Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Evolution of a Living Room

UPDATE: Two commenters asked for the sisal rug source.  It's actually from CSN--now Wayfair.  I can't find the exact rug, but I think after a 20% coupon and free shipping I paid about $160 for it.  My kitchen and dining room sisals are from Overstock.  The Overstock rugs are acutally heavier.  I will order from them next time, and I recommend them more.  Overstock rug links here and here.  I wouldn't hesitate to buy either of these again.

We moved into our Texas house in July 2009.  This is a listing photo of our living room in our Arkansas house.  It was cozy~

Then we moved to Texas where everything is bigger.  This is the same furniture (plus, the previous owner's leftover gold panels) in our Texas house circa Christmas 2009.  Ha!

The first thing we did was order a set of club chairs at the beginning of Crate & Barrel's fall 2009 upholstery sale.  The husband and I agreed that he could choose the chair, but I got to choose the fabric.  I did steer him a little, but he ultimately chose the chairs.  We ordered our chairs in September.  They showed up in the middle of Janaury. 

Lesson #1: If you order custom furniture from Crate & Barrel, be prepared for to wait. 

Lesson #2: Don't make decisions that make your husband hate Crate & Barrel. 

Then I lost my mind.  I decided I wanted I wanted a modern club chair.  I chose Bassett's Fleming chair, which I still love; however, instead of getting the fabric I originally chose, I decided the room needed some flair and chose a loud fabric.  Sometimes when the husband is suddenly in a buying mood, I make stupid decisions.  The chair arrived...  I loved the chair, but it completely clashed with the kitchen paint and rug.  Now they had to be painted and replaced.  Boo.  Dumb me.

Lesson #3: Never order a loud fabric pattern without seeing a fabric swatch in your room and thinking about it for at least 3 days.

Lesson #4: Don't paint your kitchen sage green when blue is your favorite color.  You'll only have to repaint it a neutral later.

Next, I ordered a set of framed prints from're currently for sale on Craigslist.  No joke.  Then I worked from home one day with David Bromstad's color splash on in the background.  Suddenly, I decided that I needed color.  Enter the accent wall.  I also bought a new coffee table.  It was on sale, though.

Lesson #5: Don't order online art if you question it at all and it's not returnable.  Really, don't buy anything that's not returnable or feasibly returnable.

Lesson #6: Color Splash looks good when David Bromstad does it.  Not so much when you do it yourself.  Just say no to the accent wall.

Lesson #7: Don't buy something just because it's on sale.  Find what you want and wait for it to go on sale instead.

And, this is the point that I called Emily.  Her immediate instructions: (1) paint the brick on the fireplace; (2) paint the accent wall back to it's original color; (3) start looking for a rug; and (4) buy a console table to put behind the sofa--bring the sofa further into the room to make it cozier.

Lesson #8: Hiring a reasonably priced interior decorator or commissioning an online design board will only save you from yourself.  In the long run, it's much cheaper than contining to make design mistakes

So, I got my paint brush out and un-color splashed myself.  Then, Bob Villa--no wait, it was just my husband--built a huge console table for me.  Love him!  Then, I took myself over to do they try to call themselves ""- it's not their name--and ordered myself a rug (with Emily's approval, of course).  Although in the end, I changed out the rug, it made such a huge improvement in the room.

Next up was the great debate.  To paint or not to paint.  That was the question.  I said yes.  He said no.  After not so subtly sending my husband random pictures of painted fireplaces for 2 months, he caved.  I also painted the interiors granny apple green.

Lesson #9: Persistence is key.  This applies to all aspects of life.  Everyone eventually gets tired of listening to you whine.

I had the sunburst mirror in my entryway.  We moved it to be the centerpiece of the mantle.  It was too pale, though.  Enter spray paint.

Lesson #10: Diamonds are a girl's best friend.  Spray paint is her second best friend

Next, I added some dramatic lamps to the console table to frame the living room wall.  I knew what print I wanted, but I was waiting for it to go on sale.  See Lesson #7 above.

Then, the polka dot chair moved up to the game room and our old Pottery Barn Brooks Chairs got moved back downstairs (or as my husband would say, they got called up from the minors).

Next, I added my bamboo blinds.  Love them.  No lesson learned other than I love them.

Then we finally bit the bullet and ditched the carpet.  Some people like carpet, some don't.  Some warned that it was dumb to add more wood with three dogs.  I didn't listen.

Lesson #12: If you keep your dogs' nails clipped, there is no reason you can't mix dogs and wood floors.  You will have to sweep a lot, though.

So, then I was at that point.  The fork in the road, if you will.  This was a good living room, but I wasn't in love with it.  Do you settle or marry for true love.  I married for true love.  Time to keep tweaking the room. 

Then came the art~

The room still seemed too heavy though.  I have no way to describe it other than "too heavy."

After lusting for banded drapes for months...seriously, months, I broke down and ordered the fabric and had them custom made.  This was a huge deal for me.  Made me feel more adult than signing mortgage papers did.

To make the room feel even lighter, I sold my impulse purchase coffee table and my rug on Craigslist.  Becuase they were in such great shape, I made enough off of them to completely cover the cost of my new coffee table and rug. 

I have sisal rugs under my dining table and my kitchen table.  I love them.  And, I love that they're cheap.  I ordered another for my living room.  I wanted to layer my rugs, so I ordered a cowhide from Cowhides International.  I've ordered from them before and love them.  You can choose your exact cowhide from their website.  If you've got questions, call and they'll pull the rug and answer your questions for you.  And, they're the most affordable source for good cowhides that I've found.  Love them. 

I knew I wanted a gold metal coffee table.  I couldn't find one in my price range, but I found this silver one at IO Metro. 

Lesson #13: Spray paint is now a girl's best friend.

Then, I added this awesome Schumacher Zimba pillow from Etsy seller Lab Designs~

So, here we are today~

How did your living room evolve?  Did you do it all at once or was it a slow, progressive effort? 


  1. BEAUTIFUL! I love the sisal/cowhide combination. I'm thinking of doing the same thing under my dining room table. Can you share were you find your sisals? I can't seem to find the "right" one.

    tinab158 at hotmail dot com

  2. I LOVe how it has turned out and thanks for sharing all the angst and trial and error it took to get to this point. Your persistence has paid off!!

  3. Yay! I can read your blog again!

    I love how your living room turned out. Thanks for sharing all of your mistakes. I've made quite a few of those as well, but never sat down and analyzed them. Good to know all that law school comes in handy in other areas of life. Maybe I should have my husband (the attorney) help with the decor more often. ;)

  4. Gorgeous!! I would also love to hear where you found your sisal!!

  5. Hey! Where did you find your bamboo shades?!?!?!

  6. Wow- this is an amazing room. Good for you for sticking it out and "marrying for love". I'm about to embark on the same journey and am a little nervous. I too have a cowhide ordered and some furniture already purchased but I'm a little scared about how it will all come together (or not). We shall see! PS - persistence pays off - your painted fireplace is fantastic!