I love this room. I designed it several years back (like probably 7 or 8), but I love how it still looks fresh. Good design is timeless, or at least it can withstand trends and design fashions for many years. I would say, on average, my clients get tired of their design – meaning they just want something new – far before the spaces actually become dated or wear out.
And on average, I do hear from my favorite clients again every 7-8 years wanting a refresh or to start a new project. I have 3 of those types of jobs happening as we speak.
The room above didn’t always look so fresh. Let’s take a look back at where we started and what we transformed…
The “before” was a luxury spec home in a great neighborhood in northwest Arkansas. Many of the details of the home were darker and more traditional than I would have selected had I designed the home. But they certainly weren’t something I couldn’t work around. The clients were newly married and just moved in their “his, mine, and ours” stuff knowing it wasn’t right for the space and then called me to create an atmosphere that blended both their styles. Here’s another look at the before. It’s fun to see that this time period was coming off the “animal print, Hemingway, and Tuscan” trends that were big in the late ’90s and early 2000s in the South. And the client was ready to move into something more updated and fresh. Here’s the emptied-out space getting ready for our fun drapery made by sewing solid silks into oversized stripes.
And a view of the fireplace with the drapery going in and before we got rid of that palm tree for a cleaner look. Here is a floorplan of the before, when the client was trying to lay out their existing furniture and finding it wasn’t functional. This room is challenging because of all the windows and openings into other rooms. There is literally no wall to anchor large pieces of furniture. And here is the after floorplan I created to maximize the floor space and include additional seating for friends and family. I added a sectional, 2 extra wing chairs, and replaced the oversized lounge chairs with a more appropriately scaled pair. I added several tables to make the space more functional. There is actually a 5th chair in the final version that isn’t even shown here. It tucks in the bottom right corner normally and pulls in to accommodate another guest.
One half of this couple didn’t want to paint the stained wood and trim. And we’ve all had those clients or we are married to that spouse that is crazy about wood. So, like many of you, we’ve learned to work around it in some cases where it is appropriate for the architecture and the design style we are striving to achieve.
One of my solutions was bringing in this fun hexagon tile on the fireplace (this is the “in progress photo” when the installer is putting it in). It appealed to the more modern flair of the other spouse and I felt like the color palette worked great with the wood. It feels a bit California Bungalow, don’t you think?
And you can get a peek of the great Greek key pattern bound rug in the photo above that I used to fill the space and give us “permission” to use all the floor area for seating and storage.
Now keep in mind this was a few years back, so the accessories are different than what we might select now, but I still like the composition of the tables flanking the fireplace and the balance of the pieces. And the choices were a blend of the modern and classic styles of the two homeowners, which makes it all work seamlessly.
Here is a snapshot of the after and it shows how the space is working after the arrival of a new “addition” to the family.
And here it is again in all its glory. The fresh new version that looks charming and warm with the stained windows. See? Definitely not a deal breaker. I sort of think the stain actually makes this design better in many ways – it adds warmth and charm.
So what do you think about this transformation? It seems much more “REAL” in many ways than some dreamy, clean-slate project, doesn’t it? Since there were some non-negotiables like painting the wood, many of you can probably relate to this couple and the design dilemma. How does this remind you of solutions you have created that help keep everyone happy in your home or your client’s home? Leave me a comment and let me know.
Want to see more of this family-friendly home and the “after” of this space? Check out this old video. I think my hairstyle is much more dated than the interior. Ha! Ha! But the solutions for hiding baby toys, accommodating guests, and creating spaces that will grow with the family are all still relevant and clever.
Happy Friday, Friends!