Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Living Room Project

I'm delighted to share my client's living room in a historic 1918 cottage. Like all projects, this one is unique. I think this room turned out beautifully, and it shows that antiques can be relevant, young and versatile.

Earlier this year, Jen and Chris purchased a couple items from my shop. Then one thing led to another, and I started helping them with decorating. Sweet, right? First of all, they've been terrific - very patient plus open minded. Jen and Chris were ready to finish the living room fast, but it was important for me to understand how they live - for ex: formal entertaining vs chilling out, etc. Together we slowly worked on discovering their style, which is traditional to transitional. I wanted them to have a living room in which they felt comfortable entertaining their parents as well as friends their age.

Because this is an older cottage, the room is not expansive. Also, it doesn't get a lot of natural light. But, it does have a high ceiling, handsome staircase tucked to the side, charming millwork, and a casual vibe. Everything had already been painted, and they owned a pair of vintage camel-back sofas. I continued the neutral palette so the room could breathe. Tailored pieces were chosen for sophistication and timelessness. Antiques brought in character while accessories from West Elm, Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn, and Room & Board added that "current" look.

Let's check it out:
One of the first pieces I placed was this 1800s Swedish Gustavian chest from Tone on Tone. It provides needed storage and, being compact, doesn't get in the way. 
It's important to mix textures and finishes. I found this mid-century style lamp from Crate and Barrel and hoped Jen would approve. Not at first, but now she loves it :) Afterwards, I restyled the vignette using what she already owned: a print with vintage frame and marble bowl (handy for keys, etc).
Here is an overview of the living room. The room needed light so I selected the Reed pendant fixture from Circa - notice the clean, tailored lines. The metal coffee table is from Room & Board. It is narrow, and has a useful lower shelf. Plus it is reasonably priced.
The antique paintings and vintage sunburst mirror are from my shop.
Walls are painted in Benjamin Moore Hush - AF 95.
I chose a wool sisal style staircase runner with very narrow binding. It's installed about 3 inches from the sides (and cut out around the newel post) in the Hollywood style, which is tailored and bespoke. The big area rug is the same, but with a different binding. Larger area rugs do wonders for small spaces!
BELOW: Cool agate coasters from West Elm.
Anchoring the other side of the living room is a brick fireplace with an arched opening - very cottagey! The little drinks tables are from Pottery Barn. The antique giltwood mirror with heavily foxed mercury glass I found in France. 

The previous homeowner had the built-in cabinets installed. Over them is a pair of early 1800s carved wooden finials I brought back from Maine. The finials, with their crusty patina, make the cabinets look less new. Also, the cabinets now are more like pedestals.   
Old and new: Iron candelabra from Pottery Barn and 19th century painting from the Barbizon school, France. The scene in the painting reminds Jen and Chris of Upstate New York, where they vacation with family.
Botanical prints from Hugo Guinness - I selected frames resembling driftwood for an organic look.
Hope you have enjoyed seeing this project. 
Huge thanks to my awesome clients, Jen and Chris!!!
Loi

And for comparison, below is the room before. Excuse the mess... We were working :)

84 comments:

  1. The perfect mix of traditional and "current" - beautiful work (as always)!

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  2. I agree with Kris! Your clients must be thrilled...

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  3. A warm and inviting room! The 1800's carved wooden finials from Main look right at home on their new pedestals, adding a sophisticated touch to this already lovely and may I add soothing design. Fantastic! I wish I was your client. All the best, Rié

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    1. Loi, I came back to study your design, just can't get enough, and saw you added me to your favorite blog list! I am so thrilled and honored, thank you. xx Rié

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  4. Great job Loi! Very lovely room, perfect mix of old and new!
    Hugs from Belgrade,
    Vesna

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  5. This cottage is of the same vintage as our daughter's. You have made the living room look large and inviting. The contemporary tables make a great foil for your lovely Swedish antiques. The finials and starburst mirror are two of my favorites. Of course, I do appreciate your sensibilities in art as well. Thanks for sharing this project.

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  6. Hello Loi, This reminds me of a bungalow I lived in for a while in Cleveland, although though in that case we made no attempt to decorate beyond moving in and arranging the furniture. You really show the master's touch here--playing off the house's built-in features creates a real sense of harmony as well as continuity.
    --Jim

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  7. I love how this project organically evolved, from getting hired as a decorator (awesome!) to selecting perfect pieces of furniture that represent the homeowners' lifestyle. You are obviously, extremely talented, Loi. The way you mixed the old and new is just wonderful, and the black accents throughout the room really anchor the space. And those botanical prints with the driftwood frames (love!). I will have to come back here after the kids go to school so that I can stare at those beautiful photos! Have a great day xx

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  8. Gorgeous, Loi and I love the mix of new and old.

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  9. AF 95 is my bedroom color I love it! The room is classic yet so comfortable, great job!!!Love the layering!

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  10. wonderful job of mixing loi; that makes all the difference. Love the antiqued mirror especially. Donna

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  11. Hot Damn.....this is flipping gorgeous! You really show how beautiful antiques look great with some PB and WE things....love a good mix of high and low:) You are ah....mazing!

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  12. This room is absolutely stunning!!! I'm loving those huge finials from Maine...what a great statement they make!
    Mary Alice

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  13. So much comes to mind when I look at this living room... Crisp, elegant yet comfy, fresh, very versatile in terms of a neutral palette to play with as the seasons/holiday's come and go... wonderful job Loi.
    Fondly,
    -Lisa

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  14. This home is so beautiful and peaceful and inviting, but of course it is because you helped put it together!

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  15. I just love everything!!! So Beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

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  16. Hi Loi, I love the high/low mix. Those finials and the little chest are the perfect touches.
    Have a great week-end. xoxox Mary

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  17. So beautiful! I love the calm colors, they feel like a safe refuge in our tumultuous world. I always find something to emulate from your posts.
    Lots of hugs and good wishes,
    Liliana

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  18. Fabulous job!!! It's so pretty and distinctive...layered with personality and a fresh feel.

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  19. Loi,
    Beautifully successful room. You listened not only to the needs and desires of the homeowners but to the rooms potential. Past and present combine and wink at the future. Just perfect, love the mix of high with inexpensive, Loi the antique chest from Tone on Tone is gorgeous and I so love the antique ghosted mirror.
    Thanks for sharing,
    XO,
    Vera

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  20. There are so many things to love about what you did Loi! You really are a master. The finials on those built ins are the pies de resistance! Love it all!

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  21. Absolute perfection Loi! Your eye for mixing the old with the new, even the way the stair runner was laid to emphasize negative space! Love the wooden finials and the works of art, though small in scale are emphatic!

    xoxo
    Karena
    The Arts by Karena

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  22. Loi,
    Could you post the trim paint color and the black(?) used on the stairs?
    Thanks
    Diane

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    1. Yes, happy to share. It's 0029 black by Fine Paints of Europe.

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  23. Loi,
    The room is lovely. It's so inviting and yet has a sophistication that could handle the formal visit as well as a relaxed event with friends. You really are so talented. The wooden finials just make that wall stand out. So pretty.
    Karen

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  24. Just perfect for them!! Those finials....love!! franki

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  25. Dear Loi,

    Love your work, and the elegant simplicity of your point of view!

    Dean

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  26. Wow am I ever late to this enchanted party loi!!! I am at school and must rush off but I am enjoying seeing your gorgeous pieces in thid happy place. Much love, anita

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  27. What a fantastic makeover! Even though the space is small, the difference is huge - I'd love to come home to such a charming space!

    - Leslie
    Segreto Finishes

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  28. Your touch is more than evident Loi! You create precious, quite spaces full of charme and discreet luxury.
    Warm regards from here
    Olympia

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  29. Beautifully done, Loi! There is nothing I love more than a cottage and you have made this one so elegant and comfortable - and given me lots of good ideas!
    xo,
    Phyllis

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  30. Hello Loi,
    Love this project - and love that you have been able to mix old and new.
    Hope you have a lovely day,
    Liz x

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  31. Beautifully done Love the mix of old and new Such a calmness Well done and very lucky clients

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    1. Thanks, Spotted Robin. You must be a new visitor - welcome!!! Please come back often.

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  32. Loi, such a beautifully appointed room. Your work is impeccable and I loved that you mentioned working with how they live, that is so very important. You did not miss any point!!! Great job,
    Kathysue

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  33. I love everything you do, Loi, and this is no exception!
    Your client must be so pleased with the transformation.
    Thank you for sharing your inspiring project!

    xo
    Brooke

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    1. Thanks, Brooke! I will show them your book. I sold another Patina Style this week ;-)

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  34. another divine project loi which showcases your ability to mix high and low!
    this post in particular is close to my heart as i just began a dream, writing a book. my topic is exactly what you have done here with the blend. i will be back to you when i have some progress under my belt
    cheers!
    debra

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  35. Love the sofas. Who makes them?

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  36. Such a charming home and your choices make it shine! The homeowners must be thrilled with the results. Thanks for sharing the project with us, Loi!

    xo,
    Deborah

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  37. You would absolutely faint if YOU saw my house!I have stuff!Mine you all FAB STUFF........but a lot of it!
    This is pretty and fresh..............I would imagine the couple is thrilled!How wonderful a purchase turned into a decorating job!

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    1. Thanks! Yes, my clients are thrilled, as am I. They are really wonderful people.

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  38. Love the finials and the Hugo Guiness prints! And a very thoughtful design process Loi- how could anyone be comfortable in a room that wasn't representative of the way they really live? Well done as usual :) XO

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  39. That is a great transformation! Love the accessories you chose, and how simply you arranged the mantel and bookcases. Less is more!

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  40. What a change. Very calm and beautiful.

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  41. Hi Loi,
    This cottage reminds me sooo much of ours - gotta get you up to New Jersey for a visit next summer - I would so love to show it all to you!
    xox
    Jacqueline

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    1. Would love to see your place! Hope you are well and enjoying Doha!

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  42. Hi, Loi,

    I like your elegant transformation and think the cabinets transformed into pedestals for the urns is brilliant — nice job!

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  43. Loi, this room has got your magic touch all over it! They are lucky to have you on board, wish we were neighbors so I can see you at work and wallow in your store all day long!

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  44. Hi Loi, this clients room has your signature all over it. It's calm flow and natural patina of tone on tone, such a calming place to be.

    Beauty in all sense of the word.

    Xx
    Dore

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  45. Got in too quick yesterday! Have to add my thumbs up on this. It's fabulous ! It's attainable! You are the BEST!
    xo
    Patty

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  46. Great job, dear Loi! Airy and a clear line. And the black-and-white staircase as a "background feature" - simply perfect! Love it!
    Best wishes for a relaxed weekend and sunny greetings from the Périgord,
    karin

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  47. This is lovely.... Very cozy and yet not cluttered, but just perfectly styled!!!

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  48. Lovely, lovely! Just the right mix and touch and textures…. And, I am wondering if you can tell me/us the wool sisal name or manufacturer??? We are about to start the big redo of our main staircase and I'm looking for an understated wool. I love the sisal idea! Would you be willing to reveal??? Thanks!

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  49. I love everything you do and I love your store. I always try to stop in when I am in the neighborhood! I think you were right to keep those cabinets under the small windows. My sister's house has the same windows and they definitely present a decorating dilemma. I would also like to know the name of the wool sisal manufacturer if you could reveal ?

    Lynn

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    1. Dear Lynn and Libby - I checked and that wool sisal has been discontinued :( I'll see if I can find a close substitute and post about it in the future.

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    2. I can't find a wool sisal runner. Where can I find one?

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  50. Love it! Well done Loi. I like it that you installed the stair runner off the sides. It creates an effect that the runner has a black border. So nice. The place looks so classy, elegant and comfortable too.

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  51. Hi Loi...I could swear I had left you a comment...I love your work! You have a way of bringing simplicity and sophistication together to make a lovely room...

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  52. I must say that you never leave a thing undone, Loi! Just stunning!
    Teresa
    xoxo

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  53. Loi,
    How wonderful to understand your clients first and then best design the interiors as your eye sees things take shape. What a lovely tranquil space. They must love it and you too.
    pve

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  54. Hi Loi,
    Hi Loi, Sorry I'm so late to the party! What happens sometimes is that I look at the post on my phone, but hate writing it then because I can do it 20 times faster on my laptop. What a fabulous eclectic room! And here you prove that A] Gustavian Swedish goes with EVERYTHING and B] you don't have to spend a ton of $$$ to have great looking accessories. I sometimes use little tables and whatnot too and clients really appreciate it when looking out for their pocket book. As always, wonderful colors and superb design and attention to detail. Oh, BTW, I gave you a little shout out in my post about why I want people to "steal" my interior design photos. lol It's linked to my name. xoxo, L

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  55. Loi,
    This is an amazing room! I love how you explained your selection process. The results are breathe taking. I especially love the before photograph to get an overall understanding of what changed and how things started. The room is stunning!
    Susan

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  56. In a word AWESTRUCK. So beautiful.
    Di
    xoxo

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  57. It is stunning, Loi! Your attention to detail is amazing - your clients must be thrilled!!

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  58. I love sisal stair runners soo much. The room looks beautiful. Clean and crisp while still inviting. I love those sofas too. Even if they do look rather uncomfortable :).

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    1. Actually, the sofas are comfortable. The bench cushion is very plush and luxurious. Thanks, Stephen.

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  59. Hi Loi,

    You were so right to have taken your time, wanting to get a feel for the lifestyle of this beautiful cottage, and your persistence in patience proved to be perfection in the choice of furniture, accessories and styling of this project. Very pretty, calming and quaint.

    Happy Thursday!

    poppy

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  60. Loi, I think you did a great job! The balance between old and new is perfect. Not so much new that is feels like a showroom, and not so much old that it feel like a museum. There is so much to be inspired by. I think I may use that paint color.

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    1. If you end up using this paint color, please share with us - I'd love to know how you like it. Thanks!

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  61. Dear, dear Loi!!!

    How happy I was when I saw your comment today and to hear that your autumn is off to a great start! We too are witnessing the changing of the trees to bright red, orange and yellow. But funny thing is, it's WARM during the day! Whatever the weather is doing, I'm loving it!

    School is wonderful, Loi. Those kids are fabulous high schoolers that are funny, respectful (one is a bit of a challenge but he's a good kid) and I'm learning so much about secondary. But on the side, I'm writing and enjoying my home that I'm making more gray and white as I go! It's a joy to nest, isn't it!

    Much admiration, Anita

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  62. OMG Loi, this is wonderful. What a charming project. I can see all those Loi details and I love the high/low mix. I wish you lived closer and I'd get you to come help me edit this place. Haha. I feel so lost right now. Love all the details - the stair runner, those amazing finials, the little Pottery Barn tables (I always think those table legs look like little spider legs that are about to JUMP up!). I love those floral prints too. I saw the one on the left in an English magazine a while ago - they are familiar to me but I did not know the artist. Wonderful to see your work in this budget-conscious space. xo Terri

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  63. The cottage looks lovely! You did a good job on it Loi!

    Have a lovely day!

    Madelief x

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  64. I caught a glimpse of this gorgeous transformation on IG and loved it immediately! I love everything you do Loi and great choice on the sisal runner! Your styling skills are as always impeccable! xx

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    1. Thanks, Stacey! It was fun to share the preview on Instagram.

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  65. i love seeing the signature LT/ToT touch in any room and this is no exception. it looks beautiful and tailored and fresh! well done, you guys!

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  66. It's absolutely lovely but those finials have me green with envy. They are absolutely perfect in that space.

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  67. amazing realization, made by the artist!

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  68. I'm sure I may have missed this but where did you get that runner?! Thank you!

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  69. I'm also interested in finding out what brand the runner is. I love it! Thanks!

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  70. What a fabulous job! I love the rug..its exactly what I'm looking for for my living room...where did you get it?

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  71. Loi, what an amazing living room project that you created there. The wool carpet is what I found amusing because it's what my wife has been telling me about. The thing is, how would you do a carpet cleaning on that wool carpet and what type of carpet cleaners are recommended to use for that type of fabric?

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  72. What a beautiful wool carpet that you have there. I wonder though, how you would you do the carpet cleaning on hat rug? I myself have rug that's similar to that and it has me wondering how to clean the rug like that.

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Many thanks for your visit! If you have a question, please leave a comment and I will do my best to answer. Loi