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Archive for February, 2009

Cowboy Cool – Home Away From Home


Oliver wrote to us for help with his odd shaped living room.  He works from home and wants to have his office space in his living room. He wanted a rustic feel but didn’t want the room to be cowboy cheesy! I like to call this room Cowboy Cool! We were able to help Oliver fit his workspace into his living room while giving him the refined rustic look he wants.  Like most of the single bachelors I work with, Oliver is a man of few words. He got right to the point with what he is looking for, check out his letter:

I need serious help with my living room. I have recently purchased a new sofa and a large black leather chair for my living room and have been fine with the room so far. I am now going to be working from home on a regular basis and need to incorporate my workspace into the living room. The room is long and narrow and I just can’t figure out how to make my work space fit in.  Now that I will be in the room most of the day, I want it to look better and feel complete. I am a fan of rustic furniture but don’t want the room to look like a cabin from Lonesome Dove. I do like contemporary furniture and think it would look nice with my sofa and leather chair.  Please help me with a layout of the room, I am attaching the measurements for you as well as the size of the sofa and chair. I do not want to paint the room, it is a yellow khaki color and I think it looks fine.  I have bamboo shades on the windows and they work just fine so I don’t want to take them out of the room.  I do think I need a few lamps, the room doesn’t have enough light at night. My flat screen is mounted over the fireplace and I want to be able to see it from my work space as well as the sofa.

Thanks, Oliver

Now for the details:


Oliver’s living room was quite the challenge because we are limited on configurations for the room! As you can see, he has two doors and two walkways that are at each corner of the room.  It does make the traffic flow from room to room easy. Since Oliver has his T.V. installed over the fireplace, this is obviously the best configuration.  We have placed the art work on the wall between the two doors because the living room is always entered from the side with the walkways by guest. We have placed the desk behind the sofa so Oliver is able to see the T.V. , this also keeps the furniture centered in the room and allows access from one side of the room to the other.  We are happy that Oliver has installed bamboo shades on his windows, the glare on the computer screen an  T.V. must be a challenge.  Now on to more details…..

1. Oliver recently purchased this stylish sofa in a neutral cotton twill so we are working with great basics. Since the walls are staying the warm “yellow khaki” color we will need to bring in other warm neutral to keep cohesive.

2. Oliver’s leather side chair is absolutely perfect for the rustic chic room he is wanting. Mixing a rustic leather chair with a more contemporary sofa was a good move on Oliver’s part and really sets the tone for the style of this room.

3. As you can see on the floor plan above, we have created one space that houses two functions. This chocolate brown and ivory zig zag rug is the perfect way to bring pattern into the space. The contemporary feel of the rug also dresses up the leather chair while complementing the sofa.

4. This rustic trunk makes the perfect coffee table for Oliver’s sitting area and will also provide a bit of extra storage. It will be durable enough for Oliver to put his fee up on too!

5. Since we have added a few rustic touches to the space, it is time to go a bit more chic. This metallic wood top accent table will look great on each side of the sofa. The gold finish on the legs will also help to tie in the art work and other carmel accents in the room.

6. This ivory and iron lamp will fit nicely on top of the accent table and provide the much needed light at night that Oliver has requested.

7. The work space is the perfect place to bring in more contemporary pieces. This black and chrome legged desk will give Oliver the right amount of room to set up his lap top and layout any paperwork he needs for the day. The wide drawers will also give him room to store anything he wants to put away if guests are visiting.

8. Oliver will need a fabulous desk chair for his work space and this little carmel leather and chrome jewel will look amazing in the room. The color of the leather is super rich and will look amazing.

9. Details, details, details! This mosquito accent pillow is perfect for Oliver’s room. Mixed with a few other pillows, it will bring a touch of the outdoors in to the room.

10. Ivory and carmel ostrich leather picture frames on Oliver’s desk will give the room a more “lived in” feel. Most guys don’t think about adding picture of family in their spaces.

11. Howdy Cowboy!  Oliver’s room wouldn’t be cowboy cool with out a few cowboys to grace the walls. This set of large western art will help to pull the room together and make the statement that Oliver is looking for!

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Tres Chic! / Home Away From Home


Blythe recently wrote to us for help with her empty dining room.  She is starting from scratch but has given us plenty of inspiration with her stunning hand painted dishes as well as her other accessories.  Blythe wants her dining room to reflect the look of a cozy and stylish french cafe….we found tons of darling furniture and know that she will be excited to start shopping! We can’t wait to see the room complete.
Take a look at Blythe’s letter:
It is now time to start on my dining room and I am super excited to see your suggestions! I have completed the updates to my kitchen and living room but the dining room is bare and I am ready to finish up my “to do” list.  As you can see, the room is a completely empty. I would like to use my grandmother’s plates as an inspiration for the room as well as my love for French Cafes.  My sister and I have traveled to France a handful of times and I have based my entire home on the places we have stayed.  The look I am going for is a stylish French dining area that will be comfortable for me and my guest to sip coffee or drink a few glasses of wine. I am not a huge fan of  bright colors so I would like to keep the room neutral. I am open to painting the room a soft color but want mostly simple furniture. I like the white washed look, hand painted furniture and classic Louis furniture.  I guess if you could imagine a cottage on the French Countryside that is more stylish than rustic that would be it!  I need seating for four and want a buffet for storage. As for seating, I am open to your suggestions but want something grand.  I have newly refinished hardwood floors but if a rug helps the room come together better, let me know. Thank you for your help! I will be patiently waiting to see your ideas!
Don’t you just love Paris! We do and I couldn’t wait to get started on this Home Away from Home project for Blythe. We think she will love our ideas for her new dining room and will be serving coffee and crepes in no time!
Take a look at the details of Blythe’s Finish Board.
1. Let’s start with the color palette of Blythe’s dining room. Nothing says French Chic like the monochromatic colors of ivory, taupe and white. Since she already has hardwood floors in a deep rich chocolate stain it would be best to warm up her existing white walls with a soft sage.  Benjamin Moore has an amazing color selection and we suggest she use Saybrook Sage HC-144 for the walls.  The sage wall color will tie in perfectly  and make Blythe’s  hand painted brown and ivory plates  pop off of the wall.
2. Now let’s start from the ground up in this room.  Adding a rug to the dining area will pull the furniture pieces together and will bring a much needed pattern to the room.  We don’t want to completely hide the hardwoods, so this simple taupe and ivory rug will be just what we need to define the eating space.
3.  I have always been a huge fan of mixing square and round pieces in a room.  When you have a square room, square windows and other square details in a room it can feel harsh. By using this round distressed creamy white  chateau style dining table we are able to break up all of the harsh lines in the room.
4. Blythe needs storage as well as a place to serve from while she is entertaining guest. This hand painted toile cabinet is perfect for the 10″ wall in the dining room. Blythe can store her dishes and dining linens here too!  Tres Chic!
5. Now on to the seating.  This velvet arm chair is covered in a deep rich chocolate and has a white wash finish on the arms and legs.  Four of these placed around the table will look stunning and really give Blythe’s guest a comfortable place to sit and chat for hours!
6. Blythe has a 5′ wide x 8′ tall window in the center of the other 10′ wall.  We want to continue to soften the room and these ivory linen drapes will soften up the harsh window.  We suggest a 3″ puddle to really dress up the room!
7. Lighting is one of the most important elements in a room.  The dining room already has can lights  with dimmers that provide plenty of room but can be a bit harsh at night. This green crystal chandelier will look amazing over the dining table and will be the centerpiece of the room.
8. This large gold flower mirror will be perfect over the buffet. It will reflect the light from the window and continue to bring in a touch of chic and give the room a more formal feel.
9. Last but not least, this set of  48″ wide x 40″ high paintings will complete the chic cottage cafe look Blythe is going for. The colors tie in perfectly with the walls too.

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Belle Escape / Spotlight on a Website


I have been working on a “home away from home” this past week and turned to one of my favorite websites,  Belle Escape. Belle Escape is an on line boutique that brings together a unique collection of colorful and artistic cottage-style home decor and furniture. They specialize in French Country, Shabby Chic and Coastal Cottage Styles. Their products are high quality, durable and affordable. I have been searching for the perfect “Cottage Chic” furniture and accessories for Blythe’s dining room (coming soon to the blog!) and let me tell you, there is no shortage of Cottage style on this site. Finding special treasures that will give your home the exact look and feel you desire isn’t always easy. The site makes it easy to search by item group or by any of the styles they offer.

The furniture selection consist of hand painted chests, a Shadow box coffee table and stunning reproductions of a Louis XVI sofa & XV chairs. I must say, the accessories and lighting are some of the most gorgeous I have seen! Here are a few gems on Belle Escape…….


Coastal Sky Mirror from previous Studio Ten.25 Project. This mirror is hand made from reclaimed and recycled wood from old Louisiana homes. A baroque mirror image is hand applied. The mirror has a distressed finish. artcandle-sticksloveseatblue-crystalbe-artbe-bikebelamp

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