Today I wanted to share my own thoughts on a recent project; the living room in our client’s Chestnut Hill Home. This project was featured on Style Me Pretty Living back in April and I have been slowly working my room through each room sharing details. This home was one of my first major decorating projects and challenged me to create a space that was much more neutral and traditional than my own style tendencies. I’ve been delighted with the results and relish the opportunity to tackle more neutral spaces. I find pushing my own boundaries really help me grow as a designer.
I wish I could call this post a Before and After, but sadly I have no “before” photos of our Chestnut Hill Living Room Makeover. Just imagine an empty white room with high ceilings, crown moulding and no furniture. We tackled this room after previously working with our clients’ on several projects including the family room, powder room, bedroom and dining room. By the time we got to the formal living room I knew my client’s tastes quite well and this one came together harmoniously and quickly.
The room is a smaller square space and our first challenge was working out a floor plan. When thinking of space planning I always ask how a room will be used. In this case, they wanted a more formal, yet cozy space to read the paper, entertain, have a glass of wine and relax. We opted for four chairs around an ottoman as it felt more intimate. My client’s husband’s main request was that he be able to put his feet up on the ottoman.
With the ottoman as the driving factor in the room, I knew it needed to be special. I sketched up a custom octagonal piece and presented it to my client. The legs had a slight Moroccan flair and the faux snakeskin fabric had definitely attitude. My client could have easily said “NO” or “that’s too bold” but instead she told me she was scared, but trusted me. Boy am I glad she did, because we absolutely LOVE the result. When doing a neutral space you need a few surprising elements and some interesting textures!
Keeping consistent with most of the first floor, we used bound sisal rugs and off-white walls. This flow from room to room really tied the rooms together and created a soothing effect. Each space has it’s distinct feel yet you also could swap pieces from room to room and they would look great. I love creating flexible design. Some people never shift rooms around. I will walk in a year later and everything is exactly how I left it. Others evolve in their spaces and continue to tweak. Neither is wrong. Your home, your happy place.
Keeping that airy feel, we opted for creamy sheers. They are stationary panels-not functional- just a little something to add softness to the space. The shutters provide all the privacy they could need. (Side note- loving shutters right now and I just want to use them everywhere! Well at least at my house.)
For additional seating, I found these vintage bamboo chairs and had cushions made in a Kelly Wearstler weave. I love a little black, a little eclectic and a little old in every space so these chairs checked off quite a few boxes!
For the main seating, we used 4 wingback lounge chairs from Lee Industries. I love how they are super cozy, elegant yet not too massive either. The proportions were just right for the room. We let the chairs curves do the talking and used a quieter simple linen. The pillows provide just enough pop.
My client used personal pieces for art on all four walls. Above is an antique rutter found on the Cape. My client’s vacation up there and it feels very “them.” I love that it is not traditional art, but is still beautiful and tells a story. I think its so important for a room to have these little bits of personal character.
Besides seating, we filled the room with two tables. Above is an antique tea cart that sits between the two front windows. Below is a wood console table that fills the long empty wall. While it’s not an antique, it matches the tea cart quite well. By limiting the finishes in this room it felt softer and more serene. Sometimes I feel like in an effort to be layered rooms can have texture overload. Wood, metal, stone, lacquer, rope, lucite, animal print…. it can all be lovely mixed together, but sometimes less is more. (And sometimes more is more. It’s personal ;)
For the console table, both my client and I were in sync with our desire to flank the table with floor lamps instead of placing them on the tabletop. This was great for two reasons. 1) It filled in this long empty wall nicely and 2) it left room on the table for collectibles and plants!
My client commissioned the painting above the console table. It is based on a vintage family photograph. I just love that! As for the fab lamp shades, we added the black trim ourselves. I love the little bit of definition it adds to the lights and the wall.
There was this framed moulding above the fireplace that was a little bit perplexing. We discussed filling it with paper, art, paint, even taking it away. We ended up mounting antique mirror inside the frame and floating a piece of art over it. In my opinion you can never have too many mirrors in a room- I love the brightening and expanding effect. (When done in a tasteful way. Scary 80’s plate mirror would be an exception.)
A couple of white pierced garden stools do double duty with providing a little visual texture AND a place to plop that glass of wine. I like the mix of shapes and lines we used in this room: round, linear, curved, octagonal… it helps make the square room flow better.
And that is my two cents on the Chestnut Hill Living Room design. I hope you enjoyed the tour! You can see the whole project HERE.
Images by Courtney Apple
If you live in the Philadelphia area and would like to discuss your own home project, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org