Ever tempted to snoop around your neighbors' house and change a few things up? Well, Dolley Levan Frearson had this rare opportunity when a family on her block called upon her (and her colleagues at Houston-based decor mecca
High Fashion Home) to revamp the entry and front living room of their home. The result: A bright and airy space that's both elegant and ethereal. Here she walks us through the key moves for the living room makeover. 88
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The living room before 1) Decide what will stay. In this case it was the sofa, the large painting, and the curtains. 2) Rearrange the preexisting furniture that made the cut. At first, the customer, my neighbor, wanted the sofa on the back short wall facing the entry. Even though there isn’t a hard-and-fast rule on sofa placement, we decided to move the sofa on the longer wall for a few reasons: First, it filled the space better (sofas usually look better going in the same direction as the longest wall) Secondly, we thought it would be nice to have it face the beautiful windows and drapes so they can enjoy the view. Lastly, since the artwork above the sofa is so large and fills the wall space almost to the ceiling, we liked seeing the art with the sofa on the right wall to balance the height of the drapes on the opposite wall. The room immediately felt more balanced and taller. This is an older 1940’s home so the ceiling is not very tall. Any opportunity to bring the eyes up will make the ceiling appear taller and the room larger.
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The living room after
3) Roll-out an area rug. A rug is important to frame a room setting. It also allows you to add a different texture/pattern to the space and it definitely makes the room feel more warm and inviting. This rug was perfect because it brought out the steel blue tones in the artwork. We loved the subtle pattern and monochromatic look. Plus, the viscose sheen in the rug is a nice feminine contrast to the handsome textured herringbone material on the sofa.
4) Why the perfect coffee table matters. The coffee table is pretty important. It centers your living room and it’s usually a focal point. It also gives you an opportunity to add your favorite coffee table books and table-top accessories. We love the faux shagreen (sting ray) tray top on this cocktail table. Faux shagreen is one of my favorite finishes; the texture is fun, the feel is earthy and the look is fabulously chic. If you’re not adding a lot of color to the space, it’s critical to layer different textures. The best part about this table was it’s kid-friendly nature. She has two little ones so it was important to find a table that has softer corners/edges. Plus, the faux shagreen texture will also hide blemishes better than a flat surface would.
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The revamped space from more angles 5) Side chairs bring balance. The chairs’ curved wings balances out the strong angular lines of the coffee table, console and bookcase. I also really love the juxtaposition of the more feminine and glam octagonal velvet material on chair against the sofa’s more casual and handsome herringbone material. Opposites can attract if they share a commonality; in this case the scale and curves of the frames. It’s also fun to layer geometric patterns. The small scale octagonal pattern on the velvet chairs work beautifully with Moroccan lattice pattern on the fabric of her drapes.
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6) Give a grander illusion with a mirror. We moved the art above the sofa to balance the height of the drapes. So with this new open wall, we thought it was important to make this space feel open, airy and larger. And what better way to do this than with a mirror? As soon as you enter her home, you walk into this formal living space and see this geometric floral mirror, which is a fun and whimsical element that made the room less serious and more playful and happy.
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The small entryway even got the High Fashion Home treatment.
7) Create interest with a console. Good consoles are hard to come by. We love the simplicity of this distressed console under the mirror. It adds a touch of glam but it’s not over the top because of its simple lines. And we love how you can nestle an ottoman or benches underneath for extra seating.
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The entryway after
8) Floor lamps: This room needs them. Although the mirror and console combo look beautiful, the set up was too small on this wall. We needed something with height flanking the console-mirror to connect the drape wall and the art-sofa wall. The solution was a pair of floor lamps which worked out great because they needed more lighting in this room in the evenings anyway. The floor lamp we selected for her space is my favorite floor lamp of the moment. The columnar glass tube base is elegant and refined yet simplistic.
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The blank side wall, you see in the before picture, is now fully utilized with a sculptural bookshelf.
9) The tabletops call for decorative objects. The great thing about this large artwork is that it looks so neutral, simple and modern. It just floats in the space and it feels ethereal and calming. Keeping along these neutral lines, we sought out earthy finds we carry at the store such as this raw-edge onyx bowl on the coffee table, responsibly-harvested coral on the accent table, framed geodes (between the drapes), and Brazilian golden mica specimen crystal on the console. Natural objects or what I call “museum” pieces make fantastic table candy. Design Resources Curtain Fabric | Chair | Console Table | Floor Lamps | Sofa | Rug | Mirror | Coffee Table | Pillows | Side Table | Accent Table | Table Lamp | Coasters| Bookcase | Console | Lamps
Text by Sarah Bray