Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Living Rooms


An element of my 1950s house that I love is having a "living room". New house design often ditches the living room in favor of great rooms and common space. That sort of space has it's place, but I really love the fact that when you open my front door, you walk into a living room. For one thing, you can always keep a living room clean, regardless of the state of the rest of your house. But also, it provides a nice respite, a place to get away. I read in my living room, it's where we have family scriptures in the evenings, it's the place you can go in the house if you want to sort of escape from everyone, have a comfy place to sit, and enjoy some quiet contemplation.

As I've been trying to figure out what I need to do with my house I've been analyzing my living room. My colors in there are quite bold. Lately there is a trend in decorating towards softer hues. Cynthia Rowley's home was featured in Elle Decor this month and she has this really lovely lavendar theme throughout her house (and by the way, how genius is that pool in a tiny backyard in NY city): The colors here are very subtle and lovely, and it has made me re-think whether I have been a bit too bold in my choices. Sometimes you see a trend where bold colors become the splash of color in an otherwise netural room. But that is so not what I have going on in my living room! So this morning I took photos of my front room to help me figure out what I like and what I don't, what needs to be fixed or changed and what doesn't. This is the photo from above - it's the view in my living room when I am sitting on my couch. Sometimes I do this in the mornings to just have a minute to think before everyone else gets up - sometimes I read my scriptures or a book. A lot of the time I am just staring into space while looking at this view. I kind of love this space. These glass cylinders are really great and I have Cindy Tanner to thank for them - we had one of those things at the church where you bring something you don't like (kind of like a yard sale item) and then you could choose something off the table that you did like. This was her get rid of item and I happily scooped them up. I change out what's inside, usually seasonally, sometimes more often. I have antique marbles in there sometimes, and I also have fake berries and cherries. At Christmas I do bright christmas balls. That's our family bible on the table, it's an illustrated bible and it's gorgeous, we use that to read scriptures as a family in the evenings. The other book is a big sketch book. When people come over we give it to them to sketch something for us. You'd be surprised at how cool some of the things are! The table was free - I can't even remember how I ended up with it - I think Kate had it at her house and she couldn't use it - or Virginia Beach was going to re-cover it and she ended up not wanting to - I'm not sure, but I do know that I got it for free and I painted it black and then I wiped it off while it was still wet so that it actually looks kind of like an ebony wood. It's probably from around 1930 with drop sides. Sometimes for holidays I put up the sides and we use this as our dining room table and eat in the front room. Okay so I wasn't going to go into the cost of everything in this post but I'm realizing the most expensive thing here is the Bible! Otherwise...pretty much free!
Here is a little tableau that I really like - this is the side table next to the sofa, in the background are two Christina Ramirez painting that I really like. She uses this technique where she layers color and resin and then sands and polishes the surface - they are very cool. I got this lamp at target for super cheap and bought the shade separately. That little marble bust Kirk actually carved himself! And then I have this lovely framed card from Cindy Tanner that I really love here. Laying on the table is a little brag book that Lisa Dyer made for me - it has photos of my kids and I love that it's just wee.











This is the view across the room to the piano and the bold red wall. I love this red - a whole room of it would be too much but this one wall paired with the sort of Moroccan yellow works really well. How much do you love this piano? Cindy Hale painted this for us. We adore it! It was Sister Orgill's old piano. When she was getting ready to move she sold it to me for a song. It needed a lot of help. Laurie Bird came over and tuned it for us and Joy Keeney recovered that sweet little piano chair. It was a horrible blond wood to begin with and had water stains from cups being left on top of it - the piano seat was this really ugly mauve. So I figured, it's really old, it cost us next to nothing and it's pretty badly damaged, why not have fun with it? And I'm so glad we did this. It's a working piano but it functions as a piece of artwork when it's not being played. (see above in Cynthia Rowley's house she did something similar - that gold piano is painted and the inside is used as a cooler - it's lined in plastic and she uses it to chill bottles when she entertains!) The painting above the Piano is Brian Boner.








I also love the things sitting on the piano - the bronze sculpture is by John Tuomisto-Bell. My dream is to someday own a big one and have it in the backyard. But for now - I love this. My only thing is I sort of wish I had a better place to display it - does it kind of get lost here?






















When I was a kid I always wanted to have a fancy candy dish in my front room when I grew up. I got this Mckenzie child dish a few years ago and I try to keep candy in it all the time (usually I pick candy that I don't personally like too much, otherwise I'll eat it) and next to it I now have these two little skulls. I am really into the whole Dia De Los Muertos thing right now. In fact, I might buy something else next time I go to Mexico. I love that whole concept.















This is the back wall of the living room, the one that faces the street. I am not big on window coverings - I have red drapes in here which just frame the window, but mostly it is always open. I love light. At night you can see in to our front room. Since the rest of the house is private even though you can see in, I actually really like it that way. I love that you can see this wall from the street when you drive by at night and sometimes the artwork on this wall changes and we get comments from neighbors about it.























The current painting on the wall is probably the nicest painting we have. The title is 'Fernando' - Kirk has been in touch with the artist via email lately. It is from Spain and such a nice guy - so very, very talented too - this painting looks very much like a photograph from far away, but when you get up close it's so much better than a photo. A lot of people seem to respond in interesting ways to this painting. I know the real story behind the painting but I usually like to see what other people think. I consider it a sort of Rorshach test. The sculpture in the corner is by Jason Wolfe. Another very talented local artist. The chair is by IKEA. A very talented swedish company who kind of kicks but in the cheap department while still managing to hold on to good design. Kirk hates this pillow. I bought it at target on a total impulse buy - the edging is black feathers. I like it but it does shed feathers like a dead bird all the time.










I love this couch. Not necessarily the way it looks, but it is the most comfortable couch in the world. I have been planning on getting it re-covered but I'm stumped on the color options and material options. I think it either needs to be neutral like it already is or it needs to be an entirely weird counterpoint to the rest of the room, so red is out, and yellow is out. Like an icy blue maybe. But I don't know, I change my mind about it all the time. I love the shape of it too so I have no interest in getting a new one. Do you know where I got this? From a business that was going out of business out by Kirk's office in Ahwatukee. They sold it to me for super cheap - no one had ever even sat on it, it was in the foyer of their office and it was the kind of office no one ever really visits.

The painting is by Brian Boner. It's probably my very most favorite painting that we own.



Okay here is where I can see I need to do something different: the rug needs to go I think. I used to have a sisall rug here but it rolled up on the edges all the time and made me crazy. Then when I got this rug I loved the hit of color with the green. It's from IKEA and it was a great deal - also the is braille dots, and means "i love you", which I thought was clever. But my dogs are jacking it up. My little dog runs in here with food sometimes and the rug is not expensive enough for me to warrant cleaning it when it is coming undone on the underside anyway. So I think this has to be attended to. The chest is a Shannon find from a neighbor of hers who was moving or something. We each got one of these old trunks so she has the twin to this in her house. I've used it in a bunch of different places but I really like it as the table with some art books piled on top and a candle. I always love to light a candle in the front room. I don't do it every single day - but almost. Which reminds me - Rachel Echols? do you still sell those candles?















Here are a couple of other little areas in the room -

This is the corner next to the piano - before you walk into the hall and the kitchen. These paint cans are a sculpture we bought in Prescott - We felt like this corner really needed something but we didn't know what it was until we saw these. I love them. Maybe someday I'll get bored of them, but I have had them now for several years, and I haven't tired of them yet. The painting in the background is an Anthony Zeh and I thought it was perfect next to the paint cans since it looks like splattered paint.


Opposite of this and next to the door is this:

These are all things I really like. The blue chair adds a little pop of a cooler color that helps counter-balance the room. And it's a little antique kitchen chair which I love, above that is a shelf of blocks that have bible verses on them. Christina Ramirez did these and we always tell people it's good luck to re-arrange them into a new design. Kirk does that most days before he leaves for the office. I imagine someday my grandkids will like doing that too. And I love my mail slot - I don't like the way it looks from this angle - but I love that I have one of the old mail systems where it comes right into the house. My grandma Peterson had one of those and I thought it was so cool. The glare on this painting is pretty bad but it's another Anthony Zeh - above that is a shelf of little miniature paintings by Craig Cully. These are so awesome. Each one are little bite sized obsessions. The theme here is oral fixation - which I totally relate to. I love that I have these little squares of candy near the bowl of candy on the piano behind the door. It sort of ties it all together for me (though honestly, I'm sure most people wouldn't even notice that).

So honestly? I'm pretty happy with the way things are. I need a new rug! Other than that, I think I'm pretty content here. I need to make a decision about the couch, but I am not in a big hurry yet. What do YOU think about the couch? I'm open to opinions and thoughts.

9 comments:

I am Boymom said...

I agree the rug needs to go and you need something there on the floor with lots of texture. I think the neutral sofa needs to go too. Personally, I would go for a deep brown (like espresso or chocolate) with the sofa. Maybe it's just my taste, but the blue seems like it would just be trying to compete with everything whereas the brown would pull all of the colors together and give the room some cohesiveness. Just a thought.

I am Boymom said...

Having just made that comment I went back to look at the pictures and I see the blue throw pillows on the sofa. The dark sofa with the dark piano and dark trunk may give the room a dark and heavy look...there is some light blue int he painting above the piano and in some of your decorations around the room, maybe I'm off a little on this judgement. The blue may really lighten the room up. I will have to think on this one.

Bandanamom said...

I know - I totally need to get on that rug situation. At first I was intrigued by your idea of chocolate brown - but then when I looked at the room again, it didn't seem quite it. I think you're subsequent thought is correct, it's because it's too heavy or too dark. The light blue might compete but maybe in a good way. There is a little bit of light blue in the painting over the piano, a little in the paint cans in the corner and the old chair by the door is also an icy blue. When you walk into the next room which is the kitchen area, one of the walls is a greenish blue so in my mind, it is sort of pulling it all together in a way (maybe) - but I have contemplated purples and peaches/oranges as well as a green. But anything too bold or dark seems like the wrong thing. Black might work in a way but again, I think too heavy.

I really do like getting other people's input! I hate making decisions sometimes (especially when it means I have to spend money)

CaliZona said...

Poo. That lady's washed-out colors are just sissy. It's like a student level watercolor set; or worse - those RoseArt crayons that are totally color impotent.

Green apples! Why not take your green apples in the gobblet trio I hated (but love in your setting!) as inspiration for your couch? Green. Brite, bold, bite me green.

Throw pillows: recovered in silks and brocades, or - (retro!) seersucker!

A screaming green couch then suggests something milder for the floor: think Asian. How about one of those reed type natural woven rugs? One with a black binding would look great. You see them in Crate & Barrel adds all the time. But you don't have to get one there, of course. I've seen some very decent ones at Home Depot recently. Maybe they can be treated with something varnish-like to protect them ?

And finally, a dog eating a snack anywhere is going to "jack up" something. New policy: Scout's snacks are lovingly distributed only in a more eco-friendly setting.

Anonymous said...

Wow Calizona, didn't your son and daughter-in-law give you the goblet trio you hated?

Bandanamom said...

I can speak on Calizona's behalf to say "no" to that one - it was a mother in law hand me down I believe.

I am Boymom said...

The more i look at this, the more I am leaning to the light blue, like the throw pillow you have on your sofa. The bright apple green was an intriguing suggestion, and I totally love those greens, but I personally think it would be too much with everything else going on in the room. I'm kinda diggin' on the blue thing. Let me know what you decide. I love seeing how other poeple decorate.

CaliZona said...

It was a wedding gift to said son and daughter-in-law, given to me for Christmas, given to the Relief Society exchange night, snatched forthwith by you.

It's nice they obviously have a loving home.

And the vote is still green. Or white.

Bandanamom said...

Thanks for the votes and the ideas ladies. Still haven't decided but will decide for sure within the next month or so. I need to spend some time in a fabric shop, get samples to bring home, etc. But it is my priority to have it done by Christmas at least.

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