Helllooo, friends. It has been a while. If we happen to be email friends, you’ve already heard about ALL. THE. LIFE. THINGS. that happened and kept me unplugged and off the blog last year.
(In a nutshell…a new baby, a move back to Missouri, a “new” old house, new jobs for both me and my husband. #emotionalwhiplash)
If you hadn’t received my emails, you might have thought I dropped off the face of the Earth. BUT I’m back. And I’m excited about things I have to share with you soon. I’ve got notebooks full of ideas to help you get your home organized and feeling more like “you” this year. Stay tuned:)
Today I want to share a client project that I finished up last year in Houston. Check out these before-and-after pics…
HOUSTON TOWNHOUSE LAYOUT
In Houston, many of the townhouses have the following floor plan:
1st Floor: Garage, entry, office/spare room and bathroom
Main Level (2nd floor): Kitchen, dining, and living room in an open concept space (Sara’s main floor also has a powder room.)
3rd Floor: Bedrooms and master bathroom
While this set-up is very common in the city, open floor plans like can be challenging to decorate. Many times you have really high ceilings-which are great, but can make a room read empty and cold. You have to be very intentional to make a space feel “homey” and cozy. Also you’re quite limited on furniture arrangements with usually only three walls to to frame both the living and dining areas.
My “Top 5” Goals for Sara’s space were these…
1. Brighten the overall feel of the room with a light, cool toned paint color on walls that could work with current trim color.
2. Use the vertical space in the room for both aesthetics and function. On one side, create a focal point with the gallery wall. On the opposite end of the room, balance this out with two tall bookshelves.
3. Add functional storage space for toys, display, and everyday items. (The bookshelves were a key part of this.)
4. Implement accent and task lighting to give the room a cozy glow.
5. Add a bold rug to break up all the neutrals in the room and layer small pops of color intentionally throughout.
Of course drapery, pillows, throws, accent decor and greenery played a huge. All decisions for those things came in to the process later though. I started with the paint color to be our “clean canvas”. I selected “Crushed Ice” by Sherwin Williams. Sara and her husband didn’t want to repaint all the trim (smart move), so I picked a color that could work with the undertones of the greenish gray trim color.
Using What You Have
Sara had most of the big pieces already. Some that she loved, others (like the sofa) not so much. We knew we needed to work with these pieces, but also create a cohesive color scheme, style, and art plan. Sometimes starting with parameters already set-like existing furniture can be difficult. But in Sara’s case, they were neutral enough to work well with the style she wanted to incorporate.
Some of her pieces- like her tulip table and dining chairs- were HAH-MAZING. Since these reflected her personal aesthetic, I just needed to build the room around them to enhance the look. We did that by using a foundation of black and white, pops of gold, and some warm brown tones. The rug captured the needed color in the room but kept it confined to one surface. The pillows echoed the colors in the rug, but didn’t overpower the room. (Using too many colorful items in the room wouldn’t have worked with Sara’s style.)
The gallery wall was one of the biggest costs for what we did in the room. You don’t realize how fast art and framing adds up when you have so many pieces needed. We used a few of her travel photos that were already framed, and I planned the rest of the wall around them to save on cost and incorporate meaningful pieces to the collection.
leather pouf // vintage gold candlesticks // faux fur pillow
Other ways we saved on this wall was by creating inexpensive artwork. Sara followed my friend Gwen’s idea of ink blot art. She also framed some sheet music, which is meaningful because her husband is a musician.
(Full disclosure: On a wall this size with larger pieces expect to spend between $500-$1,000 depending on the art you choose. Obviously you could do it for less if you had the at or did some DIY. And if you wanted any original artworks, you’d be looking at much more.)
Even though these bookshelves are over 70″ tall, with the room’s super high ceilings they felt a bit “short” for space. I knew I wanted to two things…1. Add height and 2. Add light.
We needed accent lighting in this part of the room, but typical table lamps would have looked odd on top of a bookshelf. The small gold and marble lamps (which are less than $35 at Target!) were perfect.
The pops of color in the ceramic vases were chosen intentionally in this very visible spot to help establish our color scheme. (BTW-That’s one of about 105 tricks you’d learn in The Bookshelf Styling Class.) As far as function, the shelves also needed to house their large record collection, books, and a few baskets for toys. We utilized the bottom shelves for these needs and kept decorative up top.
As I mentioned earlier, in this townhouse floor plan the entry is on the first floor with stairs leading up to the main floor. This isn’t a very large space, but it needed to function as kind of a mudroom spot as well as a welcoming scene as you enter the home.
Sara wanted something she could house things like hats, scarves, and other “out the door” items in an organized way. This piece is incredible for the purpose and the price. It’s gorgeous in person. It’s actually a bar, but it works beautifully as an entry way catch-all.
When a Client Becomes a Friend
While Sara started as my client, we ended up becoming fast friends. Playdates, “working lunches”, margarita and fajita nights. Good times. Ever meet someone and feel comfortable with them so quickly that you’re surprised you haven’t known them longer? We even ended up being pregnant with our second babies at the same time and bonding over the nausea, insomnia, work, and energetic toddlers of the season. Even though I’m back in Missouri, we’ve already planned our playdates this summer when visit family in Texas.
And I wouldn’t be surprised if we decide to tackle another room in her house while I’m there too.
Shop This Room
*Any items that are still available have been linked.