Thursday, July 30, 2009

How will I be able to blog about domino when I'm obviously such a GRANNY

Before I get back to discussing domino magazine (and I will) I thought I'd show you what I've been up to: meeting with a decorator and buying a new camera.

I had a decorator come to help me with my living room, which has been driving me crazy for years. It's the room in my house that most reminds me of a child--lovable, interesting, quirky, and murderously difficult.

Now that I can upload pictures (click to embiggen) you can see what I'm dealing with.

what you see when you walk in

A bunch of things make it difficult. First of all, the walls are all taken up with windows, arches, and French doors.

windows, radiators, french doors, oh my

Also the windows have radiators under them, so floor-length curtains don't work.

And the fireplace takes up a lot of space with its built-ins cupboards and shelves.

fireplace and mantel 2

Also, it's hideous.

All the furniture has to float. There's no place to put a sofa, except in a small L-shaped extension that leads to the sun room.

Arch from living room to "family room"

Living room looking towards dining room
The two little spaces on either side of this doorway are the only plain wall space in the room.

So. I was looking for ideas for new upholstered pieces and window treatments. Right now I'm making do with rummage sale chairs and loveseats, and leftover balloon shades from our old place in the city.

It was really time for a re-do.

Now, everyone says to start with the rug, because it's easier to bring fabrics and paint colors to a rug than vice versa. Well, I think I spent four months shopping for a new living room rug. I shopped Restoration Hardware, Home Decorator's, Pottery Barn, Ballard Design, and Horchow.

Here's what I learned: be very careful when rug-shopping by catalog. You end up with huge rolled up rugs that need to be returned.

I finally found a rug in a nearby store. My husband really loved it, so we ordered it. We didn't get a standard size, and it took eight months to be made and shipped. So the other thing I learned? If you like oriental rugs, shop for an antique. They have the advantage of being already made.

I must say, the fabric the ladies picked for the boards certainly work with the rug, which is cream, olive green, browned-down rose, chocolate brown, with a tiny amount of slate blue.

Swatches 2

Swatches 1

Thibault Tea House sample
The decorator's shop window was papered in this chintz ... Thibault's Tea House in chocolate brown colorway. I love Chinoiserie! It may be why I hired them.

Now, as you can see, anything would be an improvement from the current situation.

But my granny pants are in a knot over the fabrics and trim that have been selected for my approval. Granted I'm not a 20-something stylist living in a studio apartment in Manhattan ... but somehow ... I'm getting a whiff of mothballs.

Am I right?


  1. Yes you are, with all that those arches keep it simple. Get rid of that shelf above the fireplace it will never look right. That screen is dated get one custom made to fit the arch. What do you use that room for? Entertaining, games, reading? Look around all your furniture is the same height. Spend your money on a good painter, down custom pillows and a fab marble top large square cocktail table blue marble and brass. That Tea house is amazing I have loved it forever. Get a rectangular simple mirror and paint the inside of the book cases a contrasting color.

  2. I think it looks like it could come together really well- the swatches look very classic to me without being stale. But it all depends on how you want the room to feel- it definitely says formal living room. If you want something younger, I'd take the brown swatch you fell in love with, ditch the rest and run with it.

  3. I'm OK with formal ... that L-shaped area has the flat screen, a big squashy slipcovered sofa from Ballard Design, and a cheap rug, so that's where we watch TV/game.

    I agree that a new fireplace would do wonders. What's the point of having it as the focal point if it's hideous? I'm going to get a new mantel and then tile the area between the brick fireplace opening and the mantel. My sample boards include tiles for a new fireplace surround. They're nice (cream-colored stone; various pale shades pulled from the rug) but what I'd really love is something a bit shiny. It would look more modern and bounce some light around.

  4. Yup, mothballs
    You sound too way young to have a pad so oldish. Puts me to sleep looking at it. A room should invigorate, stimulate upon entry. Marble or nice stone for the mantle forget tiles
    Less kitschy little pieces think larger, sculpture, good art, statement lighting. Check out Nate Berkus, Holly Hunt in CS Interors, your neck of the woods. Create more space it looks so crammed and boring. The doors are attractive. Get a large over size mirror, definitely bounce some light follow your instincts not local tradition. Think lighter colors and less granny patterns, think longevity, youthful rooms. Im not talkin crayola, just hip and airy, welcoming, inviting but not like to grandmas house. Its all good. Stay true to a vision. Think of what yu enjoy when youre at another home or a hotel. Remember what you hate. Dont incorporate items that look old, catch dust collect clutter. Cant wait to see what you do itll be an adventure, have fun. Just dont make it your mothers house or decor to impress the strangers, fit your needs