Big news in the furniture and design industry is creating an uneasy buzz for some designers. This is due to many new home-furnishing stores opening brick-and-mortar locations, like Wayfair and HomeSense. Shopping online has taken the place of going through a designer to purchase home decor and furniture.
But buying furniture is one thing — finishing it to achieve that magazine look is another.A good example is a recent call from a new Houzz client. Karen had purchased furniture that she loves. Her dilemma was that she couldn’t create the style of cottage chic she wanted to achieve.
After many trips to home-furnishing stores and purchasing the accessories, she was still not happy with the incomplete living spaces in her home. She didn’t feel confident hanging the pieces she had purchased, resulting in wasted time and wasted money — she couldn’t return the items as they were past the return-policy date.
A consultation was set up to provide a game plan for Karen to follow and to tackle her home’s first-floor living space. The goal was to create a comfortable style of cottage chic.
After a walk-through, we began in the sitting room, which also served as a home office. This space had a soft sage-green sofa and chair that provided inspiration to finish the room’s look. The desire was to bring in additional color. A suggestion of a large, 60-inch piece of artwork over the sofa in bright colors — pinks, green, yellows and white — would allow her to complete the space with accessories pulling color from the art.
A cherry desk and large cabinet in the space would be replaced with off-white or light-gray finish pieces. A smaller writing desk and a wall console that had a filing cabinet built in would fit nicer in the space. Sage green was the color we would work with, combining off-white and creams to soften the windows with roman shades and remove the wood blinds.
Moving on to the kitchen, it was suggested to Karen that replacing the cream wall color with a coat of Benjamin Moore’s Silver Sage may be a better look. This color would pull in the sage green from the adjacent sofa in the sitting room and begin a flow of this color throughout the first floor.
The kitchen cabinets were cream, and adding sage into this space would soften the space. Hanging a botanical or toile sage-and-cream window valance was suggested to hang over the sink window to replace the dark black valance currently hanging.
Entering the dining room, one was greeted by a sheet-draped pile of mirrors, pictures and wall hangings that were never used. After looking through these accessories, we decided we were not going to use any of them. A new paint color was chosen for the dining room walls. Grecian Green is a shade deeper than the kitchen’s Silver Sage. This would provide a soft contrast to the cream furniture in the space. Removing one of the consoles would also provide more space in the room.
The family room had great bones, with a built-in stone fireplace and leather sectional. A few changes were made here to re-upholster two swivel chairs in a large tan buffalo-print fabric. Adding a white wood ceiling with contrasting reclaimed wood beams provided a cottage look for the space.
Replacing the window drapes with a textured burlap fabric and accent pillows in white would complete the space and provide the cottage feel Karen sought. The walls would be painted white to brighten the space.
Purchasing furniture and having good bones to work with is the first step to completing a home. Accessorizing and knowing how to add color, texture and the right scale and size of accessories is another.
Debbe Daley is owner and principal of Debbe Daley Designs, with offices in Lowell, Boston and Portsmouth, N.H. Debbe can be reached at www.daleydesigns.com.