The Doctors’ Decorating Dilemma

When I first met Drs. Lainie and Jon Yarris, both emergency room physicians, they had been raising their three children in this charming Craftsman home for eleven years.  When they weren’t working at their demanding jobs, they were doing activities with their children and with friends, who also have children.  Their dilemma was how to arrange the furnishings in the living room to allow guests and family to comfortably have conversations, play games, and read by the fire, since the front door opens directly into the middle of the long, rectangular room (see “BEFORE” photos, below).

“BEFORE” South end of living room (view of fireplace)

“BEFORE,” North end of living room

Since the front door bisects the room, I developed a furniture plan for each end of the room, using the front door as a room divider.  On the South (fireplace) end of the room, a sofa with a chaise end backs up to the open front door.  On the North end of the room, a sectional wraps the corner under the windows, and an upholstered storage ottoman adds additional seating.  New area rugs define each seating area.

To help the Yarris’s visualize the eventual outcome of the project, I did a sketch of what the fireplace end of the room would look like with the chaise-end sofa, round coffee table, and corner chair.  I also switched the position of their mirror and painting, and added lamps and accessories.

Kathia’s concept sketch for fireplace end of room

Here is the “AFTER” shot of the South (fireplace) end of the room.  The rounded shapes of the furnishings (table, lamp, vase, garden stool, curves on chair arms) help balance the strong vertical and horizontal lines of the architecture.  This space now invites four or five people to converse or play games.  The chair in the corner by the fire offers a quiet place to read.  Scroll back up to compare this to the “BEFORE” photo.


“AFTER” South (fireplace) end of living room

The North end of the room was equally transformed.  The sectional wraps the corner with comfortable seating for four (five if you squeeze), and the storage ottoman invites putting feet up to relax, gives additional seating, or holds a tray for drinks and snacks for entertaining.

“AFTER,” North end of living room

A word about colors and fabrics:  Jon and Lainie told me they liked brown, tans, and sage green–perfectly fitting colors for the Craftsman-style home they live in.  I showed them neutral upholstery fabric, saddle-colored leather for the ottoman, and pillow fabric with embroidered leaves in a variety of colors, as well as one solid in red.  Lainie was very taken with the embroidered pillow fabric, and I agree that it is stunning.  Once the toss pillows were sewn, I was inspired to introduce more shots of turquoise (the throw, vase, and garden stool), and shots of yellow and orange (flowers, throw), all colors taken from the embroidered pillow fabric.  The painting they already owned also has turquoise and yellow–happy colors for a happy room.

DETAIL: Pillow Fabrics

Now this casually elegant space provides a warm and welcoming atmosphere for family and guests. My clients’ response:  “Everything looks great. . . As we sit here we love it more and more.  Thank you!!  It feels really good in here.”  When my clients are happy, I’m happy.

If you need your spaces refreshed, give Emery & Associates Interior Design a call   We look forward to hearing from you!

There are 6 Comments to "The Doctors’ Decorating Dilemma"

  • Donna Pizzi says:

    Great job, Kathia. I’ve seen many of these Craftsman homes with the door bisecting the living room and often wondered how you’d make them work as a cozy living room. Your solutions are perfect. Like the accent colors and openness. The befores felt dark and a bit forbidding, so you’ve truly made the space more serviceable, open, inviting and light-filled. Brava.

  • Holly Stickley says:

    Very nice Kathia! I always love your sketches!

  • I love how the couch near the fireplace suggests a bit of low wall without really dividing the room. All is open and welcoming with just enough division for practicality. That embroidered pillow fabric is indeed wonderful! Another lovely vision of change within Arts and Crafts tradition.

  • Judi Cleghorn says:

    A fabulous transformation, turning this long narrow space into a welcoming and cozy one, with two separate areas for seating and activity. I also love the introduction of lively colors into the neutral pale palette! I’m sure the whole family will love to now use this room every day!

  • Diane gayle Robbens says:

    As usual, gorgeous(all of the rooms). I love what you did with the living room above.In the before pic I hardly noticed the tiling on the fireplace. On the after, I love it!! The lighting is perfect. I usually want to move into every room you show me!!! So talented; so gifted Kathia.

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