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Living Area Update!
Tonnie Bruner
November 2, 2012 in Design Dilemma
Posted photos a few weeks ago (1 attached here) decided to move entertainment center in front of gas insert instead of building mantal and shelving around it at this time. The furniture in these photos will stay (with exception to the chest being used as an end table next to chair-would welcome susggestions as to type of end table). Also, chair will stay for now (it is 30 years+) needs re-upholstered but for now a throw will have to do (suggestions on color of throw and type of pillow) The red vase on entertainment center and the vase on coffee table were taken from a spare bedroom decor - added basket with grasses on top of entertainment center for now. The mirrow I have had for a year not knowing where to put it - it is not ideal but does cover most the hole above fireplace. My delemma is the items on top of center and coffee table and end table. Thoughts on changing the lamp shade to black?? Adding light and airy items like glass candle holders or tall glass, , , something. The books with goldish design on first shelf on center will go in another room once I find something to replace them. The piano will be moved in a few weeks into next room, will need something to put in this small area. Also, I welcome suggestions as to the stairway rail and blank wall going up stairs. Thank you so much for any input.
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decoenthusiaste
Love to see people shop their own homes and find out they have lots of great stuff already on hand that just needs to find a new home in another space. Looks great so far. Only thing I might reconsider is the drapes - floor to ceiling would make a big change. WIth these simple grommets you could add a colorful panel at the bottom to bring the to the floor if you move them up.
November 2, 2012 at 2:41pm   
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Tonnie Bruner
Thank you!!! Very nice comments you have made. :-) In regards to adding a colorful panel to the bottom of the drapes what would you suggest? Color? Pattern? Ideas would be great.
November 2, 2012 at 5:26pm   
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PRO
love your place . com
Your changes look great. If you don't mind a bit of a splurge, get new, longer dark red drapes (the rest of the room looks black, white with some red) or white & red patterned drapes. Ceiling to floor will add a gorgeous vertical element and drama without fussiness.
I think you did a good job with the e-center and the mirror, it anchors the overall white-ness of the room. Once the piano is gone, I'd buy a long, narrow console table in either a dark stained wood...or rich laquered red (depending on how much red you want in the room). Love your idea of a black shade on the lamp.
November 2, 2012 at 6:04pm   
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PRO
Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
If your main problem is what to put on your cocktail table, you have few problems. But to address that question, I think that items of 3 different heights and sizes would work well. One large item, perhaps a pot with plants, and then a stack of design books, and then another lower item such as a large low bowl, would be wonderful.

Your draperies will do for now, and preferably against a darker wall. When you're ready for new ones, I suggest longer and wider draperies. No accent color on bottom of draperies. Keep them solid!

If you own this house, I'd replace the front door ASAP with something a little more 21st C.
November 2, 2012 at 6:16pm   
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inkwitch
A recent post had a pertinent comment about how high to hang pictures/art in a living room. Since it will be viewed from a seated position, it should be lower than yours. I know, it's always said, "Eye level." Apparently, that also includes eye level if you're seated. Just saying.

If the rug is somethingy you planned to replace, there is an opportunity for pattern and color, even if it's a subtle cream-on-taupe quadrofoyle pattern or a stripe. It's all a little bland without some pattern.

The coffee table and wall unit could use some light-colored or colorful items. Look at mercury glass accessories which have great reflective qualities, or shiny metal. Glass/crystal may be a bit too transparent to provide the "weight" you need. A wide shallow bowl on the coffee table in a color. In this palette you have your choice; what do you love? If you want to stay with the neutral scheme, think metallics.

I am partial to draperies with contrasting banding, I admit, but even in solid colors and two shades of the same color, banded top and bottom, would give some interest to those windows, which are great. Fantastic light. Don't like venetian blinds, but that's just me.

I would change the ceiling fixture if this is your property. Forget the fan; it's too small for the volume of space. Something more interesting (but not necessarily providing much light - it's only for effect, like jewelry) and here's your chance to use a touch of black. Would not put a black shade on the lamp.

It's a lovely room, and you've done a lot with what you have. If it takes a year to pull it together, consider it a scavage hunt and enjoy!
November 3, 2012 at 4:14am   
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inkwitch
A recent post had a pertinent comment about how high to hang pictures/art in a living room. Since it will be viewed from a seated position, it should be lower than yours. I know, it's always said, "Eye level." Apparently, that also includes eye level if you're seated. Just saying.

If the rug is somethingy you planned to replace, there is an opportunity for pattern and color, even if it's a subtle cream-on-taupe quadrofoyle pattern or a stripe. It's all a little bland without some pattern.

The coffee table and wall unit could use some light-colored or colorful items. Look at mercury glass accessories which have great reflective qualities, or shiny metal. Glass/crystal may be a bit too transparent to provide the "weight" you need. A wide shallow bowl on the coffee table in a color. In this palette you have your choice; what do you love? If you want to stay with the neutral scheme, think metallics.

I am partial to draperies with contrasting banding, I admit, but even in solid colors and two shades of the same color, banded top and bottom, would give some interest to those windows, which are great. Fantastic light. Don't like venetian blinds, but that's just me.

I would change the ceiling fixture if this is your property. Forget the fan; it's too small for the volume of space. Something more interesting (but not necessarily providing much light - it's only for effect, like jewelry) and here's your chance to use a touch of black. Would not put a black shade on the lamp.

It's a lovely room, and you've done a lot with what you have. If it takes a year to pull it together, consider it a scavage hunt and enjoy!
November 3, 2012 at 4:28am   
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pjcham
As you are thinking of future changes may I offer a few suggestions;
1. ceiling to floor solid colored panels with texture or panels that bring out your accent color.
2. replace your ceiling fan with a more substantial black fixture that hangs down further
3.replace the rug with one with color
4.pillows and throws with the colors from the rug
5.Hire a carpenter to enlarge the opening above your fireplace to accomodate a large ftat screen tv. He can build it out so that it will only be deep enough to recess a much thinner tv.
6. Bulk up your fireplace with tile, stone, or brick & add a much larger mantel.
November 3, 2012 at 4:32am   
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nicole851
inkwitch: firstly, it is ok to have fun with design and break the "rules".. but also note the floor plan dictates you would be facing the opposite wall when seated, it seems as though the pictures on the wall will be primarily viewed when standing in front of or next to the staircase, for which they are mounted at the perfect height.
November 3, 2012 at 4:57am     
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Tonnie Bruner
This is a note to all of those that have given their designer opinion - THANK YOU to all of you - What I have come to realize the past couple months is there isnt a 'right' or 'wrong' in deocrating but there are things that go together, work together and . . . dont. I have been very timid toward patterns, colors & shapes - in my mind there was a 'right' and a 'wrong' I am finally beginning to break out of that. I understand the comments I have read from you all and in a perfect world and all the money it would need - I would jump at the chance to either buy new drapes, rugs, furniture, accessories, hire a carpenter or hire a interior designer. Back to reality - I have what I have for now and will work with it changing things as time and money premit. Some of you have seen the before photos I posted a few weeks ago with the hole above the fireplace (someday we will build around - I have printed a picture of what I like) that is why a mirror is above the entertainment center (I bought the mirror a year ago on a GREAT clearence - it was broken ina few places with no mirror & husband fixed it) it suits the purpose for now. I like the ideas given by some of you to change the drapes, over time I will be looking at photos to see what may work - also, thank you Nicole851 in regards to your comment about the mount of the mirror - I think it works at the height it is - In regards to the ceiling fan - we NEED a fan in all the rooms here in the Boise area - it gets HOT in the summer and we are conservitve when it comes to paying for air conditioning. I had thought of painting the wooden slates (spelling?) and looking for a different light fixture - any suggestions? Incwich - thank you for your suggestions on 'lighter' type of items on the coffee table and wall unit, I agree with you and it will be fun to shop for items that have some character and are lighter in style. When it comes to the stair rail and poles and wall behind them I would welcome ideas. I would like to refinish the wood and replace the poles to the staircase also need something to hang on the wall.
November 3, 2012 at 7:46am     
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S Robins
What a lovely room! I love the light and I think it's a great space.

I think the easiest thing to do to update any room is the drapery (at some point) and I agree with the other comments, that perhaps raising the rod up (so it's more level with the top of the mirror over the TV unit) to bring up the height of the room - may make a big difference. I say that because the top of your mirror seems higher that the drapes, and I think art/decor etc. should always be lower than your curtains. I just find it looks neater and brings the scale back to rooms.

I also love your red pops of colour, so I would puchase drapes in a neutral color with a pop of red (just small) to tie it together. And I would add a seasonal display (nothing terribly expensive, so you can change it up) with some red in it, for your coffee table. Very welcoming - even a bouquet with a few red flowers, would be lovely.

I like your decor, but I think if you moved your darker pieces of decor off the dark furniture (like the dark candlesticks on your unit) you would notice them more. They are really nice - I think they could be better seen on lighter wood.

I think your frames are at right height where that is a walkway. They look nice there.

I like your staircase where it's nice and open. You could stain your banister a darker shade to tie in with the darker wood furniture ( your floors seem darker to me in the pictures). You could leave the railings lighter or stain darker too, depending on the look you're after (start with the banister). Sometimes this really updates a house (just to redo the stairs). I think it's quite inexpensive to do (compared to major changes).

Really nice room :)
November 3, 2012 at 1:59pm   
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Tonnie Bruner
Sue Robinson - You have made my heart glad. :-) I so appreciate your remarks and agree with the comments you have made. Will enjoy trips to Home Goods, Marshalls, Pier One and model home sales when they have them. I like my room also, it is cozy and makes me happy. I will continue to work on things, little by little. Yes, staining is inexpensive and I will begin with the banister and see what difference that makes. The 3 pictures you see from the reflection in the mirror were made by my husband and I - we brought some fir wood we had left over from the floor we redid from our home (100 year old) we moved out of before moving into this one in Idaho. I Had him cut the wood, I stained it, bought the matting, he cut it, went to Costco and printed the photos we took from an anniversary trip in Oregon and got the glass at a glass company. Those pictures were designed for over the entertainment center and it worked for about 6 months until we rearranged and placed the entertainment center in front of the fireplace. Wanted to put the pictures above it also but the hole in the wall is TOO BIG. Oh well, it works for now. I hadnt thought about art being lower then drapes but completely makes sense. I very much like to find a 'JEM' (something for basically nothing) it just takes more time but what else do I have - my husband likes that also since he is the money maker in the family. Funny you mention flowers for the coffee table - my husband surprised me a couple days ago with fresh flowers and I was so delighted to put them in a vase and place them, yes, on the coffee table. I can not wait until spring when the tulips and daffodils are in the yard so I can cut them and put them in the house. Until then I'll have to treat myself once in awhile over the winter to brighten up the room. Thanks so much! Blessings to you
November 3, 2012 at 7:03pm     
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S Robins
I'm so glad my comments were helpful. Your room really is beautiful as is and I know what you mean, sometimes just want to add a few things to make it just right. It really is lovely. Those pictures have a lovely story - I agree, it's worth the time to find just the right things that mean something to you, or work for your space rather than spending a lot and ending up with a generic look. I think your room reflects your style and that's the key. It's a very warm, inviting space. Enjoy :)
November 4, 2012 at 3:16am     
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PRO
Omega mantels of Stone
Hi, I can help with the fireplace www.omegamantels.com and www.dracmerealstone.com two different style and two great result!
November 4, 2012 at 3:25am   
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lisianthus
This is a beautiful room! I love the layout and all the natural light- great windows. I think you have done a great job! I really like the entertainment center with the mirror over it.
I like the drapes as they are, but I think if the walls were just one shade darker than the drapes it would bring them out a bit.
My daughter had that same "hole" above the fireplace, (what are builders thinking sometimes?), she finally covered it and hung her flat screen there and, added a mantle around the fireplace, might be something to think about for the future.
I think if it was me, I would paint the wood parts of the stair rail so it is all white.
I'm knit picking though- this is a really nice room.
November 4, 2012 at 9:15am   
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toscanovilla
You have made a wonderful room already. Make your fireplace more substantial by adding more wood around the perimeter right up to your mantel. I would use the great baskets on the floor set at an angle with a tall pillar candle holder beside one and then find a great big mirror with a wide frame to hang above the fireplace that covers the openings or find a nice canvas or framed piece of art to hang there if you prefer color.
November 4, 2012 at 9:45am   
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camaguey1
I love the way it is-go figure. Only I would change the puffy white pillows with another red or teals ( get rid of the the red one also, if don' go with red). the curtains are fine to me in color and lenth. BUT I am not a fan of curtains or drapes. Looks accommodating and inviting and tranquil
November 4, 2012 at 12:43pm   
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ktinainsworth
This is a nice space.

The photos sound like they have a special place in your heart as your husband worked to build the frames and they are from a vacation. I would lower them a bit as others have suggested.

I enjoy contemporary spaces and like your black/white color scheme. A red colored area rug would be very nice! As would a red throw for the sofa. I would leave the curtains white, they look nice.

It sounds like you are on a budget. I have found some amazing "gems" at the goodwill! You have to be patient, but can find some nice things that may need a good dry cleaning or maybe a little bit of wood-matched furniture oil that will soak into the scratches so it looks like new.

Could you leave one of the grass baskets in the fireplace alcove and bring the other one down next to the foot of it or placed on the coffee table? Breaking it up might add some variety.

The fun thing about this space is you have some solid foundations and it will change over time as you find accessories you like! Cheers!
November 4, 2012 at 4:35pm   
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thegriers
I think if it were me I'd buy a large piece of artwork that would totally cover the hole over the fireplace that would make it disappear. Adding color to the drapes is as simple as buying a matching red colored wide ribbon and sewing it down the length of your draperies for a quick fix. When you can I'd buy a new area rug with the coordinating colors to add a little color to the room. I really like your room it just needs a few things to bring out the style and coordinate your colors.
November 4, 2012 at 4:40pm   
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thegriers
One more thing. I don't really like the white throw pillows. I think I'd add a patterned pillow. You have so many solid colors.
November 4, 2012 at 4:44pm     
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mybayron
What is your wall color? I like it.
November 4, 2012 at 6:19pm   
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mybayron
What is your wall color? I like it.
November 4, 2012 at 6:19pm   
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jeaniq
I would enhance the fireplace by adding a more substantial trim all the way up and out to the mantel. I would also lean a large mirror from the mantel to hide the old TV opening. Set the nice woven boxes on either side of the FP. This might add some weight to this side of the room.
November 4, 2012 at 7:31pm   
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Carmen Haram
Beautiful space; i have a friend with a similar sofa; a few more pillows (groups of three of varying sizes, colors, patterns) colors of your choice! If you love neutrals go with patterns and textures. When adding color to a space, think of 3 accents for balance. and your accents (i.e. vases, etc.) would have more impact if they are a bit larger. Target often has pillows on clearance, hobby lobby is a great place for decorative home accents, with frequent sales. Love the mirror; white lights would be nice on the large plant in the corner this time of year...when I am styling I keep in mind "Color, texture, pattern, shine" which helps me! Have fun with your finishing touches!
November 4, 2012 at 8:25pm   
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PRO
Marie Hebson's interiorsBYDESIGN Inc.
Hi virgingorda2005, Marie here.

the best advice I can give you for your accessorizing, is to take measurements of the pieces you want to accessorize. (eg: round coffee table 36" diameter, top of bookshelf, 48"W x 16"deep, etc.)

When I am walking around in the store, I find a surface in the store with similar sizing, then collect items from the store and arrange them at the store!

Then I buy them, and take them home - see if they work in the room. 9 out of 10 times, they work out perfectly. If not, I return them back for refund.

Accessorizing takes time, set a budget, look for an inspiration point. Your pops of red are great start, make sure you tie in the red with art piece on the wall, some candles on the coffee table, etc. etc.
Note: be aware of your proportions, and that LESS IS MORE, BIGGER IS BETTER.

Because your sectional sofa is so large, go for the big pillar candles, and chunky candle holders. IF you must go dainty crystal candle holders, do a collection of 7 to 11 different sizes, and heights to make a statement of them...

Definitely work on your fireplace mantle - sorry virgingorda, it's just too wimpy.
November 4, 2012 at 11:03pm   
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maesview
We just bought a house and looking at all these decor photos, my mind is clouded with ideas and I reached the point where I think I will decorate with what I have first then shop for items later. I like your space, so nice and inviting. Love the pictures on the wall and the piano with a monogram M, is a nice touch. I love your sectional, where did you get it? I like that your space has a nice clean look to it, makes it homey and inviting.
November 5, 2012 at 3:22am     
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Elise
Looks great! You solved alot of problems for the time being. Pop a narrow console table next to the stairs and series of similarly framed metallic mirrors on the stairwell wall going up. Find a pretty red fabric lampshade for the lamp to keep on a new console table. You don't need to fill all the walls with furniture. Keep in mind the crowding you felt before and keep aisle spaces clear up to 4 feet wide for easy movement.
November 5, 2012 at 1:04pm   
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Tonnie Bruner
Comment to mybayron The walls were painted when we moved in - sorry I do not know.
November 5, 2012 at 6:47pm   
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Tonnie Bruner
Elise - Thank you - Yes, problems solved for the time being and I like the way it looks. :-) A narrow console table next to the stairs is a good idea. If you come accross a photo that has similarly framed metallic mirrors as to what you are suggesting, please pass my way - not sure what you are referring to. Your thoughts on the rails and raling?? Thank you.
November 5, 2012 at 6:51pm   
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Tonnie Bruner
Maesview The sectional was first seen at a furniture store called Thompsons in Tumwater WA about 4 years ago - I wrote down the information, maker, item # and began researching where I could find the sectional at the best price. I ended contacting Ayala Brothers in Centralia WA (a town next to our home time - at that time) and they beat all other stores (we bought our bedroom and office furniture from them). This home has a much smaller living area to deal with. Thank you for the compliments. :-) Enjoy fixing up your home.
November 5, 2012 at 7:09pm   
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Tonnie Bruner
Marie w/ interiorsBYDESIGN - I appreciate your decorating advise and will write down the dimentions in my notebook so I have them with me. Qustion as to one of your comments - are you saying the candle holders on the entertainment center should be larger and red candles instead of the cream ones? or maybe moving them or adding more to the coffee table??? I have heard less is more and bigger is better.(Have to remind myself of that often) The red vase w/grass on the entertainment center and vase on coffee table were in a spare bedroom (which I'd like to place back in that room) Any specific items you have or may see on line that you think would go - please let me know. Thanks
November 5, 2012 at 7:19pm   
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Tonnie Bruner
Elise - I just viewed your idea books - I like a lot of your posts. Also noticed from your profile you live close to my oldest daughter who lives in Portland - do you have photos of your designs in your home?
November 5, 2012 at 7:23pm   
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Tonnie Bruner
Camern Haram - Thank you for your helpful comments especially the 'color, texture, pattern and shine.' I am looking for more throw pillows, ones with what you have referred to (pattern, color some type of design and different shapes) with groups of 3. I am moving from 'plain jane' to . . . not sure what but wanting change, but it is taking some time. I enjoy Hobby Lobby, Target, Marshalls, Ross, Pier One, World Market, Good WIll . . . went to a sale on Saturday that I found on craigslist - Home Builders Model home items were for sale. I arrived too late - got the names of the companies and will keep watch for their next sale. Any time I can find a 'JEM' for less then nothing I feel great! (and my hard working hubby is please $$) Your 2nd sentance 'When adding. . . " Would you explain that a little more - not quite understanding. Thanks
November 5, 2012 at 7:36pm   
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Elise
Rails and railings - maybe paint or stain the railings ebony (black) and the oak trim under the base of the the spindles as well? Leave the spindles white. You seem to gravitate to darker trims, and picture moldings.

I'm thinking mirrors in modern metallic frames of varying sizes and shapes - silver toned. What do you think?

Donna Pochaski-Thomas

Between Naps on the Porch
November 5, 2012 at 10:16pm   
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S Robins
I came across this picture of dark staircase with white trim on Houzz - maybe help you decide if you like this look or not before attempting to stain yours. It's mid way down the page


November 6, 2012 at 2:43am   
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Elise
November 6, 2012 at 7:57am   
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S Robins
yes - I had mentioned possibly staining her staircase for a change. This is the two toned effect - not sure if she would like that, or to keep it all dark, or all light. Thought seeing an example may be helpful. I think her stairs are fine as is, but might tie in with her darker woods elsewhere to change them up (all in part).
November 6, 2012 at 8:28am     
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S Robins
I came across another pic of a staircase that looks more like yours (spindles) - I just find it easier to visualize things if I can see them before I attempt doing them (and sometimes I decide it's not for me)
November 6, 2012 at 11:20am     
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S Robins
here it is bigger (hope this helps!)
November 6, 2012 at 11:23am     
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Tonnie Bruner
Elise thanks for the photos :-) I like the ebony rails a lot - I have not seen a look like this before - Not sure I like the silver (metalic) mirror look on the wall if I paint the rail and oak base ebony.
November 7, 2012 at 12:52am   
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Tonnie Bruner
Thanks Sue for the enlarged photo -- I relate to your comment (easier to visualize if I can see them)
November 7, 2012 at 12:56am   
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Elise
No problem, just thought you had a more modern vibe and might enjoy that, otherwise just go for a mix of mirrors in white or black frames. Have fun with it, I use our stairwell as a family photo gallery, with some beautiful chalk portraits of our kids when they were teens at the most visible portion of the stairs.
November 7, 2012 at 12:34pm   
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