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Living room needs help!
Backyard Biosphere
February 20, 2013 in Design Dilemma
I have a mix of new, vintage and antique in a north facing living room. We are moving away from the pale yellow to lighter beige. I am having a hard time pulling it together for cohesiveness. The large pieces (dresser and buffet) are staying put at this point. The fireplace has been in a transitional state for 10 years. The room is the first room you see from the front door, and gets lots of use from kids, dog, visitors. My style is urban eclectic and I love the garden. Please help me pull this all into a room that works!
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decoenthusiaste
Your pics are showing us the furniture; now we need to see the space. Can you circle the room from the entry clockwise, taking pics from each corner and center of each wall. What is the ceiling height? Have you looked into greige as your new color? Here's a helpful Ideabook on it. My first thought is accent chairs either side of the FP. Post more pics for more input.
February 20, 2013 at 9:08AM   
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Terri Symington, ASID
Yes... we need broader views of the room to get a clearer picture of the scale and placement of the furniture in the room. But from what you have provided it looks like some of the pieces are over scaled.

The tall bookcase facing the fireplace looks very awkward. It does not fit the space. And it looks like the longer buffet piece would work better on the adjacent wall facing into the room next to the door opening. Also, the piece of art over it needs to be hung slightly higher above it. But in looking at the art work and the space overall... it doesn't give me a sense of a color plan or direction. The chair and the sofa and the bench do not coordinate or relate in color at all. If you are going to do an eclectic space you must use color to tie the pieces together.

The large gilt framed mirror is not working behind the chair.
February 20, 2013 at 9:29AM     
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malbom
the room is 14' x 18' with 8' ceiling.
February 20, 2013 at 4:44PM   
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Tailored Living of Toronto
Check out what we did with this house. This is also what you see when you enter. We extended the fireplace to the ceiling with stone and put in built ins on each side. The space really becomes a centre piece to the room.
February 20, 2013 at 4:59PM     
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Backyard Biosphere
Here are some more pics
February 20, 2013 at 5:14PM   
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Backyard Biosphere
and some more
February 20, 2013 at 5:22PM   
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Terri Symington, ASID
Your drapes are way to short...and I wonder why you have a double rod system,

Also... it is alright to put furniture in front of a window,,, so the piece that is sticking out on the left side may work OK in front of the window... we won't know until you try it.

A successful eclectic design can be difficult to achieve. People think that just because nothing is of the same period, style or color, they can mix it together and call it eclectic.

I think your particular room is fighting with the leather sofa. For one thing the brown does not go well with the browns in your wood pieces. You can do a modern or contemporary sofa... but it would help the room to do it in a neutral fabric. And I say neutral because of the area rug that you have in the room.
February 20, 2013 at 5:29PM     
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galloml
Put the mirror above the piece of furniture with the candlesticks. Don't hang anything above/behind the chair, it just takes away from the pics over the fireplace (hang them). Perhaps put a tallish (5') plant with fronds behind the chair?
Consider a less domineering lamp next to that chair, move this lamp next to the couch.
Put the branches next to the red chair.
No drapes, or hang them higher and make sure they almost touch the floor.
I would turn the book shelf to face the front door (still next to the fireplace)
Also, I would switch the chair to the other side of the fireplace, so the room is more open to the dining area. Have fun!
February 20, 2013 at 5:41PM     
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apple_pie_order
I suggest that you choose about a third of the decorative items you have out now. Put the rest away and rotate them in occasionally. Use one of the items to drive your color scheme. One decorative prima donna stars in each room. A gold framed mirror, a quilt, a Van Gogh print, huge family photos: one per room.

I know kids bring a lot of stuff into a house, but try to clear off the surfaces and the dining room table every day. Have the kids put their own stuff away while you put yours away.

The plastic over the fireplace could be for drafts or painting. If you have trouble with drafts, you might try a "chimney pillow" http://www.chimneyballoon.us/coldfireplacedraft.html which I've heard work for a lot of people, depending on your chimney set up.
February 20, 2013 at 5:43PM     
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nancy22032
The bookcase is so out of scale - could you remove what look like two tiers at the top? Then you could turn it parallel with the FP. Or could it go to a family room? The wing chair goes nicely with the traditional fireplace, another on the right would achieve a classic look. The sofa ruins the room (please forgive me but its true). Maybe if you had a more traditional sofa you could place it in front of the window, thus opening up the room to guests.
It would hide the fact that the drapes are short perhaps.
You have some beautiful paintings, but do take that mirror out from behind the chair. Maybe if you put the mirror on one side of the mantrel with the smaller of the paintings with it it would be a better use. I
like assymetrical placings as they are more interesting.
February 20, 2013 at 6:13PM     
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Backyard Biosphere
I moved the couch into the bay window. Is the rug too dated? My husband is very attatched to it, and we have another (see photo). The curtains are too short because there is a long return register vent that sucks in the material when they go to the floor. The dining room table is a mess because we cleaned the bookshelf and are trying to dispose of all that extra clutter.
February 20, 2013 at 6:33PM   
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decoenthusiaste
If there is room I'd try the buffet and ornate mirror in the dining room. Bring the wall rug to the living room. Maybe you need a smaller dining table. Put the small chest that overhangs into the bay where the buffet was. If the art above the buffet is no wider than 75% of the chest width you can use it but will need to lower is to about 5" above the chest. How do you like the sofa in the bay? Post some more pics when you get a few things moved.
February 20, 2013 at 7:27PM     
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Backyard Biosphere
Here is the couch in the bay window, and the corner dresser with some different art. Thanks for the comments, I must say that I am going to try to change the sofa, I just bought it at Macys and am disappointed in the quality, does anyone have suggestions for a nice looking sofa? I wanted a tight back so the dog wouldn't ruin it. Also, please note that I realize the curtain on the left is weird, I just haven't finished installing it, the screw is too tight! Thanks
February 20, 2013 at 8:26PM   
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fuzinav
Is there room to turn the buffet onto the adjacent wall? Is it possible to find or have made another base for your barrister's bookcases? Then stack them 3 high and use as a pair. They would look nicer facing the room, the profile is not as attractive. I like the couch in the bay window area, but if you are able to exchange it another color/shape might look even better.
February 21, 2013 at 4:52AM     
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apple_pie_order
Thanks for explaining about the length of the curtains to avoid getting sucked into the register. If you have the option to exchange the curtains, I'd choose something whose color goes with the walls and the furniture. (I agree the new sofa isn't working). For one of the two layers, a sheer would be versatile. Neither of the two curtain colors goes with anything at the moment. They could look better with curtain rings, too.

The curtains would look much better if shortened to the window sill height rather than in between sill height and register height.

Also, I think another poster, Terri Symington, said it well: "If you are going to do an eclectic space you must use color to tie the pieces together. "
February 21, 2013 at 6:40AM     
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Genevieve
I like the green that you have going in the other room you could use it in your living room as well and looking at your picture I would take the purple out and get that going as a complimentary colour . Remove all but one of the pictures on the mantle 3 are over crowding the mantle , the ornate mirror can be relocated too perhpas above the antique piece that you have . Create a conversation area http://hgrm.sndimg.com/HGRM/2012/10/16/DesignLens_formal-living-room_s4x3_lg.jpg
February 21, 2013 at 9:29AM   
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Genevieve
If you have a dog a leather sofa isn't really a good idea if the dog claws it it will rip or scratch it ,its good for children because its easier to wipe down if there is a spell on it ,stay away from light colours stains are very noticeable on a light fabric .



I like your rug ,the green of the leaves can also be an inspiration for the paint colour
February 21, 2013 at 9:39AM     
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Backyard Biosphere
Have rearranged the book shelves. Most of the extras are gone, will have more pics for tomorrow. Should I keep the sofa smaller and center it in front of the fireplace, or should I keep it in the bay? the room needs more seating, I know, but how do I maximize seating without making the room too crowded?
February 26, 2013 at 7:46PM     
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mainstreetschool
Balance the bookshelves (3 on each side), and put them up to the mantle. Stain them all to match and make it appear as a built in unit. You could hang the pair of smaller pics above one, and the larger one over the other, for balance. Try the mirror above mantle. The gold frames would tie in together. Put the large buffet in dining room in front of the window, which looks like a tapestry hanging. Maybe sheers behind it instead of roman shade. Put some of candlesticks on it. Put smaller console on wall where larger one is now, with iris painting above it. Smaller pair of candlesticks here. Get new, comfy sofa, and smaller coffee table. Plaid doesn't go with anything, either, on he bench. Change to what you think is your best accent color, perhaps the green in rug. If you put new couch in bay, put the wingback chair in room where couch was originally, angled toward couch a bit for conversation. Use baskets to catch the clutter.
February 26, 2013 at 9:17PM     
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Backyard Biosphere
Take a look at this while I continue to clean up the clutter!! The fireplace is so drafty and I haven't received the pillow yet, so bear with me, please.
February 27, 2013 at 7:30AM     
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Backyard Biosphere
Here is bookshelf configuration. I am thinking two side chair placed symmetrically on either side of the fireplace. Also I have included a close-up of my rug so you can see the colors. I am planning on donating the table top (marble), returning the sofa for something different and finding the side chairs. We switched the double rail system, which had been facing the wrong direction, and I removed the old panels. I am planning on painting the room a light beige, not really a greige, although I am open to the idea. I will try to move the buffet into the dining room later today,but that is a big project, and I need my husband to help!
February 27, 2013 at 9:39AM     
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llswink
Your library cases look good! The paintings need to be hung level and the frames need to be matched. You are on a roll! :)
February 27, 2013 at 10:06AM     
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Backyard Biosphere
OMG finally! I know about the level paintings, again that's a job for superman, tonight, I hope. Thank you for the comments.
February 27, 2013 at 10:29AM     
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mainstreetschool
Great job! Get sliders To help move that monster. Can't wait to see new firm in there
February 27, 2013 at 10:39AM     
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mainstreetschool
I like the arrangement with the mirror over the mantle. Maybe you can put the head and hand sculptures on top, also. Are you planning to stain mantle to match barristers? Looks good drawn in together.
February 27, 2013 at 10:47AM   
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nancy22032
Thanks for appreciating my comments. From the pics I see you're making great progress. I would paint the book shelves to match the wall if possible so that it looks like all one unit. Beautiful rug. Moving the sofa really opens up the room to visitors. Maybe a lighter colored sofa with softer lines, in fabric.
February 27, 2013 at 11:18PM   
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Backyard Biosphere
I am having a VERY HARD TIME returning the sofa to Macy's. I don't wish to offend anyone, but why did I buy from them? Terrible return policy, terrible customer service, very limited in every way. I am going to get some photos now of the changes, so just give me a second...
February 28, 2013 at 11:18AM   
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Backyard Biosphere
OK new pics. I put the blue chairs in to show where I would like to put swivel chairs, Room and Board, Amos chair. I moved the dresser into the dining room, freeing up space next to the sofa (Which is staying right there for now) and I left the marble table although I would like something scaled down and oval. As far as the barrister bookshelves, I don't think I can paint them, my husband is very attached and even making this change (split 3/3) is bothering him. I always thought the buffet in the dining room is a natural fit, but it is so deep and the table is very (5') wide, I think it makes the dining room too cramped. I should mention we use the dining room table all the time: Minimum twice a week for major family meals and then everyday it is something else from eating to homework to projects, it is a favorite space.
February 28, 2013 at 11:40AM   
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Backyard Biosphere
I would recover these chairs, but it is costly and not swivel. Thoughts? They are sturdy chairs with old-fashioned coils, very comfortable.
February 28, 2013 at 11:45AM   
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Backyard Biosphere
I put the mirror back because we missed being able to make a quick check before going out the door.
February 28, 2013 at 11:46AM   
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Sharyn
Enjoying seeing your transformations. I'm glad you're removing the large round table. For window treatments, consider soft roman shades, or blinds. The curtains make the room look sloppy. The artwork on the fireplace wall, place them together in a grouping instead of individually, perhaps on a smaller wall. A mirror should always reflect something nice, consider painting the frame, the gold is a bit harsh. It is also too small for above the fireplace. Moving the buffet is a great idea. Will the dresser fit behind the couch and act as a sofa table?
February 28, 2013 at 11:47AM   
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Sharyn
Not a fan of the chairs. For wall color how about pulling out the light smokey grey/blue out of the rug. Don't be afraid of color, beiges can be so dinghy. Also, I like the dresser by the dining room window, but open up the shades..it will take the heaviness out of the room. And those candle sticks by the fabric make me nervous..lol
February 28, 2013 at 11:57AM   
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Backyard Biosphere
By "chair" do you mean the bright blues? or the Room and Board Amos swivel? I just put the blue for placement, but I like the roundness and height. I am planning on switching the red roman shade to a drape with more muted shades, I supposed a photo would be nice, still a fire hazard, but I'm not lighting the candles today!
February 28, 2013 at 12:10PM   
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Nancy Travisinteriors
Way too much furn. Blue chairs too bright for small room. Put other art work over fireplace. Large to cover all the fireplace length . Sofa is ok facing. Fireplace. But place long table behind. With plants and candlesticks. To hide back. A chair on side of fireplace. Take drapes to floor. Put 2 chais with small low table and lamp in front of window. Small coffee in front of sofa. Put mirror by front door.
February 28, 2013 at 12:40PM   
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Backyard Biosphere
Interesting comments Travis, but how do you suggest I get more seating? I entertain ALOT, and often need to seat 6-10 people. Four is a minimum number. Ideas?
February 28, 2013 at 1:36PM   
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decoenthusiaste
As for the buffet; as long as there are 24" between it and the table top you're OK.
February 28, 2013 at 1:54PM   
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moenna
A couple of questions, if I may. Is this your formal living room or the only living room in the house, where you live and use constantly? If it is a formal, then I think it is way too cold and stark. Needs to be your show-piece. Coming into the front door and looking to the right, the first thing one sees, is the fireplace and that wall. The fireplace really needs to be dressed up, Google fireplaces and then click on 'images'. Copy some ideas from the pics.
I think. A nice cloth and lovely centerpiece, would maybe make that cold round table, look less severe. You have a lovely older sideboard/buffet in that room and I'd like to see other pieces go with it, a little more successfully. I like the rug and if you absolutely cannot replace the sofa, lots of lovely pillows will help hide it. I do think you need to cover the chairs or replace them, though.
Mo
February 28, 2013 at 2:12PM   
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nikitasmom
An idea for the coffee table which includes a couple of stools for additional seating. http://www.homelement.com/Occasionals/Coffee-and-Cocktail-Tables/288-Coffee-Table-Mahogany-Global-Furniture-p-14917.html
February 28, 2013 at 2:34PM   
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Backyard Biosphere
This is my living room, and it is used often.
February 28, 2013 at 3:07PM   
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moenna
I made a little mock-up for you, to show how you might dress up the fireplace area. You could consider painting the fireplace a lighter colour too.
Mo
February 28, 2013 at 4:06PM     
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February 28, 2013 at 4:26PM     
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moenna
Aww. Thank you. Sorry that my painting wasn't very good, but i'm laid up at the moment and am having to use my laptop, which doesn't have my favourite photo programme on it. Not sure it is allowed here, but if you have to replace furniture, do keep an eye on Craigslist. SO many good deals on there these days, Or browse your thrift shops. I have decorated my homes for the last 45 years from such places. And yes, people do say, "Wow". when they come in. My front room is also the first seen from the front door. I also have a very large round table in the middle of my front room. I have a large dark, round, table cloth covering it, which falls to the ground all around. Over that, I have a square (not so large) cut-work white cloth. On top of that I have a lovely old French, frosted, ruby glass lamp base. Didn't work, so I took the lamp parts our of it. Looks just as nice.
Mo
February 28, 2013 at 4:39PM   
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Backyard Biosphere
Sounds very nice. I was thinking about the lamps on the bookshelves, but had not considered a victorian style. Can I just admit my biggest beginning problem is that most of my furniture is inherited and hand-me-downs. I seriously would have no problem just buying new things but, as with this sofa, I have no experience and just see mistakes in my future. I have a few things that I can't part with and some things I wouldn't mind or am actually planning on editing out...I just feel bad donating grandma's furniture!!
February 28, 2013 at 4:48PM   
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Krista Hickey
I am not a fan of the blue chairs - they seem to take full control of the entire area. I do, however, like the rearrangement of the furniture. i would pull the sofa and original chair closer together - within chatting distance. One of the biggest errors around is centering around a rug, rather than on top of the rug.
February 28, 2013 at 4:51PM   
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moenna
My house, is a lot Victorian, with Tudor touches and anything else that moves me. It's pretty full! ;) We call it, 'Tudorian'. Oh and by the way, it's a very large mobile home.
Mo
February 28, 2013 at 4:58PM     
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handymam
Backyard, just remember, you are donating Grandma's furniture, you are not donating Grandma! If you don't get rid of things you don't want, you will have to keep fitting them in somewhere and work around them.
February 28, 2013 at 5:07PM     
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Marie Hebson's interiorsBYDESIGN Inc.
Hi Backyard Biosphere, marie here.

I'd focus on your fireplace - and if you possibly can - add built-ins on either side creating not only a spot to display your cherished collectibles, but it will de-clutter the room.

You need to pick your favorite piece of art and use that for your inspiration in your colour palette.

the leather sofa isn't one of my favorite pieces - I love the style, and the shape, but I don't like that it is a pleather. Just doesn't fit your more eclectic traditional vibe.

Best thing to do - remove everything from the room and start over, adding each piece thoughtfully, carefully - choosing fabrics that are all complimentary to one another, and the biggest thing you can do - all your large pieces of furniture (sofa, chairs) need to be a similar fabric and colour, even in your dining room chairs - they need to compliment what's going on in the living room.

Drapes need to be again, a tone on tone - work on your fabrics to compliment your one piece of art that you must keep in the room - then repost your favorite - I can help you from there.
Start researching eclectic traditional spaces - the commonality is in the fabrics not in the items, that is the key to the success of your space.

There is just too much going on and some serious editing needs to happen in your fabrics and patterns. Some successful eclectic traditional rooms attached to inspire you.

PS I wouldn't paint my room beige - I'd find that magic colour that brings out your painting and the fabric colour story you are about to create. Beige is way too boring for your space, and won't compliment your hardwood floors.
February 28, 2013 at 5:18PM     
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handymam
Backyard, I just looked a the pic in your idea book. It is very much like what your home is like. Why not pick a color for that fireplace wall and paint the fireplace white like in the ideabook photo? Maybe pic some colors from the vangogh print? How about a deep blue for the fireplace wall and go with grays and blues and black for the living room? I think that buffet would look gorgeous painted black!
February 28, 2013 at 5:20PM     
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handymam
Taking another look, move that Van Gogh to over the fireplace, do the accent wall there and I think regardless of what other's have said, you can make the blue chairs work. Choose some accents from the painting too for throw pillows on the couch and blue chairs. Maybe work in a bit of green by draping an afghan or scarf on the couch. I think your style is less by the rules, as my suggestions for you are also. New built-ins might be nice, but I would make do with what you have for now until you are ready to really get what you want and know what you want.
February 28, 2013 at 5:29PM     
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Backyard Biosphere
Thank you for these comments. I am rethinking the room...
February 28, 2013 at 5:42PM   
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Backyard Biosphere
Thinking about painting the fireplace bright deep blue to compliment the Van Gogh, (Thanks Handyman!) which I would frame in black (?) and then use that art for my colour scheme -- it is my favorite piece of art. I appreciate Handyman's other suggestion about making do with the barristers for now, my husband is working on some new built-ins: a pantry and a display cabinet, and he is not too interested in more work at this time! Painting the buffet black sounds outstanding.

Marie, thank you for the inspiring pics. I think I need to get some more pics of the first floor since it is continuous, but a bolder look would be quite suitable. Would the art then go with the carpet?
February 28, 2013 at 6:04PM   
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Backyard Biosphere
I am not sure how I would do Grays, blues and blacks, even though I think it could be a super dramatic statement, and how would I pull that through the other rooms? I have a rather intense carpet going up the stairs...I'll go get a pic...
February 28, 2013 at 6:10PM   
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moenna
Ooooh. Please don't paint this nice piece
Mo
February 28, 2013 at 6:16PM   
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Backyard Biosphere
I hear you Mo, but strictly speaking, I do think my grandma refinished it at some point, it is from 1880
February 28, 2013 at 6:25PM     
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Backyard Biosphere
These are colours in my house
February 28, 2013 at 6:29PM   
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moenna
I understand. Difficult to tell on my small computer if it has been refinished. But you must do what will work best for your room.
Mo
February 28, 2013 at 6:30PM   
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Backyard Biosphere
My husband loves the stair posts!
February 28, 2013 at 6:33PM   
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laurae1967
Your furniture is not harmonious. You have some large heavy wood pieces that are nice but then the pastel artwork, neon blue chairs and ungainly couch and coffee table detract from the nice elements in the room. It is a hodge-podge of stuff. As someone said, just because you have something doesn't mean you have to find a place for it. Give it to charity or sell the stuff that doesn't fit in.

Figure out one specific style and stick with it. The artwork is too pastel-y, the bookcases should be painted, and you need new rugs and a sofa with shorter arms. Way too many styles going on.
February 28, 2013 at 6:41PM   
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mainstreetschool
Love the Van Gogh! I see the color at the bottom appears to match the stripe on your stairs, and the green is in your spindles. You are already going with the painting colors. Don't paint the barristers, stain the fireplace to match them. The green and blue will be sharp together.
February 28, 2013 at 6:48PM   
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Backyard Biosphere
Can I base a scheme on the painting and the rug? or does the rug go back in my bedroom?
February 28, 2013 at 6:48PM   
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moenna
What are 'barristers'? Do you mean bannisters? You know - the things that go up along side stairs, to hold on to?
Mo
February 28, 2013 at 6:56PM   
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Backyard Biosphere
barristers are what the bookshelves are called because they are actually used by lawyers (aka: barristers) for legal tomes. Our's came from my husband's grandfather. The rug either gets to be a foundation/ground or I guess it needs to go. We have another rug with more black and a pastel border which, lucky for me, also doesn't really match this colour scheme. thanks for your comments.
February 28, 2013 at 7:08PM   
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moenna
Got it BB. So they have glass fronts which sort of slide out and push in above
Mo?
February 28, 2013 at 7:14PM   
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Backyard Biosphere
exactly, Mo, they are very cool for books, not really meant for my junk.
February 28, 2013 at 7:16PM   
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moenna
Yes. Great for things you don't want to have to dust every day, eh? I think my daughter has one, in which she keeps a large amount of sheet music.
Mo
February 28, 2013 at 7:19PM     
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Ancient Surfaces
The Van Gogh is great but the fireplace is a NoGo. In my humble opinion you need to inject some life into that piece.
February 28, 2013 at 7:20PM     
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Backyard Biosphere
Trying to get the painting and the rug together.
February 28, 2013 at 7:25PM   
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moenna
I think I'd like to see the painting framed and hung, to make a statement. At the moment, I think the chairs overwhelm the space.
Mo
February 28, 2013 at 7:28PM     
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malbom
I think that the chairs look great with the painting which will even look better once mounted! Maybe a blue color for behind the fire place and a lighter couch will help tie the colors together!
February 28, 2013 at 7:39PM     
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Amy Thompson
I was glad to see the painting over the fireplace. This room likes water colors. The sofa is more inviting to come in and sit down. Can you put the chairs facing each other on each side of the fireplace? I can see the deep browns working with the blues, you can incorporate more black in the rug with some accents like pillows and throws. bounce some more white and beige accents in throws and candles. You can pull some of the oranges from the painting also with some accents. Also the photos can make a statement in a wall organizer frame.
February 28, 2013 at 7:45PM     
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Backyard Biosphere
Thank you for your comments.
February 28, 2013 at 8:57PM   
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Backyard Biosphere
Mo, I think you sent out an inspiration because my husband suggested switching the living room and dining room. How would that be to walk into my dining room?
February 28, 2013 at 9:00PM   
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moenna
Hmm. Well, that might be a good idea. If you have a lovely dining room suite, then you could just do up the fireplace a bit and maybe the curtains and you'd have your show-piece.
Mo
February 28, 2013 at 10:07PM   
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handymam
Backyard, there is a post entitled "Need a accent color" that shows a gray-blue wall that was what I was thinking of for your living room. Do a search for it because I am not smart enough to get you the link, lol. The poster was having trouble picking a color and someone was able to show it in a dark blue. Please, don't paint the fireplace blue, paint the wall. If you look at the post you will see why. The blue wall would be a beautiful backdrop for the blue chairs and have the blue chairs make sense. The fireplace could even go unpainted .

I don't like the idea of switching rooms. It would be odd to walk into the dining room, and a pain to carry dinner through the living room to get to the dining room..
March 1, 2013 at 4:42AM     
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Sharyn
Backyard: Now I'm confused. What look are you going for? Your living room is screaming for color, which is missing, yet your stairs are painted green, so you're not afraid of color. Right now you have a clutter of hand me down furniture and in-cohesive pieces. To make them go together, you might have to paint them all in the same color scheme. I would empty the room - put in the basics one at a time. Pick one main color and up to 3 contrasting colors (perhaps from your rug) and use that theme throughout your home. In regards to hand me downs....people love to dump their old stuff on other people. If it is special to you KEEP IT, if your only using it cuz it was theirs, then it's time to donate to another family member or Craigs list. By keeping their stuff, you are making your home theirs- Not yours. Would they really want that? Also, don't alter major pieces (Painting the fireplace..NOOOO!) unless you plan on replacing it someday. For more seating options have you considered a bench with ottomans that store under if for additional seating?
March 1, 2013 at 6:25AM   
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Backyard Biosphere
thank you for the comments. the fireplace is actually meant to be painted, we stripped it thinking it might be oak, but it is pine and the central carved piece is actually terra cotta, not fired and would benefit from a coat of paint to protect it. If I get rid of every piece in the room, I am still afraid that I will just make mistakes. No one is afraid of color here, but the rug and the stair carpet don't go together. The blue chairs are not staying in the living room. I just put them there for placement. I don't think I would paint the buffet, I would just get rid of it.
March 1, 2013 at 8:34AM   
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chinch
I had the exact same layout--small entry, long and narrow living room that you need to walk through to get to dining area.Hardly used the room at all and it was cut off from kitchen. The only layout that works with furniture is putting the sofa in front of the window and 2 chairs flanking the fireplace. Assuming your kitchen is behind the left wall? we just finished a remodel where we enlarged the entry by taking about 4 feet from the living room and knocking down the wall between the kitchen and living room, adding a double tiered island where the wall was . now we have a kitchen/sitting room with the fireplace wall as a focal point. it is awesome
March 1, 2013 at 9:45AM   
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nancy22032
Dear BB: Your head must be swirling from all the great comments you have received. I saw the original of the Van Gogh at the Met Museum in New York some years ago. It was an amazing experience - it radiated power and I actually got tears in my eyes (and I am not the crying kind). If you love the colorsof the painting, use them as your guide. Feel free to use lots of color - it is friendly. Even the bright blue chairs are welcoming, compared to the dark sofa. Is it possible to place chairs facing each other right at each end of the sofa in a "U" shape? Or even one of them? I have used this arrangement in both large and small rooms. It makes a great conversation area with the round table inside the "U" with a few items on it. This might take away from the fireplace but make room for guests to sit. I would try placing the blue chairs this way and putting a throw with blue colors in it on the sofa. I hope you don't feel pressure to have the perfectly decorated room as shown in all the magazines and websites. There is a style called "eclectic" which would describe your colorful stairs, the blue chairs, van Gogh & all the marvelous antiques. Honor the bookcases - I've always wanted some. You can have an exciting and original home using the art work and colorful furnishings you have. My best wishes to you. Nancy
March 1, 2013 at 10:47PM   
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Nancy Travisinteriors
Didn't know you needed so much seating. You might try 2 sofas not more than 6ft long across from each other in front of fireplace. Center in room. coffee between them sofa should match. Then 2 chairs at end facing the fire place. With small low table between. The one sofa would float out from bay window not up against it. Take dn drapes. Not a good look. If you need privacy, use a pleated shade. Lowes have in stock. The shades should be white. And left up most of the time. Print walls same as dining area or room right next to this rm. in fact paint all the areas same color. The area rug would go between the 2 sofas, no furn except coffee table should sit on it. Put white crown moulding around each bay window. You can buy faux wood already white. Use it for ceiling also. Put plants and candlesticks on table between chairs. Use table lamp on small table at end of sofa near fireplace. Hid cord by running under sofa to outlet.put a large picture over fireplace.make sure you measure after crown moulding goes up. You want hang pic 3-4" above top of fireplace. Have a 4-5 dn from moulding. Never hang to close.
Instead of group. Looks cleaner.put small plant an vase candlesticks . Don't over do.
March 5, 2013 at 3:15PM   
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Nancy Travisinteriors
I like the idea of cabinets on each side of fireplace. With matching lamps then you wouldn't need table at end of sofa or lamp.There is a tall piece near bay window. Can that be broken dn to 2 pieces that might work. What wall is the Buffett on? Is it living room. If so is there room for it in dining rm? Do you have a entry hall?
March 5, 2013 at 3:21PM   
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Backyard Biosphere
Well, here is a shot of my latest efforts--moved buffet into DR. new sofa and chairs, waiting on the coffee table, vintage danish. painted ceilings and walls in LR & DR same color. More painting to do in front hall so no photos yet. Still need to frame painting and hang properly.
April 24, 2013 at 2:49PM     
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Laura
Love the sofa and chairs. My only advice now is to pull the floor lamp closer to the chair, and add a table at the far end of the sofa with a light. The room looks so welcoming now.
April 24, 2013 at 8:00PM     
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Laura
Whoops. I see there is a table down there. Just the lamp, then!
April 24, 2013 at 8:01PM   
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Backyard Biosphere
I have an Eileen Grey side table which doesn't show in these pics, but it is great!! Original! Vintage!!
April 24, 2013 at 8:26PM   
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nancy22032
Wow!!! The living room looks great - it says "Come right in" it's a room a person would want to join. Bookcases are very good. Lots of style without too much formality. Colors in the rug complement the Van Gogh and it looks
beautiful over the FP. I'm curious now how it all looked in the beginning - can we see a before and after shot?
April 24, 2013 at 10:45PM   
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nancy22032
Oh right! I just scrolled up to the original request from you. You have made a terrific improvement. There were so many unrelated artifacts. I would move the scales from the mantel to the left bookcase. van Gogh doesn't need
the company. Congratulations again.
April 24, 2013 at 10:52PM   
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kgarrison1
looks beautiful and fresh--great work (and editing,)
April 24, 2013 at 10:54PM   
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nikitasmom
So jealous of that sofa and new chairs. Almost exactly what I wanted and didn't get. It could be the camera angle but it looks like the chairs could be spread out just a couple of inches so as not to block the fireplace. Agree that the scales could be tried on the left bookcase as the right side looks busier than the left. It is coming along so well that I think you should grab that arm off the mantle and use it to give yourself a pat on the back. ; )
April 25, 2013 at 7:23AM     
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Backyard Biosphere
Chairs are vintage 1950's and they swivel!! The arm on the mantle is one my mom made using my dad as a hand model. Thanks so much everybody for the great feedback--I feel about 50% done.
April 25, 2013 at 3:50PM   
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bocadog
Gotta get a hipper rug
April 26, 2013 at 11:29AM   
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galloml
wow! I haven't checked this in so long, it is great!!

I have theC table next to the couch also, love it! I agree with the person who said to put the scales on the left bookshelf and call it done.

I would try putting the front feet of the couch on the rug. a pain to vacuum, but pulls the seating area together just a teensy bit.

Congratulations!!!
May 6, 2013 at 6:03AM     
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handymam
It is looking very good! Very fresh!
May 6, 2013 at 6:24AM   
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decoenthusiaste
Looking good! Keep us posted.
May 6, 2013 at 6:31AM   
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