Showing posts with label grey. Show all posts
Showing posts with label grey. Show all posts

Thursday, March 13

Introducing….ASK ALLIE!

I am not a designer…but for years people have said to me "I wish you would help me decorate my house" or "how do you do it?".  The truth is I don't really know how I come up with the ideas for rooms. I know what I like when I see it and I tend to build rooms as I go - sometimes buying things and then taking them back. Doing that for other people on command seems difficult. But maybe someday...

Until then, I have lots of opinions about how rooms can look fantastic on a budget. I have decorated dozens of rooms - sometimes several times and I absolutely love it.  So what is an enthusiastic amateur designer with friends and family who want advice to do?  GO DIGITAL!!!

Today, I am launching Ask Allie an online (and for now free!) service to help guide people to decorating glory on a dime. First up…my sister Shannon who lives in London with my adorable nieces and her husband. Her house is awesome but her living room needs a little love.  Here's how it looks now.

You can see that the room has great natural light and really tall ceilings. What you can't see is a pretty fireplace in the center of one wall. It's a great space with a lot of potential. 

So here is what I think she should do with it. Whadya think????

Let's walk through it:

1. The first thing that came to mind when I saw the room was that it could handle a darker color. Painting it a rich, deep grey (see #8 below) would really make all the white in the room pop - especially the fireplace and the plantation shutters on the windows. So that brought me to what accent colors we could use and a bright, springy green is what I chose. These pillows would be great on the light grey couches - with maybe a bright green throw like this one to add even more punch. 

2. I love these leather cubes from Overstock. Not only are they super affordable ($144!) but they also have storage. Anyone who has kids agrees that you can never have enough storage. 

3. This rug is also from Overstock and I think is the perfect color - not too Kermit but not dull. You need to be careful about buying rugs online and know what the pile is before you buy it. This one is .31 inches which will give it a nice soft feel especially if you add a rug pad underneath.  This is also a steal at $275. 

4. I found this inspiration room on HouzzIt's by a Ann Lowengart Interiors based in San Francisco. Love the pops of color and the funky ceiling pendant. 

5. These awesome charcoal grey rugby stripe storage bins from The Container Store are perfect for toys, books, blankets or anything else you want to toss in a bin to hide from guests. The small ones are only $10 and the big ones $15. I am thinking a few of them could go on the side of the fireplace. 

6.  Another inspiration room. The designer is a company called Salins Group based in Charlotte, NC. 

7. This is my favorite potential part of the room. See that desk in the corner in Shannon's room? Wouldn't it be AWESOME painted in this green color? This one is from a company called Lily Field Furniture. I am totally into the chalk paint thing right now and dying to try it on something. Too bad London is so far from DC. I'd suggest trying the Annie Sloan paint in Antibes color. 

Perfectly Imperfect did a great blog post about painting with chalk paint. Check it out. 

8. This is the paint color I am suggesting for the walls. It's Benjamin Moore Silhouette 655.  using a matte paint - not to be confused with a flat paint. And it must be washable! 

9. A great pendant light like this artichoke one on the mood board can really make a room. My favorite place for lamps is Shades of Light but you can find lamps like this just about anywhere. One other option to consider for this room would be something like this from Ikea which is gorgeous and only $99!

10. I like this bold colored fabric storage ottoman for between the two couches.  I found this one on…you guessed it… And once again, it is super cheap at just $126. Which is good because little hands are messy. 

In terms of layout, I suggest she move the couches to face one another perpendicular to the fireplace. Like this one from Tim Cuppett Architects

I also think she should consider adding a cozy window bench in that awesome window. The room is actually set up perfectly to create one like this (minus the weird stuffed tiger).  The bookshelves underneath would be a great place for the girls to keep all of their books and a quiet place to read as they get older. 

And the bench would be another opportunity to introduce a fun fabric like one of these I found on Etsy

So there you go. Presto online. Now whether my sis will actually do this is a whole other story!  

Do you have a room that needs help?
Send me a pic at 

Friday, February 28

Living Room Reveal

I am excited to share the living room! As I said in a former post, I have to give credit where credit is due and say that I got my original inspiration for the board and batten wall (including the color) and the curtains….and, ok, I'll admit it, even the couch pillows from another blogger Life On Virginia Street. I don't normally copy things so closely but when we were in the middle of construction, I found a picture of her office and fell in love and then made it my own. 

First up is the dark grey wall which is painted in Sherwin Williams Urbane Bronze in semi-gloss. The wall in our existing living room was plaster and when they started demo, it literally started falling apart. Replacing it with drywall meant adding insulation and losing precious space - which in this small room was important to us.  So I came up with the idea of adding wainscoting. I had always loved the board and batten look and we are so happy with how it turned out.  Here is the wall pre-paint during reno. 

Next up came the curtains.  Again - stolen directly from Sarah Stewart at Life on Virginia Street. The fabric is Kravet Riad in Clove.  More info here…Kravet It's pretty expensive normally but I found it on House of Fabric for less than $40 a yard. Pretty good deal.  I immediately sent the fabric to my mother - who is a master sewer and she went to work. The final product is gorgeous and about half the price if I had ordered them at retail price and had them made. Score!

The piano was a ridiculously generous gift from my parents. It is a stunning Kawai baby grand that my dad gave my mom for her 40th birthday. They loved hearing their grandkids plunk away on it over the holidays and shortly after had it shipped here. I was a music major in college so I couldn't be more excited. And the thought of the kids learning how to play makes us all really happy.

All of the pillows in the room he came from Etsy. The floral ones are a Schumacher fabric. The throw is from West Elm and is ridiculously soft. I also picked up the ceramic vases on the table there as well. The little topiaries are from Restoration Hardware. They are the only fake plants in our house. I have a strong dislike of fake plants otherwise. They always just seem dusty to me. 

The carpet is from Overstock and keeps the space from being too stuffy. The tables are from Lamps Plus which has some really great reasonably priced pieces. The couch is from Wayfair. I hated the pillows that came with it - so they went straight to the garbage and replaced with my much prettier ones. And the bench came from Homegoods

Take a look at this shot of the room after initial demo. 

The inspiration for the color scheme in this room came from a painting in inherited from my grandparents. I have no idea who it's by but I love it.  

I am so happy with the way it turned out. I think it's elegant without being stuffy. Bright without being too obnoxious. No doubt there are some really expensive pieces in here (piano!) but most of the other pieces I found on sale or found a less expensive version of something I saw at a higher end store. And it matches the powder room - which is visible from the living room. I'll post pictures of that later.

OH!  And of course…I can't forget about the gorgeous new stripes that I added on the stairway wall. I am not quite done with those yet - but I will post as soon as I do.

Just for fun…here are some pictures before.  And before before…..This is when we bought the house in 2005. My little one was LITTLE!! One to be exact.

And here is the living room last year. Pre-reno. 

What a difference a year makes!