Friday, April 19, 2013

House Tour - Week 1

I mentioned that I was making it my goal to share more photos of our (unfinished) home and I promised that each week I would share a new room with you and talk about my decorating plans. This week I picked the den.

Now I'm cheating a little because our den is probably the room that I've shared most on the blog. This is mostly because before we started our kitchen and bathroom remodel, it was the room that we did the most work on.  We started our den renovation back in March of 2012 (just a few short months after I started this blog) so I know a lot of you weren't following along then.  To get you up to speed here's a photo recap of what the room looked like when we moved in. 

Dated red brick fireplace

Textured plaster walls (and ceiling!) and interesting wainscoting

Dated brass wall sconces

Less than a year living in the house and we knew that we had to do something about this room...and that it required outside help.  We called in the contractors and began demo.

And we were ecstatic with the finished results.

And we lived with this room for almost a year before I conjured up new plans. A wall had to go.

So while the contractors were here working on our kitchen, bath and hallway, we had them take down this wall. And here's where we're at today:

Striper photo bombed almost every photo.  Pretend it's a game, "where's Striper?".  It's actually pretty hard since she blends in with the leather sofas.  

I'll be honest, even after the renovations, this room has never felt quite right to me.  I've rearranged the furniture countless times (both for aesthetics and comfort - it's placed in the "comfort" position now - best tv viewing angle) but things always feel a little "off."  We bought the leather sofas before I even knew I wanted to be a decorator.  That was back in my financial planning days, before I ever thought about doing an actual floor plan.  The other day I told you about Jake's "whatever you want, honey" attitude when it comes to decorating our house.  Well, there is one thing that he did have an opinion on and it was a very strong opinion.  He wanted dark leather sofas for the den.  I caved.  We went to Ethan Allen and spent a good portion of his bonus on these two bad boys so I'm afraid they'll be lifers.  They're not my favorite by any means, but they are a great piece of furniture.  I'm trying to figure out ways to decorate around them because slipcovered PB sofas would be my ideal in here.  Although, the leather definitely works better with a black dog that sheds 1000 hairs per minute.  But I'm on a tangent. The point I'm trying to make is that if I could do it again, I probably wouldn't pick the same furniture, but it's what we got.  

There are a few things that I definitely want/need to do that I think will help make this room feel a little more cohesive.

1. Paint this corner cabinet white. I bought it for its dimensions and ability to hide the tangle of tv and cable cords behind it.  The color wasn't right when I bought it and I knew it.  It came in off-white so now I'm kicking myself I didn't just buy that color instead.  #liveandlearn.

2.  DIY a large world map for this space above the couch.  This project has been on my to-do list for quite some time so I just need to do it.  Jake and I travel a lot so I thought it'd be fun to pin on a map the places we've been and want to go.  I like the idea of having it in the den (a place where our friends and family congregate) because it's a cool conversation piece.
PS: that side table was totally serving as a nightstand in the guest bedroom just before I took this photo.  I told you I can't get this room right!

3. Flank the fireplace with something whether it be bookshelves, pictures, or mirrors.  Originally  I wanted to do built-ins, but nixed the idea after I realized we'd have to move the baseboard heater to the right.  Also, the fireplace isn't centered on that wall which is an added challenge.  We also have to contend with all of the outlets for our entertainment center that are along the left side.  I've bought and returned pictures and mirrors that I thought would look nice, but everything just looks a little odd.  My next dream is to add windows on either side.  I think they would balance the fireplace beautifully and I wouldn't complain about more natural light.  The only (big) issue is cost.  Installing new windows would be expensive.  Jake might also have an opinion about that.

4.  Replace these little boxwoods flanking the TV with something a little larger/taller.  They look so small up there. :)

5.  Work on a vignette for this table.  I threw one together in about 10 minutes so I could take pictures, but it's not cutting the cake.

6.  Replace or rehab this Target pleather ottoman.  It's seen better days and I'm overdosing on leather.

7. Swap out this persian style PB rug for something a little more modern.  I'd love to go with a large scale graphic print.  I don't think this will be happening anytime soon because (as you know), wool rugs from PB are expensive and this one was no exception.  Again, I bought it in my financial planning days when I was just happy that I could finally afford something from PB.  I didn't give much thought to the overall design of the room at the time.   I do love the colors in this rug though and it hides stains beautifully.  With 2 dogs, this has been tested.  I also love it a little more now that it finally stopped shedding.

So there you have it - week 1 of my house tour.  If you have any suggestions for this room, I'd love to hear them!  I find it so much easier helping people decorate their homes than I do decorating my own.  There's something about being in the same space every day that makes me never satisfied with how things look.  Do you guys suffer from that same problem?  Hope y'all have a great weekend!

Catch up on my other house tour posts here!


  1. Looks beautiful! I can't wait to see more as you tweak everything!

  2. I am a wood type of gal so other than not painting the corner cabinet, I love your ideas for the rest of the room.

    1. Thanks for your input! I wouldn't mind not painting the cabinet - would certainly be less work! We'll see!

  3. What a beautiful transformation! I just love your fireplace! I didn't realize you were a financial planner before. How cool that you made the big switch!!

  4. Just stumbled across your site after seeing your beautiful bathroom transformation on I absolutely love this living room. I, too, have dark leather couches and find them quite difficult to decorate around. I love your choices in this room. It has a nice mix of leather, wood and metal with plenty of soft touches. I'm totally pinning it for inspiration.

    As for your furniture placement issue, I think the problem is that the smaller couch is blocking the flow of traffic. It is smack dab in the middle of the pathway between the two doorways. You should try switching it with the console table you have on the half wall. It'll give the room a better flow and balance, and you'll still have a spot for your map art. Just a thought :)

    1. Hi there! Thanks for stopping by and for your kind feedback on the living room. I think you hit it spot on with your comment about the couch placement. We actually did have the smaller sofa where you suggested, but it wasn't the best spot for TV watching. Our TV is mounted pretty high so it's easy to get a kink in the neck. I might switch it back though because I do think the room looked a lot better arranged that way. Thanks!

  5. I have the exact same conversation with myself about leather couches. My husband had some prior to us being together and they are insanely good quality and so I'm stuck with them as well. He airs on traditional while I'm contemporary so we've had some struggles there. But ultimately I do think that they are stain resistant (I have a newborn) and a shedding dog. They are classic so I think they hold up where change is concerned and I've learned to just keep everything else around them light! light! light! :)


  6. Where did you get the tile to reface the fireplace? Nice choice.

    1. Hi there! Thanks :) It's a tumbled travertine tile from a local tile store.

  7. Your house looks so lovely! Do you know the color of the paint you used? I would love to use a similar color in my living room. Thanks!

  8. Beautiful! What color paint did you use? I would love to use something similar in my living room (I also have leather couches). Thanks

  9. Hey, have you considered a FLOR rug? They are super fun to design and put together and definitely have a more modern feel. Plus if you change your mind about it later, the squares could easily get repurposed for a different room. We love ours even with millions of Golden Retriever hairs to vacuum off of it :)


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