Friday, May 16, 2008

Design Depression - Please Help!

I must preface this post with: "I really don't mean to sound ungrateful"

Now that we got that out of the way... A few years ago my Husband (fiancee at the time) and I were very lucky to be chosen to be part of a new show on HGTV called My First Place. It was a very exciting and fun experience. HGTV gave us a designer and 3k to decorate any room of our choice in our first house. We chose our formal living/dining room, we figured, 2 birds one stone.
We both loved the room, and I cried on camera like a total moron. As time goes by, I like this room less and less. In fact, it is making me a little ill. I am not sure if it is just the normal "I'm getting tired of looking at this shat" or if it really sucked to begin with, but I was caught up in the moment.

So my dilemma is this, how can I change/update this room to make it look better without upsetting the Husband. You see, he is very frugal and practical, and I AM NOT. He would think I am crazy for wanting to change this room. To me, it feels cluttered and dark. I would love to get some outside opinions from the insightful blog world. Here are the ground rules:

1. Paint color stays - that was a bitch to paint, and I aint doin it again!
2. Window treatments stay - this will be too obvious and hard to justify to the hubs.
3. Painting stays - it was done by Moi, so if you hate it keep that to yourself - I'm fragile

That's it! Any and all advice is welcome!


Jessie said...

OOo ooo ooooo... I love stuff like this! It looks like you've got a good starting point - I can already think of a few fairly small things that would brighten it up!

First of all, I actually don't mind the color of the walls. I know sometimes they don't show up right in pictures, but is this a celadon-yellowish-green? I couldn't tell if it was an actual color or more of a neutral.

Anyways, I think a great place to start would be to change out your curtains. They contribute to the darkness, and I think a cream colored linen would look really pretty (maybe even layered over some sheers). These would be SOOO easy to make. Literally a few cuts of fabric and some straight lines on a sewing machine, but if that's not an option for you, I'm sure you could find a decent set already made somewhere.

I LOVE the painting... colors are perfect, flowers are beautiful. Leave it (obviously) and maybe even find a way to light it to brighten up that wall a bit.

You could also slipcover the couch and armchair with a lighter color of fabric, if you're sick of the brocade, but I don't know if that's an option for you as far as pets/kids go.

Lastly, I love the use of the aqua with all the rich browns, but I'd try and bring in a few other colors to try and spice things up a bit in the accessories department... maybe draw from the orangey-poppie colors in your painting? On that small table under the iron hanging, you could get either a lamp with a white or brightly colored base and maybe something a little more modern for the left side to balance it out.

Hope these ideas help and I can't WAIT to see what you end up doing! I know exactly what it's like to try and change things up on a budget and I KNOW you can do it - with a happy husband no less!

Sopapilla said...

Wow! Great ideas jessie. Get busy Sneaky. Can't wait to see what you do.

SGM said...

HOLY CRAP, SNEAKY!!! I saw that episode! The best part of your room is the painting (and yes I remember that YOU are the artist). LOVE it.

Good luck with your re-do. Do you still paint?

visual vamp said...

Hi Girl, I too saw that show, and I too love the painting! It's the best thing in the room! I would take out ALL the accessories so you can see the room fresh again. I am not a silk or real plant-in -the room person - always looks like a tacky model home styled room to me Plants just belong outside. A different light fixture over DR table - it's too kitchen-y, small, shiny, and cheap looking. Maybe just one those big drum shade things, or an oversize funky chandy (wood and iron?). Maybe pick up the orange from the painting as an additional accent color - keep a few of the blue things, but have tough love when you edit. Nothing on top of those tower style book cases. Ditch the urn in the metal plant stand. Why is there only one valance? It makes the ceiling look small. Ditch it. The curtains are fine. Get a larger, more hip area rug - there are so many great options out there, and edges of furniture should at least touch the area rug. A room size are rug would do wonders to lively up the space. No table runner on DR table. Dated. Edit the pillows - less is more and get some more updated, younger looking less shiny fabric - a cotton-y blend will make damask furniture less stuffy, and more you. You could buy fabric and recover your pillows. Use iron on stitch witch if you don't sew. That blue pillow you like for me would be good for you too! I do not like that iron wall piece - dated - it might be good on your coffee table with a piece of glass on top, to beef up that dinky little thing. Take all the big plates off those easels. If you use them, hang them on the wall in a grouping, or use them flat on a surface. Lose the tea set to the kitchen. Are those brown pillows on the sofa (and jeez couldn't they give you a bigger one) part of it? Can you lose them - they are so big. There are too many pillows on that little guy, it makes it feel like you don't have room to sit down. Get some books under that little lamp on the side table to elevate it. You could use another lamp or two, making a standing one near the sofa. Take down all dinky art work from the walls. The scale should be as large as your fab painting for anything you hang. Group small and like things together to make a bigger statement. Maybe think about changing the color of the frame (or the frame itself) around your fab painting. Is it on a board or canvas? If it's on a flat enough board a white/cream mat would look great, with a gray frame. The dark frame overpowers the art. Re-derange the furniture!. Place couch perpendicular facing the window. Shove two towers together on the same wall that they are on. Place arme chair in left corner away from the front door on an angle - it will soften the huge-ness of it. Move console table nearer door as an entry table (you'll have more room when you dtich the funeral urn). Hang a mirror (a large round one would be fab), or maybe a grouping of those big plates and small framed stuff over the table. Youcould also use one of those big plates on the entry table as a catch all, and maybe the two candle sticks from the DR table (they are too corny on the DR table). Is that an ottoman in the window? Lose the pillows and move it facing the bookshelves, as additional seating facing the coffee table - people can sit on it facing either way. No colored candles ever! Use white or cream. It is more tasteful. Edit the stuff on the shelves. Other than that, how'd you like the play Mrs. Lincoln? :-) Have you posted this on RMS? It would be so funny to see the great HGTV morons, er I mean, designers toppled. So don't tell RMSers your sad story - just post it as if you did it! LOL! I think you are right to be greatful, and I am happy you got $3K. worth of stuff, but the HGTV staff leave much to be desired, except for the goddess Candace, who is the real thing, and not art school hacks like me :-)
May I put this on my blog darling?
Love you madly, you know I offer all of this with respect and admiration. I wish I was there to help you move it all around! We'd make some of that sangria you like, and have a happy, happy time of it. xo xo xo

Sneaky Chic said...

SGM- You saw it? Just remember the camera adds 20! HA! :)
Yes, I still paint, especially these days as I was laid off and am currently living on unemployment.

Jessie & Visual Vamp- Holy Sh*t! You are both full of wonderful ideas! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! I am really excited now.

Jessie- The wall color is actually called "cookie crumb" and that is excatly what it looks like in person, a crumb off of a toll house cookie - the photos don't show it well.

VV- yes you can put it on your blog- anytime, you never need to ask!

I will post new pics as I make changes...

visual vamp said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
visual vamp said...

Good Morning Miz S, I was dreaming on your room some more, and duh, use your great painting over the entry/console table. No ditzy grouping, no mirror needed...e-mail me at V
PS They need spell check on the comment thingee...

Design Junkie said...

It really is a great start. I think you mainly need to remove some of the more stuffy pieces (like the brocade chair), and add a touch of contemporary and a healthy dose of white.

A few suggestions:

Windows: Ditch the valance in the dining area. Keep the brown panels, but hang light sheers between. They are very easy to make yourself with some linen, an iron, and stitch witch heat adhedsive.

Sofa: You could try slipcovering the sofa in something lighter, or even replacing the pillow covers on the large back pillows with a modern brown, white print would really lighten the space. Putting the print or white painted poster board in the back of the shelves would also really lighten the area.

Rug: A pale natural cowhide rug would really lighten the area and they're virtually indestructable.

Entry. Change the iron art out for a funky white painted mirror ala dorothy draper. Find one at a thrift store or flea market, spray it glossy white and presto. Pair it with a nice simple, but bright glass lamp. Target occasionally has some.

Replace the large brocade chair with a couple of smaller, white ones.

Dining: Change out the host/hostess chairs for a pair of white ones...maybe leather parsons chairs, great funky vintage ones painted white, or if you have sewing skills, a pair of slipcovers.

Replace the chandlier with either a large scale white paper lantern or a simple, crsip, large barrel shade.

Sneaky Chic said...

Design Junkie- I love you already! I have a mirror that would look great painted glossy white and I was already considering your dining chair swap idea!

Also- the cow hide rug sounds really cool.

Thank you for your time and great ideas!!!

Cote de Texas said...

Hi - I think the room actually looks pretty good - well thought out space wise - the two cabinets are a good way to bring the roof down to human scale. that said - since you don't want to change the wall colors (which I think you should or the drapes, ditto) - get rid of the clutter - all those fake plants everywhere - it cheapens the design. I hate all those small pillows, get two 22" pillows and toss the rest on a guest bed - hubby will appreciate your thriftyness. get a much larger area rug and move that to the bathroom - it's way way off - too smallllll. orange would be good - check out West Elm rugs. slipcovers are a great way to change furniture without a huge expense. I really hate that stuff on the wall by the door - edit, edit edit it. the turq. teaset needs to be moved.

I think if you get rid of the little clutter, plants, rug, things by the door - and concentrate of a few big accessories you will be happier.

But maybe these just aren't your colors? Think about new drapes - move these to that guest room. plus your furniture is really dark. I can't imagine living with someone else's design especially when it's not taste. it must be awful. can you get a new husband? ha! this should be something you need and should be able to talk to him about. slowly, carefully, without whining = and without sounding ungrateful. but this is YOUR house. and you should be happy in it. good luck.

Sneaky Chic said...

Hi Cote de Texas- Thanks for the ideas! I will definitely be editing! I feel like a design nerd now because I was completely clueless about the fake plant thing - but now that is has been brought up by a few pros, I see it and agree. Thank You!!!

franki durbin said...

Jessie, you hit on so many of my points!

First - love the overall look of the room. I can guess which elements you have tired of (we all need to mix it up from time to time) but overall the room has great bones.

If it were my space and I had to focus on the budget I'd do this:

slipcovers from Pottery Barn rock. Get the ivory or sand canvas version to lighten the room.

And Jessie also had the same idea I did: accessories are cheap. Pull out all of the teal, tuck it away for future use.

Head to Pier One & Z galleria and grab some persimmon colored accessories to highlight your gorgeous painting. Which is fab!

Look at changing the vibe of the space by gpinhg in a more 'moder organic' direction rather than the ornate accessories from a few years ago. Here are some examples:

If it were me, I'd be rocking that fab orangey color. But in lieu of that, the persimmon would work nicely.

Your painting is great. Your drapes are nice (silk dupioni pillows will help by repeating the mildly shimmery effect of that fabric)

Honestly, you could roll out to your nearest HomeGoods and let the accessories department inspire you. The space is gorgeous, and I recently had a similar predicament. A few accessories taken out of rotation and replaced is easy on the wallet and will make a world of difference for you :)

thanks for inviting us to offer opinions! let us know how it turns out ;)

Sarah's Fab Day said...

Sneaky, that painting is gorg! I love it. I can see why you are ready for a little update and I can totally relate to the thrifty hubby. Just slowly and sneakily bring things in just like your cute little name suggests. These gals have given you some wonderful ideas, lucky you! I will be looking for you on HGTV that's for sure. :)

hikinginstilettos said...

First of all, thanks for the comment on little Cooper, and I love your blog!

So, as far as the redesign goes, an easy way to update/change the dining area is to recover the seats. You can usually find some inexpensive fabric (or fabrics depending on the look you want) at a thrift store or even a local sewing store.

I love the aqua dishes! You can also add some colorful linens on top of the table. They are inexpensive and easy to store or change at a moment's whim.

Slipcovers for the couch/armchair are also an easy way to change colors without spending a lot of money. Don't you dare take down the painting! I love it! The orange tones in the painting add another dimension of color to the room, so use that as some inspiration!

Good luck, and I look forward to some "after" pictures soon!

::{J}:: said...

Ok, so I think you may be uncomfortable because the room feels a bit dark.You can easily & inexpensively brighten it up with accessories!
Easy change are throw pillows, since you already have dark furniture you can brighten things up with lighter pillows, lamp shades & little vases or a tray.
You can keep an eye out for some little milk glass dishes at antique stores or thrift shops.
You can make pillow slipcovers, if you'd like, very inexpensive & easy to change out.
The other thing was you should consider repainting your coffee table, like a gloss white maybe. If you sand & prep it well you can literally spray paint it using something glossy. That's cheap!
You could continue that with frames of pictures or around mirrors & if you get sick of the color, just paint it again!
These could reasonably be done in 1 day for probably for under $50!

Let me know how it goes!!

tk said...

I am completly shocked - you know I do consider myself one of your good friends and how is it that I did not know that you weren't happy any longer with your designer room? And please everyone ignore the fact that this blog was posted around May 16th but I just got the website address a couple of days ago. Oh M, I love you, but fill a sista in!