Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Robin's Living Room Refresh - Phase One

Recently I met Robin through blogging, and I have been helping her work on her living room. Robin was already off to a tremendous start. She had great furniture and awesome art to work with, as well as some lovely pillows (she made the bird pillows herself! Recognize the fabric? -- you've seen it here  -- and, soon you'll see that I have it in my master bedroom too). 
All Robin really needed was to pull the room together. Sometimes the best way to do this is to have a fresh pair of eyes look at your space and be really honest about what they'd love and what they'd tweak a bit. That's where I came in. 

First, let's just marvel at how far the room had already come. Bravo, Robin. Here's the original before and after... though, for our purposes, both images are technically "befores." 
Mega progress, right? I was impressed and wanted to keep the ball rolling with a few new ideas.

When I help someone with their space, phase 1 involves using whatever they have without buying new things. Unless they are starting from scratch. Anyway, sometimes rearranging, using something in a new way, or even eliminating something (like how taking away a dresser added to my own reading corner in the living room?) does wonders. And it is free, which everyone likes.

So, here are some of Robin's before shots of the space. 
Sometimes (like this time) I make notes right on the pictures of people's rooms. Robin sent me a floorplan and I made notes on that too. So you get an idea, here were my initial notes on some minor changes that might help on one of the images - I ended up changing my mind about some things (like curtains) but I figured  it always helps to see the thought process in a project. When sending to Robin this was, of course, accompanied by a super rambly email detailing every little thought I had about it. I can be super wordy. I'm working on it...
I suggested Robin move the large artwork formerly above the sofa (she had a pair of paintings) to either side of the fireplace. I also recommended removing accessories from the mantle and grouping them for greater visual impact, and little things like changing the lampshade. 
(Initially, I'd also suggested a bold round mirror above the fireplace, but Robin explained her husband's attachment to the clock and told me about the day they'd purchased it shortly after their house fire. We both agreed that it should definitely stay. Fortunately, it is a beautiful clock). 

Here is how the room is looking now as well as the plans for finishing off the space. 
(a reminder of the "before" from this angle)

Here's a few other things we've thought about - our plans for the space.

Since the wall above the sofa is now naked (since the art that used to hang out there now flanks the fireplace) and money is tight,  I thought it might be fun to frame some plates a la Sarah Richardson to fill the large space.
I did a very, very rough mock up of what I meant using some cheapie plates that pulled from artwork colours (and echoed the birds in the pillows and rug [not pictured]) and Ikea Ribba shadowbox frames. The plates also help connect traditional and modern pieces in the room. This was just to give a general idea, but if you have questions about where a plate is from, let me know. 
New curtains are also in order. Initially I'd suggested a Soho Pool fabric, but Robin found this and I think it is beautiful. We were going for a dark blue that will tie in the pillows, rug & art and will help connect both sides of the room with one another so it all flows and feels cohesive. These ones have just enough oomph without being too "in your face." 
I also suggested this fabric for throw pillows (to replace the yellow ones which, although lovely, aren't really adding much to the feel of the room). The red is a nice accent that nods to the bird pillow and the art. 
Lastly, I suggested a paint colour that looks very much like the background of this pillow fabric - neutral and warm. 

Robin, can't wait to see how the space will look with new artwork, paint, pillows and curtains (phase 2). Maybe then we'll think about a few pretty DIY additions like some of the ones I've pinned here? I think painted glass vases/bottles would be lovely. Spray painting that great bin by the fireplace (deep blue? glossy red?) might be nice, too. 

Thank you, Robin, for letting me into your lovely, warm home all the way in Richmond, Virginia (virtually, anyway). It's been a treat! 

And I just have to say, Robin is super fun to work with because she is open to ideas, willing to try things out, funny, and, most of all, because she is really sweet and very creative. FYI, if you haven't noticed yet, she is also a new blogger -- check her out at That's also a good place to stay tuned as she continues to showcase the home she, her husband, and her four-legged friend are creating together after enduring a serious house fire. 

Stay tuned for a final post of how the space all came together. Should be lovely!

If you have a space that could use another pair of eyes and new set of ideas for redesigns big or small, just let me know by leaving a comment or sending an email. I am also happy to feature exciting home decor projects & related ideas. 


Linking to some of these awesome parties.


  1. Great improvements! I love the dark blue trellis-y fabric. Thanks for stopping by my blog! Will check back for the reveal.

  2. wow, it looks amazing! I love your lamp as well as the modern artwork. I am always a fan of white or light paint to make things fresh and new!

  3. Super cute unique and beautiful..I love it..I would love for you to pls link and share this via my linky party today ~ Pin Inspitational Thursdays via TY. :))

  4. Great suggestions! Love the framed plates-- a clean look with punch. Visiting from HOH~
    Heidi @ Show some Decor

  5. Your improvements are amazing. Such a great job! When's the reveal. Oh, by the way when your done want to head over my way?

  6. What a refreshing look! I love the framed plates, such a great idea! You did an awesome job! Thanks for supporting Show & Share with your awesome projects!

  7. This is such an interesting transformation and give the room a whole new perspective.

    Thanks for sharing this lovely post at Potpourri Friday. I appreciate your participation!

  8. Came by from Share the Love Wednesday and it's really fun to see what you're up to.

  9. Your changes really brightened up thi room! Great job.

  10. I want to see the draperies, they are going to be stunning ! Great job on the room.

  11. Very pretty! The artwork and pillows really add to the room.

  12. Oh I like what has been done so far - and the plans sound great too. Nicely updated!


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