Our previous remake of this room -- aimed at making it more
inviting for everyday living -- had been so successful that the
well-used sofa was showing its age. The husband had invested
so much of his time here reading, napping,
sipping single malt, or listening to music that he now wanted
to put his stamp on the design. Instead of the current traditional
look he envisioned its opposite: a slick ultra-modern interior.
From a budget standpoint, it was decided that they would not
be starting totally from ground zero. They agreed to keep the
relatively new wall colour if they could, the recently purchased
drapery, their timeless lacquered buffet/bar, and a set of Chinese
wall panels. And so began the give and take that evolved into
the finished design.
As the largest pieces in the living room, we started with
the hunt for suitable sofas. A visit to a furniture showroom
revealed that his definition of
a modern sofa meant simple, linear, and leather. She was fine
with leather, as long as it was white. They were easily able
to settle on a low profile model with square arms for him, and
stitched details and bolsters for her. For chairs, she deferred
to his selection of frame, as long as she got to pick the fabric,
which he was okay with as long as it wasn't patterned. The rich
teal of the velvet she chose was pulled from the iridescent blues
and greens of shells collected on the family's travels. Teal
and black became the unifying accents throughout the room.
Not so easily selected were the coffee table and the area
rug. The couple had such diametrically opposite views of what
an appropriate coffee table would be that a family member cast
the deciding vote between his favourite and hers. The textured
tone-on-tone rug was a compromise between a totally plain piece
and a patterned one.
At this point, in order to avoid more difficult purchasing
decisions, we turned to the couple's other belongings to search
for pieces to fill the holes in the decor. A large painting was
brought up from the basement to hang over the loveseat; its tones
of green, teal, and black just happened to fit perfectly with
our colour scheme. So did the painting hanging above the fireplace,
which we opted to keep along with the accessories on the mantle.
A pair of carved Thai dancers was brought in from the master
bedroom and placed in the corner between the sofas until we could
find a suitable end table. Repainting their pedestals in black
made them fit so perfectly that they still remain, and the hunt
for an end table has been rendered unnecessary.
With the design theme having evolved into "contemporary
with Asian accents", she was able to bring back some Asian
pieces she loved: the rattan chair, elephant side table, and
woven storage chest. And a recent trip to China resulted in a
few more small Asian tchotchkes for display.