Tuesday, September 8, 2009
I've been mulling over what to do with the family room for weeks now and it's been driving me crazy. For some reason, I've been having a complete decorator's block on how I want this space to turn out. The majority of my creative endeavors are ignited with a great spark of inspiration -- a certain "Eureka!" moment, if you will -- and I'm off like a shot, generally completing the project, blog post, essay, whatever, in short order. Sure, I'll go back over what I've done and tweak things slowly, but the core of the work is done in one fell swoop, almost as if by magic. But sometimes, this type of inspiration just doesn't come and, when it doesn't, I'm forced to slog through a project slowly, painfully and with a lot of hand wringing and second guessing. Unfortunately for me, decorating the family room has come about through this latter, far more painful, process. I've put it aside for weeks at a time and scrapped everything and started over again at least twice, but at the end of the day, I'm fairly pleased with how it all turned out.
Way back in July I won a contest over at Room Remix for a new room layout. After trading emails concerning the dimensions of the space as well as our functional needs, PK sent over the general layout shown above and I think it's the most logical use of the space. It was also extremely helpful in getting me focused on actually designing with an eye to scale, something I definitely need to work on. In any case, I've tweaked PK's plans just a bit to reflect the exact dimensions of some of the pieces I've purchased/plan on purchasing, but otherwise all the credit for the nifty layout and professional-looking plan should go to her.
For the built-ins on either side of the fireplace, PK suggested that I have the bottom cabinets faced like the dresser shown above (which is actually the Mandarin Sideboard from Crate&Barrel, but colorized in white as my cabinets would be). Imagine then both my and PK's surprise last week when I spotted a nearly-identical version played out by Brown Design -- but then again, great minds must think alike, right? That said though, I actually like this cabinet face (and the idea of adding a similar foot) more and I do think having the upper cabinets open for display will help keep the built-ins from overwhelming the fireplace. And speaking of the fireplace...
I'm actually rather happy with how it's currently styled (I'm a more is less kind of person generally), though I may add another piece or two from my accessories closet (aka my pantry). Playing off the blue and white of the porcelain urns, as well as the silver foil of the mirror, my first task was to find a large area rug to anchor the room.
The initial criteria for a rug was to find one that brought together the light blue of the breakfast area with the navy in the dining room. I also wanted it to feel modern while still referencing either traditional oriental or ethnic motifs. When I first saw this rug on Madeline Weinrib's website, I knew it would be perfect -- my only fear was that, since I needed at least a 9 x 12, it would be out of my price range. With fingers crossed I sent an email to the MW rep at ABC Carpets and was also pleasantly surprised to find out that Weinrib's cotton rugs are actually reasonably priced, especially given the quality, and that shipping wouldn't be prohibitively expensive (in fact, I think it was less than $30). Thrilled, I placed my order over the phone last week and I couldn't be more pleased with the product when it arrived only days later. With the rug in place, my task for this weekend was to purchase at least one or two of the major furniture pieces so that the room could start being used as more than a pass-through from the kitchen to our bedroom.
As luck would have it, I managed to hit the jackpot at Ethan Allen on Sunday and purchased not one but three pieces. For seating I picked up the Rand wing chair (upholstered in a gorgeous ivory cotton blend shot through with silver and light blue) and the Avanti sofa (upholstered in a sturdy chenille that has both dark and light blue elements). To give my gorgeous Kate table lamps a home, I also purchased a stunning chinoiserie console table from Ethan Allen as well, which will nicely anchor the floating sofa. If you haven't been into an Ethan Allen store in a while, I think you'd be in for a pleasant surprise. Many of their pieces are very current and the prices are a lot more reasonable than I had imagined, especially given the range of fabric and wood stain choices you have for each and every piece. That said though, the downside to going semi-custom is the lead time necessary for construction -- I won't be getting my new purchases until early November, which will be just in time to host the in-laws for Thanksgiving.
At some point, I'll purchase a second side chair to complete the room -- I'm thinking a slim, skirted style like this one, upholstered in a durable navy would be a nice balance to the other leggy, lighter pieces. To play up the Moroccan pattern in the rug, I selected the small silver-gilt side table from Ethan Allen (which would go next to the skirted side chair) and the larger Marrakech side table (love the light blue underside!) from Baker Studio (which would go between the sofa and the wing chair). Dave's one request for the room was that we have a leather ottoman. I thinking about getting this one (currently on sale!) from Restoration Hardware. The rolling casters would be extremely convenient when we have company as it could be easily moved about to create more seating. Plus, it's ample size means it's large enough to work in front of the 87" sofa. My one concern is that it's too heavy/dark for the rest of the furniture. I don't want it to look like a giant brown blob plopped down in the middle of my family room! Alas though, because of my determination to go for quality over quantity, the purchasing of any additional furniture pieces are on hold until next year.
As far as other accessories go, I'll either use what I have or buy slowly over time -- either way, I haven't seen anything new out there that I think it just perfect for this space (for which my wallet and husband are thankful). There are, however, some fantastic pillows over at John Robshaw that might be great for the sofa, though I'd like to wait until I have the sofa in the house and see how the colors all work out before purchasing any.
So what do you think? Given the difficulty I've had putting this together, I'd love to hear your feedback, comments and suggestions (though if you tell me to return anything I've already purchased, I may just have to chuck myself out the window...).