It’s a sad story–hardly anyone “lives” in their living rooms anymore. This is a tale we hear over and over, and here is one example of how we fixed it. The “AFTER” detail above shows a small slice of the adjoining living and dining rooms featured in this post. When the homeowners called Emery & Associates in June of 2012, the living room was the lowest priority on their list of residential “must haves,” coming in third after the family room (#1) and the master bedroom (#2). Part of the reason they weren’t very interested in the space is because nobody ever went into this room except on rare occasions.
The living room looked like this “BEFORE”:
This view from the entry shows that the back of the sofa blocks traffic into the room. The wife disliked the awkward furniture placement, and had tried rearranging things with no success. I knew we could fix that with a different combination of furnishings, and I also felt that the peach walls and tapestry sofa fabric were dated. The mantel needed reworking, and their beautiful antique furnishings which had been passed down through the family seemed lost in this “NW transitional” architecture (those furnishings really wanted to be in a more traditional space).
With a large window wall and two large openings into the room, no wonder the owners were stymied about how to arrange the furniture! We scaled out a new furniture plan on paper, then carefully introduced furnishings to exactly fit the space. We began by replacing the too small and informal teal Gabbeh rug with a room-sized Kirman from NW Rugs. The melon and gold of the new rug established the color palette for the space. We also dispensed with the sofa/loveseat combo, replacing them with a short sofa (right above), a large club chair/ottoman, and a pair of chairs.
Part of the difficulty with furniture arrangement was due to the necessity of keeping the large grand piano. Centering the piano in front of the large window allowed us to use the adjacent wall for a pair of chairs. Now the room is much more open and inviting, and offers more seating than was possible before.
Curtains hung from medallions frame the window, and add a dressy, traditional touch to the room. We carried the same drapery fabric into the dining room, and added upholstered host chairs at both ends of the table for warmth and cushiness.
Now these two rooms feel pulled together, because we have integrated the owner’s antique pieces with the perfect rug, comfortable upholstery, and elegant drapery. The room is now comfortable for one person to read, sitting in the big club chair with feet up, as well as for a small crowd.
I want to express my appreciation to the clients for their willingness to do everything I recommended, and I also want to thank my talented artisans for all their custom work: my sewer, Tracy Quoidbach, for curtains and pillows; Triena Capers at Castec for the Roman shade in the living room; my window coverings installer, Ken Chupp, for measuring and installing all window coverings; Design Furnishings Inc., for fabricating all of the custom upholstery; and Parker Furniture for the pair of chairs in the living room.
“AFTER” photography by StickleyCreative.