Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Room Lightens Up

Before Christmas my sister-in-law enlisted my help in updating her den.  She wanted a fresh look for a room that had seen many family gatherings.  This is the finished product.

 However, to appreciate the transformation, you must see the room in its previous life.

Where did we start?  We began by looking at the room's perimeters. I noticed the room needed more visual height. To accomplish this, we needed to eliminate the two-toned walls which vertically cut the room in half.

By choosing the same light paint for the walls and paneling (Benjamin Moore--White Sand),  they became a a whole.  Your eye now travels from floor to ceiling without a break.

Furthermore, the dark wood beams in the ceiling shortened the room.

To visually add six inches to the ceiling height, we had the beams painted white. (They now match the woodwork in the rest of the house.)

Our next challenge was to unify the color scheme.  The red carpet was to be foundational, and most of the furniture was to stay, but could be reupholstered. At The Second Yard, we found a white linen with red, embroidered contemporary motif for the skirted table. And, at Calico Corners, we scored the perfect compliments: some French upholstery-weight white linen and companion stripe.

The assorted lamps were replaced with clear glass lamps which fade unobtrusively into the background.

When it came to accessorizing, we also minimized the theme.

The international paintings were moved to the game room downstairs, and two calligraphy pictures from elsewhere in the home were married in this room, one above the mantel and the other above the jelly cupboard.

In addition, ironstone became a unifying accessory. Now your eye travels from mantel...

to above the sofa,

and over to the antique jelly cupboard, where the aged white china looks perfect.

Using some contemporary elements, like the glass lamps and table skirt fabric, keep the room from looking dated.

What a fun project! I hope my brother-in-law and sister-in-law enjoy the metamorphosis as much as I enjoyed designing it.


  1. I really like the transformation that was accomplished with the room becoming more alive and bright! Amazing what a coat of paint will do along with the right accessories. I like the iron stone you used! Always inspirational!

  2. Marcia,
    I must say that I adore your layout/template for 'Gracious Interiors', did you have professional help? Need your input for my devotion blog! Thanks again for your fine work and inspiration!

  3. Taking the walls from two-toned to one unified color made such a difference. Great design idea for that room.