I love my job. And I especially love my job when I get to work with awesome clients like M & D (since we’re showing you the inside of someone’s personal home here, I prefer to keep it about the space, rather than who the home belongs to). Dear friends of mine, long before they became clients as well, M & D have lived in their house for close to 37 years. On various occasions we’d talked about changing things up, and the desire they had to ‘modernize’ their dated living space.
It all began with the idea M had about switching out the traditional sofa and loveseat that had resided in the living room for nearly 17 years; in mint condition, the only thing that hinted at the age of the pieces was the traditional style and floral upholstery. They just don’t make quality pieces that last that long anymore! M loves the look of clean lines, and white leather — a combination we originally set out to find and base the rest of the room design around.
You’ll notice in the pictures we decided to go with a darker leather in the end — darker means easier maintenance and cleanability ... something to definitely consider before you purchase your next set as well. The Zoe sofa and matching loveseat from Stylus Sofas was a great pick, and complimented the two existing leather side chairs they already had.
Normally, I don’t use all-leather or all-fabric for furniture in the same space — the result can be overbearing. But in this case, although both brown in colour, the finishes are different and the tones vary in depth so it doesn’t look too matchy-matchy in the end.
Through one of their own suppliers — Roma Moulding — M & D had their sights set on the gorgeous low-profile exotic wood cocktail table you see nestled in front of the sofa. The lower than average table height lets the space breathe, while the piece of tempered glass (added afterwards for longevity of the wood) reflects light and adds a hit of cool ambiance.
I’m not a fan of matching coffee and end tables, so I found the metal and glass tripod end tables to go with the cocktail table from Sunpan Imports: they’re light and airy feeling as well, and don’t take away from the impact of the Roma piece. A slender console table (also from Roma) sits adjacent the sofa, and acts as a nice little grounding piece for a crystal side lamp, and the amazing art above.
I lucked out in this department ... It’s not every day you have a client that runs their own custom framing and art business! We looked through the myriad of art catalogues and settled on the two abstract landscape pieces set behind the sofa; the tones in the prints add subtle warmth, playing on the tones of the existing white oak flooring, and pick up on the charcoal leather of the sofa.
Across the room, limited edition pieces printed on acrylic add bursts of contemporary colour in an unconventional manner — I fell in love with the pieces the moment I saw them, and it didn’t take long to convince M & D they would be great for a unique vignette along the front entry wall. The tall mirror set in the corner was hand built by D himself — an expert craftsman and finisher — all we had to do was choose the gorgeous hand-painted frames and bevels.
One of my favorite companies — Flow Decor — is where we found the crystal base Escher table lamps, and paired them with a ribbon-like chrome and linen Bradley floor lamp. The see-through nature of the table lamps add to the airiness of the space, and lets the design of the rest of the room shine.
M & D had painted the living room about five years prior in a rich and sumptuous cranberry — an update from the neutral wall colour they had lived with for years, and a means of tying in the berry tones in newly upholstered furniture. I loved the warmth the cranberry colour exuded, but it was time to change it up. Wanting a cleaner, and softer contrast between the furniture, floors, and artwork, I selected a linen-type neutral (a great backdrop for the art and decor) — HC 83 Grant Beige from Benjamin Moore.
DÉCOR & STAGING
Once the furniture (which had been on back order for a few painfully long winter months (thanks for your patience M & D!) had all arrived, it meant set-up and staging could finally happen! We threw in a low-pile shag area rug with a metallic sheen (to help pick up the metal accents throughout the space, and keep the floor feeling light), and some choice décor accents like the metallic lattice-work bowl and the turquoise glass and ceramic vases (all set on the cocktail table), the tall and slender hand-blown orange glass vases at the end of the console table (which draw out the only other orange accent colour in the room), and a mix of solid tone and Greek Key accent pillows throughout for colour blocking (necessary on a solid leather sofa), and interest.
Add in a few colourful sailing magazines (M & D are avid sailors when they’re not framing art), books, candles, funky textured picture frames, woven baskets, and some decorative grasses... and what we got was a clean, crisp, warm and contemporary living space ... created over several months, dreamed about for years.
A major transition from what they had lived with before, M & D were ready to take the plunge with something more up to date and modern — enjoy it my friends!
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 11, 2012