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I will confess, this is now my favorite room in the house. It used to be my least favorite space. Finding the right arrangement changed everything. Colors. Green rug, different shade of green chair, gray sofa with pattern, different shade of gray (no not that book) chair. Nothing matches, everything goes, to quote Stacey and Clinton. Blue throw on the chair and blue lamps on the desk to echo the blue on the other side of the room. Gray vases because, well I liked them. Funky shapes call to me. White tray to pick up some white from the sofa legs and trim.The bookshelf helps balance out the uneven room length as well as the visual weight of the fireplace. The desks behind add function to empty space and help balance that large window. Symmetrical, matching lamps give they eye a rest from all that doesn’t match.  So, to summarize, repeating tones, pattern for interest, balancing shapes.

Now, to the fireplace. Oh that fireplace. I struggled for years with that thing. Years. Also, I have a tendency towards the dramatic. The fireplace and mantle are painted in the same color as the walls, just a couple of shades darker, which actually helps it recede a bit, while still acknowledging that it’s a focal point. They were painted when we moved in, so we didn’t cover up amazing brick or anything. I like to keep things simple, as I’ve acknowledged before, I have issues with clutter. So I haven’t decorated the mantel. I’ve tried, it just doesn’t work for me. I like the dahlia mirror though. It adds another gray tone and lots of texture and pattern. And its big, which works really well when you don’t want to add little things. It was a great find from Target when they used to do their world market in the winter, you can find a similar one now at Crate and Barrel.

And those driftwood balls in the ridiculous fireplace. It took me ages to find something that worked there. There were flowers and candles and toy baskets. Non functional fireplaces are the worst. You can’t ignore them and very little looks good in them. Most of the things I tried just weren’t little boy friendly. Plants got dug in, candles got thrown around so someone could make their holder a drum, toys just looked messy all the time.  And since we’re talking about what works, they driftwood color is similar to the finish on the desks and helps connect them into the room. They add an unexpected element and a great texture to the space, especially combined with the brick. They were from West Elm, but unfortunately are no longer available. Crate and Barrel has something similar now though.

So, that’s the design detail. Oddly enough, nothing in this space cost more than $200 and most of it cost significantly less. Well, outside of the re-upholstery costs. And even with those there’s nothing over $500. The sofa was a Brown Elephant find. $20 before upholstery. Details are on the before/after page. The gray chair was originally orange (and smelly) and free. It’s covered in a tweedy flannel from Room and Board. Green chair was thrifted, the rest of the items are on my Pinterest board.

I’ll leave you with a few of before and during photos. They make this post really long, but they’re kind of fun. This room sat for several years without molding, with holes in the floor where we took out the arch ways and a really awful drywall job. Learning curves. When we moved in all the walls, trim, electrical outlets, vents and ceiling, everything was with a stucco texture. Stucco with sparkles. It looked like a crazy disco. The only way to remove it was to take off all the plaster and ruined trim. Its better now.



A photo taken during our inspection. Note the fancy sparkle. And our realtor.

This one is a couple of weeks after we closed, when we were still hopeful we could get the sparkle off without drastic measures. When we moved in there was a stack of 20 sheets of drywall in this space and no kitchen. We had an 18-month old.

These next few are just evolution of the room shots. Taken over 6 years.