Monday, January 11, 2010

Designer's Challenge

We are getting a new couch, soon to arrive. I could not be happier. One day I looked at our old, faded, torn sectional and thought "Really?" How long has it been this bad? We have owned it for at least 8 years. It's time.

My husband agreed and we ordered this:
It was by far my favorite option and in our price range. I picked a sectional again because it seems to fit our room better than any other arrangement. The furniture must face the fireplace, windows and tv cabinet, all at the same time. This is not a fancy or occasionally used room. This is where we gather. This is where we watch tv. This is where we hang out. Sectional it is.

Here are a few options for coffee tables. I want something fabric - linen is my leaning. What I have in mind is a tufted linen ottoman with wooden legs. This is all I could find, so far.


(Ballard Designs)


This is where I turn for help. My biggest challenge in this room is the sheer size of it. Two stories high. I say it like it's a bad thing.

Problem#1- Fireplace. I have struggled for as long as I have lived in the house as to what to put above the fireplace. What ever it is, it needs to be large scale.

This is the other side of the room. Beautiful windows. Again, large scale.

Just to give you the full perspective, this is the other side of the room.

Problem #2- This wall: What to put on the wall opposite the windows?

The sectional is not against the wall. Nor is there room far a table of any sort. So anything I put on the wall seems to look like it is floating.

So here are a couple of options I have thought of:

Option 1- Large framed grouping that almost go to the floor. These frames are maps of NYC I believe.
(Image via Pottery Barn)

Option 2- What about a (narrow depth but) tall and wide book case? I think we could have this built inexpensively and painted to match the built-ins around the fireplace.
(Pottery Barn)

Option 3- You have to use your imagination for this because I don't have any exact pictures of it just some to give you the idea. How do you think 3 large linen peg boards would look on this wall? This picture is from the apartment in the movie the Break-Up.

(Image via Hooked on Houses)

Here are images of the linen peg boards from Pottery barn.
(Pottery Barn)

(Pottery Barn)

And someone using it in real life:

(Image via Design Mom)

Anyone who can help me solve these problems get a thousand bonus points and a friend for life. (And I am a pretty fantastic friend, so that's really saying something.) Please forward this on to anyone you know and love who is remotely design savvy. Post a comment or email me carieskinner at yahoo dot com.


justjen said...

Hi there friend, I have a few thoughts for you... the linen peg boards are SO you...go for it! you will do amazing things with the space I am certain... I think you should add the bookshelves to the tops of the cabinets on either side of the fireplace, essentially building on to them, bringing it up to the height of the windows on the other wall. Then there isn't so much pressure on the space directly above fireplace to fill the entire wall. you wouldn't have to go too big, but I would say check Home Goods for a cool really big mirror. It will open the space and reflect the light from all those gorgeous windows... Linen, especially light in a room so heavily used scares me terribly but it looks fantastic. We ended up with one that has wood legs leather sides and fabric top. In fact while our main room has a TON of similar issues with me if you want a few more thoughts...

Meredith said...

Because I love pictures, I would go with a large family portrait over the fireplace. I just love that.

And the wall with the too small picture, I'd also go for a large collage of pictures.

I wouldn't do the bookcases, as neat as they are, just because you would lose some room, and I just wonder where would they start? Where would they end? Would it really look smooth on that wall?

I like the peg board idea, which I'm really seriously considering in the boys' room thanks to you! My only concern is I would worry about it getting cluttered...but knowing you, that would never happen! You would make it look great, with whatever you put on it! And I agree that it is definitely *you*! :)

Meredith said...

Oh, and I just thought of something...

We have a huge oil painting on canvas that we bought, and still haven't put up anywhere. It still needs to be stretched onto a frame or something. I'm considering selling it, because I just don't know where we'd put it.

But it's a Venice picture, with all browns and taupes, etc. I think it would be perfect for your home. If you want to look at it, let me know!

heidi said...

i love the large NYC pictures. it resonates with me. you could totes make is a family theme. KC maps, seattle pictures, california ocean pictures, old timey family photos. that's my vote. perhaps a picture of your fave j.crew location...

Jessica said...

1st off- I love the couch! Very classy and timeless. I love that room- it is fantastic. I think that a huge stretched canvas in sepia of your family would be beautiful above the fireplace- especially since it is where you will be meeting there together with those special people for many years. I would be a nice reminder of who is most important- each other. A big mirror would be pretty up there too, but not as personal. The Big Wall along the back side of the couch is a great wall. I think if you need any type of storage that would be a nice huge place to put those shallow shelve with angled edges so it wouldn't look bulky sticking out, or if you don't want something as permanent- anything big like the map or stretched linen would be good. If your like me and get bored with decorations you could get both and then just switch them every once in a while. But I think I vote for the shelves.

Lynn and Sharon Dickson said...

Carie, I just want to say I think you are amazing, fun and beautiful in all that matters. And YES I can say you would be a great friend to anyone who gets to know you. Wish I had the talent of putting together ideas like you do to decorate; thank goodness I have two daughters who do that for me. Janice sure had a great time getting to be with you for a short time while here to see us in Nauvoo. Love you, "Aunt" Sharon.

laura said...

Real quick. Your house is fantastic and it's an absolute joke that I would be giving YOU design advice. Anyway, I do have one opinion.
Above the fireplace, I like the idea of a circle or an oval- could be a mirror, clock, one of those metal pieces of art. That room has a ton of hard angles, lots of squares and rectangles(windows, bookshelves, even the new GORGEOUS couch)- I think a circle would look good there to mix things up.

MissRochelle said...

Opinion? Of course I have an opinion. No bookcase, framed family photo collage for sure.

As for your fireplace, you have to do something big, and long. My vote is something 3D. I'd do an antique canoe or something- that'd be so cool...

Love the couch. But good luck standing pillows up on it. Dang slick, beautiful leather.

Marv and Ellen said...

My vote above the fireplace is a massive framed out mirror that takes up the entire space. Take out the ceiling fans/lights and put in a gigantic antler chandelier. Warm up the room with some white polar bear skin rugs. Can you tell I'm dreaming of the Pacific Northwest??

Marv and Ellen said...

Okay, I'm not design savvy, but I always have lots of ideas. Here's another one: instead of an ottoman, what about a massive stone and wood coffee table that has a stone slab top to reflect the stones in your fireplace? Those things are virtually indestructible.

Meredith said...

I just remembered these links that I found, because I plan on making some linen peg boards for the boys' room sometime in the near future. I thought I'd share them with you!

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