Skinny Spaces

Narrow spaces are notoriously difficult to design. Add in lots of doorways, plus a wall of working french doors to the mix, and you've got my sister and brother-in-law's family room in their new house. Great room, but challenging design-wise.
So, how does one tackle the difficulties these dimensions present?
A few tried and true thoughts we plan to apply to Brooke's space:
  • Visually Widen the Space: Seems like a no-brainer, but making it reality is another story. The wood floors are beautiful, but their linear quality only adds to the visual that this room is loooong and lean. I'm thinking a large rug, with an expansive pattern.
  • Keep Furniture Lean: Think smallish, cozy-but-trim, and very-well edited. Nothing overly-stuffed for a sofa. For additional seating, something like a Wassily chair that offers comfort without bulk.
  • Trick the Eye: We'll use light colors - the walls have already been painted Sherwin Williams Mindful Gray - and probably a large mirror to create a space-doubling effect.
Here's the initial idea board we're working from - think cheery, eclectic and young, but past your first-time homeowner stage.
Sumbera family room_edited-2

Which reminds me....If you'd like some help pulling together a room, or know someone who could use some design tips, I'm happy to oblige with styling services. Email me for more info and rates - Catch me while my skills are way underpriced (like, almost free! ;) It could make for a super holiday gift!

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Design Dilemma Sources: Jana's Room

Shortly after I posted the update on Jana's room, I realized I hadn't sourced a thing, and several of you have commented or emailed wanting some deets....

That Faburlous (typo - I'm keepin' it!) Wall Color: Benjamin Moore - Harbor Gray
You all seemed to love it in Jana's room, and you've probably seen it before...

BM harbor gray chip

Fabric for armchairs: Calico Corners Key WestMid-Century console (found via Dallas Craigs) in the sitting room nook: repainted Krylon Sun Yellow

Gray silk ikat accent pillows: from this Ebay vendor, and I can just about guarantee you won't find better prices for this look.
French Bulldog silhouette: (sooooo ordering one for my sister and BIL!)
Sunburst Mirror above mantel: Jana's own DIY version - see here

Design Dilemma Update: Jonesin' for Jonathan

If you'll recall, many months back I posted about a Design Dilemma idea I had for my friend, Jana. Jana, her hubster Ray, and their two French Bulldogs share a precious home in Dallas. Jana is very inspired by Jonathan Adler's happy, crisp style, and wanted to bring that feel to their sitting room, and adjoining dining room.
I took my cues from Adler's generous use of white to balance pure fresh colors, and made some suggestions for paint, fabric and art, but Jana did all the heavy lifting. Over the course of several months and emails, we commiserated on the best way to use the side chairs she already owned and loved, as well as some other Craigs and Round Top (antique fair) pieces she picked up. I'd say Jana's a genius at using what she's got to create a look coherent with her hopes, but you go ahead and see for yourselves!

Before: Sitting Room
Fireplace Room

After: Light Gray paint, large doses of yellow and white, and you've got one totally opened-up space!
Fireplace Room Updated

Before: Ray's Bar/Nook - When Jana first began brewing ideas for the room, her husband told her the bar area was "hands off."

After: She was able to keep that promise, while still spiffing it up. Love the frenchie silhouette!
Fireplace Room Updated 2

Before: The Dining Room - The open-concept home allows for the sitting room to flow into the dining, so it only made sense to connect the two visually. I suggested she carry-through with the wall color, paint the hutch and center the table so as to truly function as a dining room.

After: She did just that and more: juxtaposing simple, modern chairs against the industrial table was a stroke of genius. It's a tough call, but I think this area is my favorite!
Dining Updated

The Corner nook in the sitting room. The small, mid-century sideboard hits the spot!
Nook Updated

Entryway: Jana and Ray have built-ins in their main living area, and they did a great job tying them into the design. Major kudos for the nice styling, too!
Updated Entry

B&A Ecstacy!

A little over a year ago, my good friend Carrie said they were ready to take on the redo of their master bath. A pic I'd seen in Coastal Living struck me as something they might like, and sure enough, it served as a stepping off point for the bath remodel.
Over the course of the year, Carrie and her hubster, Scott, added a third son to their family, studied for work promotions, and nursed another kiddo's broken leg ALL while Scott gutted the bathroom. As Carrie has proudly said, this project has taken Scott well-beyond simple "handyman" status as he did all the work himself.

I know you all like a good B&A, so here ya go - feast your eyes on this transformation!
master vanity before
Standard, 80's builder-grade vanity and garden tub

master vanity after
Replaced with a rustic Craigslist console-turned-vanity, vessel sinks, and modern cultured marble counter that does a stunning job of mimicking Carrara.

vanity close-up after
Oh, and gorgeous wall-mounted gooseneck faucets!

The most challenging aspect of the project was Scott's plan to reverse the shower stall and tub placement, to take advantage of unused space in the tub's window seat.
master shower before

master tub before

Where the old shower stood, there's now an inviting claw-foot tub.
clawfoot tub after
Would you believe it's fiberglass?

Eye candy for a fixture junkie like me!

And, where the garden tub made inefficient use of space, there's now a multi-spray shower with plenty of room for a built-in seat. I can't say what I love more: the river stone floor, or the showerhead combo!

view into shower after
Crazy gorgeous, my friends! (Um, can I use your bath next time we visit? ;)

Design Dilemma Reveal: Mary's Room

The time for teasing is over...
I hope it was worth the wait.
Mary's room, in all it's glory (remember the sad "before?")
Our idea was casual elegance using some of Mary's favorite greens and blues.
Sources run from the Habitat for Humanity store to West Elm to antique fairs (and everything in between!)
A Craigslist "french-ish" linen settee with a pair of DIY gilded pedestal tables
Habitat shield-back chairs redone in granny smith green for a little whimsy, and a wonderful ikat for an overhaul of the Overstock chairs.
Butterfly prints that turned out better than I had hoped, and a pile of Turq-WAZ - can you resist? Nope, neither could we!
Details matter.
...and, last but not least, the lady who trusted me (and paid the bills!) Thank you, Mary, it was such a treat!