Monday, September 20, 2010

home sweet home (part 4: the living room)

In my opinion, our living room is the crown jewel of this house.


The first time we saw our house, back in July, and I caught sight of the living room, I gasped and my heart honestly skipped a beat. The majestic fireplace, the expansive bay window, the gleaming hardwood floors. I immediately imagined placing our Christmas tree in that beautiful window and hanging our stockings on that sturdy mantle. Very clearly, I could see our family sitting in front of a crackling fire while singing Christmas carols and drinking egg nog.


(It's on our "To-Do" list to paint the inside of the fireplace with high temperature black paint.)

A few weeks ago, I wrote that this house had very good "bones" and this room is proof of that.

For instance, the lines in this room are perfect and exact. The spacing on either side of the fireplace are precisely equal. When I place our 8 x 10 rug in front of the couch, it is evenly spaced between the windows and perfectly spaced in front of the fireplace and within the room.


Symmetry makes me extraordinarily happy.


There were THREE tracks worth of curtains hanging in this room, that we removed the first weekend we were in the house. As for right now, we don't have any curtains up and are debating what to do with this window. Sheer? Plantation shutters?

Who has any suggestions for how to dress up a 5 x 12 bay window?

We are planning to paint this room "Basketry" by Behr. Basketry also happens to be the same color that we are planning to paint beneath Cherry Tart in the adjoining dining room (which is actually more "red" than the tester shown online). We're going to pull the basketry color out of the dining room and through the living room. We're also planning to paint the mantle, crown moulding and baseboards semi-gloss white.


Although, now that I look at the intricacies of the mantle - and envision how challenging that will be to properly sand - maybe we'll just leave it pink.


  1. I always love reading your blog, but I can really relate to it lately! We recently purchased a house with tons of carpeting over hardwoods, gaudy wallpaper over crumbly plaster, and a horribly outdated bathroom, but with a beautiful yard in a great neighborhood, and a great layout to the house. I am a novice decorator myself but look forward to seeing what you do with your place.

  2. It is so weird to see your furniture in a different house...

  3. What a beautiful room with the sun streaming in and the symmetrical layout.

    Love the front yard too - it fits with the houses you see in the movies - all very "american".

    Looks like a lot of fun ahead.

  4. If I could offer one piece of advice it would be to not use Behr. I hate the coverage. On my builder's recommendation, we used Sherwin Williams no VOC paint, and we thought it was great, especially with little kids in our house. I've also had good luck with Porter Paints. I have learned at the ripe old age of 44 that you get what you pay for. Two coats always for less per gallon, or probably one coat (of lighter colors, anyway, over white) at more per gallon.

    Also, I like the idea of sheers if that's your Christmas tree window. But shutters might work, too. Love the space, definitely good bones.

  5. baduteandeggs: I feel the same way about Valspar. We've never had good luck with that brand of paint - it's always very clumpy and coats awful. But Behr has worked pretty well.

    I've already purchased several gallons of Behr for the living room and dining room. But I'll try Sherwin Williams or Benjamin Moore when I paint the bedrooms. OR, if the colors I select for the living and dining rooms are awful and need to be repainted.

    Here's hoping not...!!!

  6. that is a beautiful room! i think the colors you are planning are perfect...the white moulding is a must. it will make the "basketry" color pop. and i love idea of plantation shutters for the windows.

  7. Beautiful room and love the colors you picked. If I may make a suggestion not to use Behr. We've had bad luck with it. We hired a painter and he turned us on to using Benjamin Moore and the coverage and quality is so great. And it cleans SO MUCH better than Behr.

    Sherwin Williams brand is nice too. My mom used that when she painted the girls' nursery.

  8. Jen,

    I just want you to know that I have always loved your blog. I am having fun seeing your new house and hearing of all your plans. I am just really excited for your family right now. :-)

    How are you enjoying the beginning of the change of seasons into Fall? The leaves are starting to fall, a few are changing. One of my favorite Fall delights are feeling the crunch of leaves under my shoes. Heaven on Earth!

  9. BlackOrchid9/21/10, 8:38 AM

    I absolutely love this room! Wow!

    Like the paint choices too - very good!

    you so could pull up the rugs and ballroom dance in there!

    Glad things are going well!

  10. LOVE the living room! My sister in law has the same sort of windows in her living room and has never put any window treatments up. The window is just so gorgeous as is!

  11. Wow! What a super room! Beautiful.
    I would go with sheers for spring/summer/early fall and add drapes that can be pulled for late fall/winter to help keep it warm and cozy.

  12. If you're bay window has a view do nothing with regards to drapery. If it doesn't I like the idea of shutters.

    We have NO window coverings in our house with the exception of 2 windows that get heavy afternoon sun.

    The entire wall of our living area is windows, beautiful hand blown 1900's windows from a hotel in San Francisco that was remodeling. My husband is the ultimate scavenger, our front doors came from the hospital where I was born!
    However we live in the middle of the forest and don't want to block the incredible view of the forest. Even one wall of the shower is a window.

  13. I gasped when I 1st saw that living room. Your are correct it is lovely! Symmetry is my thing as well. What a gorgeous light filled space. I think you unfortunatly need some winter curtains as the chill will probbaly come right through those old windows. I love the no curtain look but isn't this the front of the house? Is there a tree outfront or are you exposed to the world?

  14. PS you might want to try Sears top of the line paint. I used to work at Sears and had the opprotunity to visit their testing labs. Their exterior and interior paint were rated way above the national average. I like Dunn Edwards too.

  15. Consider painting the brick on the fireplace too...or did you say that? Behr works great - we were Benjamin Moore fans before but Behr is cheaper and works just as well.

    I love fixer uppers. That place has some serious character!


  16. Don't have any decorating tips other than...when it is 20 degrees out for 4 months in a row, you are going to want to have the window coverings....It will reduce your heating bill.

  17. If you can afford it, get a pro to take care of the bay window. Plantation shutters would be awesome, again, pricey but worth it. I had a bay window in my last house - the bane of my existence.

    As far as Behr paint - it's the only kind my BIL uses - he's a retired General COntractor. He just painted my sister's whole house, LOL. I will tell you to avoid Ben Moore's Aura line - freaking impossible to work with.

  18. Do you NEED anything in front of those windows (too much sun, no privacy out back, etc...) because if the neighbors can't see in and it's not too sunny I would leave it like it is!!! I love big, open windows with unobstructed views. If sun is an issue, you could tint the windows.

    I can't believe someone had three rows of curtains must have looked like a tomb in there!!!


  19. Christina(pa)9/21/10, 9:01 PM

    I'll second the recommendation for Ben Moore paint, I hate Behr but I know a lot of people have had luck.

    in terms of window treatments and w/o seeing a head on shot of the window, I would vote for Roman shades. Does someone in your family sew? I think I read that at some point but maybe no. In any event, you could do it a few ways, one on each of the smaller L & R window and then one really large one in the center or that could be split into two. I vote for one really large one if the width is not too much.

    AS far as the dental moulding on the fire place, buy a really good primer and the thin sanding sponges are very helpful. I did our FP which also has the dental and it was not fun. But the disposable black craft sponges on a stick are the perfect width. get them in bulk since they don't last too long. And wine usually helps :)

  20. I love that room. The window is perfect.

  21. I just painted a room yesterday. It was pink. Not just any pink, but hot pink that glowed. And the closet was orange.

    I used Behr with primer in it. The overly happy lady at the Home Depot swore by it, and I might have laughed at her a bit, but wow. She was right.

    It went on like butter. Smooth, thick, and covered better than I expected. I was planning on 2-3 coats, but only ended up having to do one! I'm hooked. I think it was $32/gallon or so.

    Good luck with all your projects, I don't envy you, but the house is super cute!

  22. That window is beautiful and I agree that leaving it without curtains would be great but then there is the draft issue. I checked the internet on Window treatments and they had some nice ideas. The shutters would not provide any warmth---remember how cold the Northern Ca. house was in winter with those windows?
    Give it a lot of thought before you decide.

  23. Hey Jen,

    I agree with your Mom. You need to cover the windows for the winter. I'm sure you'll find the perfect treatment but you'll save on fuel bills and possible physician bills if the draft is eliminated. As for paint. I repainted every room in my house after I bought 6 years ago. Ben Moore is the best for coverage and The best semi gloss white is Pittsburg. I did all of my kitchen cabinets and most of my wood work with 2 gallons.

    Keep smilin' while you work!