Jan 14, 2009

Ashley Furniture as seen in Vickie's home -- Kirkwood, Missouri

I worked with Vickie at Ashley Furniture Homestore in Kirkwood, Missouri to create a new look for her family room. Vickie wanted Ashley Furniture's curved sectional, but was unsure how it would work in her room. We drew her space in quarter inch scale and played with templates of desired furnishings to find options that worked.

Vickie's idea was to tuck the sectional into her bay window. However, we discovered that would not work because the sofa is slightly bigger than the window. We felt such a placement direct and center in the bay window would accentuate that it is not an exact fit.

To solve this dilemma I suggested that rather than placing the sectional centered to the bay window, have it follow the curve of the window and come out slightly in the entrance from the kitchen.

This also opened up an area by the fireplace to place the Jenna club chair. The Jenna chair in greens, reds and tan stripes works perfectly to bridge her tan curved sofa and existing red rug.

Vickie centered the arrangement to the Marion round coffee table, also bought at Ashley Furniture Homestore, that provides four stools to rest feet or additional seats!

Vickie loves the look and sent me photos. She also called me to order another Jenna club chair to replace the rocker. She feels the new furniture is a larger scale from her old furnishings and so the cherished family rocker does not work in this space. She'll find another place for it.

Scale and proportion are something you learn by experimenting with furniture arrangements.

Vickie looks forward to flanking the fireplace with the Jenna chairs and the color and pop that will provide. I can hardly wait to see the result.

Send more photos, Vickie!

Vickie asked me to draw on her photos to give additional ideas to complete her rooms. You can follow along and feel free to add your comments too!

(Click on photos to enlarge as needed.)

My son Alex saw this photo and said, "Mom, what more can you do to this room? It looks great!" Well, Alex is right. Vickie's family room is warm and inviting and the pops of red really draw the eye.

But not holding anything back, here are a few ideas Vickie might consider:

If you have the floor space, how about a small chest, small bookcase or occasional table behind the sofa to hold a lamp, picture frames or decorative boxes? It will provide interest to an otherwise boring backside of the sofa. Exposed backsides of sofas create walls...dress them up like you do a wall with furnishings, tables and plants!

If floor space does not permit an occasional piece behind the sofa, consider a red or green throw slung over the backside and puddling down over the seat. A small plant in the backside curve of the sofa might also look nice.

Facing the fireplace now, I'd like to see the pie safe moved to the adjoining wall on the right to let the fireplace stand on its own. I feel the pie safe is competing for attention with the fireplace, especially without a comparable weighty piece on the opposite side. The pie safe in the present position makes the eye and room lean to the right.

Consider grouping the clock with the two plates. The plates look a bit lonely. The eye is drawn to odd numbers, especially items clustered in threes.

Also, start the arrangement six inches above the chair. If you don't want to move the pie safe, the placement of the clock with the plates might provide the balance that is needed for the fireplace wall. Experiment and see what looks good to you!

You have fun Christmas decorations.I don't know what you do year round to decorate your mantel, but because it is high, a low and long treatment is needed.

If a mirror is desired, most standard sizes won't fit. However, I have found that long closet mirrors hung horizontally make a statement above high mantels with limited headroom. I am not suggesting the typical cheap plastic kind, but rather ones found in attractive frames. We have a few at Ashley Furniture Homestore in Kirkwood, MO at our famous low prices. Come on in and I'll show you an example!

I put this photo in black and white because it is easier to see my drawing.

You wanted new window treatments. I think panels hung on weighty rods (consider minimum 2" rods in white, black or medium wood finish like your mantel) will give you the scale you need to balance the windows with the weighty sectional. These can be found at any big box. Consider green or tan colors for the panels.

I suggest you continue this same treatment in the kitchen to provide continuity. Replace your verical blinds in the kitchen for an up-to-date look.

You might replace the lamp on the left with a slimmer arm slung reading lamp so it will not compete with the window treatments behind.

The lamp on the right can be brought forward to hug the chair. And if the shade can be lowered, bring it down below the mantel and hug the top of the chair by a foot length. This allows the strong mantel to make a statement on its own and gives the eye several interesting levels to observe along that wall. It also will give added weight to the chair and make it a more cozy and funtional space for reading.

I drew a circle around the speaker with an arrow pointing down. Is there a way to hide the speakers behind the sofa or attach them to the wall in an inconspicuous place? I suggest a plant in front of the other speaker. It fills the space nicely and softens the side of the sofa.

We have a lot of tall, dried and fake flowers and sticks at Ashley Furniture Homestore in Kirkwood, MO. to fill that fantastic red vase.

Peeking through to the living room now, what a wonderful green color on the walls!

How about the same or similar window panel treatments for this room as suggested for the family room? It will tie the two rooms together.

I wonder how the rocking chair would look in place of the Christmas tree. I know it adds red to the room that is primarily greens and creams. But how about an area rug with hints of red to link the chair and the family room? The rug will anchor the furnishings in the room. Consider, also, recovering the rocking chair fabric in a style and color that ties to the room?

A lot of people don't think to put an area rug on top of carpet, but it really works great to anchor the space and tie furnishings together, not to mention how it prevents wear on your carpet!

You might bring your cushions from the chair and sofa to the store and we can find a rug to coordinate!

Consider red and green throw pillows on the cream sofa to break it up visually and link to the reds in the family room.

On the wall, consider a three inch wide red or tan ribbon behind the small pictures to link them together. It will make a statement and add color.

Try anchoring the large wall hanging to the sofa by bringing it down six inches above the sofa. If the space above then looks blank, hang a floral spray, small mirror or picture to fill the negative space.

Coming forward into the family room now, if you leave the clock on that wall, bring it down a bit to visually make contact with the new Jenna chair, again use the six inch guideline.

What a loved and cherished space with many meaningful family items. Vickie, you should be proud! Keep decorating... and have fun!

If you would like your space evaluated as I have done for Vickie, send photos with your questions to: dana@danasdesignstudio.com . For a limited time I will offer this service for FREE! A $75 value.


Whitney said...

This is really, really cool!

Can we do this as one of the prizes in the Resolutionary Challenge (e.g. would you be willing to donate)?

cozy at home said...

What a great post Dana. I think all of your ideas are great. What a beautiful home! I'd love to see the photos once all your ideas are implemented.

Team House # 5 said...

Vickie emailed me and said I could post her comments:

Hi, Dana.
Thanks for the suggestions. I’ve already been out shopping today ready to make a couple of changes. I wanted to send you a couple of pictures without the Christmas decorations, but for some reason my digital just stopped working. May just need new batteries. I’ll send some once I get a camera that works.
Lindsay and I tried moving the pie safe to the short wall. It just didn’t look right there. I think because the TV cabinet in on the other short wall, it looked like all the heavy cabinets were lined up on the two partial walls. I do think that you’re correct in that there needs to be something “heavier” on the other side of the fireplace. I’ve always thought it looked off balance. I’m thinking of just taking down the small plates and putting up a heavier piece. In fact, today I ran across a black metal hanging that’s an outline of a pot with leafy vines growing up out of it. It’s fairly large and will take up the space on the wall behind the chair. I also like the idea of finding a tall plant for that corner behind the chair to soften the corner. I’m looking for a new floor lamp there also. I think the tall one that is there now will work in my sunroom. I did find an adjustable reading lamp for behind the couch, and will look for a plant to sit behind the couch with it. I don’t think there is room for a table behind the couch.
Since our sunroom was added to the house we don’t really ever pull the vertical blinds on the kitchen sliding doors. I think we may just take them down and leave it open with just the wood trim showing around it. I like the idea of panels at the sides of the bay window. What about a flatter valance across the window with the panels, though? I have pleated shades that pull up under the valance we have now. We really need them to block the morning sun in the summer and they help keep the room warmer in the winter when we lower them at night. We did take your suggestion and put a couple of can lights on the floor behind the couch. The lighting looks nice at night. (We used a timer so we don’t have to crawl back behind the couch to turn them on each night.) Again, I’ll send a picture when I can.
I liked the idea of a ribbon behind the stacked pictures in the living room. I do think I’ll lower the shadow box over the couch in there and find something to hang above it…. maybe a small half mirror??? Lindsay already found a couple of red pillows to throw on the couch in there. I hadn’t thought about a small rug in the living room. I may play around with that idea.
I’ll keep you posted. Feel free to post my comments on the blog if you like.
Take care,