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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Living Room Before and After

One of my very favorite blogs is The Polohouse.  Allison has a blog party called "Favorites on the First", and this month her theme is "my favorite room".  I'm offering a post I did last fall, as you can see from the pumpkins in the room.  Thank you, Allison, your blog is always such an inspiration to me!

Well, my friends, it's taken me over a year of blogging to do a post on my living room.  Thank you all for your interest.  I don't know why I've been so reluctant, but here it is! 
This room literally and figuratively is the heart of our home and in the scope of our entire remodeling project, this certainly took the most time, money, research, skill and love.  We use it often.  It is not just a "look-at" room by any means.  It is warm and cozy in the fall and winter, and gives us easy access to the outside in the nice weather. 

Tour with me!

As you come in the front door, past the dining room and down the entry hall, this is what you'll see.  I did a post on our entry hall a few weeks ago.  You can see it here.

This is the view if you enter the room from the kitchen and keeping room side.

And this is the bird's eye view from the second story hallway.  Shouldn't that lampshade be straighter?

Here's the way it looked with the previous owners' things in it.  The paint was a shiny, dark cranberry and even the ceiling was painted that color.  This photo is very dark, but note the unassuming colonial fireplace with a brick hearth.  The French doors had dark awnings hanging over them.  Between the paint color and the awnings, this was a very dark and oppressive room.  But, I KNEW it had great promise.

This was the greatest improvement in the whole house.  I'm so crazy about this limestone mantle that it is going to have it's own post soon. 

Here's a close-up detail of the carving.

These pearl handled tools were a house warming gift many houses ago from some very special friends.  Since these are gas logs, these are the only tools we need.

Next, we removed this Juliette balcony which you can see the bottom of here, and this railing on the second floor.  We dry walled both of these openings.  They seemed so contrived to me.  The red paint HAD to go and we repainted with Benjamin Moore's White Dove, my go-to white paint.  Flat on the walls and ceiling here and semi-gloss on the woodwork.

Here's the same area.  I'll talk about that antique French gate we inserted into the wall in another post.  Do you see another major improvement?

Yep!  We felt that this room was screaming for these beautiful beams.  I had to work the layout around the chandelier, as I didn't want to move it, so that determined how many we put in.  I think they turned out exactly right.

This beautiful zinc-finished chandelier was already there and I didn't even have to think about whether or not to keep it.  I absolutely love it......until I need to change bulbs, that is!  There are two more that are very similar in other rooms of the house. 

Then the floors in the whole house were refinished and stained much darker.  I have done several floors with this workman and he keeps the formula for my stain in his notes.  It is a mix of a mahogany and a Jacobean walnut.  This is not where you rush the job.  A good re finisher will sand the floor several places and put several stains on it until you find your combination.  Do not settle for a standard color if it is not what you want!  This is also a good look at our area rug.  It is a flat weave "oriental" which is called a Soumak.  It is also characterized by being able to use in on the reverse side, depending on your preference.  We retired most of our traditional red/blue oriental rugs  and bought several Soumaks for this house.  I love the pattern they add without being overpowering in color or design.

Here you're looking back toward the entryway at the sofa.  I did a "Customer's Own Material", or "COM" order on a fairly standard frame. 

It's a green chenille tweed and I've trimmed it out with a studded flat braid. 

I used very little silk in this house, but here, I thought I just had to use this striped silk on these pillows.  I trimmed out the flange with this balled braid.

Since I wasn't using end tables with this sofa, I chose to use a pair of barley twist floor lamps and I put square linen shades on them.

OK!  Here's where Mr. Pressed Pants got a huge "atta-boy"!  The previous owners
had this beautiful antique armoire in the perfect place in this room.  As we viewed this house, I said to him that if we bought this house, we would HAVE to also put an armoire there.  Without my knowledge, he arranged to buy this one from them and it was my Christmas present.  Isn't he the best?

But doesn't it look soooo much better with the white walls? 

Take a peek at the details of the construction and the hardware.  Perfection!

On each side, we hung two of these antique driving prints.  I gave them to Mr. Pressed Pants several years ago for Valentine's Day.  To my great surprise, he gave me antique artwork that year, too.

This leather chair and ottoman actually came from a consignment store.  I wasn't even shopping for furniture for this room yet, but when I saw them, they were in my SUV in a heartbeat.

On this little French end table, I have a simple vignette of antique books, old porcelain inkwell, and a faux bois planter.  This changes often, depending on the season, the amount of light coming in the door, and how fast I've killed the plants.

On the other side of the room, I have hung this pastel by Georgia Dearborn.  It is of the marshes of Cape Cod and is a wonderful souvenir of our many years of Cape Cod vacations. 

Here's a charming detail of Canadian geese in the reeds.

There are a pair of these new French chairs covered in coral linen and accented by pillows in "Indienne Linen" by Travers and trimmed with an elegant silk fringe trim.  This trim is probably the fanciest thing in this house.  I made a definite decision to keep this a simple country house with more of a lodge look than anything. 

Between these chairs, I put the other small French end table with some very simple items.
On this wall, behind these chairs, these doors lead to the breakfast room and the keeping area, and then to the pool.

I've closed the doors in this photo.  It's very hard to get a good image of these etched glass panels. 

Here's what this wall looked like before we removed the balcony.  By doing so, we created an uninterrupted wall in the upstairs office.  Removing some of these features, we simplified things and that allowed the fireplace to be the star of the room.

These doors are usually left open.  The etching supports the subtle French design influences in this room which I wanted to accent a bit more. So they stayed!

One more attempt to capture the design for you!

In the corner is a cherry block front chest that we have had a long time.  Early in our marriage, Mr. PP won a sales contest and this is what we got with the spoils.  I've topped it with a gilt mirror which was supposed to be temporary, but I've changed my mind and it is staying.  At least until the next antique show I go to!
I do NOT subscribe to the philosophy that the public rooms of a home are no place for family photos.  Baloney!  It's my home and I can't find enough places for these sweet faces.  They fill me with joy and I want to see them everywhere.

I've moved a few things so you can see the old French ironwork that the coffee table is made from.  I needed something large, square and not too heavy looking.  This was fabricated at The Stalls in Atlanta.

This stag inkwell came from Martine's Fine Antiques in Chagrin Falls, Ohio.  She specializes in silver and fine linens.  A very fun place to shop.

These came from Scott's Antique Show.

These silvered antlers from Z Gallerie sit on top of an art book from France by an artist we loved.  We bought a couple of her pastels and they hang in our keeping room.

He's been in quite a few of my posts.  I found him at Boxwoods a few years ago.

This faux bois planter holds mums and ferns right now.  It would be nice if the mums lived until it's time for poinsettias.

So that's the coffee table line up.

I wish you could all join me here for a glass of wine.  It's a place that wraps its arms around me and I hope it says "Come in" to you.  This was a very long post with a lot of photos, but hey, we made a lot of changes.

I'm linking here:

Feathered Nest Friday

Wow Us Wednesday

Open House Thursday

French Inspiration Thursday

Transformation Thursday

Home Sweet Home

Show and Tell Friday

Inspiration Friday

Fridays Unfold


  1. What a beautiful room! I don't know why you were so reluctant to post it either. You have made some wonderful improvements, and I'm glad you are showing it to us. It is very warm and inviting, not to mention classy! I enjoyed the tour.

  2. I am in TOTAL AND COMPLETE LOVE with this room! I love EVERYTHING you did (especially the mantel!!!)with it!!!

    And yes....put those family photos in it!!!! I'm in total agreement with you!!!!!

    I'm in awe! This is a dream room for me!!!


  3. WOW this room belongs in a country french magazine, it's gorgeous!! I love all the changes you made and how light and bright it is. Found your blog over at FNF and so glad I did! just became your newest follower, would love if you followed me back. Martina

  4. Hi Linda...

    Ohhh my goodness, my friend...I DO love coming to your gorgeous home! I just loved the tour of your remodeled living room! It is stunning!!! Love, love, LOVE your color choices! That green and coral pairs sooo beautifully! The coral chairs...breathtaking! Ohhh...I love the color! And...your limestone mantel...FABULOUS!!! It is soooo perfect for this room! I love all the changes that you've made! Yes, this is truly a room to be "lived in"...very comfortable, cozy, and beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing your lovely home with us, Linda...this was such a treat!

    Ohh yes...and I also enjoyed seeing your beautiful autumn decor!

    Warmest autumn wishes,

  5. STUNNING! I love your changes. Love the french lodge feel and I adore your new is the star! Great makeover you've done.

    Linsey @The Farmhouse Porch

  6. Wow! What a gorgeous room! I am drooling over your beautiful fireplace! I would love to do something similar in my living room...tou have soooooo inspired me!

    The colors you have used are wonderful...another favorite of mine! I used the same color combo in my family room and simply adore it!

    I am thrilled that you finally decided to share it with us love love!!! I had a peek around here yesterday and had to come back for one more look! Thanks again!

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  7. this is just spectacular. What a beautiful, wonderful room...elegant, but with lots of warmth and so much charm. Excellent! You should be very proud of yourself.(-:

  8. And you will be posting a look at my new room when??!!?!?! THIS IS GORGEOUS!!!! Get down with your totally bad self, girl!!! You made some fabulous changes that made all the difference in the world! Heck yes, the armoire looks a billion times better with the white walls!!! Heck yes, the continuous wall beats the hullabaloo out of that balcony!!! The fireplace surround is fabulous to the nth degree!!! I am packing my bags as we speak. If there's no room for Ramon....oh, well! :-) 'Tis better to have loved and lost than to never have lived in your house!!! ;-) Great job, missy!!!!!!!

  9. Goodness, the room is heavenly now.. I agree the Juliette balcony had to go.. closing in the upstairs did "finish" the space below beautifully. Your beams are perfect in the room.. the color plays well off the floors.. Your living room is wonderful! xo marlis

  10. You have one beautiful room here...LOVE those beams and your fireplace!!! I’m having a charming GIVEAWAY this week at my blog…come by and check it out!


  11. Great transformations. Beautiful home and I love the wood beams. I wish we had added them to our great room.

  12. Wow, This is so pretty! I hope to see you at My Dream Canvas.

  13. You have a beautiful home!! Welcome to the world of blogging and I can not wait to see more!

  14. What a gorgeous transformation! The fireplace and beams are fabulous and great choice removing the balcony. Every detail of this room is beautiful. Thank you for joining the Open House party this week.

  15. LOVE everything you did to this room!! The beams and fireplace are amazing. You have such great attention to detail. Will you come and do my living room now?

    I fully intend to take you up on that glass of wine if I am ever in the area! Show us more!!!

  16. This room is just so gorgeous!! I scrolled up and down a few times just to take it all in! :-) You did such an incredible job transforming and updating everything and every detail is beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing this with us at Inspiration Friday!

  17. the previous owners of your home
    must have been related to
    the previous owners of our home
    since we moved into a dark cranberry colored
    living room too

    the space you have now created
    for your family and friends
    is truly lovely

    each detail looks crafted with care and thought
    to create this welcoming space

    thanks for sharing at fridays unfolded!


  18. zykovasopyanenko@.ruOctober 17, 2011 at 10:49 PM

    какая красота!

  19. LOVE your room, Linda!
    That fireplace surround just takes my breath away and I think you made amazing changes --- the beams, closing up the balcony (but not completely) and having the floors refinished, etc etc.
    It is ALL just wonderful.
    Where did you get your beams may I ask?
    I would love to add some heavier ones to our living room ceiling but the one I have found are so VERY heavy I cannot imagine the costs and the construction it might take to install them!

    Thanks so much for sharing at Favorites on the First and for you kind words!


  20. Oh, what a gorgeous room! You were reluctant? Don't know why! I love all the work you've done and the fireplace is so pretty! Your furniture, the beams, just everything!
    Be a sweetie,


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