Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Rolling Out Our Living Room Plan: Part I

       Let's have a little chat about our main living floor, shall we? I've shared bits of it lately, but I thought I should reveal to you our overall plans for the space.  It might make it a tad bit easier for you to follow along with us these next few months. 
       We use to love entertaining. In our rental (and before we had two blessed children), we had people over for dinner one to two nights a week. It was standard for us. We had the energy. We were able to get beyond how ugly our rental was. But now, we've been homeowners for over six months, and we've only hosted people to dinner two or three times. Granted, we are generally exhausted, but more so, we are kind of embarrassed of our house. It's sad, but true.
       Our house features a reverse floor plan, with the bedrooms located downstairs, and the living/dining/kitchen on the upper level when you enter the house. You find this layout in our area a fair amount, as lots of homes are built onto hillsides. The verdict is still out on whether we like the layout of this home (certainly wasn't what we set out to buy), but we're making it work for us at the moment (and don't really have a lot of other options, now do we). Because the living room is the most important area of the house, we actually did need to live with it for a while so that we could discern what exactly the best design plan would be. I think we (or more like, I) have a really strong plan of attack devised for the space now and I'm DYING to roll it all out. But as I've learned, it's step by step, and it will be slow going.
 Here's the before shot,
taken while the sellers were packing up.
They had a love of house plants.
They offered to sell us that entertainment shelving unit...but we kindly passed.
Here are a few other angles of the space, 
since we've been living here.
I didn't bother staging these "before" photos because this is our life at the moment,
(staging would have involved time and energy).
toys, dog, paint samples and all.
I'm cringing for you.
That door pains me.
The view from our front door.
For the love of old hideous fireplaces. That thing has Got. To Go.
Outdated fan anyone?
       I knew the space had potential from the day we first saw it, and I try to see it in that light every time I walk in the door. Soon after moving in, we realized that nice furniture and some new light fixtures wouldn't really disguise the biggest problems in the space…the flooring and the peach walls. And no amount of pretty pillows or cool area rugs would take away from theses glaringly obvious issues. 
       So after tackling some little projects and making some small purchases the first few months, in November, we started on two things. We began the daunting task of painting this level of the house and we went shopping for hardwoods (cue the choir!!!).
       The existing paint color is a peachy, yellowy, creamy bunch of ugly, commonly known as "builder beige". It reads very differently depending on the wall and time of day. I decided that white was the route we would take. But Not. So. Fast. Apparently choosing the best white paint color for the job is no easy task. I sampled whites for weeks. WEEKS! They were all even starting to look  the same to me. 
Over on Instagram, I shared my white paint laboratory.
Choosing the right paint colors, is an absolute science!
I picked up several of the most popular, designer picks for white, 
and tested them out in four (4!!!) different spots in our main living floor. 
 I figured why not go with a white that was a favorite of a designer-
something already tried and true. 
First off, many of them read differently from wall to wall do to lighting and shadows.
Here you can see how crazy peach/yellow/orange the current color is in comparison.
Second, some of the most popular recommended whites
(Benjamin Moore White Dove, Benjamin Moore Decorators White) 
read as gray or blue on our walls. 
I couldn't believe it. 
I was determined to get it right. 
It would basically be coating most walls in our house (and the ceiling).
So as I narrowed it down, I painted larger and larger swatches.
      What I realized, is that I needed a creamy warm white, with no grey or blue undertones. It's cold and freezing here half to the year, and I want our home to feel warm and embracing, rather then blinding and stark when people walk in the door. So I finally decided on Benjamin Moore's Marscapone. It's a creamy, almost Ivory White, with more yellow undertones then grey. I had to make a decision, I was losing my sensibilities. We started painting in November, and yet still, only portions are done. Our plan is to continue tackling the paint issue and have it completed by the time we install the floors (the magnificent floors!!!)
       Here's the color palette that I've been playing with:
       White will clearly be our jumping off point, and it will be layered with lots of greens, blues, beiges, and grays. We'll be warming up the palette by layering in lots (and lots!) of natural fibers (i.e. baskets, area rugs, wicker) and antique brass. Black will work as a really nice clean contrast to the white, and will repeat itself through most of the light fixtures. These colors are choices that I'm attracted to time, and time again. 
       Next up, I'll be sharing with you our floor selection and the images that we were inspired by, but for the time being I thought I should show you the mood board that we're using as we piece together this area of the house. Drumroll….
       Can you picture it? I can…and I'm dying to see it come to fruition. I'll break down this board more over the coming months, and we'll see how it all evolves together!

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