This is Living

I didn’t mean for this to be a complete makeover post.  My plan all along was to blog as we went about updating the furniture in our combined living/dining room. But by the time I could catch my breath last spring and update you on what was happening, it felt like we were a little too far down the road already to bring you up to speed.  Then the final few pieces took forever to come into place and now here it is well over a whole year after we started this project and I am just getting around to telling you about it. I can feel your shade.

But the good news is that now you get complete before and afters.  Everyone likes those the best right?  Ok, so here we go.  Here’s what we had for furniture before we started reinventing this space.  Most of these pieces came with us from Hawaii and mainly the problem was that they aren’t the right size or scale for this house.  But they functioned and there were bigger fish to fry, so we lived with them.

Living Room Before 2.1

Here is the space now.

Living Room 1

Much better no?  I wish I could take credit for this all by myself, but the truth is that I enlisted help. I heard about this company called Home Polish that provides non-traditional home decoration and design services.  What I liked about their business model is that one of the services they offer is a “one-day consultation” that is just a design consultation, they don’t actually buy any pieces for you. You pay a flat fee for the consultation, with the option to add additional hours of service at an hourly rate.

Our one-day consultation was actually more than one day.  We did an introductory phone call that lasted about 30 minutes and then the designer came to our house and spent about two hours with us talking through the space and giving us layout options, furniture suggestions, window treatment ideas, and general design advice for things like our built-in bookshelves.  She then followed up with an email with a bunch of links to the things she suggested, but no pressure to buy!  We found that amount of time and resources was the perfect amount to help us with our living/dining room and we took her ideas and ran with them from there. Some of the pieces we ended up with were the exact pieces she suggested and others I found on my own using her advice on style, structure, size, etc. as a guide. All of her advice was very practical and useful.  It was just what we needed!  If you are in a city where Home Polish has a presence, I would highly recommend them.

Living Room Before 1.1

Living Room 2.1

When we met with our Home Polish design consultant, we told her what furniture pieces we wanted to keep and what we wanted to refresh.  Basically we liked our dining room table and our coffee table, everything else was negotiable. I had already purchased an IKEA KARLSTAD sofa because it was being discontinued, so we technically already had the couch picked out as well but we were not yet using it. The pieces that we bought were these chairs, this rug, this floor length mirror, these new curtains (in a cream color that I don’t see on the website currently) and these new woven shades, this long, narrow console for the stairway wall, this side table, this standing lamp, this console for the wall in the dining area, and this media cabinet.

Living Room 9Living Room 4

Regarding the art and décor pieces, the painting above the console table is a custom piece done by a dear friend, Mike Caplanis.  Since we have a gallery wall of photographs in the stairway, I really wanted this wall to have one large piece of art. The paddles on the wall came from Island Paddler in Kailua, Hawai`i.

Living Room 6

The lamp on the media cabinet is from Home Goods and the tall vase is the Bead Pure White Ceramic Vase from West Elm with some branches I grabbed from the yard.  The decoy duck was a thrift store find and I believe the other décor pieces are from Target.

Living Room 7

Many of the furniture pieces are from West Elm and I think the main reason for that is that many of their pieces have the right proportions for our modest size home.  I love alot of the furniture from Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, Room and Board, etc. but I found when really looking at the dimensions of the pieces that I was interested in, many of them were not the right size for my space.

We purchased most of the large furniture items between November of 2016 and February of 2017 and then spent the spring, summer and fall adding the finishings.  I would still like to replace the rug at some point, but I am not 100% sure what I want. Why are rugs so hard?

Living Room 10

The other things that we added to the room in the past year were six recessed lights and a gas insert fireplace. The fireplace has been amazing and we are so glad we have it.  I am sitting in front of it now!  It puts out a good amount of heat and has adjustable settings for flame height and heat production, so you can customize as you like

The recessed lights have also been a major upgrade.Due to the position of our house and the large amount of mature trees in our neighborhood this room doesn’t get a good deal of natural light, especially in the afternoons in the summer when the trees are full and the sun is at the front of the house, so having some extra light in here during the day has been great.  We used these light bulbs with a 3000 kelvin rating to simulate the feel of natural light as best we could and the lights are all on dimmers so we can control the amount of light we are using.  For the lamps we use a warmer bulb as we now typically only have those on in the evenings for ambient and reading light.

Living Room 8

Living Room 5

Two more things I will call your attention to are the addition of cabinet doors to the bottom of built-in bookshelves.  This was something I had been thinking about since we moved in and was also one of the first things the Home Polish consultant recommended well.  It provides both some really usable storage (since we lost a little bit when we replaced the two chucky china cabinets with smaller and more-open pieces) as well as visually cleaning up the room a little bit.  I like it so much better.  We got the doors custom from Cabinet Door World and the hardware the 6″ Durham Pull in satin brass from House of Antique Hardware.

So that’s basically what we have been up to for the past year or so.  It’s been so rewarding to transform the space in our home that we use the most into one we really love being in and that reflects our style and the things that are important to us.  As the weather turned colder, we also are really loving our gas fireplace.  It’s such a luxury, I can’t believe we have it!

I am not 100% sure where what we are going to set our renovation eyes on next.  Our master bath is definitely a contender, but a pricey prospect so we will see if anything else jumps ahead of it yet again.  Every year I say this is the year of the master bath, maybe 2018 will be it. Either way, I promise to post more frequent updates this year!