Friday, July 8, 2011

Family Room Design Notes

If you didn't see enough of the current state of our family room on Wednesday, you are in luck because I have plenty of other pictures to share.

We won't be starting any of the physical labor until the fall. Call me crazy, but I want to enjoy my summer weekends outside enjoying the fantastic New England weather instead of spending it in our unairconditioned house striping wallpaper, repairing plaster walls, painting trim, etc, etc, etc. Wouldn't you?

The main transformation in the room will be achieved through new furnishings anyway, but it is never too soon to start planning and researching. I'm unabashedly milking free design advice from Casey of Loft and Cottage to decorate the space. Thanks again Casey, I owe you one!

I want this room to feel really warm and rich & slightly masculine. I want it to be cozy, but also have a little bit of an attitude. I want it to graduate from the frat house it currently looks like into something more sophisticated. I want the room to feel like it belongs in one of the historic brownstones of Boston's Beacon Hill. I want it to be "Beacon Hill Brownstone Chic". (Yes, I'm laughing at myself as I write this...)

So I told Casey about the elements Chris and I were already considering:
  • An English roll arm sofa (in a pet friendly charcoal gray fabric)
  • A worn and faded Persian rug
  • Grasscloth wallpaper
  • Use a pair of leather club chairs that we already own
  • Have the chair I purchased at the Salvation Army reupholstered
  • Purchase a new TV that can be wall mounted over the fireplace (blasphemy, I know, but it has to be done)
  • Incorporate some unexpected surprise element like an acrylic coffee table to keep the room from looking like someone's grandparents live here.

Keeping my ideas in mind, Casey suggested the following:
  • Windows: Keep our existing bamboo roman shades, hang these curtain panels from Ballard Design to add some height and pattern to the room, and use a wrought iron curtain rod. She said to hang the curtains all the way up to the soffit and treat the double windows as one large window using 2 panels (instead of 3). That would have been a decision I'd have agonized over for weeks!
  • Ceiling: Paint the ceiling a cool, light gray to slightly contrast against the warm grasscloth that will be on the walls and to tie in the gray couch. Brilliant!
  • Rug: Take a look at esalerugs for an affordable antique Persian rug. No, a rug like that won't clash with the contemporary striped rug we have in the adjacent room. Nice! Again, a question that would have kept me awake at night.
  • End tables: Find something in a dark wood finish. I'm on it.
  • Fireplace & mantle:  Replace the existing mantle with something chunkier that will give the fireplace more presence. We might consider painting out the brick black or charcoal. Hmmm...I'm not won over on painting the brick such a dark color, but perhaps I just haven't seen enough examples. Now I'm on the hunt for images of black fireplaces.
  • The Salvation Army Chair: Hot House Flowers would be the most classic choice (of the 3 I had been considering) to reupholster it in, and also the most versatile for matching with other fabrics. For the front of the chair, a coordinating fabric in a wide stripe would be really cool. YES! I love this idea. Just need to find a striped fabric...
  • Leather chairs: Move the pair of leather chairs to the wall where the TV is currently. Pay special attention to this wall because it is the first one you see when you enter the room from the front of the house. Place the leather chairs side by side or with a small table in between, depending on space. Treat the wall behind the chairs as a gallery wall or hang one large scale art piece.  I like it, I like it very much.
  • The modern "surprise" element: Bring in an Arc lamp, & modern coffee table like marble, acrylic, or ottomans covered in faux snakeskin. I never would have thought of that! It's just the kind of unexpected piece I want.

So here's a preliminary mood board I put together.
side table; table lamp; floor lamp; sofa; curtains; fabric; coffee table; rug; leather chair

Do you think it captures the "Beacon Hill Brownstone Chic" vibe we're going for?
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