Progress in our Living Room

I was shocked that last April Doug and I celebrated 3 years in our condo. Shocked! Where does the time go? We haven’t really tackled any major projects in our home since we painted our bathroom jungle green right after moving in (and then failed to post a final reveal here—fail).

Everything is changing, though.

Even though we own our space (every time I say that it sounds misleading—we like most “homeowners” are paying it off to the bank), it has always felt really “apartmenty” to me. I’m sure it’s because of the beige walls and carpet… when we bought the place, we were looking for a fixer upper, but this place was much larger, closer to my work, had new carpet and new drywall, and was the same price as many fixers. As first-time home buyers we decided to play it safe and choose something move-in ready. So, after 3 years of beige, it is finally time to take matters into my own hands. Paint all of the things!! 

Living Room
This was right after we moved in, almost 3 years ago.
Now, new paint color, new bookcase, new couch. Still very similar, though.

The first step in getting this room “right” was to paint over the builder beige. We used the same color and sheen that we did in our dining room: Benjamin Moore (Aura) in Simply White. Definitely the most expensive paint I’ve ever bought, but the coverage, richness of the white, and eggshell sheen is just perfect. Going from beige to white might seem like a lateral move, and is not that exciting in photos, but trust me when I say that our vintage and collected home furnishings pop so much better now than they did against light tan. Every color stands out and the light in the room is more pleasant. People don’t understand how much light that flat, beige paint soaks up instead of reflecting.

Since I work for a Christian school, I had the Thursday and Friday before Easter off of work! My dad came down with his power tools and he helped me panel an accent wall in the living room. Shiplap is so buzzy right now, but my condo was built in 1965: I was originally thinking to go with straight up wood paneling. After hemming and hawing, I decided to go with a more modern look and do horizontal paneling with 1/8″ spacing.

We followed this tutorial closely and the project went smoothly.

Putting up the paneling was my first time using a nail gun with pneumatic air compressor, and it ruled! The project went by so fast. Nailing each panel up by hand would have been way more tiring, way noisier, and not as precise. If you ever want to do a project like this, definitely borrow, rent, or buy a nailer. The other tool that was necessary for this was a saw. Luckily my dad brought one over for us to use (similar), but now I know what I’m putting on my Christmas wishlist.

Which black paint?

I shared the following photo on facebook and instagram, and interestingly the votes leaned heavily one way on FB and heavily the other way on IG. I chalk it up to the fact that device screens have different color profiles and nothing is quite true to life. Even more interestingly, in the month that the swatches were up, I selected neither of the crowd-preferred options. Haha!

living room inspiration

In a recent post I shared a little vision board for this room and I’ve posted it again here. I’ve got some thinking to do on the art in here– leave it as is or do a little shake up? We finally finished painting the paneling in June and I am working on another post on that, filled with glamour shots ;)

Inspiration for a Bright and Cozy Loft

Earlier this summer, a friend of mine let me know that she and her husband were moving to a new city. They’d already signed the lease to an open-concept loft in a converted building. She reached out to me for some inspiration in arranging the floor plan and some jumping-off points as to decorating the new place.

I simply love putting together inspiration boards, so I was eager to help out! After a few emails back and forth I got an idea for the space and for a few looks that she likes.

inspiration

Given this information, I put together a rough floor plan (I couldn’t be totally detailed since I didn’t have measurements to work with) and an inspiration board to be used to start furnishing the living room and dining bar. I provided a list of links for items to buy, but oftentimes it’s just as useful to look at an inspiration board and purchase similar items things along the way.

tegan-loft

Sofa | Leather Stools | Media Unit | Pillow 1 (similar) 2 3 | Art Prints 1 2

Since the brick wall was already painted white, and the wood floor was finished in a light-to-medium tone, I decided to bring in color using a vibrant sofa and cool accessories. This isn’t really surprising considering it’s my usual design strategy! Not knowing if the lease allowed for hanging items on the brick, I picked inexpensive prints that could fit in light frames and attached using extra-durable 3M hooks. I love TV, so I don’t shy away from including TVs in inspiration boards, but I do like to make the area a little more interesting. I thought a media unit with a shelf up top could be accessorized in a way so that the focal point would still be attractive even with the big black box turned off. I also included a lighting solution involving a long white cord and paper lampshade (the kind found at IKEA or World Market) so lights could be hung from the ceiling without being hard-wired.

I didn’t have a lot of detail to go on regarding the bedroom and bathroom half of the loft (behind the amazing sliding barn door), so I just imagined what the layout might be like.

basic loft layout.jpg

I don’t have any afters since the couple didn’t move in until fairly recently. I am confident that however they decide to decorate, it will look great, and I’m so happy I was tapped to lend a helping hand.

If you are ever stumped for design inspiration you can always email me for some brainstorming! I would be happy and honored to help out. 

Lorelai’s Living Room (Gilmore Girls)

I’m re-watching Gilmore Girls in anticipation of the new special coming out this fall. In a way, coming back to Stars Hollow feels like coming back to a home-away-from-home. Lorelai’s place has always had a special homey feeling, especially among TV houses—I think the reason for that is that it really has the accessible, lived-in feeling that comes from a bit of clutter (like most of our homes!).

The other thing I like about this room in particular is that this effect can be achieved cheaply through thrift stores and craigslist. The story of the character is one who ran from her wealthy family and brought herself up by her bootstraps, and the thrifted, antique, collected-over-time look reflects that.

Gilmore Girls

(Photo by Patrick Ecclesine/Warner Bros./Getty Images)

So, I decided to make an inspiration board of a room that has had such a deep connection for me! To pull this inspiration board together, I went shopping on chairish.com, a site that’s like a fancy craigslist with items that have been vetted (you won’t find junky stuff on there). If you want, you can narrow the search to your geographical area. Or, you can search anywhere in the nation, if you must have that item (and want to pay freight).

Lorelai

First and foremost, Lorelai’s sofa. In the show, it’s famously old and uncomfortable. You can transform your own old and uncomfortable sofa by using a slipcover, or you can check out this option from Pottery Barn. Slipcovers are great because even though they’re white, you can wash them and keep the whole couch looking fresh.

Lorelai’s coffee table is not special, and I like that about it. It looks like it was all-wood, and painted green or teal on the bottom half of it. If you’re inspired by this room I encourage you to look for something at a local thrift shop and make it your own. But, since this is the internet, I chose this one from Overstock and “painted” it in photoshop. (winning!) The couch and coffee table are anchored by one of those woven rag rugs that I am super into lately, in a 90s kind of way.

The Gilmore girls watch a lot of TV and movies. An eagle eye can spot a couple different TV solutions (media units) in a few shots. In some seasons it’s kind of a tall 90s style TV armoire, and in others it’s an antique sewing table (sturdy, to hold an old deep TV). For this, I brought the 90s armoire into the 2010’s. This one from Home Decorators Collection has the same look, but is shorter and wider to house movies, the cable box, and a DVD/Blu-Ray player. Now that most of our TV’s are widescreen instead of the old, more square configuration, a flatscreen will look better on top of this low, wide unit, or hung on the wall above it. (I like to think that 2016 Lorelai is more open to the idea of a wall-mounted TV than 2006 Lorelai was).

Lorelais-living-room-updated-611x458

Unlike most TV shows, we often see all angles of this room depending on the scene. Must have been challenging for the crew to keep consistent! In the back corner she’s got an old wooden rocking chair like this one. There are a few home accessories that get mentioned by name, like a creepy clown pillow and a monkey lamp: I did my best to find similar ones! Also, if you go back up to the top photo you might notice that this room has a ton of lamps. I added a Tiffany style lamp but you could probably find something antique chic at a thrift or vintage shop.

From the most common angle, looking into the front doorway and hallway to kitchen, there is an iconic secretary desk, a colorful quilt hung on the wall (I bet you have one in your linen cabinet), and a couple cool art pieces like an antique painting. The key with vintage art is to find something you really like and that complements the colors in your home. Something ugly to one person could be just the thing you need, so be patient and check out every piece when you’re at an antique store. Also, don’t forget, you have the liberty to change out or paint the frame!

You guys, this was so much fun. Not only was it a great excuse to keep watching Gilmore Girls, but I haven’t put together an inspiration board in a while and I forgot how much I enjoy it. The one I did a few years ago for Barney Stinson’s apartment still gets some hits every day so I got inspired to make one for another living room. The polar opposite of Barney’s, apparently!

Would you live here? Let me know what you think in the comments!