Monday, August 26, 2013

Updates to the Living Room

Finally!! I've got a bunch of things to show you so the post is long. I think I've mentioned that I wanted to move away from my totally mid century modern style to more of a Hollywood regency/Chinoiserie style. The mid century stuff was pretty and mostly good designer pieces but it never felt like me.  I've been making changes for the last several months but just haven't gotten around to taking pictures. And unfortunately my picture taking ability hasn't improved any from the last time I took pictures of the living room. It must be my camera. Every picture is fuzzy and grainy. Because really can I be this bad? I think these are all new to you. If not, just play along.

So this wall of the living room had an old mid century modern oak chair with crappy upholstery (actually the colors and flame-stitch pattern are pretty just not in my blue/turquoise living room) that I always meant to change but never got around to it. It has had a pretty green and turquoise micro stripe fabric draped and tucked for a couple years. Next to it is a Jon Van Koert mid century modern walnut table with a white ginger jar lamp with a pleated shade and some pheasant statues from the 1960s. I changed the lamp on this table several times. It used to be a blue lamp, prior to that a wood mid-century modern one. On the floor is my plant in an Ikea white pot. On the wall are 9 framed Audubon prints from 1960's. I've had the chevron rug for a while. There used to be a brown and turquoise rug. And back a couple years this wall was painted brown with random artwork.

The new look is a pretty Italian regency side chair with a blue floral stripe. The chair was $90 from an estate/consignment shop. Typically more than I would pay but I fell in love with it. Its much smaller than the old chair and frankly not as comfortable. If it was a chair that was used in the living room all the time I don't think it would work. But realistically I'm the only one in the living room 90% of the time. My son is away at college.  Its fine for guests for a couple of hours. Next to it is a fruit wood octagon table with creamy marble top. I love all the hidden storage this table gives me and the carved pattern on the table. I do worry that the octagon shape dates the table. Even though the table is probably from the 1970's I don't really want it to scream I'm old.  I'm going for a timeless look rather than retro or old. I also like how the leggy chair looks next to the solid to the ground table. In my old living room everything had exposed legs and it drove me nuts.

On top is a mirrored/mercury glass ribbed lamp with a rectangle shade from Target, but I found it for 1/3 the price at the Salvation Army in perfect condition with the Target tags still on it. I'd like to add some trim the the bottom of the shade. I've thought about a pretty greek key but am using that in a large scale in another room so would like something different here. I've got a pretty royal blue vase, from TJ Maxx for only $2 on clearance, with paper flowers I made. I like how the royal blue ties into the royal blue in the drapes across the room.

A Nate Burkus spiky gold urchin and an african violet plant rounds out the top. I want to remove the violet and add another item to the table but I'm not sure what. I'm thinking a small 4"x6" abstract. I have a pretty lucite easel I'd love to use. I worry that will be too busy with the Audubon prints behind it. Maybe use just a photograph in a geometric frame. I'm not very good at the small decorating touches because I typically like clean surfaces. Its hard to make a clear surface look intentional and finished and not just bare.

On the floor is a large asian pot with pretty colorful flowers and a hand painted scene. It makes my plant look so much bigger but its the same plant! I got the pot from Craigslist for $25.

On the opposite side of the room I had my pretty vintage drapes in blues and greens on a creamy background (They are a little short but whatever. I sometimes think about adding a bottom panel and a leading edge in a solid fabric to make them fit better. But that sounds like a lot of work). In front is my 1960's Hans Wegner AP 27 chair and ottoman in a pretty avocado green color with an Ikea pillow. Next to it is another Jon Von Koert side table accessorized with live plants.

Now I have a pretty peacock blue slipper chair with ottoman pipped in a cream color. There are casters and little brass caps on the chairs legs and some button tufting. The ottoman has fluted detail on its legs. Again this chair is more petite and not quite as comfortable as the loungy former chairs. The scale is better for the room. It's also primarily for guests and isn't used on a daily basis so its fine. I bought it at the same time from the same estate as the striped blue chair and it was $120. The fabrics coordinate beautifully. I seriously die for that cream pipping. It really makes the chair.

Next to it is my elephant table I purchased from Craigslist for $45. I'm still debating painting him a creamy white and getting rid of the brown highlighting but can't decide. On top I put a glass round, some of my decorating books and a Christmas cactus plant. The top of the elephant isn't perfectly flat so the glass wobbles. That's why I added the books as their weight stabilizes everything. I don't like that there is no place for guests to put a glass so the top will probably be tweaked sometime in the future. I found the pretty emerald green pot at an estate sale for $2.50. 

On the wall opposite of the front door is my Ikea couch with a black slipcover. It was a quick Craigslist purchase for $35 when my Room and Board sofa wouldn't fit up the stairs to my condo when I moved in. The style was fine for the room and it was comfortable. The fuchsia pillows are from my colorful phase awhile back. The tables are designed by Peter Hvidt & Orla Molgaard – Nielsen for France & Son along with the coffee table that you can't really see well. The lamps are a white raised design with shades with silver linings.

The new look keeps the Ikea couch.  I have my eye on a pretty sofa from Room and Board in custom upholstery in an Ink color. My couch savings have been diverted to other necessary projects like saving for a new car. I think I'm going to have to live with it for another year or so. The chevron rug is still here. It's held up well and the cream still looks pretty good. You might notice that I turned the orientation of the rug so it runs the width of the condo. I wish it were a little bigger but think this direction change makes the room feel more cohesive.

The Chicago skyline at sunset triptych in chunky black frames, taken by my Son, is still up. I'm not crazy about the orange color. I'd love some black and white photography or prints from The Pink Pagoda or maybe move in the large abstract from the dining room here. The pillows are a pretty blue and green pattern from TJ Maxx. The white throw is still here. I want to replace it but will wait for a new couch first so I know what to get.

The lamps have been replaced by mercury glass lamps from Target for $55 each. I've used a black Nate Burkus shade for $25. Unfortunately the shade do-hicky that sits on the light socket is a little too big for the lamp so the shades rock. I could have taken the shades back but I really love the opaque look of the shades. I'm going to wrap the light socket with a little electrical tape so the shade doesn't wobble.

The end tables have a pretty carved design and creamy marble tops that match the octagon on the other side of the room. I love their deep drawers. Storage is always an issue. I purchased all 3 of  them from Craigslist for $125 (I think) and getting them all into my car was a challenge. I added a small lucite tray on the one table. It works great as a catch all for pens, papers, jewelry I take off in the evening, etc. There is a basked under the one table for excess dog toys. I added back the kennel to the side of the table. It's ugly but Sebastian my dog loves it. On the other end table I have a large Van Briggle Console bowl with 3 orchids in it. The orchids are growing new leaves but not blooming. I've got to figure out why. The plant stand to the left has been in my family for years. I want a new pot for my plant. Something with a little flair.

The coffee table is a large glass top oriental table with Ming style legs. The finish is a green malachite but looks black in most lights. As Emily Henderson would say it engages the space better than the rectangle that was here before. I purchased the table from Craigslist for $125 plus free delivery. I moved my african violets from the white dish to the gold bowl from Target. I think the table needs some other decorative object but can't figure out how to make it work with the plants, which have to stay.

The wall with the front door hasn't changed. It still has the Murano lamp I purchased from Craigslist for $25 with the thrift store pagoda shade. The Dorothy Draper chests have great storage and were a steal for $35 for the pair with $25 delivery. I really love how they look. They need to be repainted. I'd love to send them out to be lacquered but have no idea how expensive that would be. I might be painting them myself. The TV is big but I enjoy it. I spray painted the retro clock a champagne gold (kinda a silver/gold look). Even though its has a bit of that retro/mid century vibe to it I think it stays. I love its feminine shape and it fills the wall nicely.  I want to add some pink handmade paper flowers to the vase on the left side of the dressers. The door in the middle is my front door with the closet to the right. I want to paint both doors black. Maybe sometime this summer.

Whew! I think that is about all the updates to the living room I've made over the last few months. As you can tell many things have changed. I really love the way the room feels now. After 6 years in the condo it finally feels like home.  The funny thing is that this is very much the style of my old house. When I moved I changed everything up and went with mid-century modern and all new (vintage) furniture which never felt right. I need to stick with what I'm comfortable with and quite trying to do something different.

Things left to do: paint the ceiling. It has streaks from when the last owners painted it and it drives me nuts. They are very faint and only visible in certain lights but I know they are there. I am also thinking about painting the living room and dining room so the space is more cohesive. They are open to each other. Currently the dining room is green and the living room turquoise. I am not afraid of color! I'm a messy painter and don't enjoy the process so I'm avoiding the painting issue for now. Oh I also need to hide the cable for the TV that runs around the perimeter of the room. I'm astounded there wasn't a better solution than this when the cable was installed and hate how it looks.


  1. Pretty - really pretty - I love your choice of colors.

    1. Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

  2. Girl, you have a great eye & what a great hunt & gather gene you have! Love your colors & the vibe is so relaxing ala Mod Squad!