Category Archives: living rooms

Around the House // Livingroom Beginnings

I’m nowhere near finished decorating our living room, but I think I’ve finally got the bones.


English roll arm sofa? Check. Interesting occasional tables? Check.


Clean lined coffee table? Check. Wool area rug? Check.

So what else is needed to complete this room?  Oh just a few things:

- floor lamp (thinking of this one)

- 1 or 2 chairs (already got one of these)

- upholstered bench

- antique dresser OR piano (both have been offered but not sure which one we’ll take)

- linen drapes with grosgrain trim OR hand blocked print on linen

- baskets for organizing magazines, blankets, etc

So many decisions to make but I’m in no rush.  To avoid looking like a furniture showroom by buying everything all at once from the same store (don’t do it!), this will be a labour of love and I will add pieces to the living room gradually as I find them.  A home should be a reflection of yourself, your family, and your life, so it should take time to collect things that hold significance for you and fit your style and functional needs.

For us, our living room is intended to be our “grown-up space” but it still needs to be kiddo-friendly. For that reason I am trying to mix high and low and balance style and functionality.  The roll-arm sofa for example, is a quality piece from Lee Industries and is a classic style that will last for many many years.  On the other hand, the wool rug was a steal of a deal at less than $200 (60% off plus free shipping) from Rugs USA, so I don’t need to stress over toddler spills and doggy messes. As for the rest of the room….I’ll keep you updated on the progress…


Downton Abbey and English Sofas

So we hopped on the Downton Abbey bandwagon….and admittedly enjoyed the ride!  We just finished viewing Season 2 and can’t wait for the next season to start. I don’t know about you but I can’t tolerate watching TV series on TV anymore. Who wants to suffer through commercials and have to wait another week for further developments in the storyline?  Nope, not us!  We’re all about downloading/NetFlix in this household.  There is nothing better than settling in on a Friday night to watch 2-3 episodes back-to-back. Or maybe more like 3-4, or 5…

One more ramble before I move on. Is it just me or are there so many parallels between Downton Abbey and Gone With the Wind?  I mean, Come on! After almost every episode I drew comparisons. <Update> I decided to Google it and ha! I am not crazy. If you’re interested, you can read comparisons here, here, and here.

Anyway, to the point of today’s post – the English roll arm sofa.

Lee Industries


Ever since I spied this style sofa in the homes of Director Sofia Coppola and Designer Lauren Liess, I have grown increasingly fond of this sofa.

House & Garden and Pure Style Home

The tight back is awesome for a family with a toddler and dog (both of whom perpetually squish our current sofa cushions), it’s deep and can accommodate lots of throw cushions, and the low arms are perfect for napping.

Jenna Lyons via Domino and Ann Mashburn via Atlanta Homes

Now I’d LOVE to be daring enough to upholster one of these sofas in periwinkle, mossy green, sunny yellow, or hot pink, but when I do take the plunge I really can’t justify spending the big bucks on a colour I may tire of in a year.  So I will probably go with a durable charcoal grey cotton velvet, similar to this (but punch it up with some colourful pillows):

Hazardous Design

I am 95% certain I will purchase an English roll arm sofa from Lee Industries but the 5% of uncertainty comes from the size of our entryway door frame. The widest part of the sofa is 34″ and our doorway is 32″. After many diagrams and calculations, my better half has concluded he is “fairly certain” the sofa can make it into the house.  Is “fairly certain” enough to take the leap and order a custom sofa?

Abigail Ahern

Kristen Marie Photography via Apartment Therapy

While I sit on the fence, I’ve been waiting to see an English roll arm sofa on Downton Abbey. And pouring over photos on the web, praying that our home can one day be graced by one of these lovely sofas.

Lonng Mag

Who thinks I should take the plunge?


Room of the Week // Ultra Cool Living Room

It’s a new year!  Hello 2012 and everything you will bring!  I’m not making any drastic resolutions since it is going to be a busy year. But I am going to try to post twice a week.  Hold me to it, ok?

I’m bringing back my [room of the week] posts.  That’s me sharing my new favourite pics with you.

To kick off 2012, here is a living room that is totally doing it for me:



















Why? Gorgeous chandelier, huge amazing mirror, low marble coffee table, look at that molding!, interesting art (and placement), cozy area rug, and a cool yellow sofa (something I struggle with!).



(image: melanie acevedo)

living room project

This past week I finished an Inspiration Board for a young couple who recently moved into a little old home with tons of character.

Their living room is small but quaint with a central fireplace, built in bookshelves, and great hardwood floors.  We were starting 95% from scratch, as the only living room items that moved with them were a console table and a flat screen TV.  As newlyweds and young professionals, my clients wanted to invest in some quality furniture and accessories in a classic style that will grow with them over the years. 

Today, I am featuring their Inspiration Board and a couple ‘Before’ pictures. In a few weeks, I hope to have some great ‘After’ pictures to share with you.

And here is the space we’re working with:

Lighting is important! As you can see, there are no overhead fixtures and the front window faces West so there is no direct sunlight during the day. Comfortable seating is also important since they want to be able to entertain friends and family in this main room.  Luckily the lady of the house is an excellent sewer (she sews gorgeous quilts by hand!) so she will be making her own drapes and pillows; through a mixture of fabrics and pattern we’ll add a little life into this living room.  I am very excited to see the finished space. Stay tuned, I’ll share pics when I have them!

~If you need a little inspiration for your own home, please contact me, I’d love to help~

[room of the week] soho loft

This post started out as a [room of the week] feature, but after I saw a few more photographs of this reclaimed industrial loft, I couldn’t decide which one to show you.  From the pages of Elle Decor….

Isn’t it gorgeous?!



(images: photography by William Waldron, November 2010 Elle Decor)

white & bright week- reality check

I hope I’ve dazzled you all week with beautiful images of beautiful, bright, white spaces -so gorgeous and inspiring.

White expands the space, it creates the sense of having no boundaries. White makes a strong foundation.” (Vincente Wolfe)

White provides a gallery-like backdrop for you to display your art, it highlights architectural details, it reflects light to make a small room feel larger, it can unify an eclectic mix of furniture, and it provides an uncluttered look to calm a space.

But it is time for a reality check – Is white achievable for everyone?

Sadly, the answer is….no.

You may have noticed one common theme this week – most of the spaces had huge, un-adorned windows that provide tons of natural light.  If your space is lacking ample natural light, white walls may look downright dingy.

Do you have kids? Dogs? You may want to think twice about going all-white, as things are bound to get messy pretty quick. Still, if you are willing to give this look a try, think about using white materials that are easily cleaned – white tiles in the kitchen and bathroom, semi-gloss white on the walls,  white slipcovers over furniture, and good quality white bedding that can be bleached again and again.

If you want more advice on choosing the perfect white, check out this great post over at 10 Rooms: Getting White Right.

And in case you missed any of this week’s previous White & Bright posts, here are the links: white & bright [room of the week], white & bright: bedroom, white & bright: nurseries & kids rooms, white & bright: living room.  And a few other old favs: elements for the perfect white kitchen, more white kitchen inspiration.

(images: 1-dwellings, 2-one hour, 3-rue mag, 4-pinterest)

white & bright week- living rooms

In case you’re just joining in, this week I am featuring all that is white and bright.  White can suit any style, whether it be stark modern, shabby chic, elegant traditional, or an eclectic mix of old & new. White can also brighten a space and make a small room feel larger.  Personally, I like the fresh feeling a white room exudes.

Loving the high contrast between black and white. Not  to mention that rug and accent table!


White combined with pastels create a soft pretty look:


You might not guess, but this is IKEA:


Crisp and contemporary – love the painted brick wall and shelving flanking the fireplace:

Finally, the lovely white living room of Keri Russell (oh, how Felicity has grown up!):


(image: 1-rug mag 2-pinterest, 3-livet hemma, 4-house & home, 5-elle decor)

[room of the week] refined elegance

My March 2011 issue of Architectural Digest has sat on my bedside table for a month now (read weeks ago of course!). Today I asked myself, why had another mag, or book ,or receipt, or random piece of clutter not landed on top? Why have I kept that issue in clear sight?  The answer is the cover. What a gorgeous room. What a delicate palette. What refined taste.


(image: Architectural Digest, March 2011, design by Michael S. Smith)

[room of the week] fresh design for spring

Folks, I think its finally safe to say that spring is in the air.  Walking home from work today in the sunshine (yay daylight savings!), everything was starting to look  a little more fresh.  Even the 5 o’clock rays were giving off an energizing warmth.  In celebration of the sun, double-digit temperatures, and buds to come, here is a room full of fresh inspiration:

Loving the diffused light, soft hues, relaxed linen, and natural woods. And how about that floor lamp? Great design.

Room by Katie Leeds who is also featured in my post on “New Global” decor here.

[room of the week] a Victorian in Melbourne

I love Victorian row houses, especially in my beloved Summerhill neighbourhood.  But it can be really tough to decide where to place your furniture  in those narrow spaces.  Here is a casual but elegant living room by a couple of talented gals in Melbourne Australia. Placing a chaise where one room flows into the next is a great way to provide additional seating but maintain a visual sight line into the next living space.

(image: gardener & marks)