Ashley, her husband and two young children live in a lovely craftsman style home in North Portland. When Ashley reached out to me, her request was very specific. She was seeking ideas and inspiration for their entry and adjacent living room. Admittedly, I was a little nervous given her design background at Nike, but in my experience, it’s often difficult for homeowners to see their own spaces objectively. Frankly, this happens to me, too.
We met at Ashley’s home where I began by asking about Ashley’s needs, wants, likes, dislikes and lifestyle. I learned that Ashley likes to entertain, wants her home to feel put together, yet welcoming, and she has a streak of sentimentality. She has an affinity for softer colors, particularly yellows and greens.
We started with the entry. With two school-aged children, this is an especially high-traffic area in their home. Ashley has a lot of great furniture, including some lovely family antiques, but the space featured a lot of hard pieces, including several tables, a wooden bench and a large framed mirror. To soften the space and make it more functional, we swapped out the bench, instead tucking two small-scale upholstered chairs from her living room in to a corner and placed a small table and lamp between them. This provided a soft area for the family and guests to take their shoes off and on. We moved the large mirror to the opposite corner providing a spot to check out one’s outfit or lipstick before walking out the door. A coatrack and a few strategically placed accessories and the room looked anew.
Next, we addressed Ashley’s living room, a lovely and serene space just off the entry. The room’s focal point is a tile fireplace framed with a white mantel and flanked by two tall and narrow windows. The space is light and airy with high, boxed ceilings. The arrangement of her furniture was the first issue we addressed. Ashley’s large chocolate colored leather sofa was dwarfing the other pieces in the room. We decided that Ashley would need to invest in a two larger armchairs that could stand up to the visual weight of the sofa. We turned the sofa so that it faced the fireplace, room’s focal point and made a note to look for a pair of good-sized chairs. We then noted that the room would have better flow with a round coffee table, ideally a clear glass one. We added this to our shopping list.
We continued moving through each corner of the room, assessing whether or not a piece had significance or was simply a “placeholder” for something better. In this process, we managed to get rid of some things that were unnecessary and made room to really highlight items – such as a wonderful piece of art given to her by her husband on their wedding day.
Also on our list: new drapes to draw attention to her amazing windows, a ceiling light to draw attention to the architecturally interesting ceilings, and a few accessories to pull in the colors she really loves.
That week, I researched and sent multiple options to Ashley. She purchased the ones she liked and several weeks later, they were assembled and installed. The result was a more cohesive and harmonious room that she and her family can enjoy for years to come.