22 July 2011

The Evolution of a Room–Part II

 

Three years ago (hard to believe it’s been so long!) I wrote a blog story called Evolution of a Room HERE, detailing the history and all the changes my poor living room had been through.   This room is one of my least favorite in the house.  It’s ceilings are 1990s high without any real purpose or architectural reasoning.   It’s the first room you see when you enter the front door, so, I have always tried to keep it looking tidy and attractive, always putting out  fresh flowers.   But, in truth, I have never once sat in this room in 17 years.  Never have I sat there just to read a magazine or a book, or to pet the dogs, or watch the activity outside on our family filled street.   I’ve thought if I could somehow change the room around, I would use it for more than just a furniture showroom – perhaps putting in a flatscreen would draw us there.   My ultimate dream would be to turn it into a library, where shelves lining the blank walls would reach up to the tall ceiling.   I surely can use the shelf space and the library would certainly pay for its portion of the mortgage.   But, until I undertake such a huge endeavor, I continue to decorate the room over and over again seeking the perfect combination of coziness, warmth and a casual elegance.   It all started with a picture of a living room in a long forgotten magazine – though it probably was Southern Accents -  some twenty years ago.

 

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We had just moved to Ft. Worth, Texas – into a small but cute new house when this living room designed by Atlanta designer Dan Carithers caught my eye.  I was crazy for this room and must confess I still am, all these years later.   The style looks very similar to one I still employ – the linen slip covers, the wood antiques, the painted finishes, blue and white porcelains, and piles of books.   It’s a slightly cluttered look, casual, welcoming and sophisticated – and obviously classic.   I tried to copy this look in my own living room:

 

 

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My oh so young Ben (before he was a Mr. Slipper Socks fuddy-duddy), with our beagle Reggie, in our Ft. Worth living room.   All the furniture was upholstered in this linen stripe.  There was a large wicker chair and ottoman and the two French chairs that were once my mother’s mother’s.    The painting above, on loan by my parents, is by Herb Mears, a noted Houston artist – who is the father of the noted Houston architect, Kirby Mears!   I wish I hadn’t used a flash so you could really see how beautiful this painting is!

 

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Instead of seagrass, I used a coir rug over the hardwoods.  I slipcovered four chairs around a wood table.  I remember I loved that dark brown marble so much, we also used in our Houston house.  We lived in Ft. Worth for about a year and a half, then moved back to Houston to the house we now live in. 

 

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OK.  Now, don’t laugh.  These pictures get REALLY, REALLY embarrassing.  Once we moved into our Houston house, the Dan Carithers living room never really looked that good here.  The sofa was too large, for one thing, and I tried to cozy it all up in an Englishy-cluttered manner.  But…..well, I was young and poor.

 

 

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Here’s another big change – the coir rug became a kilim.   An Indian bedspread was a fake slipcover and I added this large bamboo shelving unit I found at Shabby Slips.   OY!  I do notice that I have by this time bought the lamps I still have, the mirror is all still here, as are all the chairs that I use today.  

 

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Big changes.    So, the taupe stripes are now completely gone.    I bought this small sofa from a friend and had it slipped in white linen.  All the chairs and pillows were covered in different Bennison Fabrics.   I added the celadon plates around the mirror – that are still there today.     And, I layered a soft needlepoint rug over seagrass. 

 

 

 

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The next big change were curtains.  Finally.  Because the ceilings were so tall, curtains were always just out of my reach.  I finally bit the bullet.  The curtains really made the biggest transformation to the living and dining rooms both,  making them both look sort of professionally decorated.

 

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I moved the slipcovered sofa upstairs because it was always too small for this room and added a checked covered day bed from Tara Shaw. 

 

 

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Next, I bought this large buffet a deux from Tara Shaw which I filled up with Masonware.  I was so proud to have bought this on my own without any help from Ben or family!  It was strictly from my interior design business, when I still had clients!!   It’s been a slow year for me.

 

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Finally, I bought this antique chandelier – also from Tara Shaw – thank God for Tara!    The chandelier really completed the room and I thought it would stay like this until we moved out, if ever.  Unfortunately, I decided my kitchen  needed updating.   Never forget, that when you change one thing in your house – you may be starting a game of dominos.   That’s what happened to me…

 

The  new white marble countertops caused everything in my house to fall terribly out of sync.  The muted yellow walls clashed terribly with the new countertops.  Since all the rooms downstairs are open to one another, all the walls had to be repainted.    This process of change has taken me a few years to finish.   All the walls were first painted a taupish-gray color  which was great for the kitchen and family room, but the dining room and living room looked terrible.   The silk yellow pinstripe curtains in both these rooms had to go.  But replacing them was such a huge undertaking because then – all the fabrics would have to be changed too.   I couldn’t face facts for a long time.  Finally, I just couldn’t take living with my rooms half gray and half yellow.   And yes, those colors do look good together – just not in the two shades I had!   Once I admitted to myself that it really had to all change, I was excited because truthfully, I was tired of the twee Benninson fabric in different colors and prints.  I wanted an all-over look with just one fabric and no patterns.   So….here is what the living room looks like today – and be nice!!!   hahah!  No, really, you can be honest in your comments, I can take it.  I’m a big girl.    Sometimes.

 

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Here is the new look.  Everything was slipcovered in a soft, off-white linen.   The needlepoint rug was replaced with a large white cowhide layered over the seagrass.  Between the two French chairs, I added a concrete table.  My two big collections I used to have – the colorful Chinese altarfruit and the English Masonware - were moved out.    And the biggest change, after the gray paint, was the new curtains in a taupe gray silk matte taffeta.  

 

 

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The change turned out to be major.   When you walk in, all the white and gray really grabs your eye.  To anchor the white, I used chocolate velvet pillows with either metallic tape or Dutch tapestry sewn on.   

 

 

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Looking this way, you can see how I changed the Buffet a deux from the colorful Masonware to all white books and shells and old prints. 

 

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A close up of the slipcover treatment.  On the French chairs and the day bed, I used large scallops.  On this smaller French chair shown here, I used tightly placed ballet ties.   All pieces have tabs to let the wood show through.

 

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A close up of the shelves.   If I ever want even less clutter, I could just keep the doors closed. 

 

 

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A closer look at the curtains.  I used 2 widths per panel of the gray taffeta and I used a lining and a blackout lining to provide a certain heaviness for draping.   There are no pleats ironed in, instead the drapes fall softly from the rings.    There is a 2-3 inch puddle on the floors.  With silks in particular, I like a short puddle, otherwise I think it looks skimpy.  Monica of Custom Creations ( 832-443-1931) did all my curtains for me.   I kept my concrete lady standing on a column right in the middle of the window.

 

 

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Closeup of the brown velvet pillow with tapestry and tape from Maison Maison HERE.   I saw the picture of this pillow on their web site and viola! the next day it was mailed to my house  I love internet shopping!

 

 

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So, that’s it.   I think its amazing how much new slipcovers change totally change the look of a room.  I can’t sing their praises enough.   It’s also amazing how just changing out countertops can set off a domino effect throughout an entire house!!   Be prepared for when you change one thing that it might lead to a total remodeling.   Of course, my dining room needed some changing too.   But, I’ll save that for another day!

If you didn’t read it the first time around, check out Evolution of a Room, Part 1 HERE.

 

 

166 comments:

  1. Well, I guess I'm the first to comment? Anyway, I really loved this post. I enjoyed reading the evolution of the room over the years. It is true that changing one thing can be like opening a can of worms. Since we are always building off things that stay in the room, instead of just starting over, it's hard to get the look we want. I think you finally got it this time! Although I have to admit that I loved your daybed slipcovered in that check! I like how you staged the buffet a deux and how all the fabric is the same now. Very nice. Very inviting. You should hang out in there sometime. Our living room is the same way. We don't ever go in there--only at Christmas. I've thought of introducing music to the room. Maybe then....~Delores

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  2. i love the white slips & the gray paint! so pretty... even the cowhide rug looks great, and i usually hate those. : ) love seeing the transformation- thanks for sharing!

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  3. Hey Joni~
    The new look is beautiful. Although the previous look is an "old" favorite of mine. Seeing the even older pictures was really fun though!

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  4. oh Joni!! its just lovely! I think slipcovering everything in white allows your eye to look at all the other beautiful and amazing pieces you have in the room. And that Tara Shaw chandelier!! O-EM-GEE a stunner!

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  5. The curtains, the slip covers, the chandelier, everything, I LOVE everything. My favorite magazine is Veranda and I feel viewing your blog is like looking at a Veranda magazine. It's over the top gorgeous and elegant, but still cozy and touchable. Thanks for sharing it!

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  6. Joni it is gorgeous so fresh and inviting I hope you will now sit in there and enjoy it!!! I did love the checked slip cover on the day bed, but this is fresh and new and beautiful too!! Congratulations on such a wonderful room. I think the drapes make the room, so gorgeous,Kathysue

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  7. The new look is very refreshing and certainly inviting.....a wonderful accomplishment....if you haven't already done this, I would hide a small music system in the bottom of the armoire, drill holes through the back and hide two small speakers behind the furniture.....it's always nice to have the option of wonderful music!

    I hope you truly enjoy this beautiful space now!

    Love your blog!

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  8. I love looking at all the pictures. Its fun to see your style change. I am going through the same thing. Trying to simplify and adding a lot of white. Look forward to all your post. You never let me down! Thanks Joni, Julie

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  9. Very appealing,updated and sophisticated. Personally, I do not like to see plates on a wall. I think the mirror would look beautiful all by itself.
    Good Job. Kate

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  10. I gasped when I scrolled to your "new" look....it is absolutely breathtaking! I would love to go the all white route and have all my things slipped and have those ballet ties on my chair legs, but of course, that's a long and expensive road to travel. Maybe one day....

    Hugs!
    Judy

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  11. I'd want to be buried with those curtains. Lovely room.I adore all of your posts but the personal ones are the best. Thank you!
    MD

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  12. I love your post Joni, always teaching us something!
    The room is beautiful...

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  13. I adore your new room, and everything about your post. I can totally relate to the first few versions of your living room because I feel like that's where I am now. Lovely, lovely room!

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  14. The new curtains are gorgeous but my vote is for a library. Keep the curtains and the Louis Phillipe mirror and then contact OKL for, what I would imagine, a very popular sale of your lovely things. I am partial to libraries and in the process of having my own done.
    It was very sweet to see the older interiors and we all said, "bless her heart!"

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  15. stunning just stunning always liked the room now you have taken it to a whole new level. truly beautiful cannot wait to see the dining space.

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  16. Absolutely stunning!!! But I have to say I loved the way the room looked even when you had the checked slipcover on the daybed! Martina

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  17. Sooooo.....have you taken to reading in the parlor yet? hehe. I use mine to talk on the telephone!
    Stay cool over there in Tejas!
    xx

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  18. I also love the new look! Congrats!
    My only suggestion get a new more colorful orchid.

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  19. Oh...I love the new look. I've always loved this room in your house. Now it is the prettiest room in your house. Love all the slips. Can't wait to see the dining room.

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  20. love the room! everything is wonderful...love the slips..love the drapes!!!!!what is the paint color? sheamk4@cox.net

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  21. Joni, I love it. It's very calm and refreshing. beautiful

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  22. I liked the old room - but the new room is really stunning - really lovely.

    But one of your comments really caught me. You said you never really use the room. I have a room just like that - a living room in the front of my house that holds furniture, but people almost never go in and sit down. I know a couple of people with the same floor plan and they report the same thing. I guess the flow is just bad. But what a waste. I'm always trying to figure out how to change it or repurpose it. Any ideas ladies?

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  23. The muted yellow walls clashed terribly with the new countertops. Your home 's each and every stuffs are very perfect and best arrangement.

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  24. I just happened to come across your blog tonight and saw your beautiful transformation! I currently live in College Station but lived in Katy for 15 years so I was intrigued with the outcome of your room. I'm not much for plates on a wall either, but for me, the plates seem to work in this room! Your color choices in fabric compliment each other nicely! Bravo!

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  25. Joni, I am dying!! Your room is everything I love and more. You have pulled off the epitome of your own favorite look with wild success! LOVE LOVE LOVE it!

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  26. It's lovely, Joni.
    And I'm crazy for the crown on the buffet shelf.

    Side note..... don't you miss Southern Accents?!

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  27. It is a beautiful room. I'm not crazy about the slip covers, they are a bit stark for my taste. I am envious of your accessories though! The one thing that kills it for me is that tall table blocking the sofa/daybed!!! That table is the very reason that the room is not usable or inviting. It's too tall and cluttered. You need a low tufted ottoman maybe in a chocolate velvet to echo the pillows. You could prop your feet up on it, keep a stack of books and magazines on it, put a tray on it with drinks, spread out your laptop... I would love a reading/sitting room like that! I have young children and no matter how much space I give them they still take over my space!

    Jana

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  28. Fantastic Joni....I love the new look and adore those curtains....I am gradually doing the same thing myself....takes time though! Sometimes, as you said, it is the deciding and the starting that is the hardest....xv

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  29. We have a saying, that "no change is too small" meaning that one little change can be like an avalanche!
    Love the all white and the ballet ties around the legs.
    The book case is stunning and I love the story of your success with each small change.
    pve

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  30. Thank you for sharing with us! Your home is one of the loveliest I have ever seen and your blog is so inspiring! This room is perfect.

    Also, I have to say that I completely disagree with previous commentators. The celadon plates are gorge, the French writing desk is to-die-for, and please don't drill holes in anything! You have immaculate taste.

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  31. Really beautiful Joni! Thank you for your honesty - specially with regards to the financial waiting game. It IS good to save up for a great antique or beloved piece. We are currently using our baby's armoire for our TV because we are still in the search for the perfect antique! Your blog is always inspirational. Thanks for all the work! And don't worry, its been a slow year for everyone.

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  32. Joni, I loved the changes you made! I am in love with the greys and whites, so beautiful and elegant. The buffet looks amazing the way you styled it. All the slipcovers are wonderful, the only thing I think you will end up changing sooner than later is the cowhide rug. For some reason it seems like that is the only trendy item, and trends become passe.

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  33. I love this post! My favourite picture is the first one of your buffet. It seems like that was when you mastered layering! You are so very talented, each version is beautiful. I actually love the vignette over the sofa in the bohemian throw version best, the black sconces really pick up the black of that gorgeous mirror. Can't belive you don't use this space! I would bring my computer in here to work!

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  34. Jonie, you have exquisite taste, starting from you were a young bride!! I love the living room and that is where I would read my shelter and Interior Design books! (with a glass of wine of course)

    The window panels are dreamy!

    xoxo
    Karena
    Art by Karena

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  35. I loved the room with the Bennison fabrics and your Mason ware. I love this room also. This just shows that there is more than one way to decorate a room and that both are totally lovely.

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  36. Oh, Joni! This room is stunning!!!! I loved it "before" but also love the fresh look of the "after." As always, whatever you touch turns to gold. :)

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  37. Thanks for sharing...we all have rooms where we wonder what we were thinking! I love your fresh clean look and the white accessories in that armoire are lovely...cant wait to see the evolution of the dining room!

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  38. joni

    this was awesome.
    i love the finished room....
    but i love the process as well.

    you are fabulous xxx

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  39. Love it! It's interesting how we all seem to have an evolution of style and taste in our lives. Always make me wonder what my rooms will look like 10 years down the road, or even five! We are all so lucky to live in an era where lovely blogs, books and magazines give us instant exposure to new ideas. Your home is lovely - can't wait to see what you do next!

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  40. Joni,
    An inspiring post! I too have kept that photo of the Carithers room. I still have the HB issue from the early 80s when the room first appeared with white upholstery and use it often for reference. I think it is timeless.

    Love what you have done. Room seems so peaceful and that buffet a deux is to die for. And just the perfect accessories.

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  41. Beautiful as always!! I really loved both versions of this room (new and old). My only recommendation would be to change out the white cowhide for another (darker) color so it doesn't compete with all your beautiful slipcovers. Those drapes are to die for!

    Thanks for sharing - you're so brave and I love all your posts! You've convinced me to buy more quality antiques - they always look great no matter what the current trend may be.

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  42. I really liked seeing all the variations your room went through. wish I had documented mine that way. the end result is great; thanks for being so brave and generous in sharing these with us. donna

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  43. I just love the look of the buffet all in white....so much simpler and less cluttered! Beautiful Room!!

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  44. I love it, Joni! Elegant and cozy! I'm currently involved in the domino game at my house. I lightened up the colors in one room, and now my color changes are spreading throughout the rest of the house. I'm in the process of redoing our living room, so I loved reading this post. I really like your mirror and sconces. They create such a nice focal point. And, that chandelier is to die for!

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  45. Lovely room but I can see why you dont use it. Too much furniture in a small space with too many exposed legs. Remove the chair with the ballet ties that is blocking the sofa and cabinet. Then get a lower than low coffee table and dont decorate the whole surface. I would also switch out at least one of the chairs (two would be better)for an upholstered comfortable chair. It looks like a set of mix matched dining room chairs in the room instead of something you want to sink into and spend some time in. Paint color and curtains are beautiful.

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  46. What I love most is your candid sharing of your process. We all start somewhere and even though it's not our dream room, we somehow embrace and live with it, maybe even convincing ourselves that it's beautiful. Until one day, we walk in and mutter, what-was-I-thinking? Then, the fun part begins! Your tall linen drapes are gorgeous companions to your lady and then we have the tall candleholder, concrete table, tall buffet, softened by off white linen, the white orchid, chocolate velvet pillows and that reflection in the painting says it all. I could spend a lot of time here.

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  47. Thanks for sharing your beautiful room. I especially love the scallops on the slipcovers, I'd like to copy that!

    I do miss the beautiful Bennison fabrics, so glad you did slipcovers! I especially like the fabric on the oval back chairs.

    I don't like the shells in the bookcase, looks too Pottery Barn or like a staged house. I'd replace those with a FEW pieces of your china...Or think about putting them on the wall instead of the white. Your inspiration room has monochromatic upholstery with the blue & white china providing a pop of color. I miss that in your new room.

    I'm sure my upholsterer isn't going to be happy when I ask for those scallops!

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  48. Joni,
    I love this room, then and now. You have such superb taste, and the pieces that you've invested in are of such quality that they'll last you forever. Plus, with those slips, you've got flexibility. That's one thing that I've learned from you (among many) that the slips offer you a great deal of flexibility, but style and casual sophistication all at the same time! :)
    I know I got a sneak peek, but I loved seeing all of the additional shots. You're so talented! Love it!
    xo,
    A

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  49. Beautiful! Fabulous drapes & slipcovers.

    How sad not to use the room. Grab your IPAD or laptop and make blogging from your new room a habit!

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  50. Joni, Joni, Joni! Just MARVELOUS! I so agree with the commenter who said: I WANT TO BE BURIED IN THOSE DRAPES!
    Having interned in a drapery workroom once upon a time, I KNOW what a treasure those gorgeous curtains are.
    AMAZING JOB! I love your concrete table and the lady on the pedestal. And if I should EVER cross paths with a buffet such as yours, I am afraid I would sell my soul to the devil to own it. Thank you for sharing the evolution. This will be a favorite of mine FOREVER!!!

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  51. I adore your new look! I've always loved white slipcovers and dark wood mixed together. I think you did an outstanding job!! It should be in a magazine. Love how you accesorized your cabinet too. Can't wait to see your new dining room now.

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  52. You have an amazing eye for beauty! I love your wall color and your drapes are to die for. The statue in the window is lovely. Your slipcovers are beautifully done and look very comfortable. The white display is just gorgeous, I love the shells. The chandelier makes me so jealous and is reflected in the mirror nicely. I like the simplicity of the plates on the wall too. I like that the leggy chairs are positioned near the entrance making the room seem more open and inviting. I would only change a couple of little things to make it more inviting, if I was you. I would remove the small chair that is on the right of the picture near the far side of the room as it seems a bit cramped there and I would either get a smaller table or a low ottoman instead of that pretty table that is holding an orchid. All in all this room sure has come a long way you must be proud. This is the first time I've seen a cowhide rug used in a room that I've loved, amazing!

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  53. Oh, and I forgot to add that Dan Carithers room is AMAZING! Do you have anymore scans from the magazine? I want to do an inspiring spaces post about him! Why didn't I know about him before?!?!?!?! GORGEOUS!

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  54. You mean there is hope for me too?? :) LOL! I have a similar situation with my living room.... very high ceilings, first room you see when you walk in, not loving the wall color any more, etc. Great timing for this post! I love seeing the transformation, and I think so many rooms are an evolution of our tastes and styles and figuring out what works. It's absolutely gorgeous. You have inspired me with some ideas I've been mulling around. I'd love to add a beautiful chandelier to our room too- we have a ceiling fan now. Do you think I will have any issues if the fan isn't centered now, if I decide to switch it out? Our living room also opens up to our dining room that has a chandy. I'm wondering if it will also be too weird having two that close (there's no way I can do two of the same- too much $$ right now)
    love this post! Great to see.

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  55. Beautiful!! At every stage! We are redoing our kitchen now and I feel like it has given me a new lease on life!
    Can't overstate the way our home environments make us feel. So happy for you to have the paint colors done and those curtains--well words fail me..........
    Love your posts, as always! They seriously MAKE my day!!
    xoxo, Anne

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  56. It's really hard to believe the change your living room has undergone. It's absolutely stunning! I love the concrete table and think it's such a nice contrast to the white and the really delicate legs of your chairs.

    And if you need clients, I'll hire you!

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  57. Flying Carrot DesignsJuly 23, 2011 at 10:32 AM

    I read every comment, so I know I'm not piling on...

    For me, the test of a "successful" room is when I hear this from a client: "We use it all the time now!" It means that the room has achieved that elusive balance of function + beauty and people feel comfortable in the space. And not just the woman who lives there! Men need to feel at ease too, esp if a nearby room holds a TV! One goal of mine (seldom spoken aloud) is: Can a man relax in here? (Hey, maybe it's a teen son or your her brother...)

    ANYWAY, only in MY opinion the room feels overly feminine. But it is VERY close to being perfect for men, women, and relaxation of all sorts.

    Relaxing elements include white slips, wood, concrete, drapery (yum), real plants (hate fake ones!) and the wonderful layered mix of things (high + low).

    Non-relaxing elements include: high center table, elevated items on same table, lots of legs (feel delicate and susceptible to breakage) and lack of lamps (lingering activities includes conversation, reading or laptop/iPad these days, but doing it in the dark is a weird feeling).

    Your beautiful statue lady reads "boudoir" to me---ultra-fem, as do the scallops, grapes, curvy table, ballet ties and crystals. Lovely, lovely and feminine.

    I think this might be a case of adding more Yang to all your elegant Yin.

    OK, will shut up now!!! But if you want your nice husband to join you for some wine and an end-of-day chat, maybe...?

    PS - I live in the SF Bay Area and am a TOTAL feminist despite my focus on the masculine-feminine topic!!!!

    Last thing, I promise...I simply LOVE your bravery/candidness about this process. Who among us has perfect rooms that spring fully formed?? ZERO. And if we have such a rare thing, it will surely be out of style in a month. THANK YOU, Joni. Keep it up...your Realness is a breath of fresh air in weirdo/stuffy design world!

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  58. Your living room is beautiful. I also liked the previous versions of it too. I am afraid though, that no matter how beautifully the room is decorated you still may not use it. The really high ceilings in my house make the room uncomfortable to be in, in spite of the very comfortable furniture. The wow factor of the ceiling height somehow takes away the essential coziness of the room. Love your blog!

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  59. Love what you have done... however the white slipcovers... not so much... this room is so beautiful... the too white slip covers distract from the beauty of what you have created!

    Victoria

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  60. It was always a pretty room, but the all white slipcovers make it even more so. Love all your choices and thanks for sharing them with us.

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  61. I also have a formal living room, and I love it! I love having a beautiful room not cluttered with toys. All of my friends are building houses with one large great rooms bc people dont use their formal living rooms. I use mine often. I throw many showers and parties. Its the adult room, and wouldn't have a house wo one. Great post! Everything looks beuautiful!

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  62. Your living room ABSOLUTELY 100% looks as good as the first inspiration photo, and could be right along side it in a magazine. I ADORE it. I am constantly changing my own house too, especially between clients, and it can take me a while to admit things need to change, and then once I change something, to admit something ELSE needs to change. It is quite a process, but when you get it right you just know. I hope you know how gorgeous this is!
    Stacy

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  63. Wow, it's absolutely striking now. I love the way you did your shelves all in whites with the shells. Just a stunning room. It was so fun watching it change over time. The only thing i would have found hard to let go of was the gingham slipcover on the daybed. I loved that...

    Cindy

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  64. It's so fresh, so beautiful, Joni! I LOVE all the changes you've made to your home and so appreciate you sharing them all.

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  65. Joni,
    The room looks FABULOUS!!!! Congratulations!!
    xx
    Greet

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  66. The silk curtains are drop-dead gorgeous, as is your buffet a deux corps in its current incarnation. I love all your coral and shells ... and your cement statue is perfect.

    By the same token, I love your idea of turning your living room into a library. My house has both a living room and a family room. I could never understand the point of having essentially what amounts to two living rooms. So I kept the living room as is and turned the family room into a library, something I needed much more than a second living room. Now I spend lots of time in both rooms.

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  67. Love the new look especially during this horrible hot summer here in Hou. Looks like a cool breeze. I have just finished painting (only time I like my 8 ft ceilings...I can paint them) all my rooms neutral tans from the yellow/golds I did have & you are right...makes everything need a tweak. Slowly making my own while slips for my dining chairs. You are always an inspiration. I do wonder about the high table. I know it is a look but it does seem in the way.

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  68. Thanks for sharing the evolution of your room. I too am in the process of some room evolving in my own home (oh yes, the domino effect is taking place!). Love, love the slipcovers and new curtains! Your posts are always so insightful.

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  69. You are so predictable! However, it is lovely. Now use it for pete's sake!!!

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  70. Another brillant transformation -- fresh cool and elegant! Please USE this gorgeous room -- open a bottle of champagne and have a tipple or ten!! I do hope that you'll be able to create that wonderful dreamy ideal library in here someday too! ((and post about the whole process of course!)) I am always hoping that Dan Carrithers will be persuaded to write his own decor book AND perhaps show up on the SRT?? (huge hint right there!) Just a thought! I am SUCH a fan of his work -- and do indeed miss Southern Accents every single month.

    Jan (now wildly envious) at the sad little Rosemary Cottage

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  71. Joni, what a Grand job on the Living room you have done! Now here are a few suggestions-I say this with much love/affection! The taffeta curtains are divine looking but puddles are not for me, too much of a dust catcher. -I would have them just touching the floor. My finest hour is when a client/or me can say "we/I use the room all the time," music to my ears. My rule is beside every chair there must be something to put your feet on(no matter how dressy)+ a table to put a beverage on. Maybe in stead of the high table in front of the daybed you could but an ottoman that both of your chairs could use + the daybed..fancy low ottoman covered in something you adore-can be used as a coffee table + a place to put your 10 digits(Feet) Joni, I adore your openness + willingness to show everything. Such an interesting post. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

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  72. I love the new room and I bet you use it now that you love it. That is what happened when I redid the living room in all neutrals. My husband said, "I just like being in here, it's relaxing." I hope you and yours feel the same way. Cute husband!

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  73. Joni, It is so sterling! Blazing class. I love it. Be sure to sit in there!

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  74. Boy you were brave outing yourself out there after you finished your room. The whole problem with that is you’re never going to make everyone happy because we all have different tastes so just say the heck with the ones who may not like everything in your room. It’s your room enjoy it. With that being said I love your room the drapes are fabulous, the statue in front of the window love her, the chandelier most everything the only thing I would change is the overly tall table in front of the sofa. It’s to tall and overly full of stuff you can’t relax on the sofa with that in front of you it isn’t conducive to conversation. I would change it out for a small ottoman in a darker color from one of the pillows like one of the blues. That said I’m doing to new decorating myself I’ve caught myself in the domino effect…HELP!

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  75. Oh Joni, it is BEAUTIFUL! I especially love how you have styled the buffet a deux. Can't wait to see the dining room. :)

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  76. Joni
    You know I've been waiting for the room reveals!!
    And that Ben is a cutie. Does he know you put that picture on here or maybe he doesn't read your blog.. his loss.
    love the white, love the curtains. Next up your dining room!

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  77. Your room has looked tasteful in all of it's stages Joni. Love it now with the gorgeous slips and gray taffeta curtains. Also thought is looked great with no curtains and the small white slipped linen sofa and the soft needlepoint rug. Always love the look of a faded soft muted needlepoint rug. When you added the checked prints and the muted floral chair it gave the room a real french country look.
    It is now elegant, yet inviting because of the slips. True expression of your many talents. Thank you for sharing. Great post as usual.

    Janice

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  78. ohhh, I remember that Dan Carithers room like it was yesterday- I must have studied that photo for a month! You were such a talent, even back when. I must say, I literally gasp when you said you hadn't sat in that room for 17 years :O It made me so sad, like it was an unloved puppy. The previous versions were all so beautiful and lovely; I'm so curious as to "why" you didn't use it? And, am dying to know if you are now using it???

    I loved the room before, but adore it in all white. I would LOVE to see your zebra rug in there with the white slips- I bet that would be gorgeous! You did a fabulous design job and those curtains are STUNNING. I love the 'feel' of the room and would spend hours in there! Hope you are loving and using it now!
    xojoan

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  79. The pictorial evolution of this room definitely shows improvement with each and every change.
    The room is quite pleasant now, however still retains the look of a design show room.
    Remember what Coco Chanel said about removing one piece of jewelry and "less is more". The same can apply to interior design.

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  80. The last time I heard,"I say this with love and affection" was during a dinner party I had slaved over and my ex husband complained that his ice was stale. When he vehemently complained that I was interrupting his sleep when I went into labor I realized I had married the wrong guy.
    This comment,"My rule is beside every chair there must be something to put your feet on(no matter how dressy)+ a table to put a beverage on. brings to mind Dick Dyke tripping over the ottoman at the beginning of his show.EVERY chair, really? I don't mind my feet touching the floor occasionally.

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  81. Joni, you are a brave woman to show the "early years" of decorating. When I am looking back at old photos, I cringe and wonder what the hell was I thinking! You are a testament to buying good. classic pieces that stand the test of time; ie, the chairs and lamps.

    The room turned out gorgeous! I absolutely gasped at the height of your ceilings!!! I am sure that was a hefty drapery bill!! lol!

    The daybed looks so inviting and comfortable that I would sneak away and read in that room every chance I could. The only thing in my opinion that prohibits a "come and kick your feet up" kinda feel is the tall coffee table in front of the day bed. A large tufted round ottoman would completely change the feel of the room.

    I still think the mirror and plates are perfect in the space. It allows your eyes to drift down from the tallest ceilings I think I have ever seen!!!

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  82. I love everything about it. The only minor thing I would add is a zebra rug instead of the white (hide rug?)over the sisal. It's all gorgeous.

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  83. Joni, this is wonderful! I know you are smiling each time you enter the room. It's beautiful and timeless. I think you'll love this design for a long time. It was fun seeing how your taste evolved over the years. It really makes you feel nostalgic to see those earlier rooms, doesn't it? :) I get a little teary eyed when I see my early married apartment.

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  84. JONI!!! I gasped when I saw your new room! It is so beautiful. You are so talented! It is just gorgeous. If this room was in my house, I think I'd live in it! So very beautifully done. And I loved seeing the pictures of the room in it's earlier stages. I'm so glad you shared this!

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  85. Joni,
    The final reveal is lovely but I confess, I loved the second to the last incarnation. We've all been through this process of trying find the "perfect" furnishings for a room and there are always challenges. Your natural eye for beauty makes each version appealing. Thanks for sharing...I've been there done that.
    xo,
    karen

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  86. Joni, This is gorgeous and I loved seeing the evolution of your living room. The slips covers are amazing and I love the freshness of all the white. Beautiful!
    xo,
    Sherry

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  87. Would love to know your paint color - pretty room!

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  88. did you move ? where is the other room ? the one with baskets and your dogs ? and with the french doors and the wicker chairs ? I'm confused !!!! still lovely but I liked your other living room better

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  89. God, I love all the comments. I wish you would come back and read this. a lot said i need a lower coffee table, an ottoman and i would use it more - BUT the ceilings are so tall - i think it needs the height in front of the day bed, not an ottoman.

    a zebra rug - great suggestion! love that. may do that.

    yes, i did love the way it looked before too but with the gray walls, it had to change and i didn't want a lot of pattern anymore. I dont know why i dont use the room, bt i think the high ceiling is one reason, probably the biggest reason - it's just not cozy in there? that may be it.


    thanks a million for all your comments. I must ssay, you were nicer than I thought you would be!!!

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  90. laughing about the curtains. I had a major probrlem with them!!! it was all my fault, i need to write about it. they are pretty, but i had to redo them!!!!

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  91. Hi, Joni! I LOVE your new room! But then, I loved the old one, too. What is the paint color?
    Since everyone's giving their two cents, I'll give mine too. The plates on the wall are just fine. So is the height of the "tea" height table; it's so European. You probably don't want an ottoman (specifically one for feet) in this room. This room can & should be enjoyed without getting so messy that it's difficult to quickly straighten it up before company arrives. As you stated, this is the first room seen on entering your home. Don't get me wrong...there's nothing wrong with using an ottoman in this room (a pretty french one would be cute). But if you were to use an ottoman for the specific purpose that, I believe, most commenters are suggesting it might also invite "messy" users of the room to practice their "bad" habits here-like leaving an array of cups, glasses, dishes, food wrappers, old newspapers, socks, shoes...well, you get the picture. Every room of the home doesn't need to be a "full-on" messy room.
    I vote for adding beautiful music in this room in some way, but not so sure about drilling holes in that beautiful French piece.
    Adding beams (rafters?) to the ceiling may help to bring it down to a more human scale & thus make the room feel more comfortable.
    Leave the statue and accessories as is. This represents your individual taste & style.
    When I saw the first photo of your new room my first thought was-"This room needs that zebra skin rug! Please at least try it. I think it will take this room from gorgeous to SMASHING!!! (You may not even need that pop of color one commenter suggested by changing out the white orchid.)

    P.S.-If you change the room in future, I vote for the library. In the meantime, please use this room. It looks very inviting!

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  92. Also, another advantage of using the higher height "tea table" is that you don't have to bend down to reach your beverage. In other words, it's not wrong to use the high table here. I think that it's suppose to be high for this specific reason. At any rate, Joni, I get it. And I think it looks great.

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  93. Love it...its absolutley gorgeous, I love it because it feels so timeless, and elegant. It doesn't scream "I am new and shiny"! The slipcovers are fabulous looking and I particularly love the contrast of the crisp white against the rich woods. WELL DONE!

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  94. The curtains are absolutely beautiful and add the appropriate warmth and drama to the room. I love the all white, but I would eliminate a couple of the slipped chairs and add at least one upholstered chair to the mix. Seeing four chairs of one basic style is not wrong if you like it, but it is not the room's best potential. Continue to use the tall tea table but edit the tall things you have on it. That would also be true of some of the other tables. There remains a lot of stuff sitting on the tables and less in this case would be more. Because you have so much white, experiment with other rug options, including an old European one.

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  95. It's so peaceful and gorgeous, Joni! I think you'll enjoy this room now for a long time. I love the concrete table and white cowhide on the floor mixed with the sparkling chandelier and sconces. I'm about to include a gray room as well in our home and have saved your pictures as inspiration (as always!). Thanks for inviting us into your new space.

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  96. I love the white slips!! And the drapes are amazing!

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  97. I love your new living room!! You are a great talent. I wish I lived in Houston. I too have that first picture of Dan Carithers living room and have kept it for years.
    Please tell me the color and brand of the living room paint(grey/taupe) you used. I love it with the white slipcovers. Everything is lovely.

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  98. Joni, The transformation is sooo beautiful. Those taupe silk taffeta curtains are the icing on the cake. I would die for the Tara Shaw daybed. It's a beautiful combination with the warm wood furniture and the soft fabrics. Love it all.

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  99. WOWWEE! What a different look! J'ADORE, Joni!!!!!
    -linda,ny

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  100. Really stunning, Joni. Are you going to spend more time in there now? I would...kind of your get away for coffee or tea and a magazine. You got me thinking about our first MAUVE love seats that I recovered the heck out of (even took them to Paris when we lived there for two years--they were tan then). We have new sofas now and they are slipcovered in washed linen. You have great restraint with all the neutrals...very calming and gorgeous.

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  101. thanks for the walkthru of the switch! That was a stunning trnsformation! Thanks for sharing the not so successful attempts too! Can you share the white overed books in the book case? Did you find them covered that way or do it yourself? If found, where? !!! Lovely and calming- I'd sit in there any day!

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  102. Add me to the list of readers who ripped out the picture of the Dan Carrithers living room many years ago :-)....

    I love how your room looks now- especially the slips, curtains, and how you've changed the top section of the buffet.

    I think we all cringe when we think about our early living rooms - even if we had the vision, we didn't have the money!

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  103. Would you kindly share the name of the drapery fabric. I love the way the panels are hung - they ooze luxury.

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  104. Okay -- I have to chime in again -- perhaps if you moved the chair that is sitting in front of the buffet out of the room? And placed the two matching arm chairs on each side of the statue? And placed the other armchair (that is now in front of the window) beside the concrete table? Move the tall orchid to the left-hand side table -- and the tall candlestick to the right-hand side table? JUST a thought (or two) .....

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  105. The luscious drapes and gray walls are the ideal palette for your designs. What color did you paint the walls, if I may be bold enough to ask? Thanks! Best wishes.

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  106. I loved your old room, but your new version is fantastic! I love everything about it, except for the hidehair rug. That is just my personal opinion though. I think an area rug with a little bit of contrast might make the seating area look more grounded. Take the zebra rug out of your family room and just photograph it in the living room and compare the two photos. You'll see what I mean. Another great post!

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  107. Joni, I am of the mind to make it a library. I know that you have EVERY design book known to man and I can just see you enjoying this room with its grand drapes and happy to be sending posts to your followers.
    It looks great, but I know that all your books in one place would be so grand.
    xxx

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  108. i gasped, too, when I scrolled down and saw your stunning new room. Now, do what I do, I make a point that when a friend calls or when I call, I move into my living room, and talk....these rooms MUST be used; too beautiful to just glance at as you come in from the front door. Please report back that you are using this beautiful room more!

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    1. I do this, too! We also host small groups (my teen's study groups) in the front room (we call ours the conservatory). The piano is in there (only I play), so it seems right that my son practices his trombone there as well. Our conservatory is beautiful (IMHO), the most finished room in our house - but also one of the most used and most used by teens. Use your room, Joni! It is so beautiful now (and then) - immerse yourself in that beauty and in a job well done!

      Libby

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  109. I don't know why, but the decor looks brittish colonial - which I love!
    Great job.

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  110. Your husband is hot; your room is not. You have some very beautiful pieces in that room. The curtains are to die for. That thing you call a coffee table though isn't a coffee table. Buy an 18 inch high coffee table that people can enjoy and put their feet up on to read a book. I'd also get rid of the fake white books.I find your love of seagrass and slip covers to be a little much - they're great but a real decorator isn't so one dimensional - take a clue from Martyn Lawrence Bullard decorating is like food. As much as we might enjoy one type of food there is more fabulous food out there to enjoy.

    Cheers

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  111. Joni,
    You are a decorating machine! Love, love the room. The slipcovers are gorgeous and I LVOE the curtains. You have collected so many beautiful things.
    Hope that you are having a great weekend. Thanks for sharing.
    Teresa
    xoxo

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  112. Anon. 5:35, you have committed the unpardonable sin here - you dared criticized Joni's decorating expertise despite the fact that she alluded to it being a slow year. Wonder why?? Could it be that there is such a lack of imagination and the fact that everything she does is so repetitive and predictable. I agree with your observation. I love white, but the living room makes you gag on it. The cutsy little scallops on the side chairs look like they belong in a bedroom, not a living room. At least she has her upholsterer so well trained he does this stuff in his sleep. But let's be honest here, does Joni ever show us anything other than this kind of design. No wonder it's slow in Houston. The only beautiful element in this room are the curtains. The rest should be moved to other areas of the house and she should start over. To all the homing pigeons who flock in for the reviews, have at it.

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  113. Joni,

    Beautiful and everything so thoughtfully and perfectly placed, BUT you asked for honesty and I have to say, I prefer the previous look. I am not a big fan of all white and gray and even though I enjoy looking at it, the same look is so over done at the moment in my opinion. Every antique show and blog is all about it, ready to see some new ideas, but that is me.

    I do like how crisp and clean your room looks...but I could never enjoy a glass of Merlot in your room...LOL

    I love color and cozy feeling of a room much like the English home in The Holiday. Please tell me you are keeping your Masonware, just in case!

    I look forward to a post from you in a few years when you say "that gray and white were so trendy", what was I thinking.

    Grins. : )

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  114. You have a lovely home, and this room is no exception. I love the chandelier, the statue, the mirror, and the curtains. The look is very soothing and interesting.
    I believe that when we know better we do better. Also, we do the best we can with what we have. I think that the key is "evolution." And shouldn't we all be evolving?
    I think that the saddest part of this story is not the way you decorated back in the early days; but the fact that with all of the HARD EARNED MONEY that you've spent re-/decorating the room you are still not using and enjoying it. Such a waste!
    Some thoughts:
    - Perhaps you've decorated it too formally and/or feminine for your comfort. I'm not talking personal style or taste here. I realize that you like what you like. But where are the photos/accounts of your hubby sipping a beer/wine/coffee while kicking back on the Tara Shaw daybed?
    - Too much white maybe? It could be that you've created a domestic version of a "white out," and entering this area is considered "treacherous." I do think that you should get a zebra hide rug for interest and practicality (esp. if you don't enforce a "no shoes" policy in your home.
    - Too many accessories on the rooms surfaces? Where are you supposed to put your drink and laptop, should you choose to blog from this location?
    - Ask your family what they think and why they don't use the room. You can learn a lot from those who live with you and know you best.

    Again, you have a lovely home. Life is too short to not enjoy that which you've been blessed with. Just sayin'... :-)

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  115. g o r g e o u s..... truly.... xoxo

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  116. Joni, it was great to see your living room evolve through the years. Now that so many of your readers have given suggestions, how about trying them out, posting the pictures and maybe let us vote.

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  117. I feel that by putting the draperies all the way up to the top of the room you are only drawing the eye up and therefore accenting the ceilng height instead of minimalizing it. Would of been better and less expensive to have brought them to the break between the windows instead and stopping the eye at that level. Maybe lower the chandelier a smidge too.

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  118. I would suggest sending photos to James Swan. I would bet he would edit the hell out of all the knick knacks sitting around trying to look like they came over on the Mayflower. I think we have come up with 101 things we hate about this room, but I am willing to bet he could make it 102.

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  119. I love the room. So much fixation over the height of the coffee table...Joni's table is the perfect size to place your drink without bending forward and risking spillage, an proper table for coffee; the shorter table we've all come to love is a more recent invention better conducive to placing one's feet on it than serving coffee. I like the white with the dark antiques, it makes me think of the tropics, which is I guess appropriate for Houston. I loved the masonware and I would have kept it. I have loved the plates around the mirror for a while. As far as using the room, you need to throw some fab parties in there. The furniture is already arranged for conversations, and the use of chairs rather than couches facilitates that. As for Merlot getting spilled on the white: thank God for slip covers! I would switch the white hide for some other kind of animal (like that awesome zebra rug you already have), just in case wine happens. Having said all of that, I like you am swimming in books, so I would line the walls with stained shelves, but I'd still do the all white decor. Library cum Living Room.

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  120. I have read every comment and feel a few of the latter ones are definitely bodering on, or a couple of them ARE rude. I hope my comments don't sound rude. It is a really lovely room, and I have looked at it and wondered what elements make it look uncomofrtable to me (cause it does, a little) given the fact that in many ways it is lovely. There is lots of beauty and you have a great eye of course, but there ARE a lot of legs, and it IS very crowded. I do think there should be a couple less chairs, and a couple of the remaining chairs should be replaced with chairs without legs (OR replace the table for an ottoman as has been suggested, that might make the room look less leggy also) and all the tall stuff on the table along with the room being so crowded makes me feel that it would be hard to walk around in there. I think I would be afraid I would bump into things when moving around, and then if I should bump into the table I might knock over those tall things.

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  121. Wow, such a controversial post ;) I just looked at the "after" pictures again, and the more I think about it the more I like that tall table the center (I must be the only one), it's the right proportion for the volume of the space, and in the correct relationship with the chandelier. I also think it's funny this other obsession with the legs and the ability to plunk down on sofas. 1. One would never perceive the legs once in the room because they would be below our eye level (unlike in the pic which); 2. It's a formal room, this is not the family room; it seems to me there will be no plunking down in here, and that's ok, a person has the right to live with some decorum and sip tea with her pinky up if she wants to.

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  122. The room is beautiful, but go in the room with hubby and a friend and sit down and have a conversation. Sometimes that will tell you why you're not using the room--is the daybed uncomfortable? or chairs?

    Are the two chairs with their backs to the room entrance blocking your use of the room?

    Consider faux beams to add more architecture. They're cheap, and I guarantee that you'd not know they're fake. You'll love the price.

    Yea, I don't like all the negative comments, it's a beautiful room. But I'll take your Mason collection any day!

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    1. Agreed, faux beams would be a great addition. Cost less than real wood and they look good. Snap to install too. http://www.owtraditions.com

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  123. Right on, Dear Polia! I said earlier some of the same things you are expressing.

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  124. Joni, I love, love, LOVE this room. Very elegant!

    If you think it's the high ceiling that keeps the room from feeling cozy then my first question is....what's on your ceiling? In a room with a high ceiling it's the perfect opportunity to make a wow statement and pull it all together. Whether it's a soft metallic plaster (perhaps in silver/taupe?) or a beautiful ornamental design of some sort it would really finish off the room. The ceiling is after all the 5th wall. lol

    There are some fabulous decorative artist in your area, see what they suggest for the space. It's so wonderful to walk into a gorgeous room as yours and then to look up and see something stunning makes you want to sit and put your feet up and enjoy.

    Just a thought.

    Thank you so much for the evolutionary shots, loved seeing the progression!

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  125. Joni, several readers have commented that the room needs less chairs and feels too crowded. I have a solution for that - take that chair out with the ballet slipper ties on the slipcover and ship it to me immediately. This will solve both our problems. :) I love it!

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  126. Joni, I must say your room is absolutely breathtaking with all the white slipcovers and of course those gorgeous drapes done by none other than me (SMILE!). Definitely should be in a design magazine. Thanks so much for always promoting me on your blog...it has brought me some good business. It is always a pleasure when they tell me they want the " Joni look" !!!. Also other Interior Designers have used me on some of their projects, but you are still my favorite. You are really admired tremendously by numerous blog followers. Everyone loves your style and all the design tips. I just know you are going to have your own design show one day on HGTV...maybe another Candice Olson!!!

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  127. I just loved how you evolved over the years. But it is still amazing how we can design on a budget while young and impetuous. Your current Living Room is so fresh, clean and appealing with a soul. Business in New York is also rather slow... so much that i have to put my personal design upgrades on hold

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  128. Too many chair and table legs can make a room "nervous." A skirted piece or two will make it feel "grounded." ....house beautiful 20 decorating secrets

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  129. Joni,

    Talent and hard work always pays back!

    One word: Stunning!!!


    Have a blessed week!

    xo

    Luciane at HomeBunch.com

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  130. Joni,

    Talent and hard work always pays back!

    One word: Stunning!!!


    Have a blessed week!

    xo

    Luciane at HomeBunch.com

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  131. Well, you really lit a fire under your readers! That buffet a deux corps is totally to die for! Here's the deal: looking at Dan C's room (and I love his work!) the difference is the bones - wonder if you had done moldings - you know the kind, on the walls a la Francais, it would have given a depth and a background - because for my taste the picture with the orchid hit the bullseye and then some! Here you had layers, complexities, excitement! And by the way what an adorable husband! I always assumed your daughter looked just like you but with that picture of Ben I see she looks like both of you!

    I too have a "for show" liv. rm. but when the bookclub comes I use it - I have noticed over the years that many designers prefer neutrals after looking at colors all day - but your room with the orchid seems to me perfect!

    The long curtains are scrumptious! I have an idea you are not done yet -

    And by the way, the house with the ivy? That is a big no no, can cause moisture to build up and mold to occur in the house and I am willing to bet Houston is a humid place.

    Love your blog!

    Suzanne on St. Simons

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  132. I see that you mean about the proportions of that room. Very tall, and not a lot of floor space. I do like the white slips, they simplify the look considerably.

    In my dining room (where I am right now) I put a long upholstered settee against the wall, with a big round table in front. Eventually I'll have a pair of upholstered chairs on either side, and add freestanding bookcases. (I'm sort of copying that room Tom Scheerer had, with the Saarinen table in front of the Georgian settee.)

    My DH and I use this room for breakfast. Afterwards I use it as a study and internet room. I also have my orchids in there. I'm hoping it will come in handy for card parties, or meetings with the garden club ladies, once I finish my remodeling and get my own studio.

    Anyway, you might consider substituting a larger table for the little tea table. It's very pretty, but I don't think it has the mass and presence to anchor that space and stand up to the high ceiling. Just a thought.

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  133. First of all you did a great job in my opinion. That the ceiling, wow, what a statement. I don't think I knew about this before now. Anyway, here is my two cents worth. There are two things I would consider changing 1. the scollops on the slips and 2. the covering on the two chairs whose backs are to the camera. Reason, always we need to know why. The scollops are somewhat frivolous for a room with that tall ceiling and those sumptuous drapes. The two chairs with backs to camera, your furniture grouping is an operating room full of white so I would use a subtle pattern with some white and some beige or gray.

    Really this is me being overly picky. You really have a fabulous room. My hat is off to you. You did a lot of thinking, spent a lot of money and the room shows it.

    At least for now!!!!!!
    Ann

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  134. celeste in minnesotaJuly 25, 2011 at 11:33 AM

    Dear Joni,

    Thank you so much for letting us in on the journey of your living room. I don't know anything about design so I cannot comment except to say that I love the slipcovers in white and the seagrass rug. It is a gorgeous room. Would you be so kind as to show us the top of the draperies? I have just finished sewing my own for my dining room and living room and I am now fascinated by the tops of drapery.

    Also, can you explain both a blackout lining and a regular lining? Was one of these an interlining, rather? Thank you.

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  135. Hi Joni: Thanks for sharing more pictures of your lovely house. I do have to say I do prefer the "before" picture as I liked the soft colors with flashes of color in the Masonware, etc. It felt more warm and cozy to me. However, I do understand that when you make a major change such as paint, you often have to make more changes to make it "work" again. I wish I had access to your slipcover maker--love the quality of your slipcovers! I'd like to see bookcases in the room some day--but then I love books and bookcases.

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  136. There's no art in the room. The sculptures(with the exception of the large lady) plasters and all those busters look like they came from Home Goods. The room is cluttered and as one poster said the legs make it look nervous. I agree that the coffee table is all wrong it would make me feel uncomfortable and uneasy like I was waiting at the principals office.

    I love the seagrass and the white, love the neutral walls. The chandelier is stunning.The drapes are beautiful although I think I would have gone half way up the wall with them. Take some things out of the room make it less cluttered and get a better table for the center of the room. The room is too grandmotherly for me.

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  137. Hi Joni,

    I already commented, but have a couple of questions. You said that you used off-white (?) linen and I'm wondering if it's the same linen you used in your family room, but in a different white. Also, I'm sure you've said so before, but where did you find the amazing sconces next to the mirror?

    And let me say, again, that the room is beautiful. I can only imagine what it must look like in person. No need to change a thing -- not the scallops on the slipcovers, the plates on the wall, the arrangement of the furniture... nothing!

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  138. Pretty space to walk by and look at, not inviting to come in and stay awhile. If you turned the table around facing the sofa and took away all the high accessories that would make one feel like they were down in a hole when sitting on the sofa that you help. I also think the room is so staged that you don't a place to put a cup of tea or a magazine ect. Remove items one by one until you can't bare to continue and you will have a room that you will enjoy! It is almost perfect.(almost)

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  139. thanks again for all the great comments - including the nice and not so nice. it's what makes decorating. some like pattern, some don't. some like clutter, some don't.

    loving the thought of beams on the ceiling - one problem is the windows go all the way to the top - but i'll look into it.

    the chairs - it's hard to really see the dimension of the room in pictures. the lone chair on the right is cluttered i know, but it just goes in the room and its a beautiful chair - lower than normal - so i left it in there. but i could prob do without it, i guess. I just love the chair.

    you either like scallops or your don't. personally i like shrimp better - a joke! ok - but i get it. some HATE scallops, but then i have a client right now that is asking for the same scallops. so go figure. and yes, the room is femimine. i know that - but ben loves it.

    as to not using it - sometimes i really like the idea that if obama ever stopped by, one room in my house would be clean and neat enough for him!!

    the zebra rug instead of the cow hide - great suggestion too. it would look great, i know. where does a zebra rug NOT look great? but - i was going for monochromatic right now, no patterns. i'm sure i'll change my mind next year.

    I did love the way the room used to look - but it didn't look good anymore with the new paint color. what can i say? right now, i am loving my living room - i walk in the house and scream to ben: "Mr Webb, you sure have a pretty house." it's a joke, but i must say right now the room makes me smile when i see it. before, it made me nervous because it just didn't look that good after the walls were repainted. dominos - change one thing and everything needs to be changed.

    the ottoman idea - the reason why i have the tall tea table is that it brings the ceiling down closer imo. a low ottoman would accentuate the high ceilings too much. same reason why i hung my chandelier so low.

    the curtains? I used a taffeta from schumacher. it was inexpensive - i needed so many yards - thats why i chose the cheap-ish schumacher. money no object? i would have chosen the rogers and goffigon matte taffeta. maybe if i ever hit an oil well, i will change them out!!!

    thanks! Ben was a cutie - but that was 20years ago. we look different now...haha!!!! but yeah, he was so cute, so thanks a lot. he'll love to hear that.

    the linen is off white - not stark white. the linen in my family room is stark white. i seriously am blanking as to where i bought it. but i am pretty sure i got it from glicks in houston - for less than $15. I needed a lot of linen. then i took it to the cleaners and had it shrunk and ironed - that cost more than the fabric!!!!!!!

    the sconces? those came from shabby chic houston - i bought those a few years ago. they don't carry cheap things like those anymore. they were really inexpensive which is probably why i bought them!!!

    the paint color - it is pratt and lambert. ok, i am totally blanking on the name! oh....Gawd. ok, I'll have to figure that out

    thanks everyone, including my stalker who mentioned martyn bullard. love that.

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  140. joni--i think some of the anonymous comments must be the same person. i'm guessing a personality disorder may be a cause for such rudeness. anyway, the gold standard opinion for the decoration of a room is whether the owner who lives in it everyday loves it. you love it. don't change anything. i think it is charming and certainly expresses your taste to a T. thank you for being so open with us and sharing your home. it is a very encouraging post. btw, i love the scallops.

    cammie churdar

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  141. Joni....your living room is absolutely scrumptious! I would definitely spend time in there admiring how pretty it looks! I can relate to your story, as I am hovering on the verge of changing from an all cream and gold palette to a very soft blue-gray. I would have to paint the entire 1st floor of our house as it is very open like yours. I could still use my cream upholstery, but like you, it will set off a vicious and expensive domino effect. You are helping me to muster the courage to do so. Wonderful post and ignore any of the rude comments...they are just jealous :)

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  142. Lovely, Joni. Just lovely! I've been out of town (and away from blog reading), but Monica was here today and told me to have a look. Very well done. I love your selections throughout the room. And wow...those really are some intimidatingly high ceilings! I would be daunted by window coverings for sure! But what a difference they make. I've been amazed at the difference in my own home. Like party dresses for windows!

    Enjoy your transformed spaces! Xo!
    Linsey

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  143. Joni, your room is lovely. Love the white against the dark woods and I'm mad about the shells and white accessories. I think that most homeowners have a room that they just never seem to use. Mine used to be the "formal" living room. Always looked pretty, but was NEVER used, that is, until we hung a big ol' flat screen TV in it (OH, the shame!!!) It drives me nuts that it was the television that made the difference, but it is what it is.... Glad (and more than a little embarrased) to say that we now use the room all of the time.

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  144. S T U N N I N G. Especially the curtains. But I agree with a few comments that a longer chain on the chandalier and a substantial edit of your collectibles might make the room appear more approachable. I'm not sure which would be the "comfy" chair that you would relax in and put your feet up. Too much potential for it to just be a show room that you don't use. I like the idea of a library, or what about an office/library/study? Love your generosity and humility, Joni. Hope Obama (Michelle) drops by one day with a couple of mega sized Starbucks so you can say "shall we sit in the Library?"

    Cherill W,
    Adelaide, South Australia

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  145. Lovely, Joni,your posts are wonderful. the room is luxurious and beautiful, the furniture is classical i thinks so!
    great!!like it!

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  146. This is just MHO but who needs to actually "use" it?? It's not like you don't have other rooms to put your slipper socks on the coffee table right?? It's gorgeous just to LOOK at! *winks* If this was my room I'd just enjoy staring at it in dreamy adoration every time I entered and left! I think usefulness is greatly over rated! LOL! And those drapes are TDF!! And I LOVE your concrete lady so bah! to anyone who said you should lose it! *winks* Vanna

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  147. i love your blog , its amazing , keep it up and thanks for sharing with me this blog.


    blinds derby

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  148. Hi Joni,
    First of all, this is a LIVING ROOM, people! I thought everyone knew the difference between a more formal space (living room) and a more casual, daily-living space (den or family room). Traditional houses typically have these two separate rooms...for a reason! Who needs yet another room for a flat screen TV? Are you kidding me? Who would recommend having a casual, "put your feet up" kind of room at the entrance of a house? I am more suprised that some commenters don't know this, than I am of the rude comments.
    That said, the room is lovely. What some commenters don't realize is that the "coffee" table is a tea table. A tea table is a most appropriate style and height in a formal living room. This is not a room to watch TV in. It is not a room to eat in. It is most definitely NOT a room to put your feet up in. You can do that in the family room, where the furnishings and style is more conducive to that sort of relaxing! A living room is a "first impression" room. It is traditionally an area to greet guests and have conversation. Cofee, tea, a cocktail or wine would be served in a living room. Save the TV watching, slipper sox, eating pizza, laying on the couch, for the den.
    Who would not walk into this room, regardless of their own personal taste, and not say that it is absolutely fresh and gorgeous? My own formal living room allows me to indulge in my fantacy decor.It is one room in the house that is always presentable. I can move things around, change out my assessories, copy my magazine and blog inpirations.

    Take that!

    Maggie, from Virginia

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  149. Little story about the railing in the before of the dining room (Juliet balcony) - when in France we were taken by friends to a little courtyard and were told "at one time women were not encouraged to own property. A very rich and independent woman didn't like the attitude and designed this railing to show the men in the world what she thought of that." That is why the railing looks like...well...what it looks like!

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  150. Well, I am a bit late for the party. I have read all the comments and I feel the reason you got so many negative comments on such a lovely space is because you made a point of saying that no one uses the room... therefore everyone is trying to figure out why???? I also love the ideal of the zebra rug and I would edit some for my own taste. But my taste nor anyone else's counts or matters. Enjoy your room, walk by look at , take photos and smile, it's wonderful ! If you do decide to get rid of a few accessories, I would be happy to take them off your hands...LOL happy I tell you...happy!

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  151. Joni, your "new" house is just breaktakingly beautiful and as always, reading your blog is a delight.

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  152. Thanks for sharing the beautiful room. I have a formal living room that was rarely used, and I never felt comfortable being in there. I decided to have my coffee there every morning, just to use the space. A funny thing happened...after a few weeks of morning coffee I started feeling at ease there, and now I enjoy just sitting there looking at all the pretty things that make me smile. It's my special place for a little quiet time before the day starts up.
    Thank you Joni for all the fantasy that you provide us!

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  153. Your room is so pretty - I love how it has evolved. I love the curtains, books, chandelier, all that white....!!!! Thanks for sharing your room with us!

    Sue

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  154. I have to admit that I love both looks. One is cozier, the other is cleaner. Right now in my home I'm opting for cozier due to pre teens, teens, 2 persians and a chocolate cocker spaniel...just looking at those white slips make me cringe and think of constant vacumming,lint rolling and laundering! I am jealous that you can have such whiteness!! I love your blog and have not commented before...so glad I found it as I am now totally addicted!

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  155. i like the last design, the style inspired me ,white chairs with big bonsai, it give me a feeling of nature world. thanks for sharing the beautiful picture.

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  156. Maggie from Virginia,

    Do you really think that you need to educate people who frequent design blogs about the difference between a "living room" and a " family room" or the difference between a "tea" and "coffee" table ?

    This room while very beautiful is unsuccessful. To be honest it looks like it was staged ...right down to the books under the table.

    Rooms should be warm and inviting. Denounce the cluttered and pretentious aesthetics, its 2011!

    That being said Joni you have some beautiful pieces here and the colors and fabrics are lovely.You can give it out with a biting tongue when you don't like a room so I think you can handle a little honest criticism of a room that has the potential to be wonderful.

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  157. Joni, I think it is absolutely gorgeous. To see the evolution of the different looks throughout the years was very interesting. With the final finished room, you have just the right amount of contrast with the dark wood againt the creamy gray paint and soft white slipcovers. I also like the way you have used existing pieces and updated them with a few trendy items. Beautiful job.

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  158. L-o-v-i-l-e-e!!!

    I must admit, my favourite new element in the room has to be the new drapery which I feel take center stage.

    Immensely enjoyed the journey of transition. -Brenda-

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  159. Catching up on some blog reading and so glad to see this post. I have my own living room issues (we call it the stupid room) and wish I could just make it disappear or expand/combine it into our small library next door. Except for Holiday parties, and the occasional game of chess ours rarely gets used either. But, when time allows, I will go in there to sit in the early morning hours with coffee because the light is fantastic.

    Your transformation is amazing and love to see someone else is a fan of high tables. I thought maybe I was just getting really lazy and sick of always bending down! The only change I would make is to clear the table of everything except for the plant so you will have a place to set down a stack of design books or back issues of SA :)and a drink while you get cozy on the sofa...and enjoy all your beautiful efforts!!!

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  160. Hi Joni,
    Did you ever post the paint color of your lovely living room? I can't seem to find it.
    Best regards,
    Ruth

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  161. oh my god, that antique chandelier is to die for!

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  162. I love this room! Can you tell me the paint color?

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  163. I am referring to the room painted a light taupe grey. Thanks! Beautiful home!

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  164. It feel likes a few of the pictures were taken with a slightly older camera.

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