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What would you do Wednesday…. help a reader and give your design advice……..

Through my time blogging, I’ve received e-mails from people looking for decorating/design help. Which I always think it is always incredibly flattering because half the time I look around my own home with complete discontent.
Linda e-mailed me a few weeks again looking for some help for her home. I think she is like a lot of us and kind of knows what she wants to do, but just gets stuck, and needs that push.She asked for my advice, but you are all so talented! I asked her if she minded if I posted her pictures and YOU helped her out!
Here’s what she has to say about her space and what she hopes to do:
I have a 26 year old split entry that we built, and of course my style has changed. May I ask for some advice? I painted  cabinets and changing up kitchen I have no idea what to put on buffet, how to do the LR because rooms are connected. 
I love your style, I like french country, and I like the pottery barn look,  I ‘m not a real fan of country. I need ideas for buffet of what to display on top but keeping it simple. Also centerpiece for table. Any suggestions for LR drapery? I know the bench is out of place in kitchen But my granddaughter watches TV there , what can I say?”
Here’s what she already has planned and has done a few things to update her space;
I removed old wallpaper on two walls and ordered and placed new paper already. I am not a big fan of paper but I ruined walls from previous papering. I hope it looks o.k. we will be placing crown molding in next few weeks. 
 I am a very casual but fussy person I like nice things but we live in our home . Please help me make it a better place. I thank you for all the time you have given to me!”
So here are the rules!
Linda needs constructive criticism. Every comment should be in the spirit of helping and kindness. Any mean comments will be deleted
What do you honestly think she can do to make her space more like the styles she wants to achieve? Colors, furniture placement,accessories? What is good that she has, what should she keep, what could be replaced or painted? Let’s take a look at her main floor.

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  1. The first step i would take is painting the rooms. I think a soft grey throughout would add wonderful contrast with your white trim. I would also finish painting the railing and spindles. Your major furniture piece will look great with a grey paint as well. Recovering your dining chairs and adding a reclaimed kitchen island with comfy bar stools will still leave a spot for your granddaughter. A fun printed fabric from JoAnn’s would make simple and affordable curtains. This would help you select accent colors as well. You could carry the print into the dining room as well. Good luck.

  2. First thing I might do, is take down the TV in the kitchen, also move the bench elsewhere. A cute little island would look good in it’s place. Maybe put some open shelves and put pretty bowls and dishes on display above the buffet. The living room needs curtains hung higher than the window to make the window seem larger. The dresser for the TV is too small, would replace it with a larger dresser. Hunt on CL you can find something really cheap. Also balance out the wall above the tv with some more artwork, remove the little bench on the wall and maybe do a gallery wall with family photos etc.
    Your home is lovely, this is all said with a helpful tone 🙂

  3. what a gorgeous home! I would change the kitchen cupboard handles, the black seems to distract from the beautiful white,,, they seem sort of dated

  4. Play!! is my advise. Move things around try things that you may think may not work, sometimes they do. I would first try to move the couch at an angle and put tv in the corner. try switching the buffet and white cabinet out and keep the couch where it is. Consider an island for the kitchen. Pull colors from kitchen drapes into LR.. Try moving the bench in the lr. and use as the coffe table. move larger bench to the lr. add more objects to the wall, mirrors ,paintings, letters ,shelving ,frames etc. I think the table scape looks good but could try a runner or a smaller table cloth on an angle. I love to angle things. I also think the “buffet” table scape looks nice. It’s hard when you feel like you’re a rut but my best advise is to start moving things around. try everything. Have fun.
    Can’t wait for an update.

  5. First I wanted to tell you that your house is beautiful!! But it is always fun to change things.I do it all the time LOL. I think it would look nice if you lightened up your wall color.Maybe break up your sectional into two pieces.If you could find something to work as an island that would look great in your kitchen and also would be functional and add more storage space.Also if you needed additional seating look for something you could add stools around it.You would be able to see the tv as you sit in your kitchen.A rug under you dining room table would add a bit more color and would pull the room together too.Above bench you could add a bigger piece of art or a bigger mirror.What ever you do have fun with it and go with your gut.Do what makes you happy!

  6. Love your couches and roman shades. I too think you need some new wall color in the LR. I would also consider painting the tv stand a color, maybe green? Maybe move the mirror above the TV. And I am a big advocate of pillows. New pillows on the couch to pick up colors of painted tv stand and new wall colors.

  7. I love her space! And she has really nice furnishings to work with! The first thing I would do is pull that great blue color from her curtains (I think they’re the ones from Pottery Barn) and paint the tv wall the same color. That will make the spaces more cohesive and give the living room a great focal wall. I would also take down the roman shades and put up something with more texture like bamboo roman shades. Her lamps could be updated with new shades in an interesting fabric. Not necessarily a print, but maybe a ruffle or pleat. And I would try and find a rug to warm up the carpet. Under the bench in the living room, I would do a gallery wall in whites and bronzes. In the dining room I would add a large mirror or collection of mirrors to make the room seem larger and replace the centerpiece with something more green like moss balls. I think I spied a great antique bread bowl in that basket, I would put that on the table with a runner and the greenery. Then I would get a jute rug to go under the dining table and bring a little texture to the floor. I would, like everyone else, find or make an island with bar stools so the tv could still be used. I understand wanting a television in there since we spend so much time in the kitchen. Other than that I think her furniture is beautiful! How fun to change it up!

  8. Great start already! Add some pops of color. Use some of the colors in your rug and/or dining room drapes. Put some red or green apples in the white bowl on your dining table (cheap, also helps you snack healthier). And definitely some art or photos on the walls to help balance the TV’s presence – great way to add personality, too. Consider simple curtains in the LR – I was never a fan of curtains, but when I finally did it, it made such a difference. Hang at ceiling and wider than your window to make it look bigger and maximize the light you still get. Simple sheets and curtain rings w/ clips make cheap, easy “pinch pleated” drapes. Loved the suggestion for a small island w/ bar stools in the kitchen – your granddaughter could still watch the TV in the kitchen with you, and you’d gain some fantastic counter/storage space. Good luck!

  9. Definitely remove the bench and tv from the kitchen. Add an island in place of the bench and where the TV is make that “Central Station” for all the families calendars weekly activities etc. The Clover Lane blog has a great, simple central station in their kitchen. Also remove the basket from the corner and display the dough bowl (which is gorgeous) on the kitchen table (paint the kitchen table). Move the two extra chairs to the basement or other room until being used again. I get it she is trying to make it convenient for her granddaughter to watch TV..but the tv room is within view of the kitchen so the little girl can watch tv on the couch while grandma is cooking and prepping meals on a kitchen island.

  10. Hi there! I actually really like what you have already done! Cute choices! I would move the bench out and set up a cute island with casters. If you are entertaining a large group, you could move it out for extra space – and the rest of the time, you’d have a great space to prepare and serve food.

    I might also play with paint colors… maybe a soft blue?

  11. Looks great but a few tweaks would make it even more fabulous! Add color in the family room with curtains and a throw rug (maybe a fun Dash & Albert stripe) over the existing rug. Consider hanging the tv on the wall and adding a larger media cabinet underneath (maybe find one at the thrift shop and paint it a fun color). Hang b/w pics above and around the tv to make it less of a black hole. The large wall with the mirror – start a thrift shop collection of mirrors and hang them floor to ceiling on that wall.

    For the kitchen, remove the bench and replace with a small island with a couple of stools (for your granddaughter). Replace light fixture with a fabulous, statement making chandelier. Remove the strip of wood between the cabinets in front of the kitchen window and replace the bamboo blind with a colorful cafe curtain. Replace the cabinet pulls with chrome knobs.

    Consider painting both rooms a gray/green.
    You’ve got a great start – a few tweaks are all you need! Good luck

  12. It’s a great space to work with because it is such a neutral palette. In the living room I would move the bench out, it seems lost and in the way, then add maybe a couple more mirrors with the one already there, move the one by the tv wall next to it and find a couple more to fill in the space. If it is not in the budget for a larger tv cabinet, then try adding art work or photos on either side to balance it out. Also just by adding color with new pillows and a throw would make a big difference, maybe corals and teals. It would make a big difference to add a cornice with colorful fabric for the windows. For the kitchen I would move the extra chair, by the hutch, out of the room, and also pick up the lantern that is sitting on the floor by the fridge. I don’t think it makes sense to replace all the hardware on the cabinets because you would have to do the hinges too and it seems by the pictures that there are the oil rubbed bronze handles on the doors. Instead remove the bench and replace it with a distressed black island with bar stools, move the existing rug, maybe look for some indoor/outdoor rugs(Ballard Designs and Garnet Hill have some great choices)put one under the table and maybe two runners on either side of the island, that would add extra color that you may need in there, working with your panels you have hung would be great. Using the corals and teals would create a great flow from one room to the next. Good luck!

  13. Hola
    I love the curtains in the dining area and think the living room would benefit from the same or similar ones. I definitely think you should pull a favorite color out of the drapes’ pattern and use it throughout, for continuity. I’m a huge area rug fan; I think they anchor your furniture. How about something striped? I love the idea of a small kitchen island; how about an old dresser, painted a (nice, dark) color with (affordable) IKEA butcher block on top! And by all means, install it with an overhang and get a cute (vintage?) stool for your granddaughter. Oh, and buy her some crayons or markers and a drawing pad, so that she can multitask instead of just sitting and staring at the TV! 😉 Everything’s kind of light and low, and I would like more dark things for a pop of contrast and more height, somehow. That TV wall needs to be a gallery, starting with sepia-tone photos of your family — especially your granddaughter! Take the pics yourself! Pottery Barn has excellent room gallery photos with excellent ideas, and they do a lot of gallery walls. Good luck and have fun!
    K A Y
    RedBird Vintage Home

  14. I am so grateful for all these wonderful suggestions. So what color island are you suggesting? And what should I do around tv in LR, family photos, mirrors what kind of frames? If I was tochange lamp in lr would a ballister base with chocolate shade work? Also rug under table I won’t do now I also have a set of 14 month old twins that are my grandchildren. WhAT COLOR RUNNER OR FABRIC ON TABLE ? i WILL NOT REMOVE TVIN KITCHEN MY HUSBAND LOVES THAT PEICE. i LIKE IDEAS OF COLORFUL RUG IN LR AND AROUND ISLAND AGAIN THANK YOU FOR HELPING ME MAKE MY HO– USE A HOME.

    1. Hola again
      What color? Well . . . both the darling kitchen rug and those dining room drapes have similar colorways. Do you love the pale blue or the red or both? I decorate with both in my house; it never goes out of style. I’d frame my family snapshots in black to color coordinate them with your black TV. It will kind of blend with the gallery. Do you like plates on a wall? That’s another inexpensive way to add artwork and height to your walls. Good luck!
      K A Y
      RedBird Vintage Home

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