Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Living Room Before and After: Part One

When we walked through our house for the first time, the living room was the most obviously promising space. The footprint was gracious, there was a fireplace and the whole room was flooded with light thanks to a big bay window.


I knew the moorish archways could easily be squared off and widened to make it feel even more spacious. I also knew I could easily update the fireplace and remove the disco-esque mirrored tiles and black granite. This confidence in the structural elements allowed me to go right to the decorating phase, which as you know is by far the most fun for me!


I’ve been a long-time fan of the ‘Paris Apartment’ look, à la panelled walls and plaster mouldings, carved marble fireplaces and stunning patterned wood flooring. This style was something I always wanted to incorporate into my future forever home, and luckily worked perfectly with the vibe of the exterior of our house. I’ll be taking a closer look at the flooring and fireplace in an upcoming post, so let’s skip right to the furniture and fabric fun!

living room- setee

For the decor, I wanted a timeless blend of old and new that suited the home, but still had an eclectic edge. I had existing formal pieces in my apartment living room that I wanted to include, most obviously my prized antique setee that I had refurbished, and other items like my chinoiserie screen, tufted skirted ottoman and black and gold Louis XVI chairs.


I wanted somewhat of a symmetrical seating plan centred on the fireplace so the first big piece of furniture I sourced was a foil for the curvy antique setee. I wanted something unexpected but keeping with the glamorous vibe of the room. I was over the moon to finally purchase a piece I had been lusting over for years: the Oly Studio Jonathan lounge.

living room- chaise

The Jonathan lounge reminds me of a jazzed up version of the Barcelona couch. The gilded cross iron frame and smooth black leather upholstery are contemporary but glam. Having a low armless piece sitting across from the setee not only provided some of that edgy tension I was going for, but also ensured the sightline and conversation could stay open across to the Louis XVI chairs in the bay window.

living room- table

My dream piece to sit between the setee and lounge was a sculptural geometric brass cocktail table but there was sadly nothing in that style in my price range, so I moved on to another favourite motif, chinoiserie. I selected the Jacqui cocktail table by Bungalow 5, which balances its sensual curves with a simple lacquer finish and plays off the other chinoiserie elements in the room like the screen and stool in between the Louis XVI chairs.


When it came to my pair of antique Louis XVI chairs that I inherited from my grandparents, I wanted to update them with a more forgiving fabric than the existing solid gold silk, plus the stuffing was ancient and needed repair. The black and gold frame was perfect as is, so I wanted a colour to complement the two-tone finish.


Cooper Bros. did a fabulous job reupholstering the chairs in Robert Allen’s Ogalalla fabric, a small scale exotic cat print that perfectly suited the frame. Topped with hot pink Madeline Weinrib silk ikat cushions that I picked up during my first visit to her atelier at ABC Carpet in NYC, they ooze fabulousness!

The beautiful bay windows are accentuated thanks to beautiful drapery treatments sewed by Wesley Seto Design. Made of a luxurious wool ivory from Kobe Fabrics and accented with wide grosgrain ribbon from Mokuba, they echo the graphic stripe in the setee.

(After photos by Stacey Brandford)

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