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Living room update before and after reveal


After almost three years of living in this space and implementing several minor changes, I'm finally getting the chance to unveil this living room before and after reveal. Although there are still some things I'd love to add and upgrade in the room (such as getting a larger and deeper sofa that is more conducive to television watching, placing a small lamp on the corner of the tv credenza, reupholstering our side chairs in an ochre shearling type fabric, and procuring ottomans to place in front of them), they are all minor additional updates that I can always share as I go along. As of now, I thought I'd still share the before and after of the room. We all know a home is never really done.

1980's construction is not known for homes with any notable characteristics. Thus, it makes it a challenge to renovate a home built in an era not particularly known for architectural charm, but I always find these types of projects to be a fun challenge since I'm passionate about transforming anything and everything from blase to beautiful. This particular project, unburdened by history or integrity (other than the cathedral ceilings and the step-down living room features) gave me plenty of reign to express my creative imagination.


My main objective was to freshen up this tired space, add some character and optimize its potential within a limited budget. First, I wanted to get rid of its 'vampire-den-like state' vibe by ditching the shutters on the windows and the nicotine colored walls that kept the room so dark. Once the living area was freed up by removing the shutters and giving the walls a good fresh coat of Farrow and Ball 'All White' paint, the tone of the room changed drastically. It immediately felt as if we added some extra square footage and let the room breathe and live again. It went from an ugly, crack-addicted duckling to a beautiful swan. Such simple changes seized upon with the addition of a few elements such as the reclaimed wood beams in the peak of the cathedral ceiling, the fireplace mantle, the natural woven shades, and the gallery tv wall have added charm and redefined the space – masking its rather insipid cookie-cutter coldness to create a warmer atmosphere. The architectural prowess of the aforementioned additions is complemented by painstaking meticulous curation of the right (most already owned) eclectic details with every item added thereafter, establishing connections, lending coherence to this space with past meets present. Unexpected details like the quirky accent pillow on the sofa to the distinctive decorative hand bowl hanging on the gallery wall add soul to the room. We're pleased with how we started with no character but by the end, we gave the room some specialness that it sorely lacked before - taking it from okay to really great.





It's not my forever dream home filled with all the exquisite details and furniture pieces that my mind imagines, however, it's a warm and cozy place where the hubby and I feel comforted especially during these critical times under this shelter-at-home, lockdown mandate. I grew up in a handful of houses, but they were never home (in other words, a place that felt safe, nurturing and protective), so as soon as I became an adult and could make my own choices, I've always made sure where I live isn't just a house, but a home...where I feel nurtured, comforted and happy! Even more so now, during these incredibly stressful times hard to deal with. 

Today, in our topsy-turvy world, I do realize that most of us are tightening our spending a bit until we figure out what's going on, right? But that doesn't mean you can't still make your space feel nurturing while spending much more time in it than usual. Think basic things like flowers or tiny plants on windowsills, clean shiny kitchen faucets/countertops, a favorite scented candle or wooden bowl filled with bright cheery citrus. All of these affordable items can make one feel good when you enter the kitchen or other rooms in the home for that matter. These are simple touches that can make a world of difference for our state of mind.

Pro Tip: When renovating or redecorating living rooms, a warm welcoming focal point, a generously proportioned sofa, soothing light, a few well-curated must-haves (preferably favorite pieces collected over time that you absolutely love), even simple things such as covering lampshades in a favorite textured textile, can add an airy feel and are the ingredients that will make your living room come alive in a truly relaxing way that speaks to your personal lifestyle. For instance, if you have the space, a fireplace makes an ideal focal point. It doesn't even have to be the conventional hearth and grate; a simple white-painted fire surround as used in our room offers the perfect area to fill it with a cluster of gently flickering candles for that added touch of hygge. 

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