Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Finally finishing the living room decor

It’s hard to believe we have been in our “new” house for three and a half years now! We have slowly but surely worked on the décor since we moved in, with a big project every year. Now, we are finally ready to finish the main floor, including the central room in the house, the living room.

I wanted a living room that was at the heart of the house, not tucked to the side. This room functions as a living room, a music room (our grand piano is located here), and a passageway from one side of the house to another.  This is a room that is used in some capacity every day.

Right now, the only things in the room are the piano, a custom rug, and an old wing chair that I use primarily in the winter to sit by the fire.  Honestly, the lack of furniture has not bothered me in the slightest, as I like the airy feel of the room and the unobstructed view of the outdoors. Also, we tend to use this room more as a salon than a living room, so it is a great entertaining space when we have functions at our house – in the winter months, we usually set up a bar in the living room and it makes a great cocktail hour space. In nicer weather, we set up a bar on the stone patio outside the living room, and we throw open the living room doors. Guests go back and forth between the two spaces.

I have had plenty of time to think about how this space might be furnished based on how we use the room and live in the house, and I have been collecting pictures that reflect the “feel” that I would like in this room. Of course, furniture layout is often dictated by architecture and space planning needs, but there is something about this collection of  living rooms that really captures my eye.

This living room has always been one of my favorites. I like the lack of clutter and the leggy nature of the furnishings. This Houston house was featured in Veranda, and the interior design is by Eleanor Cummings.

Another favorite, and another Houston house, featured in Milieu Magazine. The beautiful architecture, steel windows, paneled walls, and antique fireplace create a stunning backdrop, and I like that the furnishings are minimal and quiet both in style, line, and color. The different size chairs are a pleasing and interesting touch, and are all unified by the same fabric.

Another living room whose furniture is quiet and lets the architecture and the amazing view take center stage. I love the idea of a bench/chaise instead of a sofa; it keeps the room feeling light, and can be moved easily if the room needs to serve as an entertaining space.  I wrote about my love for benches in design in a post last year, click here to see it. Design by Ohara Davies-Gaetano.

This beautiful living room has been one of my favorites for a while. The design is by Phoebe Howard.

I like how this living room is designed around the space of the room itself, rather than focused on the fireplace. Design by Jim Howard.

Another space where the furniture arrangement is not focused specifically on the fireplace. The chairs can be placed in relation to the fireplace, but they are somewhat free-floating and also relate to the sofa and to the volume of the room. The square ottoman is also a nice touch, instead of another sofa.

I am a fan on minimal furnishings, and this very European style room has a spare feel. Because there is just one sofa, and what appears to be a few ottomans instead of chairs, the space feels very streamlined.

Another pretty room where the furniture seems to be centered in the room rather than focused on the fireplace.  This seems to be a common theme in the pictures I am showing; I think it creates a pleasing perspective when the room is mainly viewed from front to back, and creates a less cluttered look. I also don’t like to see the back of a sofa when looking into a room, so the use of a bench appeals to me.

Two stools are also a  great alternative to a sofa. Design by Suzanne Kasler.

I saved this picture because I liked the furniture arrangement, and the use of stools.

A room by Phoebe Howard, which caught my eye both because of the grand piano, and also because the seating arrangement is centered on the window rather than in alignment with the fireplace.

A living room by Suzanne Kasler has an interesting assortment of chairs and an armless sofa, rather than two sofas flanking the fireplace. This room is actually quite large and there is a sofa against the wall on the other side of the room, creating another seating area.

Another one of my favorite living room scenes, from my Pinterest files. The distinctive curved sofa holds its own, with a few beautiful chairs for extra seating.

A light furniture arrangement with two chairs flanking the fireplace.

A room on my living room pinterest files that caught me eye. I like the idea of a bench, two chairs, and a sofa with exposed wood legs.

I also have a fondness for a sofa that faces the fireplace, as seen in this room. I’m not sure how it would look to have a sofa with its back to the piano, but in a room without a piano this is a lovely arrangement.

I will conclude with one of my favorite living rooms, via Architectural Digest, design by Rela Gleason and architecture by McAlpine Tankersley.  I never tire of looking at this living room. Note how the room has an alcove for the grand piano, and is also used as a passageway as well as a seating area. Although this is nothing like my house, the space resonates with me. I love how a bench is used in the middle of the space to define one side of the room from another, and that the seating arrangement is tucked against the windows, with comfortable chairs adjacent to the piano and to the fireplace, so they each can be enjoyed. The cased opening to the right of the fireplace is loosely reflected in the paneling of the wall to the left of the fireplace, and a round mirror adds an interesting shape to the space. The chandelier is not centered in the room, but is focused over the seating  area. I wonder if there is a matching chandelier on the other side of the room.

I am looking forward to seeing what my designer comes up with after we meet to discuss the space! So many possibilities.

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  1. Love your inspiration photos, Holly! Can't wait to see your new room!

  2. An educated consumer....nice research!! Luck!! franki

  3. Hello, Holly. I love all of the rooms you displayed, but especially the first and last ones! I would love to see a "before" picture of your living room with just the grand piano, rug and chair. I finally have a living room with space enough for my grand piano and I am so much happier having it out in the open.

  4. So many gorgeous images, Holly. Like you, I love a clutter free feel and to me, Phoebe Howard always gets it right. The Suzanne Kasler room with the two benches is stunning…adore those benches!! Can't wait to see yours come to life!!

  5. I love these pictures! I must say; that in the last picture you say that the chandelier is not "centered" in the room; I think it is centered in the room defined by the beams and the fireplace....the alcove to the right (which, as you say, is a brilliant place for the piano) seems to me to be an alcove; and the chandelier centered on the main part and on the fireplace looks just right!! Beautiful!!! All of these spaces are imaginative and creative plans!!

    Beautiful post!!!

  6. You have picked so many wonderful rooms to guide you. I cannot wait to see your own design.

  7. Holly you have such a discerning eye and great taste I cannot wait to see what you have created!

    The Arts by Karena
    Closer: Michael Clinton

  8. Very nice collection of images. I think all the rooms are done really well to maximise of the beautiful architecture. I live in a lovely Craftsman cottage though, and some of these looks wouldn't work for me, (shame, because I love them), but then the Craftsman and all my antiques have a charm of their own. One day I'll live in a "white" house like these maybe.

  9. I am in love with the above designs. I cannot even pick just one. I absolutely love the idea of
    having a beautiful bench /swooning sofa in the living room.

    Kay K.

  10. I haven't followed my favorite blogs for about 3 years now. I accidentally stumbled on you again tonight. I've been decluttering my book cases, closets and office the past few weeks. It's hard to part with some things because someone's eyes that I loved dearly read the pages of this particular book. I brought the book to bed with me and am on Pinterest pinning flooring and kitchens for our upcoming remodel and bumped the mouse and voila'! there you are! One of my very favorite bloggers! I followed you for years! You have exquisite style! I've missed your inspiring posts tremendously. I'm in school as my children are raised. Did things kinda backwards, but time doesn't warrant that I follow many blogs these days. I remember when you were building your home. I was so excited for you! I imagine it's wonderful! All the best!


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