When Carolyn called on us for help with her living room, we got right down to business. Here’s her letter:
We have everything in the house close to the way we want it but the living room isn’t coming together and we need your help! The fireplace wall is next on our to-do list; we’re going to have all of the three different materials (brick, glass block and drywall) recovered in drywall so that it matches the other walls. Then we’ll add new stone for our fireplace mantle and hearth along with a wood beam. With all of that said, we want this room to be fabulous. I like a more glamorous, casual look and my husband likes a more rustic cabin feel. He also likes things that are sleek and modern in small doses. We have a platform bed and he loves it so you never know with him. The sofa & coffee table have to stay along with the rug. I like the side chairs but they feel a bit big in the room so I am open to replacing them. The bar is built-in but needs help, the countertop is super cool but just doesn’t fit in so we’d love help tying it in. The bar shelves were just put up by my husband but can go if there are better options to display most of the bottles up there. As for the wall color, I like what we have but I HATE the red wall. Please help us complete our living room! – Carolyn
This is another one of those spaces with soaring potential and amazing bones. With a few new furnishings and some swoonworthy accessories, this room will soon become the cohesive glammy-modern-rustic retreat that Carolyn and her hubby dream about. Here’s our mood board:
And now for the mood board breakdown.
1. Carolyn already has the glam thing going on in here, thanks to the amazing mirrored coffee table (from if you’re interested) and the h velvet sofa. So adding a bit of rustic style for her hubby, along with a few more modern touches to tie in that fabulous built-in bar is the name of the game. Our color palette will include a deep chocolate brown (thanks to the furnishings), a medium chocolate brown that we’d love to replace the red accent wall once the drywalling and fireplace renovation is complete (try Benjamin Moore’s Rustic Taupe), some cinnamon-cranberry hues as accent colors (plucked from those great sofa pillows) and an abundance of creamy tan tones (thanks to the wall color, those great armchairs, and a few new accessories). Maintaining a mostly-neutral palette will really add cohesion to the space and allow so many styles (glam, modern and rustic) to peacefully coexist in a single room with style to spare.
2. Here’s one of our rustic additions to the space, which we think will look fantastic with the new stone fireplace. Two of these (which just happen to be majorly discounted!) to the right of the armchair on the right and to the left of the armchair on the left will really add balance and a bit of height to the focal wall in the space. And speaking of those armchairs, we know that Carolyn said they could go, but we have an idea to tie them in with the sofa in a snap (stay tuned…) and love their h oversized presence when paired with such a deep and cushy sofa nearby.
3. Sometimes it’s all about the details, and with this room the bones are here so it’s really about polishing each area and tying them all together. Introducing some of these great to the bar area to mask some of the bottles with labels that might be competing or taking away from the sleek looking built-in bar will really add sophistication and rustic, natural style. And taking down about 50% of the bottles on those shelves and placing them in jute bags on the bar counter, or concealing them under the bar will clean up those newly installed shelves in a snap. Oh and by adding some of that sandy neutral tan tone to the bar corner, it’ll instantly relate to the opposite side of the room thanks to the similar coloring in the armchairs and the new linen curtain panels that we’ll be bringing in.
4. The left side of the room could use a bit more interest and art on those grandly scaled walls, and we think a framed collage of black and white images will add interest around the flat screen TV (while shifting the focus from the tube). For added cohesion we’d suggest hanging another black and white image behind the bar as well. Any black and white art of Carolyn’s liking could be introduced, but we happen to adore the photography of (the prints in our mood board can be found , , and ). And black frames, thin stainless frames or even deep chocolate wood frames will tie in perfectly with the rest of the room so it’s really up to Carolyn to choose whatever tickles her fancy.
5. We stand firmly by the statement that paint, lamps and curtains make the room, and since Carolyn already has a great warn neutral tone on the walls and a pair of fab new rustic lamps, some extra long (with a subtle striped pattern for interest and movement) will polish this room in a flash. By replacing the white curtains that currently flank those fabulous glass doors with warm creamy linen ones, we will again achieve more of that cohesive feeling by bringing in more of the creamy color that’s present throughout the space. The soft stripes will even subtly mimic the new fireplace mantel and the horizontal shelves above the bar for even more harmony and effortless cohesion.
6. In the case of a sloped ceiling, a round mirror is often the answer, since a big rectangular mirror or piece of art above the fireplace will only accentuate the slanted ceiling line above. We love this large-and-in-charge dark for above the new stone fireplace, to again add some of that rustic texture to the space while bringing in some glammy sparkle with a big mirrored pane that will bounce tons of light around the space.
7. Tying in those oversized armchairs is as easy as tossing one of these glamorous chocolate on each one to bring a bit of the brown velvet from the sofa over to those chairs.
8. Here’s our to balance the modern built-in bar on the other side of the room. By adding this sleek new table in the place of the current TV stand, the raised shelf of the bar will be repeated in the seating area, and the metal and glass accents in the piece will tie into the mirrored coffee table and the round mirror above the fireplace. We’re not certain if Carolyn’s flat screen can be placed on the glass shelf, but we actually think mounting it on the wall and surrounding it with the collage of black and white art will create a large scale feature to fit that spacious and grand wall.
9. And since we dug up those rustic river rock lamps that will look fantastic framing the fireplace beside each of the armchairs, we also found fitting for those lovely rustic lamps to live on. The round shape of these side tables will tie in with the round mirror and coffee table in the space while the steel legs will reference the metal accents over by the bar and the sleek modern console that we introduced above. Even the deep wood tone works with the existing furnishings for a completely cohesive and balanced feel. Gotta love a room that totally merges three different styles for an elegant, collected-over-time effect.
So there you have it. A cohesive and grand family room full of rustic accents, modern touches and glammy details. We can’t wait to hear what you guys think!
Update: 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!