Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The One Room Challenge-Week One!

Yes, here we go again everyone...! Earlier this year I participated in a One Room Challenge with other design-oriented bloggers and I featured the redesign of my son's bedroom. This time around the list of bloggers participating is longer and the room I am redoing is bigger!

I decided to makeover our living room.... (my husband says that in our 15 year marriage that he has seen about six or seven living room redo's... oh well...hang on honey... because here we go AGAIN). Each Wednesday for the next six weeks we will each post the progress on the rooms we are working on and in Week Six we will feature the final reveal of each of our rooms ...please join us for this fun little design style adventure!

This is the beginning of the design story in our living room.... circa 2001....before the complete house and garden renovation and two-story addition to our 1920's "Colonial wanna be Georgian" is the living room the day we closed on the house.....I do love a blank slate!

The fireplace was a classic simple 1920's variety....with the most hideous brass/glass screen.

When we first moved in I was in a Ralph Lauren"ish" phase...(RL please don't be offended... I know your vibe is much less "frou frou" and stylishly classic...hence the "ish")... I have to admit I just cringe when I see these pics today!!

I went through a serious leather and chenille phase with my furniture lasted about 5 years...( too long)!! It is like when I see pictures of myself from the 1980's...what was I thinking!?! Here are a couple of pics that will prove my point and hopefully make you chuckle!

In Los Angeles..1988                               In London....1985

The room is a good functional size...but and doors on all four walls.....long and narrow too... with a centered fireplace!

Post the addition things moved in a new direction...I needed to lighten and interest things up! We added moulding and trim to the fireplace and to all the walls in the room. We painted the room a light "vanilla ice cream" color and painted the interior of the bookshelves at the back of the room a taupe faux finish custom blended by moi. We refaced the fireplace with italian marble and added french doors that lead to our family room (post addition). We stained all the oak floors in the house as dark as they could go. In the first photograph you can see that the french doors used to be where the windows were located at the back of the house.

I had custom chairs made with seafoam linen fabric with a straw colored linen piping. These chairs I am keeping as well as the couch and coffee table- but I will restyle them in the new space with some new pillows and accessories. I am keeping the belgian linen drapery as need to change...they will work in the new space!

I lightened up too...(thank goodness)...bye bye...goth black clothing and shoulder pads! Here I am today! Isn't it funny how our personal style and our design style often go hand in hand?

Here is an "album" of the living room throughout the last six years....through various phases and seasons...

This 1902 Haddorf piano is an inherited piece from my parents. There is an interesting story attached to this current neighbors (two sisters each in their own houses) grew up singing next to this piano at their Grandmother's house in Wisconsin...probably in the early 1950's. However they grew up on our current street in the suburbs of Chicago.

When their Grandmother died... their Wisconsin relatives sold the piano in the 1970's to my parents (at the time unknown to the family ... they were just in the market for a piano). The piano then moved from Wisconsin to Michigan and then to the suburbs of Chicago when I inherited it about eight years ago.

Through a quirky turn of events we figured out that for all these years.... as we have all been neighbors... a part of their childhood resided right next door to them and no one knew it...until the relative who sold the piano to my parents happened to be visiting the two sisters and we put it all together!

I just love that story...but the trouble with the piano TODAY is that nobody in my family plays it and it takes up a lot of real estate in the living room.

I also found out that it will cost almost $20,000 to restore it to "good playing condition"...ouch... so that is how the redesign of the living room began...without the piano...a lot of design " real estate" could be reclaimed...although I will miss it during the holidays...I loved it's festive storage capabilities....more on this in later posts.

Here is another picture of the mouldings we added to create more interest in the room....

These chairs were inherited from my Grandmother (all 6 of them) and they were not my style in their original state..but I painted them creme and added a wonderful Lee Jofa fabric and now they are among my favorite items in the house...

The plates were a gift that miraculously matched the wall color perfectly so I thought they added interesting wall architecture over the arched entry to the space....the large round coffee table was a fab find...made from hyacinth leaves.

Next week I will feature my "inspiration rooms" as I get my hammer ready and my car started as I get busy!
Click here for Week Two   ( and you can click to each week from here) or

Please visit my blogging buddies to see what spaces they are working on.....


  1. Loving your look in the 80's! Can't wait to see what you come up with!

  2. oh this is gonna be good. I am so excited to see where this goes!

  3. That's the "before"....oh my, I'm in trouble! I can't wait to see the direction you are going in, now.

  4. I am loving those chairs! But I understand when it is time for a change! Can't wait to see the space

  5. Your house is already beautiful. Loved seeing the transformations of both you and the room. Isn't it funny/annoying how our tastes change over the years.

  6. Wow Emily, this is going to be great. Your place looks great but I understand the itch to transform it. Good Luck! Can't wait to see more :)

  7. Your living room is lovely. I love the scale and architecture. Very tasteful and elegant! Can't wait to see what you do!

  8. Great space to work with and some amazing pieces already. I do love the story of the piano. I inherited my grandfather's piano but it also would have cost to much to tune and so I had it made into another piece of furniture - which I have not shared on my blog yet.

  9. the pictures of you from the 80's......just so darn cute! Your room is already beautiful, so I am not sure how you will improve on it:)
    As far as the husband goes...mine has said that very thing....What? I thought we just redid the LR....!

  10. Did I read this correctly? you are redoing this room? it looks amazing! and will look even more amazing in 6 weeks. I am excited to be part of this fabulous group!

  11. Thanks everyone for visiting and for your nice compliments! It will be a fun group challenge! Let the games begin! :)

  12. What a wonderful space that is. I love that you put pics of yourself from the 80's! How funny are they? and then the room transformation and you now. Everything is lovely. Can't wait to see what you're doing. Best of luck.

  13. I think it is fantastic that you had all those pics over the years to see the way your room has changed, as well as your self. So cute! I can't wait to see what direction your room will take.

  14. Wow! I love your style. Can't wait to see what you do with the living room now. Love your old pics--you are cute even during your 'transitions' in appearance. Thanks for posting them.

  15. I've been blog hopping and no idea how I got here but pleased I did, I absolutely love your living room especially that gorgeous rattan coffee table, it has given me an idea for my own living room. What a beautiful room you have created.




Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...