Phew! It is really heating up here in the northeast. Well it IS July.
The other day I received a lovely email from a reader named Susan. Actually, it was only yesterday!
Here’s what happened. Some of you may recall that I did a post about her dining/living room combination and a very large window she was struggling with.
But, the window treatment I felt was the least of it. There was a lot of inherited pseudo-traditional furniture and already, I could see a clash of formal and casual furnishings. That is because the room is inherently casual. But the furnishings are more formal/traditional.
Well, guess what? Susan never saw the post until recently and after she started to work on the room. She thinks that she must’ve been away when it came out.
So, first, if you don’t mind, please go over to the old post, so that you can see the room as it started out and also what I had to say. Some things have stayed the same, but some have changed. I’ve edited it taking out links that go nowhere. After all, it’s from September 2017 and things change.
I’m going to take a nap while you’re reading that.
Take your time. :]
Okay, you’re back. No, I didn’t sleep. That’s asking for too much.
So, here we are, early July 2019 and Susan sent some photos of what she’s done so far.
The clash of formal and casual furnishings is not evident here. This is formal with a contemporary accent in the drapes which is refreshing, I think.
That pool looks mighty refreshing!
Okay, please remember that Susan did not see the original post until yesterday.
For some of it, it seems like she did!
But, here is where I’m feeling that the clash of formal and casual furnishings is evident. It’s split pretty much 50/50.
Here’s the other thing.
Susan owns an upholstery and window treatment workroom!
SB Upholstery, Fabric and Windows
13273 Ventura Blvd.,Suite 105
Studio City, CA 91604
I JUST found that out.
It’s a business she started about ten years ago when her kids went off to college.
but, but, but… she is not a designer!
Okay, now it’s time to dive in here.
First of all, the room isn’t finished. Susan knows that and would like to hire me, but since I’m not taking clients, this will have to do.
And, there’s much that’s good.
I love the new fireplace mantel. Great job!
But, get this. Susan created the sectional out of two yellow sofas!
WOW! I’m impressed.
Too bright and WHITE. That’s only my opinion.
But, aside from that are some exceedingly common missteps. Again. My opinion.
- Too much fake (ersatz) pseudo-traditional brown furniture and all matched to each other.
- The color scheme is pretty one-note. There just isn’t enough variety. I think there should be more white and black in a monochromatic scheme and easy on the mid-tones. Mark D Sikes always gets it right!
- There’s a war going on between the traditional and the contemporary.
I feel that the most successful rooms are predominantly either traditional or contemporary. But, this room doesn’t isn’t clear which way it wants to go.
As I stated earlier, the mix on the living room side is about 50/50. However, all of this is fixable. And, especially so, since Susan sews.
Another issue I’m having is with the sectional fabric. The texture of it is quite pronounced and too bossy. Susan and I discussed this and we both agree that it’s not easy to work with. I think that an Oriental rug with some heft will help that a lot.
But, the sectional itself, is quite nice. I still can’t believe that she made that out of two separate sofas!
So, is this room traditional or contemporary?
It is definitely traditional! Or let’s say new trad. Or classical. Therefore, the traditional furnishings, the classics should outweigh the contemporary or more casual furniture. Of course, traditional or classic furniture can also be casual or formal.
Let’s go back to the dining room for a sec and then we’ll head back over to the living room.
I’m actually liking the dining room a lot more, now. And, I’m not seeing the need to paint anything. Frankly, with some better lamps; maybe a blue and white Chinoiserie lamp like in the widget at the bottom of the page, some styling on the table, and a seagrass rug, I think this is looking very nice now.
Yes, I’d still prefer a different, more authentic 18th century-style sideboard. You can see one in this post.
(scroll to the bottom.) That’s one of my favorite widgets I’ve ever made filled with 50 or so classic pieces.
Of course, it would be very stylish to change the dining chairs for the white Chinese Chippendale style side chairs in the widget below.
And then maybe do a slip-covered host chair.
To give you an idea, Lotte Meister, you might recall, did some similar chairs in her new-trad dining room. For the rest of her stunning home, click here.
Okay, now it’s time to go over to the living room area.
I think that the layout is terrific and the scale of the furniture is perfect. And, again, it’s not finished.
But, I would like to see more color over here.
Earlier in the day, I was fantasizing about bringing a lot more blue into the room.
I love this blue on blue scheme that Mary did. I could even see doing something like this for this space. But that would be a large departure. The “clashing” blues bring about the necessary tension and it all works beautifully together. The bits of gold and the orange-red pillow are welcome notes of warmth in this over-all cool-toned space. Remember how we discussed how important this is in blue and white rooms.
Mary’s room is over-all traditional, but in a casual way.
Here’s what I’m thinking for the living room to help with the balance of formal and casual furnishings .
- I’d start with a larger seagrass rug and layer over it a smaller Oriental. Any in the widget could work, I think.
- I would change out all of the tables. There are several ideas below. The coffee table could be a table or it could be a cocktail ottoman.
- Of course, I think that there should be some new pillows. I do like the brown velvet pillows, however.
- Ideally, if Susan feels like it, a white cotton duck slipcover on that sectional would elevate it to a new stylish level.
I’d love to see a more traditional mirror and sconces.
Instead of a mirror since there’s one in the dining area, maybe an art wall would be a good idea.
You might notice that there’s a blue sectional in the widget from Serena and Lily. That’s another option.
Oh, very important! Serena and Lily just put their entire line on sale. That only happens a few times a year. Use code: GOCOASTAL for 20% off!
Please enjoy the widget filled with furnishings I could see going into this space. I think the balance in the widget between formal and casual and traditional and contemporary feels good to me. Of course, not all of these items would go into this space together.
Please also check out all of the Hot Sales Pages. (And, the bed and bath sales with more Serena and Lily favorites.) There’s a ton to see for the holiday sales. I may do a special 4th of July quick shout out if there’s something that can’t wait until Friday.
But, if I don’t please have a blessed holiday!