Starting from scratch is not alway necessary in design. In fact, sometimes the nicest results come from blending together new and old and updating the old to feel like new. That's just what we did with the Marietta Traditional Project and I love the results!
As you can see, the room was not bad! It has good seating, solid, good quality furniture, and lots of storage. BUT, it also has dare I say too much storage and the built-ins with the large cabinetry visually overlap one another (their lines do, not physically overlapping). This space is just off of a porch so the window is shaded and there is not much natural light at all. Because of that, it feels dark and the darker colors on the furniture feel even darker than they are.
My client did some smart things to try to get more light in the room with lighting and a mirror to bounce light around. There are 3 points of light (table lamps, overhead, and floor lamp) but it still felt dark and the cabinet on the left feels heavy and a little oppressive for the space.
As you can see here, the window is a little odd. It's sort of a bay window but the wall does not follow the shape of the windows at all. The crown moulding all around makes the walls feel shorter with the vaulted ceilings being minimized by the horizontal line of the crown.
Yes, the cutest family ever lives here. This area is technically a part of the family room but feels almost more a part of the breakfast room. Just off the backdoor and between the family room and breakfast room, this space did not have much function. The kids have grown up a lot since this portrait, and while they're still small, they're not using a tiny table this small anymore. This space needed functionality and purpose.
The plan started with electrical. We needed to get more light on the subject so I drew up a plan for the layout of the room and added can lights across the ceiling to distribute more even lighting. We kept the existing wiring for the ceiling fan and swapped the fan out for a really pretty light fixture. In the South, we need fans. They're not pretty but they're often very necessary. However, in this room, due to a very good HVAC system and a nice shady situation thanks to the porch, a fan was not needed so so we could ditch it in favor for something much more attractive!
You'll notice a few other pieces have changed in this floor plan, more on those later.
Next, we devised a plan to address those windows. This expert drawing above (ha!) shows the plan: to make the window feel like it was supposed to be that way with drapery. I determined that the layout of the space was actually the best layout to use in this case, so the sofa was to stay put. We selected this gorgeous fabric with some embroidery detail to span the space as both a valance and drapery panels on either side. Now, I know most of the time a valance is used, it's over the top of the panels and hardware but I really wanted that pretty hardware to show and to put the valance as flush against the wall as possible to minimize the look of that gap between the window and the wall.
My clients really like their existing rug, so we kept it and used it for the basis of the color scheme. The walls were yellow with white trim and a popcorn ceiling. To start, we selected a very soft neutral with a bit of pigment in it. It's not a great idea to paint a dark room too white--it will look sad and lonely and cold. SO we chose Sherwin Williams Conservative Gray. We used this color on nearly the entire first floor of the house to create a nice flow from room to room. The color has a little blue, a little green, and is a nice neutral backdrop that still holds its own. The painters took down the crown moulding, skimmed the ceiling, and painted the walls and ceiling Conservative Gray and WHAT A DIFFERENCE!
Like I said earlier, you don't have to start from scratch. While we were making some big changes in this space, we did not replace and of the upholstered furniture! When you buy good quality pieces, they'll be an investment up front, but you'll have some serious quality that lasts you for years and years. If your tastes change, great--just re-cover it! And that is just what we did. Using the rug as inspiration for the color scheme and our new soft neutral walls, I selected a beautiful tan and cream stripe for the wingback chairs, an animal print for the ottoman in a hardwearing stain-resistant material, and some splashed of green on the pillows. Pretty trims tie it all together for a complete look.
The sofa is a nice leather that was still in great shape. However, the cushions had taken a bit of a beating of the years and were looking a little sad and saggy. My awesome upholsterer came to the rescue and reformed the cushions with a nice foam interior that will stand up to lots more sitting and maybe even a little jumping! After that, the sofa looked as good as new.
Remember the little area with the tiny table? Well, to make it functional, I suggested we create a little mudroom. As you can see in this hyper realistic drawing ;) we did just that with a piece of custom made furniture. It has hooks for coats and hats, baskets to keep shoes in, and cubbies for homework and mail so that it can be hidden away and off the kitchen countertops. For comfort when taking shoes on and off, we added a cushion on top.
Now we have a smoothed ceiling, more light throughout the room, new decorative light fixture, reupholstered ottoman and wingback chairs, all new pillows, new chair in corner, basket for blankets, new side tables, drapery, media cabinet fitted to the room size in a dark finish to balance the color of the sofa, restyled bookshelves, custom artwork over the mantel, moulding and large cabinetry removed, new hardware on the doors of built-in cabinet doors, and a very functional family space.
Our gorgeous custom piece for keeping shoes and coats and homework serves its purpose well and keeps things tidy and functional. The cushion is upholstered in the same material as the wingback chairs across the room to create some continuity. We actually had these baskets custom made to be stained in the same finish as the wood on top of the cubbies and fit perfectly into each cubby and I love them! It's so satisfying how perfect they are.
As you can see, it is very possible to take what you have and make it work for you. Use a little imagination, be willing to make big changes, and be honest with yourself about what is working and what is not in your home. Is it too dark, too crowded, too hot, too cold, too loud? Whatever the issues are that are bothering you, use that to begin your redecorating and then let your favorite pieces inspire your look going forward. We loved all of the furniture my client already had, it just needed a fresh look. They love their rug, so it was the inspiration for the color scheme and just like that, we were on our way to creating a beautiful and well loved space that is the heart of the home for this sweet family and you can do the same with your home.
If you need help making the best use of what you have and you want your home to be the best it can be, contact me today to schedule your consultation!
Design, concepts, and written content by Susie Mae Design.
All completed room images by Christina Wedge Photography.