Tag Archive | living room

Decorating Tips from a High-Strung Dog

The other day, the dog whispered in my ear. She told me to rearrange the living room. She wanted her sofa back, and she wanted it in front of the window where she can look out. Actually, she was not whispering at all, but barking loudly because I was sitting in her seat, which prompted me to rearrange. Again.

Cocoa's perch.

Cocoa’s perch.

She was right. We should all be able to enjoy the view outside.

Cocoa's Living Room.

Cocoa’s Living Room.

I moved the blue chairs to my office, moved the other sofa back in, and it is good this way.

We can focus on the view.

© copyright 2014 Mariam d’Eustachio at Simply Turquoise.

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Hidden Treasure

The mini-tyrant and I had a very exciting morning. After sipping coffee together and throwing some blocks around, we photographed a finished dining room. A dining room that we helped create.

The Carpenter Dining Room

The Carpenter Dining Room.

It started with talk of paint colors, admiring the old chicken-feeder collection, and snowballed into cashing in some old savings bonds.

Antique Chicken-Feeders.

Antique Chicken-Feeders.

Actually, this entire makeover cost $500, including the bottle of gin on the mini-bar. (Note to self: always budget for alcohol when planning a reno.)

Pie safe and mini-bar.

Pie safe and mini-bar.

I worked with her existing furniture and drew her out of her comfort zone. A little at a time, we watched the room transform and got more excited as it went along. The ceiling is a beautiful blue, Benjamin Moore’s Sylvan Mist and the walls gray, Benjamin Moore’s Museum Piece. The wall color is hard to define…. A little lavender, a little taupe or gray, depending on the light.

Testing out the paint colors.

Testing out the paint colors.

Dining room, before.

Dining room, before.

To be fair, my kids were playing with the play-doh.

To be fair, my kids were playing with the play-doh.

We rearranged the furniture and the homeowner was then inspired to hang some art she had hidden in the basement. A fabulous old woodcut block print of a flag with blue accents, which she hung above the pie safe. I cannot believe this treasure was hiding out in the basement!

Throughout this process, I would occasionally say, “You know what we need? We need a whatchamacallit…” and she would inevitably say, “Oh! I have one of those! In the basement!”

Antique dresser, in the bay window.

Antique dresser, in the bay window.

We brainstormed about the light fixture and I eventually convinced her it needed to sparkle. She chose the contemporary light, which adds drama with whimsical shadows, and has a black finish that is elegant.

View into the living room.

View into the living room.

She had to have the chandelier re-centered over the table, because originally the chandelier was installed about 18 inches off-center. This would have caused me to twitch. The new chandelier sparkles, and brings just the right amount of crystal bling into the room, and now, it is even centered.

A little bling.

A little bling.

 The adjacent living room was also painted Benjamin Moore’s Museum Piece. This keeps the rooms connected and feeling open. She added white sheer curtains and painted all of the trim a crisp white.

The rooms flow.

The rooms flow.

These rooms now look fresh and clean, traditional, but with a hint of the unexpected. The adjacent living room is updated and the whole space looks pulled together. It reflects the homeowners’ personalities completely. Traditional with a pop of the unexpected.

Here’s to basements full of hidden treasure, and to friends willing to step out of their comfort zone. Cheers!

© copyright 2013 Mariam d’Eustachio at Simply Turquoise.

The Perfect Tool

No, it is not my husband.

Milwaukee 12 V. Drill

Milwaukee M12 12-Volt Drill

I have to report that I have found the perfect tool. I am unstoppable with this little, cute and lightweight drill. It was a gift for my husband, but I think I may run off with it.

Portrait of the tools.

Portrait of the tools.

Secondo and I put up three sets of curtains, without any help… or drama. It was easy. This is a drill I could hold over my head for hours, and it packs a punch.

New curtains.

New curtains, with a navy blue stripe.

I have discovered the secret to handy men. The secret is… to own the right tools. 

The living room curtains

New curtains from Ikea.

I asked my neighbor (who was the first to recommend this little drill) to come over and show me how to change the bit. The tutorial took less than 30 seconds.

The living room curtains

The living room curtains

At first, I was intimidated by this new little drill. Periodically, I would eye it and wonder if I should touch it or not, when yesterdays rain inspired me to give it a try.

Secondo and I admire our work.

Secondo and I admire our work.

Now I am unstoppable! Excuse me, while I go hang a shelf in the bathroom.

© copyright 2013 Mariam d’Eustachio.

The Evolution of a Living Room

After only eight months, the living room is now in its fourth configuration. The most recent arrangement looks so natural and feels just right, that I cannot believe it took so long to get it this way.

The floors were sanded and redone and a fresh coat of paint spruced up the bricks, ceiling and walls.

In configuration #1, the sofas were placed across from one another, adding to the symmetry of the room. The glass coffee table felt spacious and open, but was quickly replaced, to reduce the risk of concussion to the baby’s head. It also hides away a ton of toys, doing double-duty.

Configuration #1

Configuration #1.Configuration #1.

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Then, I threw in the blue found chairs.

Configuration #2.

Found chairs.

Found chairs.

Configuration #3.

As winter settled in, I wanted to draw up to the fireplace, so I changed the arrangement again. The sofas were in an L-shape, with the blue chairs under the windows. This felt cozy and friendly for fires and conversation. However, it cut off the room and made it feel small.

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Our living room is a “working room.” There is no family room nearby that gets all of the actual use. We use this living room for conversation, fires, fort-building, wine-drinking, reading and games. It gets a hard work-out.

Configuration #4.

Configuration #4.

In configuration #4, I have put the sofas back across from one another. Still keeping them close to the fireplace, I have placed the blue chairs directly across from it. This arrangement opens up the room, keeps the conversation area intact, and allows extra space for the traffic to flow easily through the room. The ottoman, which seemed overly large before, now fits perfectly, and is turned 90 degrees. It still holds a ton of toys.

Configuration #4.

Configuration #4.

A simple change like this can freshen a room. My room now feels summery and new; not just because I had to face-down all of the dog hair that was gathering life under the sofa. Rearranging the furniture is a quick pick-me-up for a tired room.

Better traffic flow.

Better traffic flow.

Give it a try! Push the sofas around, hang some art, and then send me pictures! Or better yet, invite me for coffee or wine, to admire the changes in person. Or, just let me know what you did in the comments section of this post. You will be surprised with the results, and you will not have to spend a dime.

© copyright Mariam d’Eustachio 2013.

“itty bitty living space”

The living room in this house is a challenge. It was one of the reasons I hesitated about buying the house. It has an awesome amount of character packed into a room that only measures 13 x 13. To quote Genie from Disney’s Aladdin, “PHENOMINAL COSMIC POWERS! …itty bitty living space”. That pretty much sums up how I feel about this living room.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfTfXLLJlzM

Living Room: before.

Living Room: Before.

However, there are advantages. Think cozy and cottage and curled up with a book by the fire. Considering I grew up in a house with about 900 square feet in all, I can hardly complain. There is plenty of room for chatting and coffee and I have a few tricks up my sleeve as well. Maybe not cosmic powers like Genie, but still pretty good.

Living Room: After.

Living Room: After.

I painted the fireplace wall and bricks white for a punch of contrast and to help unify that wall. I also painted the brass around the fireplace surround black, to make it look less busy. The color on the walls is in the cool family, a trick to help them recede and not seem too close.

The coffee table is glass. This is important. It does not occupy any visual space, which helps the room seem less cluttered. I played around with some other options, but the glass table was perfect.

Living Room.

Living Room.

My crazy sis came and helped me unpack and when I realized she had reorganized the books by color, I suggested that perhaps subject might be a better way to organize the books. But she was right. The colors looked great. We had only minimal grumbling and eye-rolling from Stuart over this one and a suggested debate: Form or Function?

Stuart and I are too tired chasing the baby and unpacking to debate at all, so I win.

Extra seating tucked away.

Extra seating tucked away.

I have two ottomans tucked away next to the sofa for emergency extra seating. Very handy!

I hung my black and white photographs going up the stairwell to accent the farthest wall in the room. This helps create the illusion that the stairwell is just inside my living room, and helps it seem bigger. It also draws attention to the beauty of the staircase, which is a nice feature.

Staircase.

Staircase.

Staircase Wall with Black and White Photographs.

Staircase Wall with Black and White Photographs.

The room is not entirely done yet. I still need to hang curtains or wooden shutters over the windows that face the street. I want to install a runner going up the stairs and I am sure that the room will continue to evolve over time. But right now, it seems perfect. Mostly because it isn’t full of boxes.

 © copyright 2012 Mariam d’Eustachio.