LIVING ROOM E-DESIGN
A little over a month ago, I shared a dramatic bedroom design that was my most luxe project to date. It had gilt, tufting, and glamour for days. Well, this is the living room companion to that space. Same owners, same house, same palette with more of an industrial edge. This a fearless couple who loved taking high impact risks in their home, and I was more than happy to go along for the ride. Giving advice and a little expertise along the way.
Inspiration for the room came in the form of the two images below. They wanted a high contrast, contemporary space with a definitive point of view. The final design was a little less structured than these two interiors, but some of the basic ideas remained. In addition, the clients preferred that I stay away from gray as much as possible and any type of pattern. Not an easy task considering mixing patterns and grays are my lifeblood, but challenge accepted!
The room came with some existing contemporary furnishings (all new Restoration Hardware pieces) that needed to be utilized in the final room design. Not the most difficult of tasks considering they were brand new and good looking. The home was also a new construction so most of the finishes would remain, with the exception of the wall color and ceiling treatment. They hired me to help with the layout, furnish a large empty wall, develop the ceiling elements, and select the remaining furniture.
The living area was a large room that opened onto the kitchen and had a wall of double doors. The existing kitchen had black upper and lower cabinets, so I wanted to stay away from black in any of the new selections. The pair of black wingback chairs and media unit were existing. The space was quite long, and we tried to keep the sofa as close to the television as possible. At one point we debated turning the sofa perpendicular to the TV, but one partner vetoed that idea rather quickly. It's a conversation that surfaces often during the planning process, and the "keep the sofa facing the TV spouse" always comes out on top. It usually comes down to who is more passionate about their cause.
Now back to the layout. I would have preferred to have the seating area a little tighter, but the existing long sofa prevented me from condensing it. A shorter sofa would have enabled all of the furniture to sit properly on the large rug, and allowed for a more intimate conversation area. Once everything is ordered and in place they will need to re-measure the seating area to ensure the 9x12 rug will work in the space. I sincerely hope so because super large rugs are a budget breaker.
Once the layout was solidified, there were two main furniture items that needed to be selected- the large bookcases and daybed. I wanted a daybed or chaise instead of a sofa to keep the seating area open to the kitchen, and the bookcase would be the focal point of the long back wall. We tried on every option we could find. A little Goldilocks action was happening in the room. Once we found a daybed in a color, shape, and size that worked it was on to the shelving unit. The bookcases below are just a portion of the viable options.
My preference was for two raw wood cabinets, mainly because they contrasted well with the other sleek and polished furniture. Although, I would kill for the brass and walnut unit shown in the second photo. In the end they went shopping locally and found two industrial shelving units with a library ladder (!!!) that added the needed masculinity and unfinished edge to the room.
For the ceiling, I decided to create a border of molding around the room, and have it painted a dark grey color. It visually encircles the room, adds interest to the large expanse of white ceiling, and it’s something that they can easily repeat in their dining room later. For a last dose of drama, a big and beautiful globe chandelier was chosen to hang centered above the seating area.
It was a pleasure to work with these homeowners and guide them in completing their rooms, and I can’t wait to see the final spaces. This is definitely not my normal aesthetic (not because I don’t love it, it’s just not something clients ever ask for), but it’s always fun to stretch my boundaries.