Undoubtedly the living room is a big deal in any home. That’s where you curl up on the sofa with a good book and a glass of wine, argue about what you are going to watch on TV – Tree House Masters or Hallmark Channel, sometimes I do that – judge away if you must, entertain friends, have long talks, and generally…well…live. As much as I appreciate that the living room can be the heart of the home, I long for my own bedroom when I am between flips. I dream about my bed, I imagine how lonely it is in that freezing cold storage box, and feel a little less than whole.
For me that poor cold bed is my everything in that room. Sure I love my closets, but they have doors, so they are practically different rooms entirely. It’s my perfect Prana Mattress, my feather stuffed pillows, my layers and layers of blankets that create a coziness I sink into. It’s a bit ironic since I suffer from such serious sleep issues. A post for another time.
I want to make sure that the master bed gets the special attention it deserves. The whole room that is, not just the bed. It’s a big room too so making it inviting without stuffing it with furniture, keeping a minimal aesthetic in keeping with the modernist look, is the challenge.
A king size bed will help with the scale of the room, a large low dresser, a bench at the end of the bed for taking your shoes off at the end of a long day – all important elements. Add black out curtains (a non-negotiable), some great bedside tables, and maybe a comfy chair. For me, no TV in the bedroom, but that decision I will leave up to the owner.
Above: Left Top: Anthropologie . Linen Haverhill Chair $595.50. Top Middle: Ballard Designs . Antelope Hand Tufted Rug in Grey 9 x 12 $899. Top Right: Shop Candelabra . Boyd Delux Credenza $4797 Bottom Left: CB2 . Forte Channeled Leather Extra Large Sofa $2379.15 and Bottom Right: Etsy Mid-century Side Tables – Pair $250.
I love a good challenge. It’s decidely easier to spend someone else’s money than my own. Though, admittedly I am pretty good at spending that too. This gives me the perfect distraction from my own renovation project and its associated budgetary challenges – you don’t even want to know how far over budget and how extensive the scope creep has been – you just don’t.
Left: Mineral Ice by Benjamin Moore will be the main color palette for the common areas and the living room. Right: Rejuvenation . Poplin Floor Lamp $423.
Look #1: Drum roll – $12,317.30. This includes significant discounts from West Elm, Ballard Designs, CB2. January is a big sale month.
Look #2: West Elm Sectional as posted above. Top Left: Target Warwick Wood Ratan Side Table $85.49 Top Right: World Market . Natural Basket Weave Jute Rug 9 x 12 $314.50 Bottom Left: Article Mara Walnut Coffee Table $299. Bottom Right: Etsy . Sideboard in Walnut $1897.45
Total for Look #2: $6264.83 Note that it does not include 2 side chairs or any lamps in this look – and they will be needed.
Now I don’t want you to think that I am being irresponsible with the recommendations I am putting forth for this young professional – on the contrary, I conducted an extensive search of some of my very favorite places – West Elm, The Inside, Etsy, Verellen, Shop Candelabra, World Marketplace, Rejuvination, and more. I went back to some tride and true Ben Moore colors, and picked a few new, and I will visit Home Goods for lamps and accessories, because well, they are simply the best for inexpensive, transitional lamps (remember, that’s a modern twist on traditional), and they knock off high end accessories faster than I can make my way down to NYC to get lured into buying the original. Thank the Lordy- Lord for Home Goods. Sometimes I think it’s too good to true, and then I pinch myself, and there it is…devine design, but not by Candice Olson – I love you unsung HG Knock-off Division heros.
Top Left: West Elm . Leigh Coffee Table $488.60 Right Top: West Elm . Flourish Rug 9 x 12 $1279.30. Middle: Shop Candelabra Boyd Delux Credenza $4797. Bottom Left: Target Single Drawer Hafley Side Table $62.99 Right Bottom: Ikea . Veda Arm Chair $199.
Look #3: Total $10,088.88 no lamps included in this look
So, back to the challenge: A condo that closes next week. A major move from DC to Boston, a series of subs lined up to execute the work – a tiny bit of demo, open a wall here, let the light in there, refinish the floors in a walnut stain – I approve even though the decision was made before I arrived on the scene, and paint. Then – a totally clean slate. Music to my ears. No Grandmother’s sofa to work into the mix (excuse me all you Grandma’s out there – I love you – truly I do, it just makes it so much easier when you can start fresh). To be clear, I would have taken that sofa and had it reupholstered for more money than you would have approved – so don’t you see…it’s just better this way.
Additional pieces I love and which could all work with any of the looks. Top Left: West Elm . Retro Tripod Coffee Table $209. Top Right: Etsy Walnut Credenza and West Elm . Kidney Bean Coffee Table $365.
Every room needs furniture. Two beds, a living room, and presumedly a dining area – though that is not part of my scope (hey you – you know who you are – the guy this challenge was posed for in the first place – I’ve got three dining tables if you need one.
I am well trained by my sister Jo-Jo to provide 3 options. She likes options, and a full design presentation. She provides the budget and I provide three schemes that fall within the same, and she picks. I will say, she typically picks items from all three options, but that’s her right – she’s paying.
I’m pretty excited about what I have selected and do hope that Jake will be too. It’s a lovely way to begin one’s life in a new town – don’t you think?
Origami that is. West Elm is a company that I admire on so many levels. As a lover of Mid-century Modern furnishings, West Elm’s clean lines and sixties aesthetic appeal. So too does the price point, the on trend colors and their in-house designers that work to put it altogether for you, if you need a nod indicating you’re doing it right – or a whole hand in crafting your next home look.
Ori on display at West Elm’s Fenway location. 160 Brookline Ave. Boston.
There business model, appears to this outsider, to be pretty pliable. Not something I necessarily associate with a big corporation. They team. Teaming is good for business. It puts the community back into the places these stores are located, and small businesses are very important to our economy, not to mention fighting the good fight against homogeneity. It feels pretty special when you walk into the store, meet with local Etsy purveyors, select a painting from an artist to go above the sofa you saved your hard earned doe to get, so you could stop watching tv on the floor atop a pillow. Add to that a signed copy of Erin Gates book, Elements of Style, and you not only have a story to tell friends when you entertain, you’ve personalized it. That’s the magic of West Elm.
Don’t worry, they seem to produce that dust out back somewhere because they have done it again, albeit, in a very different way. This collaboration will be short lived like their Esty pop-ups, so you’ll want to forgo one or two of your fav fall activities to visit the Fenway West Elm store, because Ori – short of Origami – Robotic Furniture has arrived, for a limited time (October 30 . 2018) in store. 160 Brookline Avenue . Boston.
A whole existence in a box.
I’ve written about this MIT Media Lab launched company before – wow that’s a lot of alliteration. Their tag line: “One room . One Hundred Ways” is pretty brilliant, but the fact that you can transform your living room into a bedroom, your bedroom into a study, your study into a walk-in closet, by hollering at Amazon’s Alexa, or if you’re old school, by pushing a button, is AMAZING.
At West Elm . Fenway . Try it for yourself.
Originally only for sale to developers, this limited time offering allows the public – that’s you and me – to get our hands on one. The price point is a bit higher than the developer deal, but in fairness, they are buying in bulk. Full size option at $15,500., Queen at $16,000. Not exactly walking around change, but if you haven’t been tracking, waiting, saving, and hoping (harassing the people at Ori to let you buy one) then you can rent one for $300. a month. Now isn’t that convenient? Designed to snuggle into a 300 – 600SF space, CEO Hasier Larrea (and team) have created something truly brilliant.
345 Harrison . Ori would snuggle in there nicely.
Always willing to try something new, I am considering making my way on down to West Elm and ordering one up to be delivered, right under the gun, to 345 Harrison Ave. a place I am considering for my next home.
I had a colleague call me to task the other day. We were talking about shoes I think? Or it might have been gowns, or furniture or something of monumental importance to me. Don’t judge me because I have momentarily forgotten which of these things it was – they are all extremely important, and were it not for the shear number of brands, furnishings, materials and projects, which require my attention, I would be able to tell you precisely which one it was. It will all come back – fear not – and it’s beside the point anyway. What he wanted to know was the percentage of people that could identify the high end from the low? Really good question Mark. I had to admit that it was few and far between. Why then do I do it? Well, the answer is I do it sometimes, and sometimes I don’t. AND I notice.
A mon Avis, the trick is to mix high and low together in one space. Vintage and new, antique and mid-cent knock-off, art of your own creation with a prized Picaso. Comb the beach for a shell, rock, or sculptural piece of drift wood. Find an old sign and spray paint it gold or matte black – it snuggle it in, among other shiny objectives making it a distinguished focal point.
I do love finding a good bargain – but it must in fact be good. It’s so disappointing when you spend money on something that falls apart – in whatever predetermined timeframe I’ve decided the item should last. So be it, I have a 1950’s concept of how things should be made. They should last!
So carpets. I’ve found some that I believe are simple lovely replicas of the original – though who arrived there first is always up for debate. Perhaps it’s more apt to say – the higher cost version – which implies better quality, but isn’t always the case. I think these are worth the gamble, and if I wasn’t the gambling type I wouldn’t be doing this quest.
West Elm . Sherwin-Williams – leaning toward the green.
Kermit said: “It’s not easy being green.” Oh Kermie, I think green is beautiful. It’s the color of nature, and new beginnings. Of money and survival, of going for it. It’s rough and rustic, delicate and beautiful. It’s shades span the muddy and the pure. It’s a color that could work in all seasons, and for a man or a women, a little girl or a tiny baby boy.
Not long ago I had a visitor to my apartment and she declared it the ultimate Bachelorette Pad. I laughed, and have to say with No. 4, I’m guilty as charged. Still it made me think about what my place might look like if I designed my place with a man in mind – not just any man, but a manly man – one that likes the outdoors. A city place with an ode to the outdoors.
Since it just occurred to me, and I am not actually going to change the design of my beloved No. 4, I chose to consider just the bedroom. I like mossy greens, and evergreens, textures that evoke the outdoors, and of course something that would actually grow there.
Picking things that are going to appeal to a large audience isn’t as easy as just having the appropriate budget to spend. The inhabitants, and even casual users, will tell you exactly what they want in the design – even if there time there is going to be brief. Herein lies the challenge. You will never please everyone with your design choices.
Left: Oly Studio – Flowerfall Chandelier $3,000. Right Top: Parsons Table – West Elm $400. Right Bottom: Pappelina Rug SVEA, Grey.
Offering options in these trying times is likely to be your safest – albeit not the purest route to achieving your overall aesthetic. I am going to tackle it room by room as I have already encounter much opposition along the way.
The bedrooms are easier because people feel ownership or none at all – those you can work with a single end-user to determine the design. Public rooms require a good deal more diplomacy, and in the busy season, I feel a little less diplomatic than this situation might call for – still – I soldier on, because in the end the input from those that will enjoy the space matters a lot.
Left Top: Pottery Barn . Francesca Beaded Chandelier, Grey Left Bottom: Knoll Saarinen oval table – Inmod $899. Right: Turkish Oushak – Nazmiyal Collection $62,000.
I have devised three rough plans for the living room, center around the chandelier, carpet and table. Which would you choose for a Cape Cod, year round home?
It was a few years ago when I first started noticing West Elm pieces in Commercial applications. I spied a side table or two in AEW’s Corporate Offices, in the Seaport, designed by ADD, Inc., scattered throughout. To my delight I found pillows and side tables in Hawthorne’s artisnal drinkery in Boston’s Kenmore Square, and thought, perhaps they’re on to something here. Affordable, hip, mid-century design – way to stay on budget, on trend, and allow for the flexibility of change down the road. Love it.
West Elm with Inscape
A little over a year ago, West Elm partnered with Etsy to bring local businesses together in their Kenmore Square location, allowing them to have a pop-up shop under their roof. Brilliant. It happened in cities across the country. What forward thinking business strategy. I was introduced to some small business owners I wasn’t likely to have made contact with otherwise, and got to meet Erin Gates of Elements of Style, eat a fantastic bacon glazed donut from Blackbird Bakery in the South End, and leave with two pillows. A win.
On Thursday night I visited Peabody Office Furniture in Boston’s Financial District for the big reveal of their Inscape Office Line Partnership with West Elm. I have been waiting for the unveiling for months when I first learned of the dynamic duo’s plans. I wasn’t disappointed. It’s got that welcome to Don Draper’s Office, care for a Manhattan look about it. It’s sixties cool with its clean lines, dark wood, and retro fabrics, I wanted to move right in and have the Mad Men re-make me. I could just picture it….I enter in jeans and tennis shoes, hair in a pony tail, bags under my eyes….I exit in a red Carolina Herrera gown, Harry Winston choker hanging heavy around my delicate neck, diamonds as big as rock candy threatening to make off with my earlobes, 5 inch Louboutin’s peaking through the swaths of fabric surrounding me like meringue cloud. Naturally either Don himself or some swashbuckling man trails behind me.
West Elm . Mid-Century Modern Madness
West Elm . Pelle Gooseneck Chandelier $799.
Ah, dare to dream. Thanks West Elm for that lovely fantasy, and thanks too for finalizing my decision on a living room chandelier. After all, your first order of business was to help the everyday gal like me have a fabulous home, was it not?