Corinne’s blank slate of a den is chock full of potential. Here’s her letter:
I’ve been reading your blog for months and have been waiting to redo my den. We moved into our 60’s split level in July and just finished remodeling the kitchen/dining room/living room and master bedroom. We had some help from a designer picking out colors etc, but the budget is really tight now so I thought it would be a great idea to work with you. We definitely like modern, but comfortable. This will be a room where we primarily hang out and watch TV. We like things with classic modern lines and zero clutter. We currently have a sofa that can be replaced and a Le Corbusier chaise we could incorporate. There’s also a coffee table but it may be too big, so that’s optional. I was thinking of a comfortable sectional but open to ideas. The 42″ TV is definitely staying. When it comes to the walls I’d like something neutral to work with the rest of the house. The room leads to the backyard so we’d like to incorporate the outdoors. It’s important that we have storage for books, board games and video games. We have a 5 year old at home and any furniture should be kid friendly since he will have friends over. Looking forward to working with you. Kind regards, Corinne
This space is primed for a major makeover. Here’s the plan:
And now for the mood board breakdown.
1. When it comes to the color palette, we’d love to see a space full of warm neutrals, crisp whites and a few pops of modern green and orange. The walls would look great with a fresh coat of sandy tan (Benjamin Moore’s Ashen Tan) set off by clean white trim and doors. The overall effect will be a color scheme that keeps the room feeling open yet interesting while working with Corinne’s modern and inviting aesthetic.
As for the furniture arrangement, our first instinct was to bring in a sectional, but we actually realized that such a small space would benefit from the balance and the added flexibility that a sofa would add (while still allowing the chaise to remain in the room and providing space for two side tables and table lamps on either side of the sofa for added storage and ambiance). We would like to see a 5 x 8′ rug centered in the room and the sofa placed under the window facing our media center which will replace the current TV set-up. The chaise lounge can then be placed to the right of the sofa as you face it which will still allow for more seating and TV viewing (and make for an almost sculptural accent in the room when you enter). Adding a side table with a matching lamp on either side of the sofa and bringing in some sleek cubes to ground the arrangement and serve as a “coffee table” will complete the look in a snap.
2. These great mod curtains hung high and wide on the window (which happen to be super affordable!) will bring in some of our nature-inspired green tone, which is picked up from the yard beyond the room. They also conveniently contain black and brown stripes and a white backdrop which ties into everything from our new media cabinet to the existing black chaise lounge and the sleek white cubes we’ll be using to create a coffee table. We’ve seen them in person and we must say we love them!
3. Here are a few of the pillows that we’d like to see in the room to inject personality and some modern edge. Two of these colorful wavy pillows will add more white, green and orange to the room while spicing up our new neutral sofa in an instant. And this great wooly white pillow will look great on the iconic leather lounge chair (while tying into our textured rug).
4. We really like the idea of two of these identical abstract green prints framed in dark wood frames with a crisp white mat and hung next to each other above the ledge on the wall with the lounge chair (adjacent to the window wall). They’ll effortlessly add more punches of fresh green while tying into everything from the view beyond and the grass-like shag rug.
5. Hanging this stunning sculpture- er, pendant light– above the seating area will really make the entire room feel stylish and swanky (even with 7′ ceilings). We would only allow for about four inches of cord between the top of the fixture and the ceiling for a modern look that won’t feel too low and dangly. Although it’s currently referred to as a plug-in fixture, it can easily be converted to a hardwired one (usually just by cutting the cord to reveal two internal wires that can be connected to the fixture box in the ceiling). Definitely call the store to be sure that it’s as easy as cutting the cord, but even if it’s a bit more complicated, any electrician can easily convert it for under $25- and it’s such a stunner (and a steal!) that it’s totally worth it.
6. This great recycled newspaper vase (just $24!) is visually interesting and perfect with our palette. Plus it’s not breakable so it’s definitely kid friendly. We’d love to see it on one of the side tables or even the media cabinet to add a bit more color and texture to the room without feeling cluttered or overdone.
7. This great dark wood media cabinet will work with the other dark wood that we’ll bring into the space (the dark legs of the sofa and the thin dark wood frames for the art) while providing a chic place to put that big flatscreen… and store a few video games and board games out of sight below. Gotta love a piece that does it all.
8. Two of these clean-lined white cubes will serve as a flexible and stylish coffee table of sorts placed next to each other (about 10″ apart) in front of the sofa. Best of all, they’re wipeable and totally kid-proof, so they can be used as footrests and even a place to put Koolaid without worrying about stains or drink rings.
9. We’d love to see this great stunner of a bookcase placed between the closet doors on that small strip of wall to the left of the glass door that leads to the backyard. It’s a great way to store a bunch of the books that Corinne mentioned, and removing the paper covers to reveal colorful woven spines (or even covering existing books with orange or tan craft paper) will make it even sleeker looking (the names can be scribbled on the spines of each one). There are a bunch of more expensive versions of this piece but we happily dug up a cheaper alternative. Score.
10. These punchy orange lamps (on sale!) would look amazing on these great tiered side tables placed on either side of the sofa. They’ll instantly add balance, interest, and ambiance to the whole room (and those side tables are another place to store stuff in baskets or even just stack board games and books).
11. With a five year old and lots of little friends in mind, we found this great clean-lined Room & Board sofa which actually comes with a sleek and modern slipcover (in a nice tan color) to keep things feeling modern and crisp without forgetting about function and washability. Plus when the kiddos are grown it can be removed to reveal a totally new sofa that has been perfectly preserved thanks to years of slipcover usage- it’s like getting two sofas in one! Oh and in addition to the great wavy pillows that we’d love to see on the sofa, we also think two green pillows to sit behind them and set the scene in each corner of the couch will add polish and more of our accent color to keep everything working together without feeling too matchy-matchy.
12. This fab green 5 x 8′ rug is one of our favorite pieces for this entire makeover. It will ground the seating area, add cozy and welcoming comfort underfoot, and bring the outdoors in with its grass-like appearance. It even ties into our shaggy white pillow for the lounge chair! We can’t wait to see it under the crisp sofa and those sleek cubes for a stylish and swanky den vibe that never fails to draw people in.
So there you have it. A totally refreshed den full of crisp modern style. We can’t wait to see what you guys think- especially you Corinne!
Update: Corinne sent us her after pictures and they’re nothing short of amazing! Check them out right here.
Update #2: We sadly can no longer find the time to take on client commissioned mood boards (we now whip up general inspiration boards instead) but if we ever reinstate them we’ll make a big announcement!