Living Room From Scratch

Hi all,

After living in this house for three years, I am finally planning on getting rid of the ugly carpeting in my living room (and elsewhere).

I’m also looking for néw sofas and chairs.

The niche in the wall is too small for our TV. I’d like to widen the space, cutting into the wall between the niche and the door to the patio.

We don’t like the fireplace, and never use it. I’d like to get rid of the stone surround, including the hearth, and have the bottom of that wall flush with the cabinets further along the wall. The picture below is of another house in this complex with the same floor plan. I love that look.

But wait, there’s more! We have the plantation shutters throughout the house. I want them painted or restrained to dark brown.

My style is British Colonial/Traditional/eclectic. I like some of what I see at Anthropologie. I really like Ballard Designs, but they get terrible reviews.

We have hardwood floors in the kitchen:

Please pardon the clutter. It’s not always like this.

I’m not a big fan of the light hickory hardwood as it is. Dirt gets caught in the roughened top edges. The color is too cottagey/rustic for my tastes. What would cost more — extending this floor through the living room, stained or painted to taste, or putting in all new wood?

I’m leaning to engineered wood because we have two small dogs, one elderly, one off his rocker (extreme canine ADHD). Also, I am clumsy, and both of us like to drink and snack in front of the TV.

Laminates and vinyl don’t appeal to me because they’re ... laminate and vinyl.

Budget is $50K.

Walls: I love the French scenic panels that cost 3200 € (even more in dollars). I could really see some kind of India-themed panel or panels on parts of the wall. Paint will be a bone color, lighter than what we have now and less yellow.

Colors: dark red, yellow or gold, and aqua blue/turquoise/bluish green. This is to go with the artwork over the fireplace, which stays. You can’t really see it in these photos; I will post more.

The corner cabinet, although from the 1940s, is veneer and can go. The sofa table — I’d like to keep it. Coffee and end tables, below, are from Pier One. OK to stay. We like the rug and would want to keep it, too.

Questions: do we have to stay with leather, given the dogs and our slobbish tendencies? I am really sick of the rec-room look. I want something more sophisticated, but slipcover sofas don’t quite look right. We still want our recliners, but they don’t have to scream “recliner.”

Even bigger question: are my instincts sound? Light to medium wood floor; bone-colored walls with white-white trim; dark shutters, around the same color as the coffee table shown here. Of course with the British Colonial look there will be plants, maybe botanical prints, and accessories like old maps, compass table, etc. No big elephant tusk (or fake tusk) on the floor, though.

Thank you in advance. I’m afraid of decorators: the ones whose web sites I like seem to cater to movie stars (we are in Los Angeles County) and are probably beyond my reach. The local ones do work that look like the cool decorators’ “before” pictures. I was raised with Mid Century Modern, and it is not my style. Looking for comfort, elegance, and a touch of exotica, hoping I can do it on my own.

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