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June 2015
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August 2015

putting it together

i was talking with a friend the other day, and she was lamenting not knowing where to start on redecorating her family room. she was hooked on a particular color, but didn't know where to go from there. i told her that could be a really frustrating way to go about it. she asked why. so i put on my "what if i was a designer" hat, and we had a chat.

i told her that for me, i always start with something i love and work out from there. a piece of furniture ... a fabric ... art ... those are way better things to work a room around than a specific color. colors can be so unforgiving, especially if you don't take into consideration undertones and how they change throughout the day.

(disclaimer: i DID create our entire front room around a color, because i had the room painted when we built, with no real plan in place beyond that. if you build it, he will come, right? it all turned out okay on that one ... i'll tell you about that some other time.)

anyway, after our conversation, i decided to create a room (just, you know, like you do.) for fun, to illustrate:


i started with the hypothetical floor plan of a den. my first stop for inspiration was a wonderful auction website: i searched for furniture, art, collectibles, until the right thing popped out at me to get the ball rolling. it soon did, in the form of an awesome mid-century herman miller sofa and warner bros. animation prints.



from those two things, i knew the style direction - retro modern-ish, and the color palette - black, orange, green.

i could immediately envision a gallery collection of the warner bros. prints framed in black and arranged above the black sofa. but then what?

the room needed wallpaper:

HW_TP010_Knots_Gray_Roll_webcute, right? but i thought it might overwhelm the room if it was on all four walls, so the wallpaper, prints, and sofa would be on the back wall of the room, across from the windows. the other three walls would be a lovely benjamin moore color: nightfall. it's gray-black with a green undertone. because the accent colors for the room are green and orange, i have a feeling nightfall could be great if the room got either cooler north-facing light or warmer south-facing light coming in the windows. but, like i told my friend, painting samples on the walls and checking how they change throughout the day is the best way to go. i once painted a room a minty green - it was perfect with the bedding and other things in the room, but the lighting of the room totally killed the color. i didn't do a sample, and regretted it.

the next thing the room needed was additional seating, and i wanted something in a warmer tone, to play with the orange in the palette. these leather equestrian chairs would be lovely.


even though the room has four windows, it also needs light. and pendants with orange enameled shades hung from the ceiling and angled toward the sofa would be so very cool. of course, they would need a longer rod, but in pretend world that's no problem!



the room would need a little orange on the opposite wall to balance, so an orange ceramic garden stool as an accent surface is perfect. but a bigger side table would be needed between the two chairs, so this gold leaf and marble one is just lovely.

W9552_04the marble tabletop - and white tabletops on the sofa - influenced the wet bar area of the room. the counter top would be a white quartz marble-like surface - simple and clean, which perfectly balances the amazingly gorgeous mosaic tile on the back wall of the wet bar nook.


i mean, hello, right? and there's your green and orange! serendipity! had i not found the sofa and art first, i might have planned something around this tile alone. a brass faucet, and this little area is done.

however, in the floor plan, there is a little nook next to the wet bar which is a perfect place for an antique cabinet, also found on invaluable, that will serve as storage for liquor and glasses and cocktail mixing stuff.


finishing touches to warm up the room are a natural fiber rug, a black table lamp, white roman shades accented with black trim, some simple accent pillows and a bright green throw, and a modern-yet-rustic coffee table. a few terrariums, some art books, etc., would finish the space.

and it would be groovy and fun.


in the end, my friend said she was going to spend some time figuring out what she wants in the room before finalizing the color. so far she has a really great pillow that is making her wheels turn ...


special thanks to, for having such a great selection of amazing stuff. inspiration for days!!



wallpaper: hygge & west

paint color: benjamin moore

couch: invaluable

chairs: schoolhouse electric

rug: serena & lily

coffee table: ray banchand

wet bar tile: ravenna

wet bar faucet: waterstone fulton

wet bar counter: caesarstone

cabinet: invaluable

side table: wisteria

stool: wisteria

table lamp: restoration hardware

pendant lights: rejuvenation

pillows: etsy

roman blinds: etsy

blanket: schoolhouse electric

art: invaluable