Friday, December 2, 2011

My Living Room E-Design Story

When we bought our house, we knew there were a LOT of updates we would need to do. Removing wallpaper, pulling up carpet, painting, blasting out half the wall between the dining room and kitchen to open that space up, and of course remodeling the kitchen entirely. It was a big undertaking but we were excited about it and excited to make it our own. A photo reminder below of where we started...that area to the right with the floor to ceiling mirror is our living room...true story.

I'm going to be honest here. I had no direction or inspiration when we chose our paint colors two and a half years ago. We just chose whatever color our little hearts desired and I want to repaint the entire house now. Boy, have I learned a lot since that time.

With the exception of our kitchen remodeling project, we hadn't really bought anything new for our house. We were newlyweds and we were (and still are) savers, so we didn't want to go out and buy everything under the sun just to furnish our home. We wanted to live in our house and chip away at projects while creating our home.

So rewind back to February of this year. Sheila was about 6 months old. I was back to work full-time. We had gotten a lot of snow and it was cold. Needless to say we were spending a lot of quality time indoors in our living room. Here is what our living room looked like in February:

This room was a true marriage. The tan couch was mine from my rental days. The coffee table and floor lamp in the corner were also mine. The pleather couch and awful halogen lamp were my husband's. You can't see in these photos but the TV stand was my husband's. So there were lots of items we both had and kept them because we didn't have anything else.

You know I really like all of you or else I wouldn't be showing you any of these photos.

Oh my gosh how did we live with this room for so long...

And that was the problem. We were living with the room and I finally wanted to do something about it.
But I needed help. I wanted help. I wanted an extra, third set of honest eyes that would give me the rundown and some opinions on what the heck I should do here.

I had been reading a lot of Mom blogs since I had had Sheila and at some point I came across Kirsten's blog, 6th Street Design School, and saw that she offered an e-design service. Mmmm...I thought that was an interesting concept. I could fill out some information about the living room and the goals I had, budget, items to stay/items to go, and Kirsten would help me come up with a plan to give us a new look. I'm not one to push go quickly, but I did. And I'm so glad I did.

Items to stay: tan couch and TV
Items to go: pleather couch, floor lamps, rug, coffee table, TV stand

Here are the after photos...

These after photos make me so happy!

There are still areas of this room that I'm working on but I know they will take time. To the right of the couch I've started a gallery wall. I want to find a credenza second hand to use as a TV/media cabinet, but  I haven't found the right piece, and I also want to replace the floor lamp in the corner. I'd love to repaint the room but that would mean losing the stripes that I worked so hard on, and I really don't want to repaint at this point. Maybe in a year. I will keep you posted as the updates occur.

I learned so much through this e-design process. Kirsten was patient, accessible, hard-working, and passionate about this project. She wanted to make sure that the decisions I made about pieces for the room were items that I love. She knew when I was wavering about something...she'd reply to my e-mail and say, "but do you love it?" That is so important with design. The client should love everything that surrounds them in a space. And I love the new look of our living room. It's a pretty, colorful, functional space for me and my family to enjoy - that was the goal I wanted to achieve.

It took me a while to get to a point where the room was three quarters of the way done, but I did it.

Morale of the story...if you've been living with a room for a while and you're just not sure what to do or where to go with it...hire a designer whether it's someone local or an e-design service. There are many, many resources available - you just need to do some searching and find something that works for you and your budget.

I was so inspired by this project that a month or two after I worked with Kirsten, I decided to start writing West Pear Avenue. And here I am today!

I look forward to sharing more about our living room with you as it gets updated further.

Have a great weekend!!


  1. Love the pops of color and mix of patterns, Holly! Did you paint those stripes on the wall or is that wallpaper?
    Another set of eyes can always help... I never thought about an online consultation. Neat idea.

  2. Thanks for sharing Holly! I say this all of the time but, great design is a true collaboration, even the best designers need someone to bounce ideas off of. Glad that you took the journey down this path and that it brought you here to "blog-land" it has been fun getting to know you!

  3. It looks just like you, Holly! Cheerful, stylish, comfortable and functional! There's no doubt you were meant to be a blogger and designer, you're a delight in the blogosphere!

  4. I LOVE it. It's bright, stylish and fun all at the same time. Great work to you and Kristen.

  5. Hi Holly-

    Your rooms look wonderful. Good advice to get some help from someone with experience to get the decorating ball rolling the right way from the get go.

    I smiled when I saw the yellow pops of color on the pillows. Looks good with your front door. :)

    My best - Diane

  6. This looks amazing Holly! You must be thrilled. Love the chairs and the fabric. The stripes give that area more focus, as do the colors.

  7. I had my first gasp on a before and after in the blogosphere with this post! The striped wall is amazing! I say absolutely keep it for a year with all of that work and not to mention how great it looks! Do you want to change colors completely or is there a way to leave it as an accent wall with a different solid color? What a wonderful transformation, and I hope you and your family are enjoying it :)

  8. Your living room looks gorgeous! I LOVE the red chairs, especially paired with the stripe-y wall. Gorgeous! :)

  9. That is so awesome that Kirsten asked "Do you love it?" You are the one that counts and you SHOULD be happy. And decorating is never really finished...I think its fluid.

  10. OMG, Holly! I totally saw this the other day on Kirsten's blog and did not realize it was you (sorry, never clicked on the link she provided for the mysterious "Holly")! It's beautiful!! Love those yellow chevron curtains with the throw pillows:) And great job on the stripes girl! Always wondered about the whole having another blogger/designer help you I know you really would get a fresh perspective on things. Such a fabulous collaboration! I can completely see where you were coming from - during the long cold months of winter with a baby you do a lot of hanging out in certain rooms. You feel so much better if your surroundings reflect you and if you are happy with them! Can't wait to see what else you got going on in here:)

  11. It is absolutely beautiful, Holly. The striped wall was genius. I'm also loving all the pattern and pops of color. You must be so happy when you spend time in this room!

  12. How is it this post slipped by me? I've been dying to read this one! I LOVE the changes you have made, and am still completely crushing on your chairs. The colour is so cheerful, fun and fresh, and I like the way you've integrated pops of it in your accessories. It's going to be so much fun to follow your changes. I'm glad you were inspired to start writing West Pear Avenue - I really enjoy your posts!

    xo Sheila

  13. Oh my goodness! You and Kirsten did a great job! I love everything about the striped wall - the mirror, the pops of color, the chairs, and how you styled the expedit. The chevron curtains are so bright and fun. I don't think you have to repaint the room, but if you wanted to keep the stripes, could you repaint the room the lighter color? P.S. - I think we all have had one of those horrible halogen lamps at some point!

  14. Your living room really did turn out so gorgeous. It has an entirely different feel, so fun!