Tuesday, July 19, 2011


After almost seven years in our house, I am finally ready to make something work in our living room. Which you walk right into from the front door, so it's the first-impression maker of the whole house. Unless you count the yard, which I don't count because the idea of tackling it is so overwhelming I've decided to ignore it.

Back to business. When we bought the house, there was a run on older family members downsizing, cleaning out, etc., that ultimately meant we were offered ALL of the stuff they didn't want. And in moving from a one bedroom apartment to a four bedroom house, silly us thought that was great. And I guess it was, for a time. Until we realized none of it went together, wasn't our style to begin with, and trying to get rid of it would be loaded with sentiment for the original giver. Crap.

But I'm obsessed with Young House Love - does anyone else check in every day? It makes me feel empowered to tackle these projects that seem so HARD. They did a post a while back on a gallery wall, which started my dominoes falling about our entire dining room/living room/staircase/upstairs landing zone. And after a few weeks of mulling it over, browsing online, and seriously assessing my own resources - financial and time - I think I have a plan of action that will leave it all actually presentable. I KNOW.

1. Gallery Wall. Our living room already has a deep, colonial blue accent wall around the fireplace, which I love. First step will be to paint the opposing staircase wall the same blue, and then take all of the beloved pictures scattered around the house, put them in white frames, and create a staircase gallery wall. I figure it will provide a double whammy of getting a lot of clutter off our various horizontal surfaces, and remedy this big, blank space our stairs have been since we moved in. I may carry the gallery wall up to the small upstairs landing that is currently nothing more than a clutter magnet. Not sure I'd paint up there, though - might be too dark.

2. Living Room makeover. I'm going to move an antique secretary we currently have to just to the right of the front door and start actually using it as a mail zone. Right now we have a wobbly little table there (bad idea with the Lion) that is covered with PILES of mail. The secretary will help me get in the routine of sorting and throwing away every day, then coming back to bills and other things that need to be handled on a regular basis. How do other people handle this?

We have WAY too much color in the living room right now, what with the deep blue accent wall, light blue inherited sofa, green print chair, and predominately red (but does pull in the other colors) rug. The rug and green chair are getting relocated to other places. I'd like to buy two of these chairs to go across from the light blue sofa, with a small, dark wood cabinet between them.

Then I'd like a neutral rug to tie it all together, make the room brighter than the red rug does, and just generally calm things down. Something with a soft geometric print, maybe. Like this.

3. Dining Room makeover. The dining room is also really dark. There's a big, heavy rug from my Dad, which he says he doesn't care what we do with, but I do. A dilemma yet to be solved. Maybe my brother also cares about it and would like to give it a good home? :)
So I think I'd like something like one of these, so both brighten things up, make it more neutral, and tie into the adjacent living room blues. The rug on the left is probably my preference, but my husband seems to dislike the natural materials (this is jute) category of rugs, so I'm also considering a blue dhurrie like this one, on the right. While I love it, it might be too much to have it be so similar to what I'd like for the living room. Blech.

4. Spare bedroom/office. This place is a total junk room right now. When we had the basement finished, everything that was in it went into this unused spare bedroom on the main floor, and we've never recovered. Now every time he cleans up, dearest husband simply takes everything and puts it in there. Not helpful. My goal is to throw away almost everything in there, move in the living room rug and maybe green chair, and turn it into an office and functioning spare bedroom. Which we need now that our amazing nanny occupies the basement room. It needs to be emptied and painted. The previous owners left it a heinous orange color. I'll also need to take down some 70's era wall shelves. Think Mike Brady's office. Bad juju.

I may also put the green chair on the upstairs landing, if I find another place to store my bulk diaper purchases. And repair my childhood dresser with the drawer fronts hanging off the frame. Yes, I'm serious. It's all glamour here, folks.

So now I need to figure out how all this should start. I think I need to force myself to show some real commitment to this before I buy the chairs or a rug (if I finalize a rug choice), so right now I'm looking for time to paint the staircase where the gallery wall will go. Paint is also so motivating - you really can make a huge impact with not so much work, once you've gotten the hang of it.

Wish me luck, people.

1 comment:

Andrea said...

I like this plan. I was only there once - but your house is gorgeous and has so much potential to be perfect now when you have little kids and when they get older...you made a great buy. I hope you love it when you're done!