessores are a personal
    choice and though I do love some of 'D's' pieces I too suggest that she EDIT to comply with a new floorplan even if it necessitates parting with some of her furnishings. With that said; in relation to her pieces of Artwork she could always choose her favourites and create a gallery wall. Last but not least as it appears the space has tall beautiful windows and provided privacy or sunlight were not an issue, I would consider leaving them bare.
    Footnote: Editing is said to be like packing for a vacation. "Think in terms what you can do without."

    Summary: I wish "D" success in her decorating adventure. Make it a fun process and enjoy!
    P.S: Apologize Ms. Vicky for rambling on.

  12. hi vicky, thanks for your email!
    i agree with so many of the ideas already mentioned...wood floors, lighter paint, better lighting, different window treatments etc.
    i also think that there are too many functions going on in the room....eating/game table, piano, several seating areas. a couple of new suggestions i have:
    could the piano act as a sofa table behind the couch? it would need to float in the room, or come out as an angle off of a wall. i just always wonder why everyone puts the piano against a wall?? i know the backs are unfinished, but with it backing to the sofa (if it's not too tall, it could double as a place for a reading lamp and be something different).
    i think the fireplace needs to be edited. i like the nook with it's arched top and think it is a cute place to showcase a special piece. i'd remove everything around it, and just simply add a large, chunky, cool, old, empty frame. the large frame would "frame" the nook and make that area appear a bit more substantial.
    i also think the sofas could use less pillows. they look to be acting as the back of the sofa, so they are probably needed. but i would invest in two proper back cushions and simplify the look.
    i can't put my finger on it, but something about the coffee table and rug underneath isn't working. ??? perhaps it's the rug, wrong style or something. i think with wood floors it could look better.
    one last thought: i see an adjoining both these rooms need to be completely reworked? meaning does the living room really need to stay the living room and so on. I regularly switch my dining room and living room around all the time. maybe take a look at what each room is being used for (at times, my dining room is also a combination library!) sometimes completely switching things is just what was needed.
    good luck! can't wait to see the after photos! "D" is lucky to have a space with great bones and all these ideas for her space!!

  13. I think the room is a great size and it looks like the furniture placement is good for conversation. It has a nice cozy feeling that says come and hang out here. I tend to go more neutral, not vanilla but I think a sage color on the walls would be pretty with the current furniture. I may move the mirror above the piano to the fireplace and add some trim to it. I would probably take out a couple pieces of furniture and move the piano so it doesn;t compete with the fireplace. Overall the room doesn;t need a whole lot, just edited. Good luck and have fun!

  14. Hello Ladies, This is D. I want to thank all of you for you kind and generous ideas for my living room. Most of you have some very similar ideas to what I had been thinking.
    First of all, what you can't see, there are two large radiators below each of the two large windows. This makes it very difficult for furniture placement.
    My plans are...yes...paint!!! I am planning on a creamy white. I am going away from the primitive decorations so they will be gone. I am removing the yellow sofa, chair, footstool, black rug, coffee table, and end stand.
    We are taking up the carpet in the adjacent room and refurbishing the floor but since we live in an old home the wood floors would just be too cold for our living space so we will be replacing the carpeting (at least until the children are gone).
    I would love to replace the furniture but until I do I will be slip-covering them along with the pillows(which form the back of the sofa). I would love for all of that to be in white also.
    As far as the fireplace, I am hoping to have it resurfaced with faux stone and that stone would go to the ceiling and then replace the mantle with a larger stone one to match.
    Some of the changes will start now but most will have to wait until June but look out..but the end of summer there will be major changes in our home.
    This has been a very enjoyable experience and I want to thank Vicky and all those who took the time to comment. Thanks a million! D

  15. What a fun thing to do. D now has so many great ideas from which to choose. And it didn't cost a thing. I can't wait to hear or see what she likes and does!

  16. Thanks everyone and "D" we look forward to seeing what you do with your beautiful space.

  17. Hi! Haven't visited you in so long...but this post, about "D", I would like to try to help:

    brighten things up with a creamy white paint on the walls, but leave all that beautiful woodwork alone.....

    -the space looks like 'family central' - and is very inviting...however...the two big couches and the oversized chair plus the other furniture really give it a cluttered I would have the couches facing eachother - and if by chance she can remove that oversized chair to by the fireplace with a lamp/etc to create a cozy sitting area....the table and chairs would be removed to another location in her home
    -I see a great dresser in the background - against that far wall...I would put that under the hanging shelf she has - and be able to really do seasonal displays...even an old mirror propped up on that dresser to further brighten the space - but leaning - not hung...and so now the dresser turns from bar, dessert area, etc...
    -you can tell she loves dark woods - which will look even more fantastic with light walls

    it is hard to paint light over dark walls if you have lived with it for awhile, but I think that is key to the room's well as removing the round table and chairs -


    I hope that helps your's one of my favorite things to helping others decorate their homes in a new way :)

    edit the space (and daunting as it sounds, it might even be good to remove all the accessories in there....and leave the furniture and then edit that way.

    Anne Marie

  18. oh! and the ceiling too.....the same creamy white :)

  19. Kudo's to "D" for opening her home to a multitude of decorators. What a wonderful idea! It's neat to read the different perspectives on one room, but also see the commonalities.

    If you don't redo the fireplace, then I would use the brick colors as my paint palette for both rooms. Shades of gray-taupe, gray- white, and pops of burnt orange/rust/burgundy which would complement the wood trim nicely. The niche should have a focus of it's own. Mantel accessories would be few but have visual weight & height.

    Oh what fun it would be to spend the day with you. Can't wait to see the final results.