One of my latest projects tasked me with the challenge of creating an updated living space that could be enjoyed by three generations of a family. The arrival of a new (incredibly gorgeous!) baby brought the oldest daughter back home (because grandmas are the absolute best baby sitters!), and to welcome in this new chapter of their lives, the new mom and grandma decided it was time to make some major updates to the living room. They also decided to make the design process easier on Grandpa by executing the whole redesign while he was out of town and unveiling it as his Father’s Day surprise!
My client (a.k.a. Grandma) had a few major frustrations which she wished to address with the new room design. First and foremost, there was the oak issue. One might venture to say (and they would likely be correct) that “Oak” was the color of choice in this room.
Oak was on everything, from the floor, to the furniture, to the furniture legs. Even the fireplace mantel was a matching shade of oak.
Secondly, the current layout was no longer serving their growing family. The sofa could only fit a maximum of three adults, none of whom could enjoy watching the TV without awkwardly craning their necks, and the overstuffed recliners (Grandpa’s favorites!) were consuming the prime TV-watching real estate. Overall, there just wasn’t enough seating to fit the entire family, let alone their guests.
Lastly, my client was ready to say goodbye to the reds, browns, and florals that were popular when she first decorated this room. She was done with the bunchy valences, vertical blinds, and wicker-detail ceiling fan that were representative of years gone by. She was committed, she was serious about change, and I couldn’t wait to get started!
My objectives for this room were pretty clear:
- Create a modern, updated look that honored the client’s more traditional style.
- Reconfigure the layout to provide additional seating.
- Introduce a lighter and brighter color palette that was still baby and pet-friendly.
- Perform a massive “Oak Exorcism” on the room (which in reality was probably my #1 objective).
After creating and reviewing the floor plan, we figured we could flip the seating arrangement and put a new sectional where the recliners were and place a set of armchairs where the sofa was. The sectional killed two birds with one stone, the first being it singlehandedly solved the seating issue, and the second being that it would prevent Grandpa from getting pissed that his beloved recliner was gone – because ALL men love a sectional. Fact.
We ended up finding the perfect sectional and arm chairs at Living Spaces. If you’ve never considered Living Spaces for your furniture needs, I highly recommend checking them out. Jeff Lewis – the genius designer/house flipper and awesomely sarcastic star of Bravo’s Flipping Out – is their Creative Director and he is absolutely crushing it. We selected a sectional from the Portola collection and the Laurie arm chairs in complementary (not matching) neutral tones.
To ensure we made a drastic departure from the abundance of oak previously in this room, I went for a diverse mix of woods. This credenza was such a good find – I love that it’s distressed but doesn’t feel overtly Industrial or Rustic.
I used the Pottery Barn window treatments and a mix of pillows to bring some pattern and color into the room. Clearly, Sadie is a major fan of both!
There were two more decisions we made in this room that were major game changers. The first was that we chose a large rug – 9’ x 12’ to be exact. The rug is large enough that all of our major pieces of furniture have at least two legs on it, but small enough that the beautiful hardwood is still exposed. Plus it’s really soft, which is perfect for when the baby starts crawling. The second game changer was painting the mantel white, which almost didn’t happen! My client had reservations about it, but once the rest of the room was painted, window treatments were installed, and all of the furniture arrived, she decided to give it a shot. Luckily for me, she loves it as much as I do!
From an overabundance of oak to a perfect balance of modern and traditional, this living room is now the ideal space for three generations to unwind, entertain, and begin creating new memories together.