Oct 14, 2015


Hi Cheryl,
Thanks for being patient.  I was on my way to the mountains when I got your email and thought I would work on it a little up there, but ended up with spotty wifi at the hotel and no cell service - that's what you get for going to the great outdoors, right?

Anyway, I have some furniture placement ideas as requested using your current furniture and possibly a couple new chair purchases - and curtain ideas as promised.  

 First of all, you asked me about the mantel, and I do like what you have done.  I think the only thing you may be worried about boils down to scale.  The items are a little small for this size of mantle.  We want it to be more like the photo following.
 The small items in the middle are fine, but a fuller floral in larger scale vases and the addition of candles in glass hurricanes or candlesticks, and varying the height of the other items with books, etc to fill it out a little more.  I like the medallion/grid in the middle, but you can go larger if you like.

Furniture placement needs to be practical as well as pretty, so we need to place the sofa directly in front of the fireplace/tv area, with the rug centered on those builtins and the sofa centered on the rug.  Front legs should be on the rug, but the back legs can be on wood if need be.  I think the rug is a little too far from the fireplace at present, so the seating feels a little unconnected.  
 Switch sides with the chair, and place it at a 90 degree angle to the sofa.  We have room now because the desk will be gone.  There is a little table/chest behind the sofa with a lamp on it - that can go in the corner of the seating area between the sofa and the chair.
Move everything up a little - not so far back in the room.
If you purchase two upholstered chairs, I would put them in the center of the window wall with a small table between them and put the lamp on that table 

The desk will be removed and you should also remove the bar stools, as there is no overhang there and you mentioned you don't use this area - and it takes up needed space.

 Here is a diagram of the seating area as I see it.

I think in this area we should do a few framed art pieces
with an upholstered bench under them,
and a small lamp on a small table.  I can't remember if I asked you if there was a floor outlet in the seating area of the room - I'm supposing not - so no lamp in that area.

Here is a sketch of this wall as I see it.

Here are some examples of chairs, tables and benches.




On the window wall, here is what I think would work.

The curtains are on short rods to accent the windows but not close over them.  Fabric should be medium weight so that they hang nicely. I don't recommend sheers here at all.  I think they should be lined so that they have more volume.  A single panel width is ample, and they should go up a little past the windows and just skim the floor.  I've made these and they are pretty simple to make - if you know someone who sews or if you sew I can give you instructions.  

Its an expense, but curtains will really make this room feel homey and finished.  Because of the height, they have to be custom, so making them is the most economical way.  I do have a connection in  Los Angeles if you don't have someone there to sew them - I can give you an idea of cost and then they would have a shipping cost as well, but probably still less expensive than having them custom made in Texas (a lot less).

Questions?  Text, email or call.   Really enjoyed meeting you and your husband, and I think you have done a beautiful job on your remodel so far!
Best wishes,
Here's what you told me:
I'm just tired of the brown walls and stained wood mantle for starters. I like design that still feels traditional but comfortable. I like pottery barn and Ballard designs. 
It's such an open space that the design would have to flow into other spaces."

So excited see the new color on the walls.  I'm posting your recent emails here so that I cover all the bases.

So I have painters set up for January. Someone ready to demolish the fireplace and/or fill in the upper balcony. Now I need some rug/textile ideas. Just to recap, we are going with Amazing Gray although Stephanie is trying to talk me into Revered Pewter. Thanks for your help. I need to throw a rug hint to my husband in time for Christmas or he will buy me something I might not want Smiling face with open mouth and smiling eyes
I think the rug I have now is 8 by 10 and it just barely fits our rug, chair and coffee table. Rug around $800 seems about right to me.

Sheryl, I think we need to go at least 9x12 in your space.  I have listed below a few links (well, a lot of links) to rugs - some below the $800 mark and a few a little above.  That size rug can get pricey, but we are in luck right now as most rugs are on sale (yay)....  I stayed in the neutral zone on the rugs, because you haven't selected new furniture yet.  I wanted the rug to be something that would go with most anything you may choose.  Most rugs are available in other colors, as you will see.   If we can't find one you really like, there is always the option of finding carpet you like and having it bound into a rug for you.  We are limited to a 12 foot width there, but unlimited in length.

While you are at these sites and looking around, if you should fall in love with something you see that isn't necessarily neutral, we can build around it.



"I think it all depends on furniture arrangement. You mentioned having some ideas for furniture placement. I really do need more seating but will probably hold off on buying new furniture for a year or so. I'd just like you to dream for me. What would look ideal?  Money is an issue but if it weren't, what would you do? If I just have the ideas and pictures, I can find something that comes close in our budget. 

I think key in this room is to avoid having too little furniture.  We need to fill the room more.  Look at these photos of high ceiling'd rooms and furniture placements.  Let me know if you are drawn to any in particular.  Other than the first one, which I included for the furniture placement, these photos have the look and feel I envision for your room.

I like that this room above has furniture that fills the space well.
Two sofas might work well in your space, with some occasional chairs
and since you asked, if this were my home I would add more stone
maybe not this much, but possibly redo the fireplace 
and with stone you can go up higher...

I also like the furniture arrangement above...

I like this look too - with the stone more prominent on the bottom and the painted
wood on the top.  

The next photo (actually 2 photos) has great seating arrangement.  I would definitely use the wall that has the windows with a sofa table behind - like they have here, so that the entire room can be filled.
and here you can see what I mean about being able to go higher with stone - it just works.

While you are looking through these, check out the tall window treatments, as well.  

I like this seating arrangement as well.  Let me know which you like.

You said I should dream for you, right? 

Yes, I have a contractor coming over to give me an estimate tomorrow on flooring, painting, tearing down did fireplace and dry walling in the open space. Question is, if we did tear down the upper portion of the fireplace, would it just be a big blank gray wall above. I see what you mean about it being awkwardly tall but will it just end up feeling awkwardly employ or did you have ideas? 

There are a lot of things you can do to minimize those big blank spaces.  First, though, I would reconsider  closing off the upper balcony entirely.  I might drywall the bottom portion, creating a half wall with openings above, mainly because one of the ways to avoid big blank spaces is not to create anymore, but also because it will provide some architectural interest and that is another way to minimize the tall walls, and it will create a little privacy.

Curtains on the windows will also help, adding texture and color there.  The trim work and moldings on the fireplace will still keep that area from looking too blank.  Look back over some of these photos and see how some of these areas have been handled with art, wood trim, paint, etc.   Once the holidays are over I will sketch out some ideas for you to play with.

Again, let me know - when doing this long distance, communication is key.  Thanks!
previous post
Hi Sheryl,

Lets start with wall color, because that will change your life you know!  I'm going to recommend a cooler tone, to lift that brown color off of your shoulders.  Warm tones tend to come towards you, making a room feel closer, heavier, darker, warmer.  Cool tones will recede from you, will feel calm, will add space, will be a great background to whatever other colors you add as accent.  We can pull these neutrals into the other visible living areas.

So for starters in the living room, look at these neutral colors.   Your homework will be to paint a sample on a posterboard - two coats just like on a wall - and leave about a 3 inch border around it, because that brown on your walls is going to distort the new color if its right against it.

Another funny thing about color is that your light - inside and out - affects it.   So, move those posterboards around the room and look at it at different times of the day, because your paint will change with your light.  These colors generally look great anytime of day, but if you have a southern light coming in the room it will look different than if you have a northern light... so... homework because your eye is the one I am trying to please.

One more caution, don't rely on these photos - computer images are not reliable.  Try them out first.




 I know they look similar, but some will be more gray, and some will be more beige, and there may be undertones that show up in your light - so I'm giving you 4 to try.    Most loved of these tend to be Amazing Gray and Accessible Beige.   Accessible Beige is quite light, but still shows up against white moldings, etc.

NEXT IS THE WOODWORK.   You are tired of stained wood and you like Ballard and PB, so I need to ask if you want white painted woodwork, or a more Ballard look like Deep dark brown, charcoal or black?

Painting out this beautiful fireplace will give it a whole new feel.  I would recommend you paint it white because the rest of your trim is white. But I would have the bannister and posts stained very dark brown (a paint treatment with a gel stain over the top) or painted dark brown.
(paint any heat or a/c registers the same color as the wall - to make them disappear)

Here are some photos to help you visualize the changes.

It gives you an idea, although its not exactly the same.
And the bannister -

Long term, down the road, I think the fireplace is way too high.  I would remove the top panel section.    However, I would need to see an additional photo showing that area before I decide for sure.  I'd also like to see the windows (take at night) so I can get a feeling for their height.

Trying to decide what is happening on the entry ceiling.  Is that painted?  I would paint over it - it appears to be flat.  Even if it has molding, I would paint the brown spots the same color as the ceiling.

Also down the road, I would paint the front door black, but keep the side window molding in white.
Kind of like this..

To furnish this area, I think an area rug is important to anchor the seating area.  I would do two neutral sofas or a sectional in front of the tv area.  I would place a sofa table at the back - so that you have a place to put accessories or lamps (is there a plug in the floor? or only on the wall?)

I would add two club chairs or occasional chairs in front of the windows, with a small
table between, and a lamp on the table.

The final stages would be to add the fabrics and accessories.
You will need to do some more homework here - tell me what colors you love
and what type of patterns you like.

Definitely need curtains to soften and frame those gorgeous windows.!

Your turn,
tell me what you think about these suggestions.  Share your thoughts.



1 comment:

Sheryl Carroll said...

Can't wait to get started on my paint homework. I will email the pictures that you requested. Really want to focus on paint and a rug over the next 6 months. But it would be great if I could visualize new furniture and placement to see the big picture. If you have any pictures of furniture and rugs I'd appreciate it. As far as color, it seems like once we have the new paint in place, almost anything will work, but I seem to be drawn to greens and blues. Definitely steer away from reds, orange and any animal prints. Thanks