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Lively Living

Photography by Roberto Caruso

Posted on Aug 20, 2013

How I achieved a family-friendly living room in a small space without sacrificing style.
Lively Living
Lively Living
I moved into a new home just over 3 years ago. When my husband and I exchanged vows, I assumed my constant need to redecorate would be 'better', whereas he sees it as 'worse'. My solution... use what I had, reupholster, find a bargain along the way and I am happy to say we now have a main floor living room that is a constant draw for family and friends alike. A mix of high/low ensures that nothing is precious and when my 'Imari' inspired bowl is used as a Barbie bathtub, I roll with it.
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A Little Inspiration

Every project has to begin with that one inspiration... for me, it was a Lee Jofa polka dot fabric that I literally carried around with me for 2 years.  When I finally committed, I realized it had to be love and I went bold! 12 yards was quickly ordered up for draperies and accent pillows. 

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All in the Details

A good sofa should last a lifetime and this is my 3rd time recovering this one! This time a natural linen was dressed up with an antique brass nailhead. A little touch of "trad" in an otherwise transitional space.

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Statement Pieces

A vintage bar cart serves up design inspiration, and one roll of grasscloth makes a statement on my chimney breast without breaking the bank.

A collection of vintage and new accessories add warmth and whimsy.  I am always on the hunt for interesting finds and saw the trio of brass twist candle sticks in a junk store for next to nothing, I snapped them up as when the projected ended, there was very little money left to accessorize!

Sources: Chair, Sarah Richardson Design (www.sarahrichardsondesign.com). Chair fabric (Fuji Moderne/Beige GWF-2816/16), Lee Jofa (www.leejofa.com). Accent pillow fabric (LJ Jaipur Paisley/Multi 990004/519), Lee Jofa (www.leejofa.com). Bar cart, Chair Table Lamp (www.chairtablelamp.com). Brass candle sticks, Green's Antiques (www.greensantiques.ca).  Fire tools, Of Things Past (www.ofthingspast.com).

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Seating Plan

When planning the layout of this room, I didn't care that one chair straddled the door frame, this configuration in a corner allowed an optimal seating group, with footstool, directly across from the fire.

Sources:  Chairs, Sarah Richardson Design (www.sarahrichardsondesign.com). Chair fabrics, Designer Fabrics (www.designerfabrics.ca). Stool, Sarah Richardson Design (www.sarahrichardsondesign.com). Fabric for stool, (LJ Jaipur Paisley/Multi 990004/519), Lee Jofa (www.leejofa.com). Side Table, Elte (www.elte.com). Lamp, Around The Block (www.aroundtheblock.com). Pillow fabric (Twister Print/Sky/Tang GWF-2735/512), Lee Jofa (www.leejofa.com)

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Mix It Up

I have NEVER been afraid of colour but, one has to know when to stop.  I chose a very soft, buttery cream for my walls and the crown is flat un-tinted white to highlight the soft sky blue on the ceiling.

Sources: Drapery fabric (Twister Print/Sky/Tang GWF-2735/512), Lee Jofa (www.leejofa.com). Drapery hardware, Designer Fabrics (www.designerfabrics.ca).

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This rug has travelled through time with me and lived to tell a number of tales. It was an investment piece bought for our first home, and will likely be around for a few more interpretations over the years. It's a semi-antique Iranian carpet, yet the colour palette reads as light and lively. Best of all, it's durable and family friendly, and adds another layer of pattern to the mix. 

Sources: Rug, Elte (www.elte.com).

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Side Tables

The end tables were inexpensive rustic textured cubes. Since I've never beed known as colour-shy, I opted to liven them up a bit by spraying them a soft red colour. High gloss lacquer makes them durable and easy to care for, and the fun colour guarantees that no one will think my home is too stuffy or serious, and that's the way I like it! 

Sources: Coffee table, Vintage Fine Objects (www.vintagefineobjects.com). Bowl, Around The Block (www.aroundtheblock.com).  Sofa, Sarah Richardson Design (www.sarahrichardsondesign.com). Sofa fabric, Designer Fabrics (www.designerfabrics.ca). Accent pillow fabric (Kashmiri Linen Print 700020), Lee Jofa (www.leejofa.com). Accent pillow fabric (blue mohair), Designer Fabrics (www.designerfabrics.ca). Lamps, Martha Sturdy (www.sturdyliving.com). Side tables, Urban Barn (www.urbanbarn.com).

Paint Scheme

Building a Scheme

This Lee Jofa paisley (Jaipur Paisley/Multi) immediately felt right with the polka dot fabric and I decided my main floor was going to be barn red/blue/cream with a few yellow hits. 

Knowing this was to be a hub for 2 kids, 1 dog, 2 adults and plenty of guests, I decide to layer pattern and colour for an easygoing easy living result. The wilder and bolder, the better so you can forgive and forget with regard to spills! Don't be afraid to mix a polka dot with a paisley with a print - as long as there is a common denominator in the colour palette of the fabrics, they will make an interesting statement (the red, blue, cream and gold were similar in all the fabrics I used).  

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Contrast Piping

I went practical on these 2 chairs and used a deep blue velvet that hides the sins and spills of everyday life with kids. Keep in mind that practical doesn't have to be boring! By adding a contrast pipe, my basic blue chairs went from ho-hum to hello gorgeous! Contrast pipe highlights the gently sweepings arms of this elegant chair (and I saved some $ by using the leftover linen from the sofa).

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The kids always refer to these furnishings as "Mommy's sofa" or "Mommy's pillows", but I feel that I achieved the warm, welcoming and comfortable yet chic family room I was after... 

Don't let a small space and even smaller budget scare you; make a plan, trust your gut, do what you love and most importantly, enjoy the process.