Even before we moved to Rattlebridge, I knew the living room would present design issues. In its former life, it was all cut up, with a 1970s sunken living room. At some point, a sun room was added. Our contribution was to open the space, allowing for unrestricted views of the distant mountains; but the remodel also created my biggest decorating challenge to date.
Nearly a year later, we moved in. Both my husband and I were recovering from health issues, and we decided to take our time. Our living room stayed empty for months, until the old aqua sofa and chairs were bumped out of the man cave. The plan was to order white slip covered pieces, but I wanted to get my bearings. As predicted, the room was difficult. I had trouble arranging furniture and hanging art (no walls!). Something else was going on, too: the furnishings went to war. I knew it would take time to sort it out; but in the meantime, it was a relief to have a place to sit and read.
As the seasons shifted from summer to fall, I rolled up the rug and replaced it with a little sisal from Lowe's. Next, I removed the floral pillows. I already had plenty of bright, tangerine-colored pillows on the porch, so I grabbed them, along with a throw. A dear quilt added a punch of color to the sunroom.
Late October 2016
In my mind's eye, I could see what the room wanted to be. It wasn't there yet, but I had a true north: Chippy things, white slipcovers, books, a touch of formal, and just plain fun. Heaven knows how long it'll take. Many times I can't tell if I've made a room better or worse. Usually, it looks worse. I'm still not in a hurry, because I am still listening to the house. Little, formal pieces keep snagging my eye, and not in a good way, so I've been moving them to the man cave, which pleases my formal loving husband. So, we're all happy.
And here's a flashback to the remodel. Crisp white paint went up, along with a beadboard ceiling. Somewhere in my heart, I must have known that I was a country girl.
A year later, I still love the off-white walls. The house always seems bright, and I enjoy playing with art and colorful accessories.
The little table was earmarked for the potting shed, but it's still here.
Little table, which color will you be at Christmas? Chalk and milk paint don't set off my asthma, not like spray paint, so I'm likely to paint and repaint little pieces.
Because the living areas are open to the dining room and kitchen, let's take a little peek. In the dining room, I am literally playing a game of musical chairs. I thought about switching tables, but it just wasn't practical. We are so attached to our old table--not only does it fit the long, narrow dining area, my husband uses the far end as a workspace. So many memories were made around that table. We talked about painting it, but the surface has withstood decades of family dinners, served as a buffet at parties, and provided a place for children to scribble their homework, and for me to spread out chapters of novels-in-progress. That table is tough, and my husband, the human Saint Bernard, need a durable work spot. At some point, we may remove the leaf and use the table for another purpose; but for now, it won't be painted. However, the chairs were a different story. I removed a few of the formal side chairs (more on this later) and set out my old, mismatched ladder backs. Everywhere I look on Pinterest, these chairs are being refreshed with paint. I am truly hesitant.
I just know one thing: old pieces, the items I had when I was younger, really speak to me now. I wish I'd stood up for those chairs, but my style was all over the place, influenced by trends, I suspect. My style still is a mishmash, to be sure, but this time, I have a plan.
I put an old Windsor rocker in the kitchen, and it feels just right.
Moving back to the sun room, I love the casual dining space.
I've been auditioning chairs.
At one end of the sunroom, the old hutch turned out to have a playful side.
In the living room, another "cut up" wall found its groove with lively art and a sweet primitive table that I bought last summer from an old friend. The formal dining chair is in the process of being painted. I only painted one, so we could think about it. (In person, it's not a stark, blaring white. But it's still a drastic change for me and DH, two people who don't embrace change.) The fate of the other chairs depends on this one, little painted piece.
It needs glazing/waxing, then you can be sure I'll get out the sandpaper, too.
Now, more than ever, it's good to wait.
It's good to think.
To listen to the room.