A Reader Needs Your Help With Her Small Living – Dining Room

Hey Guys!

Before we dive, or you dive into helping a wonderful reader who needs a little living-dining room help, I need to make a short preamble.

First of all, I’m 35,000 feet up in the air getting ready to fly over Nova Scotia!!!

I think I may have mentioned, but maybe I was just day-dreaming about the possibility of once in a while posting a reader’s room or two rooms and letting you guys have a go at it.

So, this is an experiment. If it goes well and most of you like it, I may do it once every month or two.


But here’s the deal.


And I think that a lot of you know what’s coming.


I shouldn’t have to say this and I don’t for 99% of you, but this is for the 1% who don’t understand that this blog is not a free-for-all.

The comment moderation needs to be left off for this post, so please, only kind, helpful, constructive comments. If you have advice, please be sure that this is something you have experience with; not something you think might work. (unless you put it in those terms)

Sorry to have to be so kindergarten school teacher-ish… but…

For those who read every single post, you’re probably sick of me going on about this. But I’m serious.

And what that means, to clearly spell it out, is NO dissing a reader’s home or a comment made by another reader. I realize that comments are made by people of all different levels of design experience. Some of you have great ideas and some, might not work. If you feel strongly about something, it is fine to say, “I’m not sure if that would work, because…”

But please base comments on your experience.

The idea is for everyone to benefit, learn and grow.


Mary L wrote in a couple of weeks ago about her living dining room which are adjacent to each other to form an L.


Here’s her lovely comment.


Love this post, thank you. I have reread all your posts on windows many times. You are so funny and smart and I love your style. I am a traditional girl living in Northern California and pining for the English countryside.

We moved into a farmhouse style home six months ago that I adore. I have been talking to my Sitting room windows for months to determine what they want out of life but they just whine at me. Three windows cover the west and north corner of the room with very little space for anything but a single width panel between.

I am afraid one width will look skimpy even though they will be stationary and I really don’t want to overhang the operable side of the window sliders or lose my view of the oak trees outside.

The advice is to use the same fabric in the sitting room and the dining room because you can see into each room at the same time. However, I haven’t found a fabric that works for both rooms. There is a wonderful oriental rug that is dictating to both rooms. Have you ever done a post on choosing patterns to complement a bold oriental rug? Maybe other people are struggling with this also?

As always, I look forward to your posts. Love your designs and your sense of humor.


Thanks Mary!

I asked her to send a few photos as I think that this is a home that will resonate with a lot of you.


In addition, to the small living dining room, there is a kitchen which is exceedingly open on the far end of the small living room.


Here are the photos of the living and dining areas


small living dining roomThe small dining room (9′-9″ x 15′-0″)

The window is seven feet wide.

small living dining room

The opposite view looking into the entrance hall

Love all of the mouldings. Great job.

The ceilings are nine feet.


Please notice if you haven’t that the dining room ceiling is painted. I thought that Mary had mentioned the paint color, but I couldn’t find it.  But it looks like it might be the same color as the living room walls.

small living dining room

Mary actually calls this the sitting room. But I’m calling it a living room. Not sure if there is another living room besides the family room. Probably not and it doesn’t really matter.

small living dining room

Very unusual corner windows!

The sitting room is 11′-5″ x 15′-0″

By the way, please notice how different the wall color looks in these images. THIS is why when someone says “What do you think the color is?” It is impossible to answer.

Yes, you still see a good part of the kitchen and that’s fine, but I think it would look better. The only thing is that the mouldings on that wall would need to be redone as well.

The wood door leads upstairs to guest rooms.

Mary sent me some notes and ideas she has about her small living dining room


The space between the windows and on the left side is probably too narrow for more than single width panels without covering the glass but I am afraid they will look skimpy.

I am planning to use four panels, one each side of corner windows and on each outside edge. Windows are seldom opened in this room but I hate to cover the view of oak trees outside or crowd the corner windows. The windows face west and we need to either add shades to control glare as the sun sets in the evening or make the panels operable.

I would like to find a print for the sitting room drapes that doesn’t fight with the oriental rug in dining room. This is my favorite room but it needs more color to make it comfortable.


Because the dining room is so small, I thought a solid color fabric for dining room drapes would keep it open visually. Since the windows are visible in both rooms, people tell me that they should be the same fabric for continuity. This is the crux of the fabric dilemma.


I don’t have enough in the budget to reupholster the love seat.


But the gold velvet works well with the rug in the dining room (the furniture and rug were in my living room in the old house). I want to reupholster my Century wood and cane chair down the road and I figured I could use a pillow to brighten it up until then.

That is the other option I am considering is to get color and pattern in the room. I can see a large print or something graphic for this chair ( ikat maybe unless it is so overdone by now).

We bought this home in February and spent the first four months doing phase #1 remodeling (added a fireplace to family room, removed some oddly placed soffits, wainscoting and sconces in dining room and painted the public areas.

We also put in two bedrooms upstairs with a den area for guests ( between my husband and I, we have 6 kids and 13 grandchildren). My budget is pretty stretched about now so I am making the drapes myself. I have been sewing for years so this is not a problem.



I think that Mary’s home is quite lovely and that this is a terrific start with these spaces.

She knows that I am doing this post and welcomes your kind thoughts.

I do have my own ideas and it’s a bit difficult for me not to jump in. However, in a couple of weeks, I might do a follow-up post. I’m not sure about that, at this point.


But— I’m here. In London!


However… am (barely) functioning on one-hour’s sleep taken in the hotel lounge as I couldn’t get into my room until 1:00PM. I did not sleep at all on the plane.

Aside from that, London is sooooo beautiful!!! At least much of what I saw on the way here. I saw many buildings that I would kill to live in. However, I would also need to rob a bank! lol

And the Grosvenor Hotel is old and elegant. The rooms have been modernized which is fine. My room is on the top floor and I have two of the dormer windows. Very elegant.

Everyone is exceptionally gracious and I had a robe and slippers delivered and then a little later, cookies and a newspaper!

But since I feel akin to sewer sludge, I ordered dinner in. I was STARVING. So what does a famished girl get when she’s in London?

Well, fish ‘n chips, of course!!!

And it was DELICIOUS!

I’m not used to this kind of pampering!



85 Responses

        1. Kirsten,
          I love the board you made for me. That was so very thoughtful and I love your ideas, especially the Schumacher fabric and the red lamp. And the antique mirror backsplash is beautiful. What a wonderful surprise this afternoon when I opened up my messages.

        2. Laurel,
          I hope you are rested from your wonderful trip. I am so happy you had the opportunity and we all get to share with you. Your photos are amazing.

          Thank you for posting my problem rooms on your blog. Your community of readers are a generous and inspiring group. I have enjoyed receiving their comments and suggestions. They have given me much to think about. It has been a great experience.

          I can’t wait to see England through your eyes. Maybe Italy will be next.

    1. And the red cabinet is beautiful. Although my dining room is too small for a corner cabinet, I might be able to fit a small chest on one wall. Love your ideas.

  1. Lovely home!

    You have so many elements already in place that will be good to work with. some point from my experience of similar configuration of windows, and relationship between Dining and Living Rooms:

    “I am afraid one width will look skimpy even though they will be stationary and I really don’t want to overhang the operable side of the window sliders or lose my view of the oak trees outside.”

    My dining room has windows covering most of one wall – also with a view of an oak tree! And the windows go around the corner to another wall. I got curtains made up that go up to the full ceiling height. There is an awkward gap between two of the windows, in the middle of the room, so I hung the curtains there in the middle, held back by antique holdbacks. Yes, they overhang the window very slightly, but they don’t block out the view. When you have a great view, it’s tempting to want to keep every inch of the window space clear, but unless you live in an ultra-modern house with windows designed not to have curtains, most views are better for being ‘framed’ by the window panes, moldings and window treatments. To keep the curtains from looking ‘skimpy’, get lined curtains. Linen looks smart, textured and informal, all at the same time. Choose one with a nice weight and drape. I saved money by getting tab top rather than pencil pleat curtains, and got the curtains made wide enough that they are quite gathered when open (in fact, I never close them) – as a previous poster has pointed out, this allows you to use two rather than one width, since you’re not doing pencil pleat.

    Your dining and living rooms don’t have to have matching fabrics – in fact this would probably look ‘matchy-matchy’. Instead, have a solid colour in one room, and a pattern in the other. Keep the curtain rails the same though, to provide a cohesive look (I would go with either antique brass/antique gold, or wooden poles painted Farrow and Ball’s ‘Black Blue’). Looking at the dining room rug and your lovely white and blue touches in the Living Room, I would suggest a deep blue-black for the ‘plain’ room – I’d say the Dining Room. For the ‘pattern’ room – I’d say the Living Room -, the pattern should have a bit of the plain colour, and also tie in well with your rug. If you feel nervous about pattern for the curtains, then stripes or geometric would be a gentle way of introducing some interest and structure, but without being overwhelming.

    This Schumacher Bleecker in twilight would work really well in the LR, then you could match the darker blue for a plain in the DR (also linen). With the Schumacher in the LR you could introduce brighter patterns through cushions on the chairs. I have experience of combining pale and darker blues, with gold, in my LR and it is a classic combination – the gold adds warmth and grounding, and the blue gives airiness. Here is the Bleecker on sale (!)


    I would suggest adding an arched french mirror above your occasional table in the LR, on the wall to the left of the kitchen. Something like this (sorry this one is expensive, you might find a good repro on One King’s Lane, or watch eBay for bargains – the key is the the underlayer of red):


    Looking from the DR into the hall with the door, the doorway could be ‘framed’ with some slim mirrors, even chinoiserie if you can find slim enough on either side:


    On the DR wall facing window, a triptych of panelled wallpaper or fabric, like the ones in this picture pinned by our very own Laurel:


    The triangular shelf in the DR corner isn’t visually weighty enough, especially with the orchid. This could be replaced by a chunkier corner cabinet, to be filled with blue and white crockery (but in the corner towards the LR instead, if you go for mirrors on either side of the doorway facing the hall):


    Finally, the blues, golds and greys need to be warmed up by some colours which also tie in with the rug and gold sofa. Here’s another Schumacher, expensive but also on sale, and affordable to do a large cushions for Bergere chair on the kitchen wall of the LR:


    And cushion fabric to go with slightly larger cushions to go behind self-matching cushions on sofa (with your small blue and white cushion brought right to the front). Dark navy ties in with DR plain navy cushions, and red ties into DR rug and mirror, and also navy in geometric patter of Bleecker LR curtains.

    To warm up the room even more and bring another touch of red in, you could stand two lamps behind your ginger jars on the console table, with another single lamp on the occasional table on the kitchen wall. Here are some ideas (two of one kind for console, one of another kind for occasional table):



    Floor reading lamps on either side of sofa:


    The kitchen looks really nice but a bit dark, I would put antiqued mirror splashbacks right around the whole kitchen, with warm LED under-cabinet lighting. You might also experiment with fixing antiqued mirror lighting to the reveal of your kitchen roof-light.

    I would also consider painting the far wall of the kitchen a rich red, like Benjamin Moore’s Salsa or Redstone. Stay with me – this would draw the eye in, and make the rest of the kitchen lighter by comparison. It is a good counter-point to the blues of the Bleecker curtains, the accent cushions and the reds in the lamps and Louis Phillipe mirror. the current grey of the kitchen just kind of disappears onto a dark nothing – the bright red would give a grounded boundary to the far kitchen wall.


    A very tiny point, but the pet bowl tray is a clash. A plain navy tray, or a blue and white one with cream ceramic food and water bowl would be great – there are good melamine trays around!

    Best of luck with your lovely home!


  2. Hi, I love this room. When I saw the room I thought it was meant to be a breakfast nook. I would like to build some bench seating and put a table in there. Its hard to suggest fabric because there are so many out there but one I like is Roberta Winter Floral Bird Grey Fabric. You can find it for $24.99 a yard. Also, I don’t think she would need to coordinate fabric, unless she wanted to. She could use natural woven shades for both rooms and put drapes in just the dining room.

  3. HI Mary!
    Your home is so charming!
    Just wanted to mention – if you don’t use your formal dining room – would you consider adding built in shelving or even several book cases along one, or both walls, a desk and chair at one end, facing in, and turn it into a library/office?

  4. Hi Mary, What a beautiful home and property! Love your style! I recommend a floral print (red,green, tan, ivory, colors to coordinate with the rug) for draperies in the living room and a coordinated solid with red trim in the dining room. Maybe roman shades in the dining room. Does your rug have a little bit of blue, blue/gray in it? Include a coordinating fabric with some blue to tie-in the chinese porcelains. Love what you’ve done with the place!

  5. Hi Mary,

    I love your house! I personally like the softness draperies add and took inspiration from a previous post Laurel had on drapery panels.

    Since this room looks out on that lovely oak, I’m picking a soft tone on tone look and embracing green and gold. I’m making the following assumptions: you do not want to swap the sitting and dining room, the Oriental rug stays where it is and you like your paint colors.

    For the sitting room, a combination of floral roman shades such as this one from
    Sarah Richardson: http://www.housefabric.com/Errington-Meadow-P119954.aspx with white draperies on each end of the windows.

    On the cane chair, a small check print: http://www.housefabric.com/NY-Gingham-Document-P113772.aspx or http://www.housefabric.com/Linley-Gingham-521-Aquamarine-P122337.aspx

    In the dining room, either white panels or a soft blue. I think this color is in a similar range to your paint and I like when draperies and paint colors harmonize.

    And if you want to change out the upholstery on the chairs, can’t beat the selection of Crypton fabrics at HouseFabric. There are several beautiful blue shades that would bring out the blue in the rug. http://www.housefabric.com/Crypton-Home-Velvet-C5596.aspx

    Have fun, look forward to your updates!

    Rebecca (a long time Laurel lurker)

  6. You picked up on the original floor plan. The house has quirks we had to work around. We seldom use the dining room for the two of us (the kitchen is large with a peninsula with four counter stools and faces the TV…). The dining room was the parlor on the builders floor plan (we are the third owner) and looks onto a large covered entry porch. I can count the times someone has used the front door on one hand so although it is the traditional front of the house, it functions as the rear and is one of the last rooms someone sees.

    The sitting room (which was a very small dining area originally) has the best views of the house, overlooking the oaks and the sunset and is where we have coffee in the morning and a glass of wine in the evening. I would have had to replace my dining table with a small round one in order to fit just four chairs in there and still open the door to the upstairs. It would not have accommodated our holiday dinners with family. It seems to be every ones favorite place for relaxing because it is so intimate but not isolated.

  7. The internet has been down for a couple days (country living). Thank you so much for all the great ideas for my home. This community has given me much to think about as we take the next steps in finishing these rooms. Many of you mentioned things we are considering which gives me confidence. It was good to get out of my own head and hear different opinions. You are a generous lot!

  8. I have only one 😊 idea to add: have you considered replacing the door to guest rooms w double glass doors (french doors)? I saw this in a home where the stairway also was in a main passageway & it was lovely. The narrower double doors didn’t take up as much space into the room when open, and the view through the glass panes to the stairs lightened up wall, drawing the eye up. (The homeowner also had a fabulous collection of blue & white, so you GO, girl, on that!)
    If that seems to be in the “too hard” column, I like the idea of painting the door to match the trim.
    I bet your head is spinning!! You are off to a beautiful start w a lovely home & your great taste!

    1. Narrow double doors are an interesting idea. I am not sure the door is wide enough to split it though but glass doors would be wonderful and I may consider sometime in the future. I had planned to paint the door to the upstairs but that was not a battle I could win (but I live to fight another day).

  9. It’s already a beautiful house. Mary has great taste and she’s accomplished an awful lot in four short months. To me, the two remaining questions are: Where do I want my dining space to be? and How do I make the bank of windows that turn a corner into a highlight and not just a quirk? Especialaly with that beautiful trim and the great views, they should make the room. I think if you swapped out the rooms, your problem would solve itself and you’d get more use out of both. The love seat and cane chair would be beautiful against the oriental rug in the front room, and when people entered through the front door the first thing they’d see would be comfy upholstered furniture–and if you were running a little late setting the table, they wouldn’t see it. Another plus is that when a gaggle of grandkids are together, there’s always a child who wants to sit separately and read or play dolls, and this would be the perfect place for that child. The kitchen is also beautiful but seems dark. I suspect the builder intended the kitchen to partake of the natural light from the sweep of windows in the adjoining space, and that also argues for thinking of the kitchen and the window room as a single space–cooking at one end and dining at the other. A very bold move would be to treat all the windows as a single window by hanging a single sweep of ivory linen from hospital track just under the crown molding. But once you moved the love seat out and had a table and chairs, away from the walls, the windows would become a great feature however you treated them. I know you and your family will enjoy whatever you decide upon– congratulations on your new home and many grandchildren!

    1. What a beautiful house you have- it will be such fun to make it into you’re your very own ’house beautiful’.
      Please take all my suggestions with a grain of salt because I am not a trained decorator/designer.
      If I had carte blanche, I’d think about the following changes, some of which might only happen a bit down the road:

      1.I’d consider having the kitchen cabinets painted in a warm cream to add some light and open it up.
      Not sure if this is possible, but I’d also have the slider windows painted to match your lovely woodwork.

      2.I’d switch rugs: move the lovely Persian rug into the family room, add a sea grass rug to the dining room.

      3. I’d cover the console table under the family window with an inexpensive burlap, tailored table cloth, similar to this :https://www.pinterest.com/pin/217720963207661815/, or this, which is beautiful:https://www.pinterest.com/pin/322992604504897875/

      4..I would be 100% open to painting the dining room chairs with Annie Sloan chalkp paint.( your husband might divorce you) I painted a Chinese Chippendale chair with Annie Sloan’s Emperor RED chalk paint- and it was easy as pie, it’s very durable, and looks wonderful. I’d also take out the tiny little corner table as it’s too distracting.

      5.For the long dining room wall, consider a massed collection of prints or mirrors, or a collection of blue and white transferware china . https://www.pinterest.com/pin/403564816593687519/a ; https://www.pinterest.com/pin/AXacaL7wQ3NeqHPHD2NY1rx6KGVb-Ak79HNELkXG2WMlnrAiSyMX3p4/
      Maybe a collection of silver plate trays.https://www.pinterest.com/pin/274367802276143947/
      Or, tole trays.https://www.pinterest.com/pin/221098662926647193/

      6.Because you’d now have a plain seagrass rug in the dining room, I would do long colorful drapes and use one of the fabric’s colors to upholster the chair seats .Then I’d use that dining room fabric, and a companion fabric, to make cushions for the sofa and Century chair in the family room. My sun room is very similar to yours, but it doesn’t have such lovely moldings, so I had balloon valances made .I know it’s considered old fashioned, but I used a blue/ creamcheck fabric so it’s a bit more contemporary
      I’d leave your family room windows bare , so as not to lose any light for your kitchen.
      Have fun!!

  10. Thanks Laurel & Mary for this diversion from a heavy cold {sneeze!} Mary, your home is so lovely. I too have an oriental rug in an open floor plan. Everything fell into place once I used the rug as palette inspiration for our decor. I think you could do the same. You mentioned wanting a bright color and liking bold and Jacobean prints, so I took the persimmon border from your rug and found this fabric http://www.housefabric.com/Leopold-Persimmon-P119013.aspx which I would use for inside mount, roman shades in the sitting room. I love the touch of animal print in another Jacobean fabric but it may be too light http://www.housefabric.com/Malawi-Khaki-P165553.aspx
    Please look at the dining room in this SL Idea House. I visited the house and was surprised to see cafe curtains. I think this treatment would work well in your dining room. The view would stay the focus with this simple window treatment and would not detract from the window & wall mouldings. If you use a lightweight, neutral linen as cafe curtains in DR, you could also use it as sitting room (floor length) curtains, paired with shades. http://www.southernliving.com/home-garden/idea-houses/nashville-idea-house-fontanel
    To bring the Century chair into the mix, I’d use an antelope patterned throw pillow on the couch instead of tiger print http://www.ballarddesigns.com/antelope-brown-fabric-by-the-yard/439806
    On your dining chairs, this simple (dark blue) fabric would be nice counterpoint to the rug pattern. http://www.housefabric.com/Leela-Blue-Natural-P227655.aspx
    I think that fabric would complement the Jacobean fabric, blue & white accessories and incorporate the gold of the couch. Mirrors could be aged/antiqued to minimize glare. I’d add one of your gorgeous orchids in a brass pot to the dining table. Your furnishings are great but, I think you need some variation in height. Perhaps a tall piece on the wall adjoining the kitchen cabinet. Books for English vibe. End tables and lamps to cozy it all up! https://www.houzz.com/product/21422819-coastal-living-retreat-bookcase-english-blue-eclectic-bookcases
    Hope this helps–it was fun for me!

    1. Susan, thank you for your suggestions and taking the time to add the links. I haven’t yet followed all of them (internet was down for a few days) but the fabric ideas are wonderful.

  11. I see her style as “traditional English countryside”. I could see this color palette: cream, gold, teal green, rich red, black. I would use these patterns: stripes, plaids, Jacobean florals. I could see these accessories: white stoneware (visible in kitchen), pastoral oil paintings or pastoral prints with gold gilded frames, blue & white Oriental porcelains, baskets, black accents. I would use some more casual Dash and Albert-type rugs, I would still use an accordion-type screen thing to block off the end of the kitchen cabinet (and pet food bowl), I would paint the kitchen cabinets a cream color, I would paint the ceiling light fixtures white, that table in front of the sofa should be somewhere else, I would remove the door to the upstairs stairway, I would use plenty of big topiary plants, I would angle sofa across the sitting room window corner, I would cover that dining room table with a tablecloth and reupholster dining chair seats, and for accents in the dining room put plates on the walls and a mirror? It sounds like a lot but don’t overlook shopping at affordable antique stores and thrift stores and estate sales for bargains. I’m jealous you have so much light coming in your rooms!!

  12. Hi Mary,

    What a lovely home! I have no decorating training but here’s my two cents for what it’s worth:

    –the dining room seems to need a bit of contrast as it looks as though the floor, rug, table and chairs are just too similar in color. I think some chair covers in white or off-white would be lovely. Laurel has some great posts on slip covers and use of them in the DR. Since you sew, this might be an easy fix.

    –I would move the dining room rug to the living room and replace it with an inexpensive sisal or leave it bare.

    — I would bring color into the dining room with a large piece of art work between the wall sconces and some drapery panels in a large check (e.g. Buffalo check) or a graphic print (stripes, trellis, etc). There are so many websites now that sell wonderful panels for cheap that I would think twice about investing the time in sewing them unless you really fall In love with a particular pattern.

    –It’s hard to see in the picture, but I think there’s sort of a teal/green-blue accent color in your rug. I would pick up on that as the color to use in your drapes or elsewhere as it will coordinate well with your existing paint colors. It will look great with your blue and white chinoiserie.

    –I am another vote for romans in the living room. I would use a relaxed Roman shade to bring down the formality of the rug and the couch, perhaps in a linen with a ribbon border.

    –I love the little table on the wall next to the kitchen, but it seems a bit lost there. I would love to see another big piece of art there (maybe a vintage poster) and perhaps a floor plant to create a transition between the living room and the kitchen.

    –I’m not sure about the furniture arrangement in the sitting room. I don’t really like that you walk into the back of the chair from the kitchen and it seems as though there are just too many small (but super cute) items in there. If you want to keep the existing layout, consider putting a big round side table (see Ballard’s perfect tables) between the couch and chair with a nice lamp on it to make them feel more connected. I’d also consider moving the console table to behind the couch and replacing it with another chair so you have more of a conversation circle.

    Alternatively, if there is room, try putting the couch where the chair is and putting the console table behind it along with two tall lamps on the table. That will create a separation between the kitchen and living room. Then put the chair in the corner opposite the couch with a nice side table.

    If you leave the console table where it is, consider adding some benches or baskets underneath.

    –consider adding an off white throw to the sofa to bring in a new texture and relate back to the DR chair slip covers (if you add those) plus some new throw pillows

    –I echo the suggestion to paint the door going upstairs. It chops up the space in that dark color.

    Best of luck to you! Hope you let us know how it goes.


  13. OK, London is probably my favorite city in the world! I know you are having a lovely time there!

    There have been wonderful suggestions and mine has to do with the kitchen cabinet that shows the sides from the sitting/living room? I would suggest that the upper be taken off and the wall from the sitting room extended to encase the side of the cabinet…..so when you look into the kitchen from the living room (not sure if I am calling the room correctly a living room) you dont see the lower cabinet as its covered now by the wall extension and the upper is gone. I also think that maybe the wall opening from the dining room to the living room be enlarged as the photos look like the dining room is too closed in.
    I am a big fan of white kitchens as they always seem to look so “clean” , open and inviting. I painted dark cabinets years ago and they still look great.

    I also love curtains in triple width for a sense of fullness and I would suggest that the windows have divided window panels so that the corner windows (a difficult configuration) become symmetrical using the curtain panels. I don’t think it would cut down on the light substantially and it would do a lot for the symmetry in the room.

  14. Hi Mary! I also love your home! Am I missing something? It looks to me like your sitting room should be where the dining room is and the dining room should be a small sitting room or office space. Do a switchers maybe? Is there another living area on the far side of the kitchen? Love your floors, too, and I’m a fan of oriental rugs. I agree both rooms should be painted the same color for flow and since most of the windows are facing the front of your house, they could coordinate by using matchstick or bamboo blinds by themselves in the “new” dining area and blinds with drapes in the “new” sitting area off the entry hall. Also, is there any natural light in the kitchen. Your photos are very dark for the kitchen. I’m a great fan of white cabinets in my kitchens. But that’s just a personal preference, and it took about 10 years to convince my husband that white kitchens and paneling are the bomb! Men have such a hard time painting over wood! We’ve painted every kitchen white for 43 years now. Good luck with your beautiful home!

  15. Beautiful home! I am wondering what is the overall dimension of the three corner windows and if there is sufficient stack-back allowance at the end of each large one? Reason; I am wondering if the windows could be dressed as one entire ‘bay’ using four panels as the space (mullion ?) between each appears to be small. Each panel would also be equipped with a wand if drawn frequently. That said; regarding the dining room one I would treat it with drapes mounted high, suspended with rings on a decorative rod, ensuring that there is sufficient stack-back to reveal the beautiful moldings with their length to just kiss the floor. Choice of header would be double/duo/paris or euro style (two pleated) with a fabric ratio of about 5″ each (3½”- 4″ space between) for fullness. Both spaces would have coordinated colours and most likely my choice of fabric would be that of a linen but not necessarily in the same weave/weight due to the size of the spaces/purpose. (As planning to sew your own; Restoration Hardware has excellent ‘examples’ of linen options that are available on the market.) To conclude; personally IMHO I would opt for a solid colour fabric over a patterned one, as it will give you more flexibility in your decorating journey. (ie.: You may wish to add wall paper at a later date plus pattern can always be introduced in accessories like toss cushions etc.)

  16. Love the gold sofa. Love the dark ceiling. Paint the wood door the trim color. Roman shade would be nice. Beautiful large picture on Dining room wall. Your home is beautiful.Paint all the rooms the same light color. Beautiful wood flooring!. Consider painting kitchen cabinet trim color.It would flow nicely. Consider updating chandelier.

  17. Dear Mary,
    Your home is lovely. I live in the southeast but my home is very similar to yours. I have an adjoining sunroom/living room/breakfast room as well. I do have mine painted all the same wall color but I think your paint colors look very nice and don’t need to be changed. I have lined grommet top solid off white linen in mine so that I can draw them easily at certain times of the day when the sun is strong. I don’t love grommet tops per se but they look nice, are inexpensive and function well. I don’t agree that the drapes need to be the same fabric in both rooms as long as they coordinate. I would do some type of seagrass rug in the living room or some type of durable natural similar style. Ballard has some nice ones, or Pottery Barn. Country Curtains is one of my favorite sites for drapes, they have a lot of cotton fabric styles with shades and drapes that coordinate or match that would work for your style and they will send you free fabric swatches of the fabrics. An easy way to mix prints is to limit it to a solid, large scale, small scale and stripe or some mixture of those. Your loveseat is a solid, so find one print you love either for pillows or the chair and go from there. Once that choice is made it will be your jumping off point for the rest of the room. Some of the new indoor/outdoor fabrics would be perfect for this room too. You could also mix shades on the corner windows and drapes on the larger ones if you matched the fabrics, I think that would be really cute!

  18. Wow, I love a good bank of hard-to-drape windows! It seems like my whole life has been windows in strange configurations lol.
    I’ve tried everything. Big custom cornice boards, bamboo blinds, drapes, roman shades, sheers, cafe curtains, and even that decorative clear vinyl that you plaster on the window for privacy.:/

    The one that seems the easiest, and the one I get tired of the slowest, has been the bamboo & roman shades. It’s a pretty classic look. My latest bank of crazy windows faces S/SW, so I’ve decided to give up on drapes and just pot a lemon tree in front of them and see if I can have an indoor orangery. Maybe you don’t get quite enough sun for that in NoCal? Good luck!

  19. I love the dining room rug. It is hard to make out the actual colors throughout, but I think matching drapes in the living and dining rooms would work–something intended not to be opened and closed. I could see either a natural linen (not dense and light blocking)perhaps with a horizontal stripe of same color, different texture, or some light-colored mini check.
    The fact that the window mullions in the living room differ from corner windows to wall windows is throwing me off, perhaps having drapery panels between those windows will also visually break that up a bit.
    I would also consider painting the living and dining rooms the same color (make them both the color of the dining room). Add a slim console to the long wall in the dining room with some blue and white porcelain on top and a work of art over it. OR, a very large-scale piece of art that hangs over part of the wainscotting.
    Between the living room and kitchen, you could put a large plant in front of the end of the counter and cabinets so that transition isn’t quite so harsh (I know the pet bowls are there:(

  20. It’s difficult to tell exactly what colors are in the rug. One photo looks like there’s navy, another like there’s black. Is there a gray, too? Regardless, you would do well to pick up some of the rug’s colors in your fabric choices, and consider your wall color. I can see curtains for both the dining and the living areas in the same fabric. I’d do a color to coordinate with the wall color; if what I’m seeing is gray, then that would be a great choice – a monochromatic look. What about a woven dotted fabric in that color, something neutral, gray with dots woven in your chair color? Single panel with roller shade is the way to go, I think.

    Get a fun pattern that picks up both the rug and wall colors for your living room chair, maybe a whimsical farm animal print. Repeat the colors in a coordinating print, maybe the Ikat that you mentioned, for your sofa pillows.

    Can you get a small screen to cover up the side of your kitchen cabinet that can be seen from the living area? You need something there, and you’d be able to use another fun fabric in the screen, as well. Or a plant, or a sculpture – SOMETHING!

    I love your home!

  21. Wow,what a pretty place. I’d move the rug to the sitting room. Bamboo shades on windows in sitting room. Low bookcases w/window seat under window where the console table is. Move chandelier over in dining room, patterned drapes with bamboo shades won’t compete with rug. Pull 2 chairs away from table and put console on long wall between chairs. Put a lot of your blue and white in one area,console or dining table D

  22. Hi, Mary
    You home is lovely. If your DR window is 7′ across in one pane then a roman shade would be too heavy to pull up and down. A roller shade available in many different textures as well as different light filter options can be very stylish…a faux center pull could be a matching brass to your lighting. I would pair the roller shade with side drapes…If there is more than one window combination that breaks up the 7′ with molding in between than you could use separate roller shades or Roman shades as others have suggested.I am currently looking out at least an eight foot window framing the ocean and the window has a roller shade with side chain for raising and lowering. It is semi light blocking and cuts down on the blazing sun & blinding light coming so that one doesn’t have to wear sunglasses inside. the shade has a very slim and tailored look. For you other areas have you considered a bottom up shade? Shades or awnings on the outside might need to be utilized is the sun is too harsh in the summer. Enjoy you lovely new home…Kindly Chris Ann

  23. I’ve always found that Persian/oriental rugs function as a neutral, so that’s one less thing for Mary to be concerned about!

    Also, Country Curtains has a Jacobean print in a Rose colourway that is very pretty.

    Mary, I hope you’ll send more pictures to Laurel to post, of the rest of your house and also this project, in-progress and the final after. Thank you for sharing your lovely house with readers.

  24. Mary, I am reading all the suggestions on this blog with great interest since we just did a remodel of an older home on a rural piece of land very near a college town in Texas–have super views of oaks and a meadow I love to look out on. In fact, everything in our home is oriented towards showcasing the views while concentrating on country comfort.. (Hence, you will know that I think my silvery blue is a wonderful showcase for the green we see outside). I am going for the farmhouse look while staying classical and refined with the furniture I have loved for 30 years. Since my “new” dining room is small, like yours, I am placing just the table and five or six of the chairs in it, and that is ALL, depending instead on wall treatments to add some oomph. My color scheme is much as yours. I realized that I could amateurishly call it red, white, and blue, although it is of course variations of those colors. I am absolutely a white woodwork gal like you and have depended on old SW Navajo White to do most of our space, accenting this with the Extra White of the woodwork, blues, and barn reds.. To update this rather patriotic theme, I introduced SW’s Upward, which picks up the federal blue of my dining chairs (almost identical to your chairs); that looks silvery in a dark hallway but brighter in my westward facing dining room. As far as window treatments, I really needed to go with faux wood white blinds (gasp) that would control the Texas sun in this west-facing room, yet allow me to to look out for approaching company on the long driveway from my view in the kitchen. They coordinate with the Extra White moulding, to fame the floor-to-ceiling windows, I am planning to put just the right shade of silvery blue panels on black rings and a black rod to contribute to the farmhouse vibe. (My chandelier is a pale yellowish wood with black metal accents.) Our back den was renamed a sunroom by the contractor, and I am going with neutral pleated shades for privacy, just if we want it at night or are away, and a Roman-look topper on the two separated window, but I think plain, neutral Roman shades would look great in your “sunroom,” closed only when you might opt for that. I purchased a large birdcage light fixture that will hang in our sunroom over a large square coffee table. In your case, I agree about adding a shade in natural straw texture over your ceiling light fixture. Perhaps a nice burnout rug would be family friendly in that room, not detract from the beautiful floors, and bring in the ivory/gold/blue tones. Finally, you might find one large piece of colorful abstract art in the dining room that brings in all your colors. (I am looking for that one knockout piece of art, too, so I will continue to follow suggestions here!) I am definitely amateur, keep all things of quality that I love but aim for more streamlined these days and always consider what I see through my windows. Have fun with your beautiful, cozy space!

  25. The corner window is so great that I would not put any curtains around it, even narrow ones. I would instead put solid lined flat front roman shades on all the windows or bamboo (inside mount). The only place for curtains is at either end of the room. Avoid blocking any of that beautiful view. Otherwise you are sacrificing view for decorating. I would use the same curtain panels in the dining room. I would use some blue print fabric as in the link here for the curtains.


    flat front panels here in a light cream:


  26. Hi Mary, tons of great ideas in the comments. Laurel posted on April 2, 2016 on Roman shades. You could trim them in the sitting room, and use the same trim on drapes in the dining room. I made a lot of Roman shades for a 40 foot boat and it was time consuming but worth it.
    For accessories, a couple of big baskets would fit under the console in the window. Keep toys and games for the grandkids in them, top with a pretty throw. It might be nice to repeat the bronze gold of the chandeliers in some accessories. Perhaps a floor lamp, also Etsy has some brass bird bowls and vases that might suit your room. An arrangement of plates on the wall over the desk would be pretty, or a mirror in the bronze chandelier finish.
    A large natural fiber rug (Laurel says sisal is tough to clean, choose a better fiber) would add some texture in the sitting room. Hard to cover any of your beautiul hardwood floors though.
    Love your blue and white ceramics. Thank you for letting us play house!

  27. Beautiful home and it looks so calm and peaceful. Now I have little to add on the window issue many clever ideas have been presented (love theJacobean print idea, the reverse blind, matchstick blind, sunblock blinds that offer no night privacy but allow you to see out all day) would never cover up the window trim or those beautiful sitting room wood floors as they contribute so much warmth and character to the area so, just throwing this out because you didn’t ask but I would get rid of the chandelier in the sitting room. It’s distracting, beautiful but distracting. I would move it to the dining room over the table. Use floor or table lamps in the sitting area. Not explaining myself well and offering unsolicited comment all at the same time! When you make your decision and choices i hope Laurel will post additional pictures. Best luck you are certainly off to a great start.

  28. Assuming we’re working with the existing wall color, I think a punch of red would bring the wall color and blue and white porcelains to life. I think John Robshaw’s Prasana in the saffron colorway would be perfect in here. Simple and bold at the same time. Width and a half Euro pleat curtain panels in the dining room with matchstick blinds underneath. Same fabric in the sitting room but we’ll do tailored roman shades in here. Outside mount big ones to unify the long windows and single ones on the corner windows. Red and cream buffalo check on the chair. A big seagrass rug to anchor the seating area. Rattan shades on the chandeliers. Simple pillow mix on the sofa to include a solid navy linen. Add art over the small pine table. Place a mirror opposite the window in the dining room. A pair of big blue and white ginger jars on the dining table. The home is charming – would love an update when she gets it done!

  29. I had a similar expanse of windows in my dining and living room. I ended up installing inside mount hunter Douglas silhouette shades in a sheer textured linen. You stepill have your view but the glare is totally knocked out. They’re not a cheap date. Look at them and see if there are other lines duplicating. I got 21/2 inch slats so there is a very open feel. Dining room you could add long panels, I’d pick that brick red in your rug and whatever fabric you do on the curtain bring into the living room with pillows. It’s a trick I do on my homes. Good luck you have a pretty house with views to envy

    1. Another idea for your windows are sheers, you could hang on rings on a pole they would help knock glare yet keep the view. Sheers are easy to push back for stack too. More budget friendly, HD silhouettes are something you could save forvdown the road if too expensive now

      1. I’d match the sheers or the silhouettes or if you do inside mount romans to your window trim, I do that on my windows.

  30. -Hi Mary! Ok- I’ve finally stopped daydreaming about your home and moving back to the place that stole my heart, beautiful Northern California. Instead I’ve had to move to this dreadful state for my husband’s job… It has me dreaming of the fresh air you have! And those orchids you have everywhere- nice and fresh, something you can have in that area. The LIFE! But, this isn’t about my memories. =)
    -YOU have a stunning home and that piece of land with those trees outside?! WOW. And I can totally echo other readers when I say that there is something really special about your home. It looks so inviting and classy and- simply beautiful! (That’s an impressive thing to translate through pictures, so clearly you are doing a fabulous job already!) There’s nothing to criticize. In fact, I want to start off by saying hats off to you for decorating a North and West facing room so well! Clearly, you know your stuff! Those rooms are a total nightmare-that blueish light is a nightmare. I have never seen those rooms look quite as nice as yours. I would happily get on a plane and move into your house tomorrow. I really like your taste. I do have some ideas, but I am not a professional designer. So no worries if you want to skip the rest of this. I just had a few moments where I was dreaming about living in your house and what I would do to it.
    -In your living room, I would anchor the whole space with a warm, lavender, wool area rug. I think that would look so pretty with your current items! (I’ve seen some on Joss and Main and One Kings Lane). I would paint the wall, trim, etc. all the same color, (or maybe one shade off if that’s not allowed). I would go for a warm(er) white. There is white in there right now, but I think a warmer white would help even more with your North/West light coming in. I love your wall color, but maybe by painting everything the same, the eye wouldn’t “stop” at the little piece of wall? Perhaps it would help the wall blend in and the eye would just be drawn straight out the window, to those majestic trees that I still cannot believe you have. (Dreamy.) You could paint the ceiling a pretty accent color, (love that idea) but I don’t know if you’d really need to. Then, I would re-arrange your furniture. I actually love your furniture and love the color! The color is perfect for that space. I think if you moved the sofa so that the back is towards the kitchen, it would give you a chance to bask in more of the view. It looks like it might fit in the corner perfectly and still give enough space to walk by, but of course I’m not sure. You could put that lovely wooden table behind the sofa if it feels right, or put it where the sofa is now. Then you could move that pretty chair to the right of the doorway leading to the dining room, and have it facing diagonally. As for curtains, which is really the only thing you asked about, I would do some (faux) roman shades or in a bold, warm, dark blue. I would hang them high, on the crown molding, (although I don’t know if that is right..) I know there is a huge rule about blue in North facing rooms, but I think if the blue was above the window, like a roman shade, and not covering it at all, it would work well because no light is passing through it. Almost like the shade of blue you have in those beautiful pieces of pottery! (I really do want to move in.) Lastly, maybe in the future, you could make the door to the bedrooms a barn door if it gets in the way with running grandchildren, (too cute).
    -For your dining room, I would paint those stunning chairs in a warm black color, (maybe not black, but something dark… or maybe a warm white) and reupholster the cushions in a warm, grass-like green, (does that make sense?) Then I would add some purple flowers on the table to match the lavender rug in the living room. Then for the curtains, I would do a golden color linen blend that is well lined- since it is lovely and formal. Almost like the gold in your beautiful rug? -Whether you make any changes or not, your house is STUNNING and you have already done an amazing job! Really! Thank you for giving us all a look into your beautiful home, giving us decorating inspiration based on what you’ve done and for reminding me of one of the very best places to live. =)

  31. Thank you everyone for the wonderful suggestions and kind thoughts. I appreciate you taking the time to share your ideas. It is fun to hear how others would approach these rooms and you have given me much to think about.

    Thank you Laurel! I hope you have gotten some rest. We all look forward to hearing about your wonderful trip.

  32. Mary, I agree that you have a lovely home and a terrific start with your decorating. I agree with many here who suggest NOT doing draperies in the living room area. I think they would be too much in the way, with the unusual window arrangement, and also a bit too formal. But some simple, elegant roman blinds would be terrific for there, and maybe also under draperies in the dining room. I think you need a pattern in the dining room draperies, one that picks up some of the colors in the rug but not copying it exactly. It is such a pretty room already! And as it is small, I’d just add window coverings and then artwork on the walls. I also think that the blue and white could be added to, as it is so classic and you have quite a bit of it, and I think just a pillow or two for the chair and maybe a few for the sofa with some blue and some other colors in a pattern, not too small a pattern, would help a lot. I don’t think you need to recover the sofa any time soon–it’s color is great with the rest of your things. A subtle rug in that room is also a great idea, to add texture and a bit of warmth and to tie the furnishings together a bit more. And lastly, I hate to say it, but I also really think that the door to the upstairs should be painted. It’s going to be a very lovely and welcoming place.

  33. Hi Laurel,
    Cannot improve on the comments about the lovely North California house. However, I can recommend Sir John Soane’s Museum house as a most inspiring visit for anyone who is interested in art and sculpture, architecture and in innovative interior design. The address is 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London WC2A 3BP. A not-to-be-missed opportunity to see how to clever storage ideas and ancient Egyptian artefacts.
    Carole Baker

  34. Hi Mary,
    Your rooms and window moldings are lovely. Have you ever considered doing inside mount Roman blinds? They might soften the area and still showcase your architectural details. We just finished a renovation on a house with similar windows and we used linen Roman blind, but patterned ones might also be pretty. Good luck with the project!

  35. What a lovely home and I think you have a very comfortable and sophisticated farmhouse vision unfolding. I’m leaning toward matchstick or bamboo blinds for the sitting room. The windows are gorgeous but there are so many of them and they threaten to take over the small room. I have matchstick blinds on my screened-in patio and I love the way they let me see through them but also cut the glare at the same time. For the dining room, however, I don’t agree with “people” that you need to have the same window treatment for continuity just because you can see the all the windows from either room. I think your Oriental rug is beautiful and quite rich in colors and I don’t think it so much dictates as it provides inspiration. Solid drapes would work or perhaps a very narrow striped pattern in the rug colors if you could find it. I wouldn’t worry about upholstering your loveseat at this time. You are right that it works perfectly with the rug so you can save some bucks there. And it can have its own area rug. Definitely the cane chair needs color so focus on it. (And depending on your choice of fabric, it could work on the dining room chairs as well as someone mentioned.) In the meantime, bring some of the rug colors into the sitting room with pillows, throws and a few accessories and definitely keep your blue & white porcelain. Your house has a very warm and welcoming feeling to it – I find myself saying “Gee, I’d like to live there.”

  36. My ideas: Stationary drapery panels in the DR in a color that coordinates with the area rug- either a stripe for small geometric (diamond,pin dot,ticking stripe, etc)or a smaller floral in the colors in the area rug. I’m thinking of a black print or whatever that dark color is in the area rug. In the sitting room a sisal rug with a mitered edge contrast in black (or whatever that dark color is) Since Mary can sew, how about operable roman shades in a linen type fabric edged with the same fabric you used in the DR for the drapes (the black geometric (diamond, pin dot. ticking stripe). If Mary needs privacy in the DR too, do roman shades in the linen in here too, hung inside the window with the stationary panels on the ends, hung on a wooden rod form rings. Mary- great easy to follow instructions on sailrite.com for working roman shades. I am a mediocre straight seam infrequent seamstress and made these roman shades for my master bedroom and bath and they came out great. They have a video tutorial and you can purchase all the supplies you would need to make these right from them. In the sitting room I would hang the roman shades inside the windows. The wider windows would get one wide shade while the 3 windows comprising the corner would get 3 separate shades (one for each window). Throw pillows on the sofa in other geometric patterns that would pick up the colors of the DR area rug and some solid pillows in the colors of the rug in the DR. Down the road when Mary can reupholster the cane chair, do that in yet another smaller geometric or smaller floral. DR chairs can be covered in one of these other accent geometrics. It would have been nice if the moulding in both rooms were the same, but at this point I would just work around it and pretend it does! I have no design experience, but i know what I like and what I would do and I always work on a budget. Beautiful home but I personally would try to make it a little more casual since it is a farmhouse. I love the juxtaposition of the oriental rug and the more formal queen anne dining set with sisal in the sitting room and a ticking stripe.

  37. Hi Mary. I am by no means a professional but am currently trying to decorate my first home and understand how difficult it can be to break out of the safety of muted tones and embrace any possible trendy looks. Your home is lovely and only you know what will make you happy. One idea I have is painting the doors and the window casings the same color as the trim around them. As far as the window treatments, I would opt for silk dupioni curtains in the dining room as it’s current style appears more formal and natural fiber shades in your living room. I would also consider a rug to add texture to the living room and a mirror or painting on the wall over the desk with the orchid. Good luck with your new home and I hope it brings you years of happiness!

  38. I agree with Maggie and Liz! Curtains would be wonderful in the dining room and the sitting room is better suited for a roman shade. I’ve been studying Alexa Hampton of late, and I think her idea of bamboo shades in both rooms would give it a cohesive feel,outside mount and not on each separate window (one on dining room) A blue and white scheme or a common color scheme in both rooms would give it a great flow. I suggest white paint on the woodwork to further give the space a more cohesive feel. Or it would be fun to paint both the walls and woodwork a light color, such as F&B French Grey. Love the idea of seagrass or sisal rugs (don’t skimp on size) in both rooms to enhance the flow. I’d probably remove the door to the entry- don’t really see the point of it? Lovely space to work with!

  39. What a beautiful home! I think I agree with the owner’s approach—panels on both sides of the windows in both rooms and at each corner edge in the living room. I know she’s thinking of a print for the living room, but I think if she could find a nice shade of green, maybe even a muted chartreuse, for both the rooms, one in velvet for the dining room, and silk or cotton for the living room, it would add the color she wants, pull in the green from the trees outside, and the difference in textures would add a different feel for each room. I wouldn’t do skimpy panels, either—I love windows myself, but they’re so gigantic in both rooms, it would be okay to cover them up just a little bit, maybe 6-8 inches on each side. I wonder what she will end up deciding!

  40. I have no credentials for handing out decorating advice. But, I thought I’d throw out a few thoughts. Since the sitting room windows differ in style, I would look at using full operable semi-sheer draperies with a translucent buckram heading to cover the entire area. They will cut down on the light but not obscure the view. I’d source rods from Laurel’s rolodex of sources and hang the rods several inches below the crown moldings. I would reupholstered the dining room chair seats to match the fabric you select for your wood and cane chair. I would also “grow” the collection of blue and white porcelain, using some in the dining room and the kitchen. You have a truly lovely home.

  41. Hi Laurel,

    I can’t offer any suggestions on Mary’s dilemma, as I am not a professional designer, or even a talented lay person, but I did want to say that I think her hardwood floors are beautiful. (Wish my hardwood floors looked that good.)

    Now I have to digress and wish you a fabulous time in London. Personally, London is my favorite city in the whole world, (though I am not what I would call a world traveler, and I haven’t been there in 20 years.) Loved the English people – they are so polite and well spoken. I know that you have a specific agenda, but if you have time and there is space available, go have tea at the Ritz. It’s over the top gorgeous, and truly the quintessential tea experience. It has been totally remodeled and re-opened in June of 2016, I believe.

  42. have you thought about any of the sisal rugs for the living room? They’re easily available in price, size and design.

    windows:linen valance(s) concealing rolled see-through sunshades ? Or linen-y sheers(maybe tone on tone with a great trim) on rods with movable rings hung close to the ceiling?

    Your chandeliers are beautiful and you seem to be on the right path forward with your ideas…

    Good Luck!

  43. These two rooms are beautiful! I love the rug as well as the velvet in the sitting room and love love love the blue/white accent pieces. How about rather than drapes in both rooms, doing roman blinds in a pattern (for fun!) in the sitting room with a companion in solid – velvet or linen – in drapes in the DR? The following Schumacher patterns would all look beautiful and in my opinion, not fight with the rug, but rather complement it.

    La Menagerie – cream with Rocky Perf.Velvet – malt
    Pearl River withRocky Perf. Velvet – praline
    Abstract leaf with Lange
    Zebra Palm with Auden sahara
    Eastbury Manor print with Rocky Perf.Velvet – reed

  44. I hate the subject of window coverings. For the dining room: interior-mounted woven blinds? A shutter-type window covering?
    Living room: don’t they have blinds that go from the bottom up instead of from the top down? Corner of the living room and behind chair where you see start of kitchen cabinets: a fabric-covered accordion-like room divider thing?

  45. Hi Mary, I love the idea of linen drapes in the dinning room. Pottery Barn has fabulous ones that won’t break the bank. I’ve used them for clients when the budget gets tight. They have a dark blue color that I would use in the dinning room. For the sitting room, make roman shades using a blue and white print. IMO, drapes are going to overpower the small space. And yes, single width panels look skimpy. I see you have classic blue and white accessory pieces in the sitting room. Play up on those by adding a blue and white print on the cain back chair.and some art work, too.. I’d add a few more of the blue/white vases or large bowl on the dinning table to pull it all together. Have Fun!

  46. Hi,

    I love those windows! So open and cheery!

    Just looking at all the warm wood tones in the floor, doors and kitchen, as well as the gold on the sofa and in the rug, I’d paint the walls something like Manchester Tan in both rooms. It’s a warmer neutral but has a little green for the granite in the kitchen. Another warm color, I used in our cabin and loved was Powell Buff, very warm but not too yellow.

    The persimmony soft red in the carpet is a nice contrast to the paint on the walls so I would try that color for the drapery material. Maybe something like @ decorativefabricsdirect.com #6038821 Neiman Cinnamon? Or the 5744514 Marco Cafe diamond metalasse? (I am not affiliated with this company. I just got a bunch of samples from them for my own kitchen windows and liked their color choices.)

    Good luck & have fun!

  47. Hi, I’m English, so I’m not sure if what I would suggest translates into American, but that beautiful rug and the style of the lovely house makes me think of continuing with old-style fabrics. Crewel-work on a cream base – Jacobean 17th century style, or a 19th century pattern fabric from William Morris (still made today) would both look super, and I would use it as drapes in the dining room and as blinds in the sitting room. You could try Sanderson for the Jacobean style.

    1. Jane,
      My brother teased I was the English one in the family. I have had a love affair with Jacobean prints since I was about 14 yrs old and love your idea. I am so happy Laurel has the opportunity to visit England and can’t wait to see her posts inspired by your beautiful country.

  48. My 2 cents; I would have drapes in the dining room and Roman shades in the living room. Either plain linen drapes & Roman shades or print drapes and the Roman shades plain w/ the trim in the same fabric as the drapes.
    What a great space!!

  49. What a gorgeous home! So much light and I love all the mouldings, it makes me want to curl up and read a book. I’m no designer but I think you have some great base pieces. I wouldn’t worry about matching curtains for the two rooms. As long as they coordinate or pick up the same colors, they’ll look cohesive. Another option is to do tortiose shell blinds or roman shades in the living room. That might help if there is a glare….just don’t ask me how to design around that corner window, I’ll leave that to the professional 😉

    I love the warm tones of your sofa. If you’re looking to add color maybe add a fun throw over it (a la Bunny Williams) while layering art/pillows/mirror/rugs. Maybe some linen shades on your chandelier or sconces? I’m just throwing ideas out there!

  50. I hesitate to offer any help on the windows since I’ve had my own share of window dressing problems. Do think, though, that reader Susan’s idea of using ivory linen is a good one. Would drape nicely (if that is the idea) and would still let in light. Learned that from experience! One thought about the whole area: Would painting white that door leading to upstairs bedrooms be worthy of consideration? Right now it seems to sort of chop up the area (not snarky, not snarky! Just askin’) and breaks up the flow on that wall. All in all, love the area Mary is working with. Smaller is BIG now! We downsized and moved into a 1500 sq. cottage that has been a challenge but lots of fun, too.

  51. Have you considered using something like Roman shades on the windows in these two rooms? (Inside mount so they don’t cover your lovely woodwork.) They’re easy to make; a little tricky to hang. If you don’t need total privacy at night, a translucent, textured fabric would allow you to see out a little bit even if they were down during the day.

    You could still use draperies over the shades in the dining room, if you wanted. I’d use a large print for those, just cause I like large prints. A friend who has a house full of rugs, told me that she’d been told by a decorator that the thing to do with orientals is just ignore them.

    If your dining room window has as nice a view as the sitting room’s, how about a large mirror on the opposite wall between those sconces? Hung correctly, it would provide a view of the outdoors for anyone sitting with their back to the window. And make the room seem larger and lighter. I love the darker ceiling in the dining room . . . am surprised that’s not done more in small high-ceilinged rooms.

    What sort of things will you be hanging on the walls in the sitting room? Artwork would be a way to bring more color into the room. I agree that the Century chair calls for a zingy print.

    Laurel . . . what would make what look better? Can’t tell what you’re referring to before you wrote, “The only thing is that the mouldings on that wall would need to be redone as well.”

    1. Are you my lost sister? I would love a large print, especially in the sitting/living room. I am using a large blue and white print for the study windows (same size as dining room window). I hung the wood rod nearly to the crown molding and can’t wait to get started on them. I have considered Roman shades; actually I have considered nearly everything at this point.

      I wanted to put a mirror on the dining room wall but it faces west and might blind the person seated across the table, ha ha.

      I want to wait until I decide on fabric before I move on to walls. We will probably not be using the art we had in our prior home.

  52. That gorgeous (and timeless) blue and white porcelain would be an excellent jumping-off point, and would compliment the classic style of the furnishings and the home. A lovely blue and white stripe a’ la Mark D Sikes would actually go well in both rooms. It would compliment the gold love seat (no need to reupholster!), and would bring out the blue in the dining room rug.

    Since the homeowner sews, perhaps she is brave enough to tackle replacing the fabric on the dining room chairs. That same fabric could be repeated in a plump throw pillow for the caned chair (love!) or sofa. The blue palampore print pillow on the sofa is quite nice with the porcelain, loveseat, and rug. Maybe she could take her cues from that print. Trim details on drapes and pillows add a bespoke element.

    A natural fiber rug would add warmth to the sitting room, and could later be layered with a smaller wool rug as the budget allows.

    A single panel window treatment can be stunning, if the room (or budget) calls for it. Quality fabrics and heavy lining/interlining will make it hang beautifully. That’s what people will notice! That, and the consistency of the same fabric in both rooms, which will feel custom and intentional.

    Lastly, it would be nice to hang the window treatments just under the crown moulding. The vertical line of the drape, hung at ceiling height, would give the illusion of a taller ceiling. Any blinds can be hung even with the curtain rod, to cover the wall between rod and window.

    1. Oooohhh, Stephanie, that’s so smart of you! Hanging Romans or other shades above the window would make it look larger and gorgeous! My hat is off to you!

    2. Thank you for your great suggestions. I love everything Mark D Sikes does especially his window treatments. And yes, I intend to reupholster the dining room chairs as soon as I have some direction for these rooms.

  53. Love Mary’s use of the blue/white ware and pillows in the sitting room; what about a blue/white stripe pattern in the dining room to pull that in around the corner? Something more geometric to balance the organic swirls in the rug. Maybe like panels in Schumacher mojave ikat stripe in indigo? I think a stripe like this without a hard geometric would be a good balance, and it would pull your blue in from the sitting room. Looks like that would be a good match with your rug as well, not too matchy-matchy. Mary is so lucky to have those cool windows… but I’m not sure what to do there! For some reason I’m wanting to put some red pops in this room. It seems like it needs a bold color somewhere as an anchor, but I can’t tell if red would be too much. Dark blue might work. Also I think a rug would probably cozy it up a bit – maybe a natural fabric with a subtle pattern woven in. Mary has such good pieces here!

  54. Love all of the windows in the living room! Ok, if this were my house, this is what I would do. I would base everything on the colors of the rug and the loveseat since those cannot change. I feel like the gray on the ceiling and walls is fighting the golden tones of the rug and loveseat.

    So first, as much of a pain as it is, I would paint a warmer tone, such as Accessible Beige by Sherwin Williams or a tan like SW Tamarrind. Since there is a lot of pattern going on with the rug, for the curtains I would stick with a solid linen that is similar to whatever color you pick for the walls. It would pretty if you put a tape on the leading edge. Maybe something that has some texture – I’ve seen some pretty ones that have a rustic raffia kind of material woven in, with wooden beads.

    In the living room, I would get a seagrass rug and I would put up London shades (kind of like roman shades that tie up) in the same material used for the dining room curtains. I wouldn’t put curtains in the living room – it would be hard to hang a rod with those angles.

    I like the blue and white pillow on the loveseat. I would get some more 20″ ones and then maybe a 12×20″ leopard lumbar pillow in the center of the loveseat and on the cane chair (Ballard Designs has a great one – I think it’s called Sarengetti). I would also start hitting the thrift stores and yard sales and add to your collection of blue and white vases and plates! It would look pretty with your furniture and rug. Maybe hang a grouping of blue and white plates on the dining room wall too!

    Good luck!

    1. Thank you for your suggestions. I love blue & white and would love to add more to this room and I have also considered a leopard pillow.

      The walls in the living room are a soft gray green about the same color as the gray oaks outside. It works really well with the greenish gray granite in the kitchen. The kitchen was wonderful when we bought the house and only needed paint.

      The photos don’t show the paint colors well but the walls in the dining room are a creamy color that harmonizes well with the ivory background in the rug and the ceiling is a soft gray blue. Both the green and blue are so subtle most people don’t notice they are different colors.

  55. I love the pictures of Mary’s house! The sun-washed dining room was only in my dreams until now. I see window-sized lace curtains over the dining room windows. That’s all that is needed to filter the sunlight and make a pretty pattern on the table and walls, and not obscure the beautiful view.
    By window-sized I mean the panels would be mounted inside the casings and go no longer than the sills and no higher than the header.
    The sitting room windows could use window shades that roll up instead of down so the shades could cover the bottom half of the windows when needed (once again preserving the view, providing privacy and reducing glare). I have no ideas regarding fabric for windows.

  56. If you do not use French plates at the top of drapes you can use two panels. It will squeeze together surprisely tight and not block your view. I did this in my master bedroom. I used rings with metal hooks on plain fabric….i will take a picture…can I post pictures..hmm?…anyway the top squeezes tight and the bottom appears full because there are two panels.

    1. I agree about french pleats. I used a large wood rod and wood rings in another room and am just starting to work on the drapes. I am considering Goblet or Box pleats. Box pleats use more fabric and would help in the Sitting/living room as well.

  57. I love the windows in your sitting room and I would suggest using a simple Roman shade placed under the mouldings in a light color with a decorative red binding at the bottom or a light colored fabric with thin red and gold stripes so that you can see the windows and view. I would also place a natural fiber rug in front of the sofa.

  58. HI Mary, I love your dining room as well and would also love to know where you purchased your chandeliers. Good luck with your decorating!

  59. Hi Mary, I love your charming home! I do think that using the same look for both DR and LR windows is a good idea, if it were mine, I’d go with an ivory linen look. I love print drapes and had them in my sun room, which I used as my living room, but the beautiful print was subject to fading in the afternoon sun. Another reason I think the ivory linen look would be good. I would love to know where you bought your DR and LR chandeliers, I have been looking forever.

    1. Susan and Nancy,
      The chandeliers are Hinkley Yorktown in brushed bronze. Unfortunately they are discontinued but you might still be able to find them on the internet like I did as some sellers have stock available. Thank you for your input on the drapes.

  60. Oh Laurel

    You are staying so near Pimlico Road, Elizabeth Street, Sloane Square and Kings Road – you must go exploring.

    I hope the wardrobe is working out well.



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