Saturday, April 23, 2011

Decisions, Decisions

My push to finish my own formal living and dining rooms is in full swing. The rooms take the usual positions on either side of the foyer, and both are painted one of my favorite colors--Sherwin Williams Pearl Gray. I've previously blogged about some of the great finds that I've landed for these rooms--the $200 mirrored chest, the $75 end tables, the $300 table, and the $150 chandelier. And I've shared my transformation of some inherited tables.

The biggest thing I've struggled to find for these two rooms is art. The formal living room has our piano in it, so I really hoped to find an abstract piece that had some sort of musical theme. I played with doing a gallery wall of framed sheet music, or a grouping of beautifully matted labels from old player-piano rolls. I tossed around the idea of a gorgeous mirror flanked by sconces. Some of these ideas may still come to fruition on a smaller scale, but after purchasing two pieces at an auction for the dining room, and finding an absolutely perfect abstract for the living room, I am feeling much better about the art situation for these rooms.

The perfect abstract for the living room!

Similarly, I struggled with what to do on the windows. Initially, I wanted imperial trellis drapes, but the cost was really outside of what I wanted to spend. And after finding a close facsimile for my study, I scratched them off the list altogether. I thought of a black and white stripe, considered a black and white damask, and even thought of doing a textured linen in a color to match the walls. Ultimately, I've decided to do an almost-white roman shade with black ribbon trim (I did a trial run of this technique in my guest bathroom--the how to can be seen HERE) and black silk panels with either a plain almost-white ribbon detail on the edge, or I may dress it up and do a Greek key border. Very simple and elegant solution, and since I'm just adding embellishments to off-the-rack drapes, very cost-effective.

But the drapery decision means that neither of the rooms have ANY pattern. I'm not opposed to this, as some of my favorite spaces right now are very simple and devoid of pattern, but these rooms needed a little life. And, so, I had to decide on some fabrics to use as accents. We need  host chairs, and having had no luck in finding any, I've resigned myself to the fact that they'll probably just have to be custom made. Luckily, the upholsterer I use has a great source for chair frames, so "custom" doesn't mean "outrageous." I also want to get an arm chair for the living room--something along the lines of a Martha Washington chair but with straighter lines.

So these three as-yet-unbought chairs will provide some much-needed life to these rooms. And the throw pillows. Let's not forget the ever-important throw pillows. I pulled various sized pillows from all around the house (I have a bit of a pillow fetish, so chances are there is a pillow of every possible size lying on a guest bed or sitting in the corner of a sofa somewhere here.) Ultimately, I decided on two 22 inch pillows for the sofa, and a total of 4 14" x 18" "kidney" pillows--two for the sofa, and one for each of the living room chairs (including the as-yet-bought accent chair.)

Off to the fabric shop I went. I came home with samples no less than five times. Crisp geometrics, fun suzanis, traditional damasks, an ikat or two, stripes, flamestitches, houndstooths, and there was even a polka-dot that caught my eye.

In the end, I narrowed it down to these choices:

But even once I'd narrowed that pool down, there were decisions on the trim. There are, of course, 7.8 million possible fringes, cordings, braids, and tassels to choose from. (Number is approximate). I wrung my hands, looked to the guidance of my seamstress, and did my "fabric dance" (laying the possibilities out, studying them carefully, then walking away for a few minutes.) But, the decision is made. The fabric is bought, and the seamstress is happily spending her Easter weekend putting them together. These six pillows, with their carefully thought out trim, cost more than any of the other "steals" for these two rooms. That's right--the pillows cost more than the dining room table, more than the cocktail tables, and more than the substantial mirrored chest. But, that's ok. I saved on those things so I could splurge on these, and, really, when I divide the cost out among six pillows, it seems quite reasonable. It occurred to me that most folks probably have a similar philosophy--there are certain things they simply MUST splurge on.

So next week the new art will be hung, the new pillows in place, and I'll provide a sneak-peak at the living room. I'm three chairs and eight panels of drapery away from a full unveiling.

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  1. I love your fabric selection...and very hard to chose, I'm sure...they're all great!...and I agree, there are certain things one must splurge on...fabrics and trim/fringe are it for me!!!.. everything else can be thrifted... :)

  2. I've found that, in the company of gorgeous drapes and beautifully trimmed pillows, even the most timeworn "junk" can look fabulous! And of all the things I've bought over the years, I never tire of my custom pillows and window treatments.