8.31.2009

Being Design Happy

Dear design savvy friends,

Please help me...

xx, me (the one who can decorate other people's homes, but struggles with my own)


This is my dilemma...




We switched the dining area with the sunroom. The "former" dining room opens directly onto the kitchen and the sunroom is a room of it's own, but has an arched opening. Why did we do such a thing, well we were gifted a fabulous 1940's piano. We have a smaller home and had no where to put it. Soon it will sit under the mirror in the first image. Although I like the switch I can't seem to get a grasp on how to make it look lovely. I do feel as if the new family area will come together once I figure out the dining area. Oh, and I do realize it needs a larger rug and I am in search mode. All the (big) pieces you see must stay although I am thinking about changing out the chairs. The fabric over the piece in the second photo is not how it's going to stay I was just testing the idea of a skirted table with the largest piece of fabric I had.

I really can't believe I have showed you all these photos. They look awful, I know, but I can't live in an unfinished space without feeling out of sorts.

These are some dining areas I like...

{sorry?}


Please send your ideas this way. I am sure you all have tons of them. Oh, and keep in mind I do have a 2 and 4 year old which makes grubby hands a given, so everything must be easy to clean. We do plan on replacing this table one day, but for now it works for us and all the art projects my kiddos do.

Last thing... I can't do lots of color. Although I like it I can't seem to live with it very long, I have tried. Boring, I know.

25 comments:

Federica said...

Oh my! It's impossible to make a choice because I love all these rooms and all these colors!

Laura said...

It looks like you like fabric/leather seats on your dining chairs????any ideas for that? It looks great. I def. feel your pain about being able to help others but, not knowing what to do in your own space. I think it is because in helping others, we are aware of all of the choices that are out there. That makes it hard to commit, right?

Cupcakes and Cashmere said...

i think your home looks beautiful and i find that anytime i'm uninspired i add pops of color whether that's an accent wall or new pillows on your couch.

two brunettes said...

Totally know what you mean about not being able to decorate for yourself...or design anything for that matter! So difficult. First off things that I love are your little green cabinet!! So cute and your doggie in the corner! Maybe if you switch cabinets so the lower one is on the other side to open it up a bit. You could possibly add some greenery on there as well, air plants etc. Then you can do something fantastic on the other wall with some old vintage botanical prints or anything! You have great basics to start! Maybe by just adding a few more colors in there with items and not paint. Thats what I find works best for us too! Light walls with brining color in with the elements! Good luck :o)

Oh and i know you said your shopping for a rug..a great big print could be awesome to fill that room up a bit, and maybe a mirrored wall above your new piano!

two brunettes said...

PS...LOVE the light in your living room area! Where is that from?

Char said...

no, I wouldn't do a skirted table as it shuts down the space. I think I would go with side chairs instead of the bench too when I could. The light colors really work and open the space though.

Jennifer said...

you'll get there! I'm a trial-and-error girl myself, so maybe you'll have some time to mess with it a bit -- sorry, that was NO help!

PS -- there are some CUTE curtains at Ikea right now that have a gray pattern on white. they would look great in both rooms, and I think you'd love them. too bad they aren't online ... I'll send you a pic!

Rachel said...

I am not a designer by any means, but a couple of things I think would help, you already said. Curtains with a tiny hint of color will help. I think you should go with chairs that are lighter than the table for sure.

Also, did I spy an adorable little puppy in the last picture?!

Eclectic said...

I like the idea of a large grouping on that empty wall! Or I would move that round mirror from the LR to the DR above the (now skirted) table. It will help break up all the straight angles in the room and the frame seems to speak to the art on the opposite wall???

Then you can do an interesting table display below with your glass cloches (hard to see but that is what it looks like) much like the image with the bottles that you liked.

Do matching lamps on the great painted buffet piece. And adding some linen curtins would soften the space too without cutting into all of that great light! Keep accessories simple since the space is functional.

Good luck! You have great stuff and I love your style!Can't wait to see how it all turns out!

Anna said...

I love that you posted your design dilemma. Unfinished, imperfect rooms are real and nothing to be ashamed about. Sometimes I spend so much time looking at all the beautiful, "perfect" rooms online and become dissatisfied, only for God to gently remind me of all the other things in my life that I willingly (and rightly) put as higher priorities.

That said, I love, love, love your inspiration rooms. They are just what I like too. One thing I noticed was that several of them featured open shelving. Maybe you could get some inexpensive open shelving and move some of the clutter up to them as display items like the vases, bowls, etc. It would allow for your tablescapes to be more intentional and sparse while also moving the eye upwards to instant "art". You could either paint the shelves a neutral grayish blue/green tone or paint the walls (if you get brave).

sarah @ realestatestyle said...

I am obsessed with the louis style dining room chairs. I think Restoration Hardware has them cheaper than Wisteria. I also love your bluish/green sideboard in the dining room. I even like the look of a burlap skirted table with your scrap. good luck!

megan said...

I saw the last inspiration image here... http://www.bellemaison23.com/2009/08/stylish-storage-display-solutions.html

Kotori said...

Love that vignette in the 4th inspiration photo. Your piece has the same type of lines to it, so I think something like that would do well. Also, you seem to like upholstered chairs... why don't you upholster that bench in a fun print and maybe add some cushions or pillows to the dining tables? I see you have one on corner chair there... Also like the idea of some sort of curtains on that wall behind the sofa. You could flank them with either some sconces or interesting wall pieces on either side.

Whatever you do will look fabulous, knowing you! Can't wait to see how it turns out... and, lucky you getting a vintage piano! So fun!

Jennie Bee said...

See my Post on my blog:) But basically I was thinking maybe adding some Drapes/Curtains and some Wall Activity. I tried not to add too much color.

Leslie said...

two of my favorite dining rooms, here.

love those images you found, i didn't recognize restoration hardware!

Hanako66 said...

if you guys use your dining area a lot, I think that you will really enjoy all of that natural light! I would paint the chairs a lighter color to match the airiness of the room! It looks great though...please share photos of the piano once in its place!

Jill said...

i think you have such a great start! and the pieces will come together. the piano is going to be perfect in your living room. maybe some bold fabric panels on the sides of the window?

i think switching the chairs in the dining room is a good call.

PS~Erin said...

I totally get what you mean by being able to decorate other people's homes but being stuck when it comes to your own. It seems the longer I live here, the harder it is to visualize change and be creative.

What about moving the table (the one you're thinking of skirting) out of the dining area, around the corner to the right of the opening/doorway, under than framed art. Then you'd have a more open walkway to the glass door. Might make for more flow. If you did that, you could even flip the painted piece to the other side and move the table down to be more centered on the big window.

The living area will be easier to visualize after you get the piano, but I'm thinking the sofa will look nice opposite it. I'm a symmetrical gal, so I like the weight being even on both sides.

Can't wait to see what you come up with!

Kellie Collis said...

White paint is the saviour of my life and this can be easily managed with grubby little fingers touching it!

Blushing hostess said...

I am completely hopeless to help you, I really got stcuk on those photos and now I am in my happy place.

belinda said...

am totally with you on the colour thing! i'm very much the same... how much do you need the buffet with the curtain on it near the glass door? If you can afford to move it elsewhere i think the room would be opened up more with nothing against it except maybe a great big floor-to-ceiling photo wall like in your first inspiration pic. thatr space is calling out for something like that! then on the opposite wall i'd maybe hang the mirror (takes up less room and is a different shape to all the boxy furniture) and create a great vignette as you have with that fab lamp and a few fave pieces. For a bit of colour or print you could always cover the lampshade with a fabric - maybe a teal or seafoam green which would look beautiful with the dark brown and the grey accents.

as for the dining chairs, space them out a bit - it looks like you have none on the window side? maybe put two along there, one at each end and leave the bench where it is to mix up the styles a bit.

in the family room i think it's going to be trial and error. i would leave it until you get the piano in there - they can be space suckers so you might actually need to move the couch to one wall with the chairs spaced around the other side, in front of the window and opposite the window. if you move the couch away from the window it'll also mean you can put some great curtains there which will fill a bit of a space, add some texture/colour/pattern and they just might be the boost you're after.

the rocking chair could also be moved there - i'm picturing a really cosy gathering around the piano at christmas time! lucky you!! good luck x

Anonymous said...

You have great taste!!

I agree you need some drapes and I see that you said you like to sew! You could visually expand and heighten your LR window with the addition of drapes mounted just below the moulding. Retract the drapes to either side of the window, so that none of the window is covered up.

As it is, the LR is somewhat narrow. I think if you pulled the chairs off of the wall and moved them in closer to the coffee table so that they were more functional, you would also create the illusion of a wider room.

Blueprint Bliss said...

I think some burlap-ish type curtains would add a lot to the living space... and you could do them for hardly any $$$.

Love all of the images you posted. Lowes and Ikea both have pendants like in the last photo. Love the use of two of them.

Blueprint Bliss said...

PS- I can never decorate my own house... I have the hardest time!

Leighton said...

First, I love your blog and I love your space!

Second, I, too am a color lover (when others have to live with it!) and a neutral live-r. From your images, we share an enjoyment in contrast, texture and a naturally evolving palette.

After spending two years debating paint colors (I know, I know...you can repaint...it's still a commitment!) I chose Heaven by Benjamen Moore for our kitchen and a couple of other rooms. It really is! Depending on the lighting and furniture you have balancing the color on the wall, it casts a gray, blue or lavender cast. It's perfect for me!

I can totally see it rocking your dining area without imposing true color.

As for your living space, if you're moving the piano under the mirror, try moving the sofa where the black arm chair is, turning the coffee table, and recasting the chairs either facing the sofa/coffee table or flanking them? I don't know if all the dimensions work, but that's my first instinct.

P.S. Don't feel bad about posting the pictures. Your home and it's inhabitants are beautiful!