My traditional living room is doing my head in!
helplesshouse
October 25, 2012 in Design Dilemma
Help. I Have ended up buying traditional furniture that is too fancy to sit on; hubby won't part with it, and I am trying to make it look better and add a modern seating area that will blend in with it and go with open plan kitchen (ouch, it's an impossible challenge for me). Could you please help? I would really appreciate any of your ideas.
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groveraxle
You MUST sit on the furniture. It's a rule.
10 Likes   October 25, 2012 at 2:34PM
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mmilos
I can see your dilemma. A bigger area rug that is less formal might help tone it down. Add some traditional mouldings (baseboards, door frames and chair railings).
3 Likes   October 25, 2012 at 2:36PM
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charleee
I like all your furnishings EXCEPT the little chair in the front of the picture, I think it's called a slipper chair? I would find a new home for that. A larger, more modern rug will help [houzz=
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3 Likes   October 25, 2012 at 2:44PM
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Leaf Design Studio
I agree with getting a bigger, more modern run to tone it down. I would also repaint. You could also get different curtains/window treatments to make the space more inviting. And you NEED to sit and use the furniture!!!
0 Likes   October 25, 2012 at 2:49PM
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helplesshouse
Thanks for the advice, what paint colours, rug colours and curtain colours would you go for?
0 Likes   October 25, 2012 at 3:07PM
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charleee
Paint and curtain colors will depend on the rug you choose. So first choose a rug, then the curtains and the paint last. Paint is the easiest way to color match. I like the rug I selected for your space but maybe you want to go darker?
0 Likes   October 25, 2012 at 3:09PM
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helplesshouse
The rug in the picture is about the third or fourth rug I tried. The darker colours did look better than the lighter ones, but I couldn't find a modern darker rug. Any idea where I could find one?
0 Likes   October 25, 2012 at 3:15PM
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helplesshouse
Wow, thanks, they are amazing and I would never think of colours or patterns like these. I love them.
0 Likes   October 25, 2012 at 3:37PM
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charleee
Excellent! I like the fourth one for my bedroom, but that's never going to happen. Oh well!
0 Likes   October 25, 2012 at 3:39PM
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nevadan
I hate to see an antique reproduction sofa in a modern house. No matter what period room I am doing, I like to use a simple, classic,, comfortable, inconspicuous, neutral sofa. I don't know where you like to shop, but you can find plenty of nice inexpensive sofas at Macy's. I blend Louis XVI with these modern upholstered pieces. It is my understaning that there wer no sfasa in the Louis XVI period, so these Louis XVI sofas are proabably a fake notion anyway.
1 Like   October 25, 2012 at 3:59PM
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mollythecollie
I agree with the comments about a larger rug. Also, have you considered changing the pillows on the chairs and sofa?
4 Likes   October 25, 2012 at 4:06PM
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helplesshouse
Thanks. If I was going to buy another sofa for the room, where do you think it would look nice and what colour would you choose? Matching golden, scrolled woodwork and bright yellow damask and gold dots has not proved to be that easy for me. I had not though about changing the cushions, that might work as well. What colour?
0 Likes   October 25, 2012 at 4:25PM
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charleee
I'll be honest with you, the first thing I would do with that sofa is paint all the gold a dark chocolate brown. I think it's doable to keep peace in the family. I would def change the cushions to beige. I would lose all the throw pillows. I think it's fine where it is, personally. Maybe a throw in an off white, like a fisherman's knit? And my personal opinion is the slipper chairs would look better in a bedroom.
4 Likes   October 25, 2012 at 4:37PM
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charleee
I'm sorry if that came across as rude, I didn't mean it to!
0 Likes   October 25, 2012 at 4:52PM
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anitajoyce
I'd change some of the solid pillows to some with a pattern. Add a throw to the sofa. Change the rug to a les formal one. Move the two matching arm chairs on the left and place them facing the sofa with the small table between them with a lamp. . Add a coffee table and end tables and lamps. The two chairs on the right, leave one and place the other one facing it on the opposite side of the room. change the picturre to something in an abstract or a big flower picture or a grouping of pictures. Change the lamp shades also.
1 Like   October 25, 2012 at 5:02PM
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helplesshouse
It didn't at all. It's good to hear suggestions from other people, thank you for taking the time. Although getting rid of it would be my preference, that sofa is staying for now. I can't see the husband agreeing to painting it brown, either.
2 Likes   October 25, 2012 at 5:04PM
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charleee
Bummer! I'm sorry for you.
0 Likes   October 25, 2012 at 5:05PM
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mmilos
Kinda surprised your husband likes that sofa. :-)
0 Likes   October 25, 2012 at 5:09PM
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helplesshouse
I like the ideas about repositioning the big chairs and splitting up the small ones, I'm definitely going to try that tomorrow. I'll look for new cushions as well, and more modern lamps, and another more neutral sofa. I've been looking for a new coffee table, but I didn't want to by any more traditional stuff and I couldn't find anything else that I thought would go.
0 Likes   October 25, 2012 at 5:15PM
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victorianbungalowranch
How about some dark pillows on the couch, and fewer of them, and put some gold ones on a black chair. and getting rid of or changing the ones on the gold chairs?

I really dislike brown with gold, but toning down the gold on both chairs with some brown/burnt umber stain might work--and do layers to get it dark, but not flat. Or you can strip some of the gold off and wash with white to let the wood show for a more rustic look.

Got to be really careful though, so mask off the uphostery, Maybe paint rubbed off quickly would work better or sort of a dry stencil paint toner that won't bleed. Try it on the back first. White would work as well to tone it down. I would leave the black chairs.

Gold is more Loius XIV, and gold and white is Louis XVI. Both were revived around 1870, but to me the couch shape and chairs are more Empire.

Biedermeier (German) and Regency are lighter and more causal versions of what you got and can be quite elegant. Think Jane Austen films--the interiors in BBC's Pride and Prejudice are particularly nice--especially the moldings, and if I remember correctly, Middlemarch was also good that way. Perhaps they will give you some ideas. The colors then could be quite bright, then and new colors can look fresh today, especially with a bit of simplification and a dash of modern contrast, like in the rug or in some artwork.

Here are some images--one with the paneling isn't Regency, but has sort of a Regency feel about it.
3 Likes   October 25, 2012 at 5:31PM
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almosthere47
Hey, if you decide to go with that lovely third rug (arabesque) the sofa might look more inviting with cushions that pick up the colour of the rug. The thought here is that breaking up the block of sofa colour might soften it up a bit, so that approach would work with just about any rug colour. Good luck!
0 Likes   October 25, 2012 at 6:36PM
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mjlb
Is your modern seating area to be in the room with the formal furniture, or in the room behind? Is any of the formal furniture comfortable?

People usually like to sit closer to the window and light, so perhaps you could place sofa at 90-degree angle to window, with two chairs opposite. Add a nice large ottoman or coffee table in between. Then move console table under the large wooden(?) art piece. One chair could go near the sofa table, and the other near the seating arrangement of two chairs and sofa. Splitting up one pair of chairs would break the symmetry and lighten the mood a bit. And the area in front of console table may function as a walkway outside the main seating area.

Definitely add a large, interesting rug under the seating area as an anchor. I'd drape a large textural throw over the end of the sofa, to soften it a bit. Using plants in the space is great, and you could also use something lighthearted/funny/quirky. Although maybe the furniture itself counts as quirky!
1 Like   October 25, 2012 at 6:43PM
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mjlb
Also, when you style your console table, or add other lighting, I'd go very modern -- something like Artemide, etc.: http://www.dwr.com/category/lighting.do?nType=1
0 Likes   October 25, 2012 at 6:51PM
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apennameandthata
This will be very interesting when you sort it out. You are stuck with formal, high-status furniture in a modern casual, normal-status house. Good: your solution is to make the rest of the house hyper modern and bright - colours the opposite to the rich dark formal tones of a formal high-status old-fashioned house. The sofas will appear ironic and playful. You will need to get rid of the chandolier, formal painting and notthing side board. have everything white and bright. Sisal rug rather than wool.

It might be easier to make the room more formal: floor boards, good rug with abrash and less-fiddly pattern, on top of a really big sisal rug dark formal walls.

Others here are brighter than I am. You might need to junk a whole lot of stuff. OR cover the couches with casual looking throw-overs. That too-small too-fussy centre rug would not copliment any style.

Another option is to obtain forgiveness rather than consent regarding the furniture. Or, perhaps have it recovered. Or fake a burglary.

It is an interesting issue. Its a bit of a problem I caused myself. I am working out how to decorate some new offices. I am working hard to avoid 1) formal and 2) high status and still have everything look nice. Exception to high status rule: good persian rugs look good. But those with machine spun wool and fussy patterns will always be dogs.
0 Likes   October 25, 2012 at 7:03PM
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apennameandthata
Bobbi P is just a dog (a good dog, not a dog rug) and usually comes up with the best suggestoins. But this time even BP just gave sympathy. Bummer, indeed. If your husband is objecting to changing then perhaps he would not object to you repainting the frames of the furniture. Lime green metalic, anyone? That would be ironic and less staid. Not saying its a good idea. Just brainstorming.

Sisal area rug to withing 1' of the wall, or wall to wall, I recon. Or put down wooden floorboards. I recon tiled floors are hard to make look like anything but a beech shack where people trapse sand through the house. Or paint the chair wood white (More L XVI) or red. So you look like you are a fan of that football team. Goooooo the 49eeeeers!!
0 Likes   October 25, 2012 at 7:12PM
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mollythecollie
I was just looking at the Louis XVI living room photos and noticed that with the gold funiture blue pillows were frequently added. It really toned down the gold fabric. Just an idea.
0 Likes   October 25, 2012 at 7:23PM
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mjlb
I like the idea of sisal, but getting the color to blend will probably mean getting a few samples. Similarly with beige -- some with yellow in them may work. At least on my monitor, maybe something like the one below - especially if you keep your white or cream wall color. For one path, I could see using beige's close enough to the gold color to make the gold work as a neutral. When balanced with large areas of white wall and flooring, with smaller amounts of dark wood tables, dark metal lighting, etc., it could work. Then add small spots of color via living plants or artwork. http://www.lampsplus.com/products/walt-disney-signature-beige-impresario-rug__j9496.html
0 Likes   October 25, 2012 at 7:49PM
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mjlb
Forgot to mention - the lines in the rug above mirror those in your chandelier.
0 Likes   October 25, 2012 at 7:52PM
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mjlb
Rug lines mirroring those in chandelier
0 Likes   October 25, 2012 at 8:02PM
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karen paul interiors
I would love a full picture of the wall with the pictured Louix XVI chairs and the armoire. In fact, you might want to take picture all around. There is no matter of rethinking this room to make it modern or casual. You can make it more inviting rather than off-putting. Take the pillows off the beige bergere chairs. Take off the pillows from the sofa. The pillows on the sofa need to be re-imagned. Also, if you can give us a full picture of the window wall, that would be helpful. Your rug has a great contrast which is needed, but definitely needs to be bigger.

I'm not understanding the adjacent room with the leather in full view of your formal living room. Perhaps you can give us some more photos and some information about that room.

I'm also curious about the credenza and how it functions.

Definitely give us photos for a panoramic view of this room and the room adjacent as well. That will be a great help to Houzzers for their suggestions to you.
3 Likes   October 25, 2012 at 8:25PM
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apennameandthata
I like the idea of changing the cusions and seeing if more blue would help. Could see just how blue fabric went.
0 Likes   October 25, 2012 at 8:55PM
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helplesshouse
Thanks so much to everyone, I never dreamed I would get any responses. This is the first time I have ever joined any online forum, and it is really exciting. Thanks for the lovely photos of those rooms. If only...
OK, I've moved the chairs, removed the cushions and put the other leather chairs on either side of the room. I've taken some more photos as well. The wooden thing behind the chairs is a TV stand that we don't use. that can be removed that, along with just about everything else, if need be, only the sofa and chairs have to remain. The other room adjoining the formal room was, I think, designed to be a dining room. We never have any dinner parties, so I thought we could turn it into another, more accessible seating area for us and when friends come over. And something that would work with the kitchen which is modern and has sliding doors going into the Patio. We don't need a TV because we have one in a small other room that we use. I wondered if screening off the formal room with big pots either side would work, or some kind of lattice that would stick out about 2 feet on either side to shield if from the more modern room. Or some hanging panels?

The last photo is sitting on the sofa looking out to the kitchen. I can reuse the sofa and all the other stuff in another room and get a new sofa, table, chairs if needed and accessories, if need be for this space. Also the kitchen stuff can be rehomed. We are thinking of adding a light marble worktop/ table in the kitchen.

Look forward to hearing from you.
0 Likes   October 26, 2012 at 1:44AM
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Wendy Allison
My five cents worth:
I would take that gorgeous leather couch that is in front of your TV and swap it with the gold couch. The rug from that room looks like it matches the one in the lounge - perhaps put them together to enlarge the area?
You also have that lovely cutwork screen that would work well with the rug - I would incorporate that into your lounge. That together with the leather sofa will make for a more casual, eastern look. The gold cushion covers need to be changed too for a solid colour - taupe or cream.
If you cannot paint the gold on the chairs what about running a light whitewash or antique over it to tone the gold down a bit. That will also modernise the room.
2 Likes   October 26, 2012 at 2:31AM
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T H
You said that the furniture is too fancy to sit on...hmmmm. Afraid of it being ruined? My recommendation is to sit on it, wear it out, spill food, pet-sit and bring in rebellious messy children. Gosh darn, its wrecked!! We'll have to reupholster or buy new hunny! mwahaha. LOL
I like the suggestion above for a whitewash effect - that sounds lovely. And painted furniture fits the period thereabouts - white furniture dates back to the 17th c somewhere.
2 Likes   October 26, 2012 at 5:34AM
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helplesshouse
Good thinking.
1 Like   October 26, 2012 at 5:36AM
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anitajoyce
Wow! What a difference moving furniture around makes. It looks much nicer and relaxing now. I would add pillows in stripes or flower outlined on pillows (something with another color in it brown and gold, gold and white, gold and tan, something with blue in it also.) and I would change the rug to a more contemporary one with tan, brown and beige in it ( a little blue in the rug would work also). Change the curtains to something with brown or darker mustard color for contrast. You also need some kind of coffee table and place a big picture book on top along with a small plant or a grouping of candles. The room could use another color (blue and gold works well together).

add a throw to the sofa also for contrast.
0 Likes   October 26, 2012 at 4:57PM
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Kris Reynolds
I agree with Bobbi P and the photo of the rug selected. As for the sofa, oh my, it's gotta go. Seriously, you'll never pull off a contemporary look with that thing in there. I'd negotiate with the husband on that one. I think the rest of your house looks nice. You may want to consider painting a wall or two in a deeper color, I'm thinking pumpkin. Think out of the box.
0 Likes   October 26, 2012 at 5:40PM
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dmldml
I am certainly not a design expert, but I am an artist, and the first thing I see when I look at the room is that all that gold and gleam needs contrast and grounding. The floor is light, the walls are light, and it actually weakens the gold and makes it look out of place. That might be why it just doesn't seem to fit with the house. You have the furniture, and if you don't want to change it, go with it! Gold is a strong color and it needs a complement to both enhance and ground it. . I would go with aubergine - I would paint the walls that color in a deep glaze. If not aubergine, then a dark brown with a purple, red undertone. Then, following the advice of others, I would cover most of the floor with a large sisal rug, or a modern one with a touch of the wall color in it. I would forget throw pillows, or at least, save them for the last touch. In general, the room needs to be grounded first. Then lit, with eye level lamps or sconces. Then gradually, I would add old world weathered wood accents (like the art piece above your sofa?) . Perhaps a large round ottoman to tie all the pieces together with a tray on it. If the ottoman base could be in dark wood lattice, like the screen, all the better. If all that works, you can move on from there with window coverings and more furniture as needed. Good luck!
8 Likes   October 26, 2012 at 5:47PM
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dmldml
Here are some images of rooms with darker wall colors directly from Houzz. Search dark wall colors for more ideas
1 Like   October 26, 2012 at 6:13PM
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Kris Reynolds
These are all great, I especially like the 4th one
2 Likes   October 26, 2012 at 6:22PM
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lorethor
It really is a gorgeous space you have there. I think some well chosen accessories could make your furniture feel less formal and you might even find it more comfortable in the end. I would choose a more modern area rug. Once you have chosen an area rug that you love, pull a colour from that and use it to pick some cushions. Replacing the cushions that match the sofa and chairs will look better and buying down filled will make the furniture more comfortable. Although the chandelier is beautiful, a less formal light fixture might help. Perhaps a fabric drum shade pendant. I would reconsider the gilded mirror and go for a more simple framed round or oval mirror. Some large scale art pieces will distract the eye. And lastly, co-ordinated draperies to pull it all together.
1 Like   October 26, 2012 at 6:27PM
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karen paul interiors
Thanks so much for the additional photos. So if I am understanding what you are saying, the sofa and chairs remain in the living room. The pieces of furniture in the other room can be changed out. Is that correct? My first question now is....are the individual pieces in the living room comfortable to sit in? Your husband wants to keep everything because he loves it, or because you made the decision to purchase the pieces....and now you have to live with it because it was your choice?....or does he really love what you have in the living room and is willing to build the rest of it, using the living room as a basis for your decisions? These are very important questions you need to answer before you spend another farthing on anything. Frankly, I believe you can have a lovely room (with adjustments), but first we at Houzz need to know if the furniture functions (for comfort), if you like it, if your husband likes it, or did you just make a mistake (in your and his mind) and now you have to live with it...because?
0 Likes   October 26, 2012 at 7:48PM
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Susan Janvrin
To me, the walls, floor and ceiling feel too light in color for this formal furniture. The white floor is also why the small dark rug is so apparent. I think the walls would look better darker. Also, a coffee table and a larger rug, so half the sofa is sitting on it and it reaches under half of all the chairs, will help tie the room together. For the wall color, choose a dark color that you find in your new rug. If you want to make the space feel larger, paint that back TV room the same color.
1 Like   October 26, 2012 at 8:31PM
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nevadan
What I was trying to say, but I messed it up with typos, was that there were no sofas in the Louis XVI period. Therefore when we see a "Louis XVI sofa", it is not an original or a reproduction, but something quite fanciful. That's not to say you should not use it, but why not use it i in the master bedroom,and put a sofa that's inviting and comfortable in the living room. You undoubtedly want guests and family to feel comfortable physically and psychologically. In my living room I combine Louis XVI with simple comfortable uphostered pieces, to good effect. Louis XVI is my favorite, graceful, elegant, very Jane Austen, but unadulterated it is too precious and museum-y.
0 Likes   October 26, 2012 at 8:43PM
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Elizabeth Drake of Drake Interiors Limited
In my humble opinion, the gold sofa would calm down with putty-gray walls - here's a pic to think about. Paint Color is Sherwin Williams #7051 Analytical Gray.
7 Likes   October 26, 2012 at 9:42PM
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apennameandthata
What about some fitted slip covers. You could have a tropical theme in one fell swoop.
0 Likes   October 26, 2012 at 10:35PM
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helplesshouse
Hi Again, Thanks for all the advice. When we bought the house we were looking for modern stuff, but we could't find anything we both liked, (hadn't discovered houzz then). Then we went into this kind of 'palace furniture' shop and when we saw it, it looked great in the showroom. So we bought it without really thinking it through. The sofa is nice to sit on, but as everyone here says, its a more formal sitting, not slouching in front of the TV with friends and kids. We have a small TV room upstairs, but not really somewhere you can bring friends. The chairs are good. I think the main reason for keeping it is because he does genuinely like it (after all, how many people have this in their living room!) and also it was expensive, so we can't just ditch it and I doubt if we could find anyone who would buy it? I think I'm stuck with it for a few years. Thanks for your comment about not spending any more money. I have stopped buying anything now because nothing I buy seems to work and then has to be redeployed (in the master bedroom, which is a hotpotch of my mistakes - so sorry, it won't fit in there). I can redeploy absolutely everything except the sofa and chairs. So we can build around that. I like the picture above of the wall colour, which looks nice - I don't think I've got the confidence for aubergine, although it sounds amazing. Would I paint all the walls in a new colour, or just that back wall? What I am hoping for is to buy stuff that will look nice now, and then when I eventually manage to replace the sofa, will look great with the new sofa and chairs. For the other room that joins on this room, I would like it to blend in with the kitchen a bit more, then we would get more use from it. I don't know whether to put up a partition, which would close off the light and reduce the overall space, or try to section it off in some way. I am totally stuck, so your help is very much valued to me. Thanks.
0 Likes   October 26, 2012 at 11:58PM
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helplesshouse
I have now removed the console thing from behind the big chairs and the gilt mirror from above the table place and put in a smaller wooden frame one, that came from the master bedroom, I moved the sofa to put it's back to the formal room, and added the console table. Then I moved the sofa out of that place and left the table. Don't know which one looks best, if any. I've moved the chairs closer together to put them on or close to the rug and put the table between them. I've added an African clay pot and wooden box that I found lying around in the master bedroom. I think it looks better already without actually buying anything yet. What do you think?
4 Likes   October 27, 2012 at 7:33AM
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karen paul interiors
Love the "divider" between the two rooms. Also like that whomever is sitting on the leather sofa is not staring down the barrel of a kitchen. Love the clay pot. As I said before, you cannot turn this into a more modern room, but what you have done is quite successful. What is the piece under the mirror in the "casual" room. Also, moving the chairs in works for your rug. Would love to see perhaps two smaller pieces of art (one atop the other) to the left side of your new mirror in the formal room. I'm sure your Houzzers will continue to brainstorm. You must be feeling quite pleased with yourself! :)
2 Likes   October 27, 2012 at 7:44AM
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helplesshouse
Thanks. The advice is really working. Its so great. In the casual room this is the sofa. I had it as the divider but then moved it back to underneath the mirror. I've taken down that other mirror now as well.
0 Likes   October 27, 2012 at 8:14AM
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victorianbungalowranch
I like the new arrangement!

Hmm. I do like that light wire coffee table and the large mirror in the other room, Do you think putting them here with the screen would add a dash of modern and lighten up the feel a bit? Not sure--maybe the mirror is too big. The screen might look nice in the empty corner or by the windows. Did like that console table though with the lamps you had before on that wall....

The blue curtain is interesting--very Empire (Napoleon--bit earlier than Regency)--it seems like you are attracted to that period. The lines are quite modern but the detail is antique, but not as over-the top as Louis XIV-VI. Perhaps it would look good hung behind the couch (with a new rug) or artiistically draped in the empty corner with a little seating group--the black chairs perhaps? or maybe that leather (?) and wood sidechair I see in one picture by the table--perhaps paired with a little writing desk or that dropleaf table. I think it looks odd in the window with the gold drapes, all by itself. Perhaps the screen can go there instead.

I would move the 2nd lamp to over by the mirror.

I would put the cuckoo clock more in the kitchen in a spot that doesn't look so empty--or maybe it could be a light-hearted addition to the living room, on the skinny wall next the the large windows?
0 Likes   October 27, 2012 at 8:42AM
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anitajoyce
Good job on the rearrangement! It looks more inviting now.
1 Like   October 27, 2012 at 5:50PM
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Elizabeth Drake of Drake Interiors Limited
Re-arrangement looks much more inviting ! The gold sofa, which I actually like - might look more inviting by replacing all the matching gold pillows with two of these white "fur" pillows... (crate & barrel). Just a thought.
2 Likes   October 27, 2012 at 8:40PM
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vsegura
I agree with painting the gold trim a white wash... or even a pewter/gray wash. you should take a look at the Restoration Hardware site, they have formal pieces but they are distressed, the wood appears matte and scratched and they mix the formal pieces with large, boxy wood coffee tables and leather pieces. This will totally make it look modern, plus mixing in some linen pillows and adding a jute rug will make it more casual. Get rid of anything trimed with that gold and skinny framed mirror or tables, add substance and taupes/gray to spin this to the 21st century. Can you mix pieces from this room with your others, like the leather sofa, this way it will break it up, yet keep a purposeful design within the home! Good luck! Can't wait to see more "new" photos.
0 Likes   October 28, 2012 at 12:16AM
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Marie Hebson's interiorsBYDESIGN Inc.
Hi helplesshouse, Marie Here.
Wow - gorgeous house with lots of opinions here.
Love your chandelier-
I would remove the gold sofa and either sell it, or place it in your bedroom or library - as it is pushing the design and pushing the feeling of your room to OTT (over the top).
Your area rug is also too small, and needs to be removed, or layered (see photo below of two areas rugs on top of each other).
By removing the gold sofa, and putting something more casual and modern will instantly create a more relaxed mood. Add a large area rug and unique coffee table will also help.

I can see a bit into the next room - it is very casual , which means you have not created flow and harmony from room to room. You can elevate the design from one room to the next, but in more subtle ways. I wish you luck and if I can be of further assistance, don't hesitate to contact me
1 Like   October 28, 2012 at 1:19AM
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eileenforsyth
I LOVE your rearrangement, it's already more inviting, and have a few ideas to make your hubby more likely to feel comfortable, as well as your guests. Do as the french do with their sophisticated pieces and slipcover the sofa with linen - I'm picturing a few visible ties and a somewhat loose fit - keep the legs exposed and Do Not paint them! Then add some down throw pillows. I know everyone is telling you that, but think its important to add a "sit on me and enjoy" vibe. I like the idea or orange (this time of year) but also think light teal, primary green or even soft pink would be fun.

Painting the walls a warm mid-toned gray with some depth; it wil make the room tremendously inviting, and would look great. With so much like and open passways, the walls can handle it.

Changing the rug for a larger, chunky and inexpensive seagrass is key. I've had three for three years and they give a great sense of informal class to my more formal pieces, including gold and chandeliers (plus they hide everything - I got mine online from Ballard Designs).

Finally, you could get a new chandelier that has more presence and a more current vibe. I'd suggest capiz, as it looks like you are in the south and it would tie in with the seagrass and linen idea I'm floating. I got mine from PB Teen (nothing teen about it - superb quality and great price) for right around 200 dollars and love how it changed the whole formal dining room. Lots of compliments and easy as pie to install. Not heavy.

Finally, to tie the less formal TV room in, drape a large, light colored (gold or silver gray) throw over the leather sofa, right down the middle and tuck it in under the pillows, dividing the space into thirds. Consider moving just one of the small gold-edged occasional chairs into that space to sort of "let go" of all the symmetry and blur the difference between the two rooms. You can always pick it up and bring it back when you need an extra seat - doing this as guests arrive says, "look I am flexible and care about your comfort, not keeping things perfect." :)
0 Likes   October 28, 2012 at 5:05AM
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liorahb826
Is that a Fine Arts chandelier??
0 Likes   October 28, 2012 at 5:41AM
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lepstein
I love your sofa. It's what I'm looking for in my room.
0 Likes   October 28, 2012 at 9:41AM
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helplesshouse
Hi Everyone. The Chandelier is Fine Arts and I do quite like it. I've been shopping today to try to buy lamps, bigger, more modern darker rug, wooden things and new curtains, and two chairs for the other room but sadly have come home empty handed as the choice was overwhelming and perhaps that was a bit ambitious for just one day. I am planning to take the cushions with me next time to check for colour matching. Rugs were too small and the people I spoke to suggested getting one made. There were thousands of chairs, in hundreds of colours. I'm not exactly sure what a slipcover is. Does anyone have a photo? I saw some nice lamps. I'll try to find a picture of them to see what you think about them fitting in. I wasn't sure if they were modern or not. Shopping is not easy, and I have a lot of respect for interior designers.
0 Likes   October 28, 2012 at 9:41AM
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lepstein
If you change the pillows, don't be afraid to mix the colours and textures. Yellow goes with many colours (umber, purple, blue, brown). Depends on your taste. I would definitely not go beige. I agree re the chairs. They are a bit formal dining room.
1 Like   October 28, 2012 at 9:51AM
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anitajoyce
Is ther a Target or Kohls dept store or another discount store in your area. If so, check them out. They have Lamps, Nice rugs that don't cost an arm and a leg and other accessories to use for your room. Start with the rug, first ,one day, then the curtains, then the lamps. Look for one thing at a time to not feel overwhelmed by all of this decorating (fun Stuff).
0 Likes   October 28, 2012 at 3:32PM
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victorianbungalowranch
Shopping is overwhelming--that's one advantage of going online. It does help to have a plan, and the approx. dimensions of what you are looking for. I would take pictures of what you have, take measurements and draw sketches of possible floor plans on graph paper, and make a book to bring with you (or a folder to look at on a tablet PC). Continue to try bringing in what you have into that room(s) until it looks almost right, then fill in the gaps, and work on the other rooms.
0 Likes   October 29, 2012 at 7:33AM
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helplesshouse
Thanks for that help. It sounds like a good idea. I had another go today and managed two plants:)
0 Likes   October 29, 2012 at 7:50AM
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victorianbungalowranch
Hey, everything you do is a triumph. Nice plants are great for your house with so much natural light and space.

By shopping online, you can PinInterest or just save on the computer photos of stuff you like for different rooms, or just stuff you like, and group according to where something like it could fit and make shopping list so if you see something that might work, you'll recognize it. It might not be exactly what you had in mind but BINGO its there. You have such great stuff already.

I found some websites about mixing traditional and modern and funky. Maybe something will inspire you:
http://www.jeffersdesigngroup.com/portfolio
http://www.housebeautiful.com/decorating/ideas/mixing-furniture-design-styles-0111#slide-1

I bet you are feeling like Sofa #2 here!
0 Likes   October 29, 2012 at 9:41AM
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helplesshouse
Thanks so much, wow, those photos of the white furniture are just so so beautiful. Now I understand what people mean when they talk about linen and white painted frames. I'll check out the websites too. Thanks again.
0 Likes   October 29, 2012 at 11:00AM
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victorianbungalowranch
:) House Beautiful has a lot of pics of homes that combine styles and is worth surfing. Some are pretty high ticket, but you can get some ideas.
0 Likes   October 29, 2012 at 1:20PM
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victorianbungalowranch
How's it coming along? Bet it will look great decorated for Christmas!
0 Likes   November 25, 2012 at 1:05PM
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anitajoyce
Rearrangement looks nice. Do you have a coffee table you can use in the room(it needs one). Place a big picture book on top along with a group of 2-3 candles or a plant and the book or two.
0 Likes   November 25, 2012 at 1:20PM
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helplesshouse
Hello - Thanks for keeping in touch. I haven't given up but have been busy at work since my last re-arrangement, so haven't done anything more. The new plants died - which just about sums up my success with decorating. Maybe I should go for plastic plants and flowers. But I have started the decorating book on my computer and have now got photos of both my stuff, dimensions and pictures of some nice things to take with me when I go shopping next time:) As soon as I have something else to show, I'll send a photo. The thing that worked the best so far is moving the leather sofa from looking straight into the kitchen to in front of the window. Now, we've started using that bit of the room again. I'm thinking about getting the sofa re-covered. Cream coloured linen? I've been inspired by the photos victoriabungalowranch posted.
0 Likes   November 25, 2012 at 9:06PM
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anitajoyce
Thanks for all the after pictures. Everything is looking great! Sorry about the plants. A great houseplant to have is a snake plant. It doesn't require a lot of light at all. It grows up straight and the leaves have variations of color (green and white). It's an easy care plant. I 've had one for a few years nowand I love it!
0 Likes   November 26, 2012 at 5:04PM
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victorianbungalowranch
Yeah, those snake plants and philodendrons are hard to kill. The snake plant is very architectural too--not just for old bars you know.

I think cream or ivory or light grey would be nice for the sofa. Linen is nice but I would check on how easy it is to keep up and clean. I would have a problem with anything too white that way:). Maybe even more of a burlap color or ticking stripe would be nice and make it a bit more dressed down, and wouldn't show the stains as much. Recover some of the throw pillows in the same or coordinating fabric for the chairs, and rough up the gold a bit and glaze with white paint or liming wax. Then it would go more toward the Scandinavian country look and be a little less heavy.

Have a great holiday, and happy post holiday shopping for the house!.
0 Likes   November 27, 2012 at 1:09AM
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Nancy Hehmann
I will jump in and say the Peace lily plants are difficult to kill as well. Norfolk Island pines are pretty and hardy. They cannot be left out in the winter if the temperatures get cold though- tried that once years ago because I thought since they had pine in their name it would be ok.
0 Likes   November 27, 2012 at 2:54AM
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olldroo
Norfolk Island Pines live in a temperate region and do not survive below 50 deg F. Indoors they must be regularly misted, even daily, as they do not like dry air . They do not like direct sunlight but like to be in a well lit room. They are also sensitive to pollution so be sure the water used to water them is chemical free - use rainwater if possible. In the garden they will grow to around 80 feet.
0 Likes   November 27, 2012 at 3:28AM
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Nancy Hehmann
Great info about Norfolk Island Pines. Mine lived for years without misting and I used tap water. Only died when I have moved to Texas and thought I could leave it outside.
0 Likes   November 27, 2012 at 3:53AM
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olldroo
You could have been lucky in that there was sufficient humidity in the air and your tap water relatively chemical free. I'm assuming Texas would be hot and dry so outdoors could have been too much for it - Norfolk Island is not a big island so their natural habitat is humid sea air.
0 Likes   November 27, 2012 at 4:08AM
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helplesshouse
Hello, I'm thinking about recovering the sofa and have got some samples - not white or cream, more like beige. I would be very interested to hear your opinions.
0 Likes   December 1, 2012 at 4:45AM
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helplesshouse
I have also moved the rug into the other part of the room, which I think looks a bit better. It has encouraged us to use that bit of the room more.
0 Likes   December 1, 2012 at 9:16AM
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victorianbungalowranch
Where is that nice pierced oriental screen you had? I think that would look nice in that corner behind the black couch. If this new arrangement is encouraging you to use the space more, that is good! Maybe bringing in a side table and/or a coffee table or ottoman would finish it off more.

I think distressing the gold finish and a wash of white, maybe some gray or silver and some glaze or wax over the carved parts would really help--the gold is very flat and has no dimension. If you did that the existing gold upholstery might look better--mask carefully. If you are feelig scared of doing that, try a little on the bottom of the chair where no one will see.

You can find directions online how to do this. I've done it mostly with paint, but chalk paint has a nice effect and could be a bit easier to get the right look, and there are tinted waxes frome white to dark brown that might work. Maybe you could experiment on an old picture frame or something to figure out what works best. A little of the same on the big mirror might be nice too.

I prefer the lighter and more oyster (grayish/greige) version of the fabric, and something with a bit of texture to it, like natural dye color linen, or a contrast texture stripe or dot (like you already have but bigger) but not the rough texture. It is hard to see subtle differences on screen. And only do the couch. I say no to the velvet--a flocked strip, maybe.

I would ask for advice from the uphosterer. If you feel unable to do the finish yourself, she might have contacts.
0 Likes   December 1, 2012 at 9:54AM
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karen paul interiors
victorian, I agree with using the screen behind sofa.
0 Likes   December 1, 2012 at 9:57AM
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helplesshouse
I was initially thinking white linen and then went on to think of black or brown velvet for the chairs and some kind of straw coloured silk or linen for the sofa with some bigger coordinating cushions for both of them. When I went looking for the fabric, I discovered that there are actually millions of different kinds of fabric in an infinite variety of colours and shades with minute variations in the texture. The people in the shops won't let you bring home the samples. When I managed to get these samples home and put them on the frame, I didn't really like any of them that much, the linen texture seems to be a bit too rough for the frame. What type of fabric do you think would suit? Thanks in advance.

I will dig out the screen tomorrow and put it behind the sofa. I've got a circular black marble top coffee table with chrome base. Do you think it would go?
0 Likes   December 1, 2012 at 11:14AM
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helplesshouse
I found this photograph of fabrics, which I liked, (It's where the black gold idea came from) but then they turned out to be super expensive and I can't afford them.
0 Likes   December 1, 2012 at 11:24AM
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victorianbungalowranch
That's really pretty but it is a lot of black and will blend in rather than stand out but worth a try. Why don't you try it with the gold sofa and settee too? Could be an interesting contrast.

Gee, I always thought you could get samples. Perhaps people don't bring them back. I think there are different textures of linen and you could get one that is less rough. Do you have a picture frame or something similar to your chairs you could bring in to help you pick, at least the pillow.

Maybe you can find a designer who will bring samples to your house. My Mom's best friend did this and it makes it so much easier to decide. It looks like you have a lot of great stuff to work with, and a complete appraisal could help figure out what goes where.

Or you could post more individual pics of items, and your various rooms (do you have more sitting areas>) the folks here can help you shift things around more cohesively. A floorplan might be nice too.

What do you think of some of the rug suggestions from above now that you moved the black one? I really liked the ones with pumkin orange or a bold color to add a dash of informality and modernity..
0 Likes   December 1, 2012 at 11:28AM
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helplesshouse
Thanks, you are right as usual, it would be too much black in that area and would be too low for the gold sofa. it's heavy as hell so I think I'll leave it where it is now (with my feet up on it). Do you think i should I try to cover up the rug with a wooden table, or leave it show with a glass coffee table?
0 Likes   December 1, 2012 at 11:38AM
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victorianbungalowranch
I think a rustic wood table could look great and would contrast better with the couch, especially if it has some paint on it. The rug pattern is very assertive so mayb a little cover would be a good thing :)
0 Likes   December 1, 2012 at 11:51AM
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helplesshouse
Thanks, I'll have a look for that type of thing when I pluck up the courage for another shopping trip. I've got a couple of wooden trunks, they look a bit rustic, perhaps one of them would give the idea for now. I'll take a photo and post.
0 Likes   December 1, 2012 at 12:20PM
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victorianbungalowranch
Hey, a wood trunk could be perfect. If it is too rustic, try a little wax (on the bottom if you like). I think it is better to work with what you got already before buying much more--get it almost right first.
0 Likes   December 1, 2012 at 12:48PM
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victorianbungalowranch
This might give you some ideas


0 Likes   December 1, 2012 at 1:15PM
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helplesshouse
I have attached a photo of the boxes. Do you think one of the boxes would work? Also, a close up of the gilt frame. If anyone knows any good materials and colours for re-covering that would go with the frame then I would appreciate your recommendations. Thanks
0 Likes   December 2, 2012 at 2:39AM
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victorianbungalowranch
I think the dark greenish one or the oak might work with some mercury glass/metallic on top--like some tall canglesticks, maybe artisically arranged on a tray or some books..Plut the pierced screen behind. Add a nice lightweight knobby throw.

Then I would put the spindily chrome and black sidetable next to ond or the black armchairs, put the console aagainst the wall with the modern silver oval mirror on the wal with a tall snake plant in a rustic containerm and that earthenware jug, and some driftwood or something earthy,, and move the big gilt mirror and the table into in the other room.. Bring a few of the gold pilllows from the other room mixed in with some casual ones (printed burlap perhaps?)

One of your fabric patterns is ebony limed/cerused oak, so if you have a honey oak piece with a distinct grain, you can ebonized it and then rub white liming wax into the grain to get that effect. My grandmosther's front door was like that and it is very striking. Just the wax alone is interesting and much nicer than a pickled (pinkish) finish. Was popular in art deco and midcentury furniture--mostly consoles and sideboards and tables. It can be done in almost any color combination. You can search for how to do it and experiment on a piece you don't like.
0 Likes   December 2, 2012 at 7:03AM
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PRO
GONZALO DE SALAS
Besides other previous commented changes in fabrics, rug size, etc... If I can be of your help to modernize the room it is regarding the coffee table and maybe some nice side tables for the sofa.
As sculptor and high end furniture designer I invite you to visit my site and see some ideas
www.gonzalodesalas.com/en

I have a line/catalog of furniture, Artistic Furniture Line, that although has a modern design, it combines specially well with classic decorations, creating an interesting focal point of contrast .
The tables are made in rusted corten steel, a type of steel that gives a dark and warm brown color that will go specially well with the golden sofa, chairs and classical rug.This steel is quite high quality material usually used in architecture, industry, and by sculptors. The final look seems like wood, but it isn't. The resistance of the steel allows me to create complete new concepts of design that are not possible to do with wood.

The idea is basically to combine classical and modern furniture in a way that works.

Here I attach some examples of coffee tables and side tables, but there are a lot more.
0 Likes   December 2, 2012 at 3:01PM
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helplesshouse
Your tables and sculptures are beautiful. I went to the website and saw the sculptures as well. Thanks for letting me know about them.
0 Likes   December 3, 2012 at 6:56AM
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GONZALO DE SALAS
Thanks! I am glad you liked them.
Here I post another picture of a table that can be good to see how these tables work on classical decorations.
This is a CAPITEL dining table placed in a house with old Louis XVI furniture. The table was the only piece breaking a bit the classical ambiance.

if you like it circular it can be adapted in coffee table size.
0 Likes   December 3, 2012 at 8:52AM
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Prime Walls
You have such wonderful and unique pieces, they definitely set a particular mood for the space. The decorative nature of the furniture certainly needs a strong back drop; the walls need to support and compliment the nature of the furniture. There are some great examples of ways to tie all the furniture and accents into a unified room!
http://www.primewalls.com/products_residential/viewsku/910 http://www.primewalls.com/products_residential/viewsku/121 http://www.primewalls.com/products_residential/viewsku/1035

The space has come so far, you just need to bring it home. Enjoy searching the website, there is alot to see, feel free to email for any questions. info@primewalls.com
0 Likes   December 3, 2012 at 12:12PM
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nevadan
Your furniture and rug look fine - and comfortable. But what is that weird fabric behind the console? That has to GO!
0 Likes   December 3, 2012 at 1:00PM
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helplesshouse
In a house full of weird fabric - you'll have to be more specific:)
Thanks for the references on the walls, I will definitely check it out.
0 Likes   December 3, 2012 at 9:00PM
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victorianbungalowranch
A modern sculptural coffee table in ebony could be nice with the gold set, along with a greater variety of pillows, a textured throw and a nice perhaps more modern rug. I would go easy on the damask type wallpapers, but some wall color or tone would be nice. You have so little color and adding some could really change things up.

I think keeping the chairs gold and reupolstering the couch would be enough, and a lot cheaper too. Maybe that "blue fabric" could be drapped artistically behind the couch and the map picture hung over it, perhaps mixed with some burlap or something to make it a little less serious, and more textured. Is it blue with Napoleon bees on it by any chance? You see this sort of thing quite a bit in the background of old portraits.

I also think you could use some art--you don't really have any. How about some old-master like his and her portraits? Maybe in pastel in soft colors--very early 1800s, you know. Need to get someone who knows their stuff to make it look right. Or even something more graphic and contemporary, or a dash of ethnic. Where are your other weird fabrics?
0 Likes   December 3, 2012 at 11:25PM
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helplesshouse
Dear Colleagues at Houzz. It has been a long time since my original posting, but if any one is still there after all this time, I wanted to share some updated photos with you. The room is not yet completed and has no accessories or anything yet, but I have had quite a bit of work done and I am much happier with the room now. I hope you like it. I'll be asking for help on another room soon. Thanks for your inspirational photos and comments, which really helped me to move forward with the room.
6 Likes   June 19, 2014 at 4:24AM
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olldroo
helplesshouse - thank you for posting, I can hardly believe they are the same rooms. I absolutely love that screen, divides the rooms beautifully. What happened to the gold sofa?
1 Like   June 19, 2014 at 6:06AM
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helplesshouse
Da Dah, tucked away in a small room downstairs and used as my husband's Meeting Room. He's happy and we can close the door when it's not in use..
2 Likes   June 19, 2014 at 7:18AM
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olldroo
SOLVED!! As only a good woman can. Well done. Your blind is gorgeous. I'd like to see an antique side table there, with crystal decanters and glasses to make it look a real "gentleman's" room.
0 Likes   June 19, 2014 at 8:00AM
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Go Nautical Collections
Find great items and ideas for your next project http://gonautical.com/nautical-decor-c-2.html
0 Likes   August 8, 2014 at 5:35AM
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pickyvicky
@ dmldml..... I couldn't agree with you more or said it better.

First thing, I'd lose the pillows - they really make the furniture look formal.

Second thing, I'd get a good rug.

Third thing, I'd paint the room a good color or two. A deep or bold color for the wall the sofa will be on will help tone done the gold on the sofa.
0 Likes   August 8, 2014 at 5:56AM
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Go Nautical Collections
0 Likes   August 8, 2014 at 1:24PM
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