For awhile now, I’ve mentioned on and off about working on my sister’s living room. Her home is in the Chicago ‘burbs and by chance I have a dear friend from high school who lives there as well and just happens to be an amazing photographer- Tricia from TriciaLee Photography
. Score! A chance to have the first professional photos done of one of my spaces. So now is the time I get to share them with you, along with some insight on one of the most fun jobs I’ve ever worked on.
The room started out with a mish-mash of furniture from a partial overhaul a few years ago on a tight budget. Toss in an antique Duncan Phyfe sofa (can you say uncomfortable?), a giant television armoire, and some dark walls and you had a room screaming for mercy.
The job began with my sister making a quick trip to my studio in Dayton for some preliminary planning and scouting, and before we knew it, she had decided to take the plunge on a real statement piece- an amazing indigo sofa/chaise sectional. From there I was lucky and privileged enough to have them say, “We just want you to do it.” Sometimes those can be a designer’s favorite words, and sometimes they can be a nightmare. Thankfully, with my sister, they were an honor and she really meant it. I had pretty much full reign to do whatever I wanted. Of course being a professional, I took the wants and needs of the client first and foremost. Comfortable seating, privacy, and their three animals all were big factors, as well as I knew they wanted to lighten it up and have a fun, casual space.
First things first; my brother-in-law wanted a wall mounted television. I told him to shop for it first and we’d work around it- boys will be boys you know. I didn’t have to work hard to sell him on the idea of a vintage piece to house the A/V equipment. Our original idea was to use an old radio/turntable console, but after striking out there a few times, we headed over to one of my favorite shops, White Attic
in Andersonville. Bingo! We found the perfect-sized mid century credenza and quickly brought it home with us.
Back to that statement piece- the sofa. We chose a substantial well-made custom sofa, although the scale of the piece doesn’t read oversized. The fabric is Crypton™ microfiber, able to withstand Dave and the animals; and bonus- it was reasonably priced. The pillows are a mix of custom (sticker shock for my sister), TJ Maxx bargains, and vintage needlework.
The only existing piece we used in the space was the leather club chair. It had just started getting to that wonderful aged leather point and I didn’t want to toss it. Instead we updated it with the sheepskin ottoman and the darling throw.
We lightened up the room by using Ballet White by Ben Moore on the walls and using a bright and fun thomaspaul
fabric for the window panels. The inside mount roman shades provide privacy without darkening the room. The zig zag rug from West Elm grounds the room without being too dark; it’s probably one of my favorite things in the space.
And finally, no outfit is complete without jewelry, and that’s how I look at the accessories of a room. An original oil hangs over the fireplace flanked by inexpensive glass pieces. The subway art is original as well- no reproductions here- they’re from New York probably dating to the 30’s. Vintage miniature bowling pins are such a fun addition to the large coffee table. My sister found them years ago at Sandwich Flea Market. The fresh flowers are from her back yard, quickly picked that morning right before the shoot. Nice, huh?
The finished product is something that they are very happy with and I’m proud of, as well as a little jealous, too. It’s true what they say about the cobbler’s children: they’re the ones without shoes. Shhhh, don’t tell anyone; my living room is unfinished.
photo credits: 1,3-7: TriciaLee Photography; 2: designer’s own