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Monday, January 5, 2015

Plans For the Storybook Cottage Living Room

Hello dear friends! Did you enjoy the holiday season?

I sent Mr. Décor back to work and Sweet Guy went back to school this morning and the house feels deliciously quiet.

A few months ago my good friend Miss Marty sent me a housewarming gift of two lovely 18” x 18” squares of Schumacher's Chiang Mai Dragon fabric. (If you have priced this fabric you know this was an EXTREMLY generous gift.) While I am not normally a fan of Chinoiserie there is something about this fabric that I truly love. The fabric has been in production since 2006 and has become somewhat of an iconic design….well on it’s way to classic status.

Schumacher Chiang Mai Dragon Flowers Pillow Cover in Alabaster

I can still remember the image in Country Living magazine that made me fall in love with it.

A perfect chair.

As you may recall there are 16 oak trees that surround Storybook Cottage. While lovely and so instrumental in keeping the cottage cool in the hot Texas summer months the shade from the trees do make the rooms feel a bit on the dark side. This is the main reason why I updated the dark paneled family room and kitchen with light and bright colors. The living room is smack dab in the middle of the house and it is quite dark. Dark is not really my thing.

The three real estate listing images below were taken by a professional photographer with all sorts of specialized lighting equipment.


You can tell the photographer tried his best to convey “Light and Bright” but the dead giveaway is the orange hue of artificial lighting.

new home

Of course this is also the room that contains the monstrous fireplace wall.


Upon moving in we took a moment to appreciate the empty space of the living room which is part of an open floor plan concept to include the small entry and formal dining area.

It has lovely crown molding and hardwood floors which darling dachshunds click their nails across a million times a day.

our house 050

Here’s a better look at the small entry. Mr. Décor and I continue to be in “discussion” about the flooring. One of us thinks the ugly tile should be ripped out and the wood flooring continued so that there will not be a harsh visual break and the other thinks it looks “fine as it is”. I guess you know who is who. :) Feel free to weigh in with your opinion.

our house 051

From the dining area you can see into the living area. It’s not overly large. There is also the second story staircase. Which is why installing skylights aren’t an option. The French doors lead into the sun room.

The dining room light fixture came with the house. While it is not horrible, it’s not well loved as it is not really in the “Storybook Style” I envision, but for now it stays.

The 10 Cent Tour 036

Here a different angle of the room.

The 10 Cent Tour 038

This angle is a straight shot looking into the sun room.

The 10 Cent Tour 040

Oh my friends this room has given me such grief!

I just really was stuck in what to do with it. Which made me VERY frustrated as this is the FIRST room you see when entering our home. The GINORMOUS fireplace wall really demands attention and well, I just don’t want to give it what it wants. It’s not my favorite element in the room.


So, how does one work around that? Well what I do love about the room is it’s great molding and wood floors.

Going on that I searched Pinterest for rooms with classic molding and wood floors. I saw this room and just completely loved it.

Mustard mohair chair in green living room.

This sweet suite captured my heart too. It’s where the thought of using a touch of leopard also entered my brain.

Library With Green Walls and Leopard Stools

Now lucky for me green happens to be Mr. Décor’s favorite color. He liked both images. But we both hesitated in painting the walls green. While it’s lovely and cozy in the winter I think I might be clawing at the walls come spring and summer. So we went with Cottage White by Behr. It’s a creamy cozy white shown here.


Given that the color was also three shades lighter than the brown mud that had been on the walls it did indeed lighten up the space as well. You caught a glimpse of it when I shared my bannister decorated for Christmas. The staircase spindles received a coat of  high gloss “Du Jour” by Valspar.

Decor To Adore~ Fireplace mantle 128

Ok, so the room has been painted. But we still needed a high impact color on the wall across from the fireplace. Only it’s a short wall because of the staircase banner. So what to do…Remember the French Hutch I had no business buying? Thank Goodness I did! It fits the small space of wall beautifully and I always had plans to paint the pale yellow and gold surface. (Yes I leave my Christmas décor up throughout the entire season of Christmas. The twelfth day of Christmas occurs tomorrow~ Epiphany~ on January 6th. Then and only then will the décor will come down. ;)

French Hutch 003

I tried out Annie Sloan’s “Antibes Green” and “Florence” as well as an equal combination of the two. I think it will be fun to surprise you with the final decision.

French Hutch 005

As for other pieces in the room there is not much. We still have the Ikea Ektorp sofa and on the small wall, near the fireplace, is where the painted Provençal Buffet ended up. It is being transformed into a fun bar cart. A few of you cried “Foul” when I shared images on instagram that the piece was getting painted as you loved the blue and aqua combo. But, with over two years of hard, daily use and a major move it had been left with little in the looks department. It needed a makeover.

So would an inspiration board help you to “see” my vision? Here you go.


I am truly hoping to find the footstools and the glass/brass coffee table in a thrift store or flea market. So far, after 3 months of looking, they have alluded me. I have the hutch… it just needs to be painted and the bar cart still needs a second coat plus wax. I need artwork for three fairly large walls and boy is there not a budget for that. The Fashionista is going to help me out with some of her original art. I love the style of art by Raoul Dufy for this room. I think I enjoy his work because it reminds me of the artwork in a favorite book from my childhood~ “Madeline” by Ludwig Bemelmans. Do you see the resemblance?

art series

There is the matter of putting a red lantern in the entry. Did you guess what I am going to do?

Yep, a makeover. I know some of you will not like it. But the cream just gets lost in this house.

So, red she said. With a few gold accents.

There you have it. A very long post about transforming the front room. It’s involves a lot of labor. Sort of another “6 Week Challenge” type of room as the projects are not exactly the “done in two hours” type of labor that is required, but days my friends. In thinking about this home and the DTA blog I feel as if I am growing into posts of QUALITY versus QUANTITY.

What are your thoughts on this? As well as the red lantern and the green hutch. Tell me.



JoAnne said...

Your plan looks beautiful, Laura. I think your hutch will look fantastic in any of those shades of green and will make a stunning focal point on that wall. And of course, the person with the great taste who thinks the hardwood should be extended into the entry has my vote! : )

Andrea at Opulent Cottage said...

I'm swooning over all of your wonderful color choices, Laura!! Our Christmas décor is still up too, and I'm thinking some lovely, cheery new pillows might be my only consolation for taking it all down. Good luck on your thrifting hunt! xo, Andrea

GSGreatEscaper said...

We also don't start de-Christmasing until Epiphany. We can never understand people who take their trees down on the day after Christmas when we are still partying and enjoying seeing our friends and family. OTOH, after two weeks of partying almost daily I am ready to stop now.

I hope for the green on the top left of the hutch.

Maurice Prendergast is another artist of that genre - he painted in Boston/New York and on the East Coast, so the scenes are recognizable and they speak to me...

ℳartina @ Northern Nesting said...

Oh I can't wait Laura!! LOVE your color choices!!

Marianne said...

Keep the entry floor as is ! Don't know why, just my gut feeling. LOVE your inspiration rooms and look forward to seeing the finished project. Happy New Year!

Stacey said...

I'm loving your vision for that room!! And yes, red on the lantern. :)

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

Oh I totally love everything you have planned. This will be my favorite room. I am crazy about the red lantern and the green on the hutch. This is going to look totally amazing. Yes to the hardwood too or a really fabulous rug.

Linda said...

I like the idea of the red lantern and green hutch! I still can never get over how much you accomplish at your home, when we barely do anything to ours and it's going on 15 years old.
I also LOVE that you keep your Christmas decor up for the full 12 days of Christmas! I used to do the same, but as I returned to work today, it all had to come down on Friday, the 2nd, my last day to accomplish such things and it took me a full 8 hours to complete that back-breaking process. It's all now packed away and I'm okay with it for once, as I'm ready to move on into the new year, though it's always with some trepidation that I do so, because as one with parents who are 89 and 84, I face the reality that the time at hand is fleeting and it seems I'm always viewing the turn of a new year, as one step closer to the end.
Love, Linda

Auntie Em said...

Wow! Your design scheme would take me totally out of my comfort zone but I am so anxious to see it. I think it will look amazing.
I don't mind the front entry floor. Although the continued wood flooring would look very nice, the tiles would be a sort of necessity here in our area since the wood would get ruined by the wet boots. Everyone has tiles (or vinyl) by their door if they have wood flooring.
I am very excited that the Fashionista is going to paint art work for your walls. What a talented gal. Takes after her Momma!
But you really have to do something to that fireplace unless you folks want to walk around looking like the extras from the Wizard of Oz or some of Santa's helpers. You did a lovely job of decorating it for Christmas (I liked the basket of logs with the lights) but that's not going to work in July. :/
Sorry, I am not much help, am I? Please forgive me.(And maybe you are a really tiny lady barely 4'9" or so. If that is the case, really stuck my foot in my mouth there, didn't I?)
I will be back for sure to see your transformation. Your work is always beautiful! Thanks for sharing! :)

Kelly_Deal said...

I love your plans Laura! I can't wait to see when you're finished!

diana said...

Love the green hutch! I would just put a fun area rug over that tile.

nonie everythingsewing said...

Your story boards always intrigue me. I am trying to learn decorating by following along which leads me to many questions. Hope you do not mind. How do you go about building your board? Do you take pictures from magazines of things you like? If you just like one element such as a color of a hutch do you cut that out? or do you keep the whole picture to see how it plays with the rest of the room? are you using the fabric piece as the colors for your room? will you use the fabric also?

Hope it is alright to ask


Lorrie said...

I like your plans, Laura. You're being bold with the red lantern and the green hutch; it will be wonderful! Although weighing in on a difference of opinion between spouses is never wise, I'd champion the side who wants to remove the tile and have the wood throughout. A cleaner, cohesive look.
The fabric is gorgeous and a great starting point for your design. The fireplace....her voice fades away into nothing...oh, what about boxing part of it with wood - sort of a paneled look with molding, particularly on the upper part?

Kim said...

Using red and green will be fantastic! A glossy enamel red or flat? I agree with GSGreatEscaper - love the green on the upper left. With respect to the tile......while I tend to agree with you, we have had hardwood entries in 4 of our 5 homes (we also move a lot!!) and end up covering the hardwood with a huge water hog mat. Wet and/or snowy weather is tough on are muddy boys and boots! My preference is for slate tile with minimal grout lines that hides dog prints and boot prints. Can't wait to see the end result!

lytrooretreat said...

Thank you, again for your posts. I enjoy how you show us your "work in progress." You show us that change and transformation is not easy, but achievable. It gives the rest of us courage to attempt things we otherwise wouldn't. - Karen

Magali@TheLittleWhiteHouse said...

So, first things first, I'm with whoever thinks the tiles must go... maybe some seagrass would be a cheap and easy solution and the difference in colour with the wood wouldn't be so stricking... until you win your husband to your cause. I love your inspiration board. The red lantern is going to make a statement and tie with the chinoiserie fabric...

Sarah said...

Laura, all your plans look wonderful. I know you will work magic on this new home. Have fun with the process.
Happy New Year!

Terri Steffes said...

Not only do I love the plan for the LR, I am excited to see it decorated for the holidays in 2015!! That room is going to be stunning! I am not good at seeing how things work together. I love all that I see but cannot imagine it together. Oh well, that's why I am not a designer!

The red lantern is the WOW factor!

PS (the tile needs to go.)


Hena Tayeb said...

I can't wait to see it finished.. love that fabric swatch and the kelly green is perfect. I must have something the same color.

Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

Love your direction for this room, Laura! While your color choices for the hutch and lantern are bold, I think that they will work great for the overall look of the room. And they are colors that you and your family like, which is always important, too. I'm looking forward to seeing it all and how you are going to deal with the fireplace. I think it is such a statement (as that whole wall seems to be with it) that I would probably just try to work with it. I'm sure that it would have my brain swirling to try and figure out how to "fight it".

Lory Owens said...

Laura, I think the room is going to look amazing when finished. I like the idea of painting the chandelier red, and the animal print footstools ROCK! I think every room needs a little animal print.(smile) Can't wait to see the finished room.

Pat@Life At Lydias House said...

How exciting! I love your plan and I really love the red lantern! (I have a red lantern in my master bedroom at our summer cottage.) Can't wait to see it all come together!

martinealison said...

Bonjour chère amie,

Je suis très impatiente de voir quelle décision vous allez choisir ! Je suis certaine d'avance que votre choix sera génial !...
Je vous souhaite tous mes bons voeux pour 2015 avec de gros bisous.

Lana L. said...

I cannot wait to see how this room turns out. Everything you do is so lovely!

FairfieldHouse said...

We had a similar problem with our living room. It was dark. It's also long and has at least one obstacle on each wall {one fireplace, floor to ceiling built in book cases, two windows, four doors, two radiators}. I feel your pain.
I went with white and pops of red. I know your living room will look spectacular after you dig into your Mary Poppins carpet bag and add your love for details and creative touch. It will truly be decor we all adore!
Wishing you, Eric, Alyssa and Ian a happy and healthy 2015!
Your Friend,

Rita C. said...

I can't wait to see this room put together. You've made some fabulous choices! I like that Marty inspired with that fabric!

Algodão Tão Doce said...

A grandeza dos amigos são como as flores raras: sua magnitude fica para sempre.
(Cristina Beloni)
Obrigada por compartilhar comigo este 2º aniversário do blog Algodão Tão Doce !!!!
Um doce abraço, Marie.

Liz@ Infuse With Liz said...

It's going to look fabulous- colorful and cheerful! Coming from where I do I have to be practical about entrypoints. Tile works well because I don't have to worry about the sand scratching anything and in the winter about the extra moisture that comes in from the snow. My sister put all wood in and while were there at Thanksgiving her husband we panicking about the wood flooring at the entryway. I doubt you'll have that issue in Texas but that's why I have tile. I think what I really don't like is the way they trimmed the tile and floor. Seems like they didn't do the transition very well. That fabric Marty sent you is going to really stand out nicely and I love the animal print accent idea. I wonder if the inside of the hutch could be green and the outside a creamy white? The red will look awesome on the lantern style chandelier! You are off on a roll! said...

I think this room is going to look lovely. I'd probably try to talk a certain someone into agreeing to white wash the fireplace to help it blend in more. I'd also probably talk them into replacing the tile with wood - I think it will make a big difference. I love the lantern as is of course, but can totally embrace the red as it will definitely make the space pop. I think the fabric will pop in the room and I love the concept of the artwork - can't wait to see what transpires. If we lived closer and I could afford a designer, we'd have to talk!

Vel Criste said...

I'm sooo excited with your plan Laura and the Madeline inspiration is just perfect! Good luck!

At Rivercrest Cottage said...

Just a thought here on the tiled entry. I think you could paint the tile with porch paint or some such and then seal it, which would get you through. Thinking of French Country Cottage's wonderful bathroom tile which is faintly different colors to mildly make it checkerboard, but not CHECKERBOARD, if you know what I mean. Very subtle and classy. Happy to see you got out of the desert. Welcome to Texas and don't miss downtown McKinney and the store My Favorite Room on a side street there.