When you purchase a home, which room do you redesign first? This complex question lingered in my mind throughout the entire closing process on our new home. How on earth would we pick which space to start with? The bedrooms? The kitchen? The family room? It kept me up at night. Ok, so maybe it was the late afternoon cup of coffee that kept me up, but I did toil with the decision at first.
After we announced our home purchase (and especially after receiving the Crate and Barrel collaboration), the choice became crystal clear – the family room. In our old condo, Bob and I spent the majority of the time in our primary bedroom (keep in mind, our condo was tiny). The main bedroom was adjacent to the kitchen, close to both bathrooms, and a very comfortable space.
At the same time, we craved a thoughtfully designed living or family room that friends and family could come over and enjoy. Unfortunately, we were barely home on weekends due to travel, and when we were, our living room had luggage strewn about in anticipation of the next trip. After many years, our old condo started to feel more like a hotel room. We were determined to change all of that with this new house!
Looking back, the family room is where I spent the majority of my time in my childhood. I remember playing Barbies, opening Christmas gifts, having my first high school kiss… the list goes on and on. A family room is the heartbeat of a home – the place you rest, relax, kick your feet up, and just enjoy. Therefore, the space was the perfect option.
If you ever feel analysis paralysis about which room to start with, my recommendation is to start with the places in which you’ll spend the most amount of time.
The Family Room Redesign
After making the decision, we immediately got to work with the redesign. Amelia, who is/will be a big part of our home’s aesthetic, helped guide us through every aspect of the process. I hate to admit it, but I really struggled to narrow my focus in terms of the direction of the room. Keep in mind, I love EVERYTHING – blue, green, pink, florals, stripes, glitter, preppy, feminine, leaf prints, and everything in between. To this day, I’m still shocked Amelia was able to put up with me!
Thankfully, we’ve known Amelia close to a decade, and she really understands the two of us, our personal styles, and best of all – DESIGN. She pulled together some initial ideas, and we immediately loved the direction. Initially, the room was completely neutral with tons of potential. Beige paint, hardwood floors, and wainscoting were the defining factors of the entire main floor of the house. Here are a few “before” pics for reference:
At first, we discussed design elements with Amelia piece by piece: this coffee table or that console table? This rug or that light? One of the best decisions was having her show us a mock-up the completed space concept before making a call on anything. This allowed us to see the entire vision and how each item complemented the other. Sure, it may seem like an obvious step, but, in truth, we initially struggled to picture the grand scale of everything. Once we saw it all on one page, it completely changed the game!
The Color Scheme
The hardest decision we made throughout the process were the featured colors in the space. Committing to the hues in our family room meant making a commitment to the entire first floor. Our new home has a very open floor plan (one of the things that sold us on the place). However, a cohesive color scheme is essential. By saying “yes” to magenta, navy, emerald, marigold, ruby, amethyst or any other tone, it was basically us agreeing to marry it. As a huge color lover, that idea was BEYOND terrifying.
Thankfully, Amelia has broken us out of the pattern of thinking that everything needs to be matchy-matchy or out of page 47 of a home catalog. Regardless, the decision felt insurmountable at the time.
After chatting through a few things, we finally landed on blue with hints of pink. They were two colors I knew we’d love being around – happy hues, if you will. Throughout the process, I kept saying to Bob, “Are you absolutely positive you’re okay with having pink as a part of this space?” Every single time he’d answer, “Of course!” He went on to say, “Jenn, I’ve known you for nearly 15 years. Pink comes with the territory. Plus, there’s actually way more blue in the room than pink.” Touché Bob. Touché.
Wallpaper and Crown Molding
Probably the lengthiest decision we made (i.e. the amount of time it took us to decide), was the wallpaper. In general, I knew wallcoverings would be a huge aspect of the space (and our home in general), but I couldn’t commit to any single option. I’m starting to see a home design trend here, lol!
Finally, Amelia was like, “guys – we have to make a call!” And she was right. So we chose a medium-width stripe print in a French blue. A safe choice? Not even close. We had reviewed softer leaf print options, narrower stripes, and even grasscloth wallcoverings. Each time, we kept coming back to this bold stripe. Amelia put it over the edge when she said, “we should paint the ceiling, and that’ll soften your choice and blend everything together.” Sold! We also decided to add crown molding to the room to allow for a refined separation between the wallpaper and the ceiling paint (Glidden’s “Soft Cloud Blue” #90BG 72/088).
In total, the crown molding, ceiling paint, and wallpaper took about 2.5 working days. One full day to install the molding. Then, it was a half-day to paint the ceiling, paint the molding, and prime the walls. Finally, another full day to hang the wallpaper. The space required just over five double-rolls of wallpaper. Naturally, Amelia had the most amazing professionals come in and take care of everything – they did such a great job!
Where do I even begin with the art selection? It wasn’t even a question about which one to feature. From day one, I knew Paule Marrot’s “Feathers” would be hanging as a centerpiece in the home. I first came across it a more than ten years ago when one of my PR clients introduced me to the creations of the late artist and textile maker. A few years later, House Beautiful featured “Feathers” on the cover of their 2011 “The Art of Color” issue, and I was sold. In fact, I’ve kept that issue as a reminder, and it’s now in sitting in our family room!
Recently, I saw the piece during our stay at Playa Grande Beach Club in one of the three-bedroom residences. One of the owners happened to be on property when we were staying there, and she showed us the entire space. As I walked up the stairs, I grabbed Bob’s arm and was like, “Stop it right now!” There it was hanging in the hallway adjacent to the bedrooms. Celerie Kemble had designed the entire property, and decided to hang it as a centerpiece in a room. See more pics of how she styled the property here.
I turned to Bob and said, “I’m getting that piece.” And he said, “I know, I know. You’ve been talking about it for a decade, Jenn.” Without question, “Feathers” is my favorite item in our home. I’ve been dreaming of it forever, and to see it as a huge part of the main living space is a design dream come true!
The Samsung Frame TV
Speaking of art, I need to talk about the Samsung Frame TV. Friends, this one is a must! Basically, the Frame TV is designed to hang perfectly flush to the wall and look like art instead of a television. Plus, there are various bezels available to add to match your décor. Best of all, the television looks like art when it’s in sleep mode (you can scroll through countless options, upload your own, and/or subscribe to Samsung’s art store to find the perfect painting to fit your room). I’m obsessed (as is Bob). The TV is his favorite thing in the room (no shock there). We went the extra mile to have professionals install it so that the wires reside behind the wall. It did require moving a light switch, but the end result was well worth it!
Knowing that our sectional was going to be neutral, the perfect pillows were an absolute must. With the wallpaper, art, and furniture nailed down, the pillows would be the pièce-de-resitance. My favorites? The Arianna Belle options below. The floral print “Anshun” pillow was at the very top of my wishlist, and the “Chay” lumbar pillow has the prettiest texture. Both of them bring so much life to the space while perfectly complimenting the overall feel of the room. I can’t wait to redesign another part of the home so that I can peruse her site for more amazing options!
I could do an entire blog post dedicated to just the accent pieces in the room – the books, bookshelf pieces, pottery, crystal, and beyond. What I loved most about the process is that we incorporated so many items of our cherished items into the mix. Rebecca Atwood, Lilly Pulitzer, and Lindroth Design coffee table books, a white ceramic artichoke that has a funny memory tied to it, our Steamline Luggage, and more. I don’t know about you, but it was temping to get all new things for the space and really start fresh. As time went on and we settled into the house, we fell in love with so many of our old pieces all over again. I’m thrilled at how so many of them blended perfectly into the family room redesign.
The most important lesson I’ve learned about accent pieces is to blend old with new, and remain open to all the found treasures that will appear down the road.
One of my favorite new accents came from Jayson Home & Garden. I’ve stalked and shopped this Chicago interior design landmark throughout my adult years. When Amelia added this crystal object to the coffee table, it really centered the room in a way. I’m also a huge fan of the bronze birds, another find of Amelia’s (she really is the best). They’re the ideal height for our Estelle shelves and perfectly compliment the Paule Marrot artwork. Bob and I have already aptly named them, Dyan and Marsha (after our late mothers); they’re always watching over us. The thought of it makes us smile! 🙂
Lastly, I’ve become a huge fan of chinoiserie pots and jars. In fact, I wanted to do a BUNCH more of them in the space, but (thankfully) Amelia held me back and helped us to refine everything.
The Coffee Table
In our old condo, our coffee table was a family heirloom. It was dark, moody, and solid wood. I didn’t want it in our new house. Therefore, we left the decision completely up to Amelia. She didn’t hesitate – “This is the one. No questions asked.” We purchased it immediately! I highly recommend opting for the white glove delivery if you get one as it’s a heavy piece since the top is solid glass. The coffee table is available both as a rectangle and square.
Now that it’s here, I absolutely ADORE it. Seriously the best choice for our space! It adds a slightly modern touch to offset the contemporary vibe of the couch and pillows. Amelia also perfectly styled everything on it – from our Gray Malin coffee table books (here and here) to the Williams Sonoma Chinoiserie cachepot and Ballard Designs moss spheres.
Let There Be Light
When we started to the family room redesign, we reached out to Hudson Valley Lighting about a possible collaboration. For years, I’ve been a fan of their brands and designs, and I knew they were the only choice of who I wanted to work with for lighting fixtures. Thankfully, they agreed (hooray!). To start, we selected the Corbett Charisma chandelier, which seriously gives me LIFE. The crystal and bronze pick up the accents throughout the space and add that extra bit of glam.
When the light was installed, we realized each crystal was individually wrapped and needed to be affixed to the base. Thankfully, Amelia’s electrician couldn’t have been nicer and more understanding (and Bob helped of course). I absolutely love the final result!
A Few More Before and After Photos
If you ever decide to redesign a room, I highly recommend snapping some before photos. It might feel like the last thing you want do given all of the design tasks ahead of you, but you’ll be thankful in the end. Once our family room was finally finished, one of the first things we did was pull up the original photos to compare. It’s so fun to see the transformation!
Links to Our Family Room Redesign
Sectional: Crate and Barrel “Tyson” custom sectional (in “Vail, Snow”) (c/o)
Bookshelves: Crate and Barrel “Estelle” shelves (c/o)
Wallpaper: Norwall Wallcoverings
Lighting: Corbett “Charisma” Chandelier (c/o)
Coffee Table: Wisteria Disappearing Rectangular Coffee Table
Console Table: Wisteria Bone Inlay Console Table
Wall Art: “Feathers” by Paule Marrot
Lamps: Wayfair “Liddle” Chinoiserie Table Lamps
Television: Samsung “The Frame” 49″ TV
Window Coverings: Custom Roman Shade by The Shade Store
Décor Items and Books (shop via scroll below):
Be sure to read all about our Crate and Barrel custom upholstery in Monday’s post!
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