Quickie-Monique and Ryan’s Family Room

14 07 2010

Monique contacted me regarding her living room a couple months ago and wanted some fresh ideas since she was tired of the contractor white walls.  Here is her letter:

Dear Sharon: We are looking to change the look of our family room space by updating a few key pieces, but also have several pieces that we would like to keep. The family room is part of the “great room” space in our home, so the look from the family room has to flow into the dining and kitchen as well. I am drawn to warmer tones like wheat, red, and rich chocolates, but I am also open to other color choices and prefer wood tones in the espresso family. The style of furniture that I like tends to be cleaner lines, but I also don’t like anything that is too modern. I love texture and details, whether that be an interesting button on a pillow to a distressed finish on a candleholder and also love touches of nature. I tend to like styles that are contemporary, French, or slightly traditional in feel.  The main piece of furniture we want to change is a sectional. We have two small dogs and two cats, so we need something that is durable and easy to keep clean.  We have a square coffee table and console table that have beveled glass that we like to keep. We also own two ladder back shelving units that flank our fireplace that are in an espresso stain. Other than these pieces, we are looking to add or change the rest of the space….wall art, decorative accessories, pillows, throws, table lighting, and possibly a rug.
One of the biggest choices we also need to make is wall color. Due to the layout of our home, the color we put in this space will wrap through most of our main level and will possibly even wrap up the stairway onto the second level. It is so tough to find a neutral and warm tone that will work in many areas!  Can you tell that we need a lot of help?!  The space is 14’x15′ and has one large window along a North facing window.


Monique certainly knows how to accessorize a room, but I agree that the walls could use a little color and since they are replacing the sofa a few other additions might be nice to spruce things up a bit.  Here is their material board:
And the material board breakdown:
  1. For the color palette, I have warmed up the walls a bit with Behr/ Pale Wheat #UL160-7 for most of the walls.  If you are interested in adding an accent wall my suggestion would be the wall with the windows that spreads between the family room and kitchen.  It will make an impact as you enter the house and has two inside corners for it to die into.  My suggestion for this color would be Behr/ Cacao #UL160-22.  Since you already have so many accents in red that I adore, I thought I would add complementary plum and orange accents to the room to balance all the dark furniture.
  2. The sofa sectional is a customized design from Smith Brothers and is a medium chocolate brown.  For your layout, you should opt for a RAF sofa, corner chair and LAF loveseat.
  3. Since I changed out most of the metal finishes in the room, I wanted to give you an option for changing out your ceiling fan to a bronzed finish.  This also includes a light kit since while we were talking you mentioned low lighting in the room.  You might also consider a dimmer on the switch so that you could choose your lighting level accordingly.
  4. The pillows for the sofa are semi-custom made from a vendor on Etsy.  My suggestion for each corner would be an ivory silk pillow with metal accents with a plum silk pillow with a self fabric accent in front of the ivory one.  On either corner with arms include the paisley pillow for a pop of color and fun.
  5. Since the curtains go on the accent wall, I figured the wheat color would complement the room, carpet and dark furniture.  I would put a decorative panel on each side of the long window and do a wide panel on the slider. I think bronze hardware would look great with the golden tones in the room.  Something like this would look spectacular.
  6. I selected an area rug for your dining room that would complement the family room in hopes that it would blend the rooms together well.
  7. This lamp is selected for behind the chair as a reading lamp.  With it’s overhang it should provide ample task lighting while adding a decorative touch to the room.
  8. You currently have a lamp on the console table and I thought an updated version to match the other metals in the room would add a touch of sophistication.  This simple lamp is elegant and will look great with both your dining room and your family room decors since it splits the difference between the rooms.
  9. This chair had me going back and forth between a decorative piece and a comfy version.  I decided you had plenty of soft furniture with the sectional and to that I would add some interest with this piece.  The back of this chair is certainly a statement and will look great next to your ladder bookshelves.  It combines the paisley effect and the more organic botanicals found in both the area rug and artwork.  I would suggest having the seat upholstered in the “Date” fabric.
  10. Lastly, I took a note from your current photographic artwork and selected something with a similar look, but incorporated all of our colors to help it blend with the room.

Since I adore all of the accessories throughout the space currently, I haven’t added anything new.  My only suggestion is to maybe incorporate in a few more plum accents to complement the red one just to finalize things.  So there you have a slightly traditional space that is oozing with sophistication.  Can’t wait to see how the room looks when you finish with it!  If you want to get a Quickie of your own, click here.

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Quickie Patio Revamp

21 04 2010

First, I would like to apologize for my recent absence.  It all started with me being under the weather for a couple days, but now I am back and rejuvenated with new topics and ideas.

For this weeks’ quickie I wanted to explore something in the outdoors since we are getting into nice weather, so I looked at revamping a patio.  John and I have been working out ideas for our own patio so I gathered some items that I loved but just didn’t make our final cut!

So here is our material board:


  1. I divided up the patio into a few sections.  A lounging area that centers around a firepit, an outdoor dining area and some accessories for a tree.  As part of the lounging area, these nesting table will be able to be spread out between all the chairs for comfortable conversation over a fire.
  2. These lounge chairs make a perfect comfy spot to enjoy a fire with a companion.  Putting two of these chairs side by side on one side of the firepit will make a great area for playing some cards and drinking some wine!
  3. These woven side chairs would look great flanking the lounge chairs, one on each side.  The high back design will make them perfect for sitting in during a long evening.
  4. Finally, a traditional firepit completes this section.  This one is great since it has the orange accents to really complete the look.
  5. This umbrella is a perfect addition to a dining area, especially since it isn’t anchored in the center of the table.  Often times this impedes conversation and is hard to remove if you want to bask in the sun.  With the cantilevered design of this option you’ll love the flexibility it provides.  As an added bonus, isn’t the color spectacular?!
  6. These chairs are a inexpensive option for outdoor dining.  While a bit on the small side, they reduce the overall size of the table while still providing seating to 4 guests.  The easy clean ability will make this dining area an easy decision for outdoor entertaining.
  7. Can’t have chairs without a great table and this one is GREAT!  The construction is a sturdy metal that will hold up for years to come and the white finish will make it very versatile with anything you accessorize with it.
  8. Speaking of accessories, these woven placemats will add a great punch of color to the tabletop that will look fantastic with the umbrella above.  These plates and glasses will also be a welcome addition since they are made of a shatterproof material.
  9. Finally, a bird feeder and a few floating candles hanging by twine from a favorite tree will look great and add to the ambiance as night falls.  Who doesn’t love sitting outside, enjoying a great night with friends surrounded by firelight?!  Sounds about perfect to me.

So there you have it, an affordable patio for entertaining guests by firelight.  What do you think?  How do you entertain summertime guests?  Do you have a favorite summertime drink you serve?  If you would like a quickie of your own, click here to have us get started.





High/Low Quickie Inspiration-Other Designers Designs

3 02 2010

I wanted to take a look at where designers find inspiration for this weeks’ quickie.  Often times people don’t know where to “even begin looking” to find an inspiration for their space so they just start bringing in things they love and often times that is when I get the “my room just looks jumbled” comment.  As designers we know how to pull the room together because we know where the focal point is or needs to be.  There is a variety of ways that we get inspired to create a room and in the coming weeks I will be illustrating that via these quickie boards.  Now don’t be shy, just because I am working on a little side project doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t love working on a design for you as well.  So submit your room to me through and email and I can work on that for you as well.

Now, for this week, I took inspiration from the picture featured below.

The original room was designed by Kate Hume, an up and coming designer, and was pretty high end in terms of price.  I thought the space had nice bones so I set out to recreate a version at a much discounted price.  Our version is similar to her set up, but would come in for around $3,500.00.  I know that might sound like a lot of moola to some of you out there, but the room features a designer chair and a gigantic table, plus the original I am guessing came in for more than $20,000.  We show what our selections would be on the material board below:

  1. We started off with a more muted palette than the original version, but still wanted to have some fun with pops of color.  So we started with a couple muted taupe colors, one lighter and one darker to offset the dark wood in all of the furniture.  The orange is represented with the chairs and maybe a couple of accessories to pull them together, but I really like the gold (that came from the stripe in the drape) to be a grounding color and would love to see more accents with the accessories in that dark gold hue.
  2. The fabulous pendant light fixture is one of the best finds in the room and for only $29.99 from IKEA, it really did light the way.  I liked that it was in a pure white finish and had the same downward shaped petals that the other lamp had.
  3. This simple table lamp is a great deal and offers a box-y white rectangular shade to mimic the original.
  4. I selected this console table because the “X” patterned ends added continuity to the room since the selected dining table had a sloped base.  I also really like the small details on this table with the addition of the satin metal connectors and the tray table top.
  5. Speaking of the dramatic dining table this selection offers a large square style (63”) at a regular table height of 30”.  The angular base adds visual interest to the space while giving us a solid, heavy foundation piece to focus on.
  6. The little tulip chair by Pierre Paulin is a classic style from 1965 that we can now get at a much discounted rate by reaching out to knock off distributors.  For instance, this chair original goes for around $1400.00 and that is before reupholstering.  We found these babies in several lively colors for just $369.00 per chair.
  7. These are a bit different from the original bench but a little cushion never hurt anything.  These will be comfortable for sitting for a long duration since they have some padding and they will look great with the table as a low seating option.
  8. A suggestion for an accessory is this vase.  Again, I would rather see it in the dark gold color but having a few pops of orange to bring out the chairs would be great too.
  9. These magnificent sconces are a perfect way to get a little bit of sparkle in the room.  In the original they are used to flank the doorway, but if you don’t have this set up then they can flank a mirror or could be used singular if that works better.  I will go as far as to say that the little bit of glitter that gets dispersed from these sconces goes a long way in making this room feel elegant.
  10. The wallpaper is a subtle version of the modern paisley on the walls in the original.  This is an organic, modern flower that leans towards the biomorphic shape of the paisley without really over powering the room.  The soft color choice of this pattern should add an overall calming effect to the room even though the pattern choice is quite busy.
  11. The lovely, sophisticated drapes are where we get the punch of dark gold and I think they are so beautiful!  They will really add a touch of elegance with the sheen of the material up against the walls filled with the same color background.

So there you have it, the first of many suggestions of how to find design inspiration and the where, why and how we build a room around it.  If you have any questions or suggestions please shoot me a comment or an email and if you want a quickie board of your own click here to get started.  So what do you think of this simply elegant dining room?!  Would it be something you would do in your own dining room?