Main Floor Makeover: Living Room Inspiration

And the main floor makeover continues! (If you missed my first post on the inspiration for our kitchen and dining room, click here.) Aside from the kitchen, we’re also in the process of tackling the living area in our open-concept kitchen-dining-living space. The walls are a too-bright green, the bulkhead a too-dark brown, and the dated sofas are too large for the narrow space at the front of the house. We also want to create flow from the far back (kitchen) to the very front (living room) through common colours and patterns.

Here are a few living rooms that inspired our facelift:

This is the same layout as our space. I love the dramatic dining pendant and huge windows!

Soft grey sofas and clean white walls combine beautifully in this minimalist family room.

This living room appeared in Steven Gambrel’s Time & Place (2012 Abrams), and I love the colour of the sofa against the warm white walls.

Palettes of grey, lilac and yellow always catch my eye. The painted trim here adds a polished look.

I’ve also fallen in love with Cole & Son’s Woods wallpaper. You can’t blame me — it’s appeared in the pages of H&H over and over, and it always catches my eye:

The mauve hue really pops against white trim.

I love the white pattern, but I think we need the wallpaper to bring in a bit of colour.

Here is the ivory hue in a small bathroom. You can see how it adds subtle pattern without dominating a room.

And I love the photo wall in former H&H-er Emily Walker’s home. We’re thinking of creating a casual wall of black and white photos like this in our entryway — it’s a great spot to pause and take them in!

Here are a few before photos of our own living area:

From the kitchen looking towards the front of the house.

There are two of these recesses in the long wall shared by all three spaces — one in the dining room and one further to the right in the living room. The artwork is old and tired, and we’re thinking about swapping it for the Cole & Son wallpaper in both recesses, which would create cohesion between the dining area and living area.

On the opposite wall are the staircases — left goes down to the front door, right goes down to the grade-level laundry room and office, and you can also see the staircase to the second floor. Beige, beige, beige. Yawn. Old photos framed on the fly. Yawn.

I created this gallery wall of my own Leslieville photography for my fiancé as a Christmas gift, but it looks a little sparse and we want to add a few more to fill it out.

You can see that the TV and sofa are cramped into a narrow space. We want to replace the bulky TV with a wall-mounted one on a pivot bracket and downsize to a small-scale sectional that will run along the right wall and under the window. The green wall, dark brown bulkhead above and mix-and-match shades of beige need a long-awaited refresh.

And so our makeover begins. Here are some progress photos of the same areas with the first coats of paint:

First comes the white. We went with Benjamin Moore’s Cloud White (OC-130) — just like the kitchen walls and cupboards — for fresh yet warm walls that would let the wallpaper and photography stand out.

We painted an accent wall in the kitchen with Benjamin Moore’s Overcoat (CC-544), and used the same dramatic grey on the brown bulkhead.

And here are photos post-painting, but before the wallpaper:

Like in the inspiration shot in my previous post, I love the look of mix-and-match coloured moulded plastic chairs, so we ordered four from Ottawa’s The Modern Shop in shades of blues and greens.

We decided on the soft mauve Woods pattern (69/12151), available through Kravet in Toronto. I think it will add just the right amount of colour without the risk of us tiring of it in a year. And it will look great with the dark grey bulkhead, white walls and black frames on the gallery wall.

The white walls really do make the space seem larger. Now what are we to do with that beige sofa?

Here are a few sectionals we’ve narrowed it down to:

The Farley sectional from Elte. I like the cushion shapes and pointy legs, but we want a proper back on both angles instead of a chaise.

The Cosmo sectional from Cisco Brothers has two long seat cushions instead of several small ones — an item high on our checklist — but again, we want full-length backs on both angles of the sectional.

We learned that chaises are definitely easier to come by! The Richmond Bi-Sectional from Gus Modern has a gorgeous shape and perfect dimensions for us, but we just wish it weren’t a chaise.

We came across this beauty in Stacaro on King Street East — made by Montreal-based Lucyau — and it definitely checked off most of our must-haves. Called the Cloud, you can order it with another arm instead of that table, making it large enough to fill our wall with the window. And no chaise means it can accommodate lots of lounging guests. The down-filled cushions felt luxurious when we tried it out in the store, but the shapes of them are clean-lined and contemporary. We loved the two long seat cushions and barely-there legs, too. We would order ours in a soft grey.

Charlie has been really helpful with choosing fabric swatches for a new sectional — we have to do the kitty hair test first before we decide on one. And we’re working on training him to stay on his blanket. Let’s see how that pans out.

Stay tuned to see which sectional we went with, plus after photos of the kitchen, dining room and living room!

Photo credits:
1. House & Home April 2012 issue, photography by Stacey Brandford
2. House & Home January 2011 issue, photography by Rob Fiocca
3. Steven Gambrel’s Time & Place, photography by Eric Piasecki
4. House & Home April 2011 issue, photography by John Cullen
5. Dining room from House & Home September 2010 issue, photography by Angus Fergusson
6. Bedroom from House & Home January 2012 issue, photography by Colin Way
7. Bathroom from House & Home August 2008 issue, photography by Michael Graydon
8. Dining room from House & Home Makeovers 2011 special issue, photography by Donna Griffith
9-26. Gwen McAuley
27. Farley Sectional, Elte
28. Cosmo Sectional, Cisco Brothers
29. Richmond Bi-Sectional, Gus Modern
30. Cloud sectional, Lucyau
31. Gwen McAuley

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