Jul 31, 2013 | Post by: mnanda001 Comments Off

Full of Life. Full Circle.

Last week I’m again reminded how much I love my work.  I had a lovely meeting with one my clients over a nice glass of wine.  She invited me to her home so that I could see all the updates they did in their living room.    I provided this particular client a 2- hour in person consult with a handful of follow-up recommendations.

This project all began with my client obtaining my services at a silent auction at our children’s annual school fundraiser back in February 2013.    It was my first time doing anything like this…auctioning my services and marketing M. Interiors to a broad audience that wasn’t a virtual audience (i.e.my blog, Facebook, Twitter etc…) ! SocialBoosting is a tool to grow the businesses audience.

I was excited about the opportunity to help someone with their home and at the same time give back to my son’s school.  Full circle.

{M. Interiors in the silent auction program}

A few weeks following the fundraiser I received an e-mail from the silent auction winner inquiring about when we could meet to discuss her living room space.  We traded some e-mails (and I think we had one phone call) discussing their general design style and some of the specifics about the space they wanted my help with.  Specifically, we discussed how they wanted to use the room, how they wanted the room to feel and challenges they’ve encountered to date.

In summary, my client moved into their home about 2 years ago and as many of us can relate, it’s taken them some time decorating all the rooms.    Their living room space had been put on the back burner — left completely empty with the exception of their daughters’ play house.  Not anymore!   They were ready for some grown up space where they could have some quiet time to read (i.e. no TV in this room!)  and also create a place where they could entertain their friends.  Their living room is the perfect ‘overflow’ spot next to their dining room.

Generally, I’d say their design style is more on the traditional side of things (more him than her), but they appreciate clean lines and a tailored look as well.  They definitely knew how they wanted the space to be used, but the biggest challenge for them was where and how to begin.  Can you relate? Read on!

With this general information and along with these photos of their space…I began the brainstorming process!


First and foremost, I focused on space planning.  There was only one large wall open as the other 2 walls were essentially pass ways into the foyer and dining room and the third wall was a beautiful set of windows.  I knew establishing the right space plan was going to be key with three important goals in mind.

1) create social/conversational spot

2) ensure traffic flow was easy and not obtrusive to the other connecting rooms and

3) create a cozy reading space.

With this in mind, here’s what I came up with during my brainstorming session.

{My brainstorming sketch}

Furniture type and placement:

Essentially my plan was to bring all the furniture off the walls and ground it in the center of the room with a large area rug and a chandelier.  Since this wasn’t going to be the room that this family of four was going to lounge in I went with four chairs verses a sofa.  The chairs create the perfect spots for reading and are great for socializing as it creates a circle of sorts.  My recommendation was that each of these chairs would be leather centered around an oval upholstered (i.e. fabric TBD) ottoman/coffee table.

Architectural enhancement/storage and lighting:

Along the long wall many of you may have thought to put a sofa there, however, as you see from my furniture recommendation above this was not in my plan.   On this long wall my plan incorporated a custom built-in bookshelves for storage and of course, to create the library and reading nook the client so wanted.  I also knew lighting was going to be key.  So, in addition to the chandelier on the ceiling in the center of the room my plan included lighting on the bookshelves and a lamp on a round table centered in front of the windows.

Window treatments:

Lastly,  I knew my clients wanted new window treatments and were leaning toward wooden blinds because it gave them light, but also provided some privacy.  However, my plan for the window treatments incorporated a top/down woven natural roman shade (in a medium color) to provide another texture in the room (besides dark wood).  This type of window treatment not only brings another texture and light into the room, but still gives them the privacy that they wanted.  My recommendation was to use the same window treatment in the the dining room as well.

Essentially this was the design plan I presented to my clients.  Keep in mind, no colors or specifics on fabrics/textiles or lighting were presented yet.     At the meeting,  I basically wanted to see if this plan would be something they’d be up for.  Happily to report, they were receptive to my plan for the most part so we spent some more time discussing paint colors and styles of rugs they like best.  I learned that she was really wanting to incorporate some gray/blue in the room, but I learned that he really wanted to stay with the warmer tones.   I sensed again that his style is definitely more traditional and she is a bit more inclined to having some cleaner more modern lines.   After the meeting and some e-mail exchanges I provided these recommendations:

Wall Color (for living and adjoining dining room):

Benjamin Moore Deer Path 1047 described “as a walk through the woods, deer path takes its cue from the natural world. Try this deep, graceful beige in an entryway or library.”   I knew this was going to be perfect for him,  compliment and enhance the wood in the room.

I suggested Silvery Moon 1604 for the ceiling.  This would bring the eye up, enhancing the high ceilings and  the existing beautiful off-white crown moulding. Of course too, this brings in the gray/blue that she wanted, but still keeping the room warm.

With the rug, I sensed that he really wanted to go more old-world traditional (reds/maroons, greens, golds), but I sensed that perhaps she was more inclined to go with something a bit more transitional.  Here’s the rug I recommended from Pottery Barn.  This rug is definitely rich in color and embraces some traditional lines, but it has a slight twist with the traditional colors by incorporating this deep gray/blue/green mix. (The close-up picture below is much better representation of the color.)

For the leather chairs, I recommended they go with a style that was not too large… the scale needed to be slimmer in nature due the size of the room,  but still needed to be comfortable especially for him who is nearly 6ft5.    I recommended a caramel color tone (described to them as a similar tone to a baseball mitt).  A caramel tone would be best with their existing wood work in their room which had a lot of red tones.   If the leather was a brown or a mahogany the room would look too heavy.    The client found the perfect one at Pottery Barn.

Another tip  I shared with them….I noticed they had several small 4×6 photos of their favorite places traveled (see “before” pictures…you may see them in the background).  I suggested they pick their top 7-9 memories/photos and make them 8×10 and frame them individually making each memory more visually special (more noticeable; more impactful and often times a conversation starter!)   Not sure if you can see them in my “today” pictures, but just something I didn’t want to forget to mention.

My clients felt armed with a plan (that’s half the battle sometimes) and now they were off to execute and decide which elements they were going to incorporate.  Here’s how the room looked at my visit.  (Mind you I snapped these photos with my camera in one hand and a glass of wine in the another.)   ( I love my job. : ))


As you may have noticed, my plan is sometimes tweaked based on the client’s desires. For example, I believe they went shade lighter for the ceiling.  (The gray/blue is difficult to see in the photos.)  They also opted to go with a wooden rectangular coffee table verses a fabric oval ottoman in the center.  In addition, they went with the table lamp in front of the windows verses a lamp on a round table.  That’s the beauty….it’s a very collaborative process, yet essentially the client ultimately chooses what’s best for them.    They will get the custom built-in bookshelves installed sometime next year!  Yay!

With that said, before the wine is nearly finished…Here’s to my clients, happy reading and happy entertaining  (and napping….these chairs are comfy!)  in this lovely room that is full of life!   Thank you.

Until next time…enjoy the circle of life you’ve created for yourself.  Cheers!






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