COTE DE TEXAS: Dear Miss Cote de Texas

Dear Miss Cote de Texas

I have a new letter about decorating today:

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Dear Miss Cote de Texas:  I have read your post on seagrass about a million times, and I just
love the way it looks and appreciate all of the information you provided about
it!  I am on the verge of ordering it for my stairs and a small library room, and
my initial thought was to use it in my family room and wall-to-wall in the
master bedroom as well.  I am having second thoughts about the family room,
though, and I was wondering if you might be so kind as to take a look at the
attached pictures and give me your opinion. 

My concerns are that we have a
tan couch (which must stay, so I worry that the seagrass would be “blah” in
there, even if I layered a rug on top of the seagrass) and the fact that the
family room opens to the kitchen… would I be better off doing a smaller
(although larger than the one pictured) area rug so as not to “stop the eye and
the flow" from the kitchen to the family room?





Thank you for your letter!  First, let me address some basic questions.



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In general, seagrass is a timeless product, classic, and not trendy.

To me, seagrass is a miracle product – it is almost worry free and stain proof.  Now, be clear, I am talking about seagrass, NOT sisal.  Sisal stains like crazy and in my opinion should be completely avoided in high traffic areas.  But, seagrass is the complete opposite and doesn’t stain easily.  We have three dogs and there have been numerous accidents – trailing in mud, etc. – and my seagrass is virtually spotless.   I keep a bottle of “Nature’s Miracle” which eats up pet stains by using enzymes, and truthfully, it works like magic.  In general, seagrass is just very easy to keep clean.  You can take a wet rag to it and get almost any spill out.
 
 

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In a very dressy interior, seagrass adds texture and coziness and brings down the “don’t touch” vibe.


Besides being easy to care for, seagrass is relatively inexpensive compared to other rugs.  It can be replaced every five years or so without a large expense.  To me, seagrass is wonderful.  I like the way it looks and I think it
makes rooms look rich.  I love the texture and color it adds to an interior.   My personal preference is a custom-cut seagrass rug – where it follows the perimeter of the room, 4 to 8 inches away from the walls and closer around the fireplace hearth.



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Large expanses of seagrass can help cover up a floor, if you don’t like the stain.

For a family room, I think it’s a perfect product because of its ease and affordability.  It’s a great product to use if your floors are not fabulous and you want to cover them, or if your hardwoods are the stained your favorite color.   No, seagrass is not as comfortable as laying down on a plush thick rug,  but I can guarantee you that a thick, plush rug or carpet will quickly look dirty and worn while the seagrass will look fresh and new for years and years.  For families with babies, I suggest layering a sheepskin rug for the little ones.   As for layering,  a zebra or cowskin rug placed over a seagrass looks wonderful.  Also, today I suggest getting the seagrass with the thicker backing on it.  It tends to lay better when the rug is large.



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Seagrass looks especially good in a family room – with a cowskin or zebra layered over it.



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Bunny Williams recently remodeled her Connecticut home – using seagrass area rugs throughout.

When deciding on an area rug, there are other options in fiber rugs that are trendier – the patterned textures from Starke are especially
nice.  But I can’t guarantee you can get them in any size like seagrass which is easily seamed to make it larger than just 13’ wide.  Many places will tell you they can custom cut fiber rugs, but really – they won’t do anything wider than 13’.  Seagrass can be seamed – and  you will never notice where the seam was placed – ever!   Which means that you can have a seagrass rug that is 24 x 18’ – no problem.


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My all time favorite room – but when you look closely – the sisal seam is very visible here.

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See it?  With seagrass, in a large room, the seams are invisible.



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Custom cut seagrass – just a few inches from the walls – and it is cut closely around the hearth.


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Custom cut – holes can be made to fit around heating grills and light plugs.


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I usually prefer a large rug to cover the room, but when the floor is gorgeous like this – a smaller rug might be better.



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I do think this rooms needed a custom cut rug – especially with the angled wall, it would look better.



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Love this room with the skin layered over the rug.



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Stark and other companies make patterned textured rugs – like this one from Charlotte Moss’ newly decorated Hamptons house.



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I can’t promise that the trendier fibers are as easily cleaned as seagrass.  If you want a patterned fiber rug, maybe think about the living room or the dining room instead of the family room. 
  

Now, to answer the question for this reader – should she get seagrass for her family room?  She has young children and a large family room.  She is already getting wall to wall seagrass on the stairs, in the library and the master bedroom.  Should she get seagrass in the family room too?  Is it too much?  Where should it stop?




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Her living room is a beautiful space – with wonderful windows and light.  I love the window seat at the back.





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There’s a great fireplace flanked by two French doors.





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And two more French doors lead into the kitchen.





The reader says that the sectional was bought for another house and she knows it isn’t right for this space.  She would like to move it downstairs for the children, but for now, it stays.   The rug is moving upstairs, but she wonders should she get another rug – will the seagrass look too blah with the sectional?  Also she worries about the seagrass at the door leading into the kitchen.





So, first, I really think seagrass would be great – with this sectional or not.  I would definitely layer a cowskin rug or a zebra on top – to pop a bit a color.



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Also, I think I would go with a custom cut rug that would cover the major portion of the floor.  You can see how the area rug cuts off the room and makes the back part disappear.  One large rug will make the room look cohesive.  Custom cut it around the hearth. 



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As for how it would look up against the breakfast room – here you can see, having a rug in one room and not the other is just fine. 



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And here, another room where the seagrass stops at the breakfast room, with no problems.





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Here, you can see white walls and almost the same fabric as your – layering the zebra over the seagrass really pops the room.  You could  buy another area rug with more color, but to buy one large enough to fit the sofa – it will be expensive.  Seagrass is such a budget friendly product, especially when a large size is needed.




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Another view with the zebra print layered over the seagrass for color pops.




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But don’t go overboard – with too much pop and pattern.




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Let talk about the room.  I know you said the sofa stays, but the scale is really big for the room.  This size sofa needs a huge room, and would look best floating.  Here, the way it is set up – you can’t see the bay window in the back.  I’m wondering if you could take some of the sections out and make the sofa smaller?  Perhaps just use it as a sofa with or without the chaise instead of a sectional with a chaise? 





I put together a few idea rooms to show you what you could do with the room:






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Here – using the sofa as is, or perhaps with a few sections removed, I would get the seagrass and layer either a zebra or a zebra pint rug on top.  I showed a glass topped brass table to allow the zebra to really show through it.  I like the abstract black and white print on the back wall.   I would get a few – not too many – but a few black & white patterned pillows, down filled 24x24 or 22x22, nothing smaller.   Since the sofa is so large – instead of side tables and lamps, I added the copy of the Serge Mouille for a touch of contemporary. 




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Here is a room that reminds me of what yours could be – with the large seagrass, the zebra, a print over the sofa.  Without the sofa blocking the back window – you could decorate that area with matching pillows and a seat cushion.  Also, it would look great with a textured shade layered over the dead zone between the ceiling and the window.  The other windows have pretty transoms, so I would not add a shade there.





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Here is another mock-up.  I used the $399 Ikea sofa here – for a reason.  At this price, why wait to move the sectional downstairs now?  I also used two chairs from Ballards.  Instead of the modern prints, think about an oversized map or print.  I also used two large stone lamps for texture.





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Here, I used the $399 Ikea sofa with the Ikea chaise to take the place of the large sectional.  The chaise is smaller but gives that same comfort level.  I liked this round coffee table made of wicker for a bit more texture.  The white cowskin adds a bit of accent.  I like the greenery of the fig plants.   And again, here a chandelier – contemporary faux Serge, which I love.  





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And one last idea – with trendy green velvet pillows, a leather chair, a rattan chair for texture, and I added curtains in a green chintz for pattern.  A touch of trendy gold in a sunburst mirror behind the sofa.    





I hope I have given you some answers about the seagrass vs. an area rug.  And I hope I have given you some ideas about decorating down the road.





If you have a decorating question that you want me to answer here, please email me at cotedetexas@aol.com .  AND if you previously submitted a question that I did not answer – submit it again!! 




57 comments :

  1. Hi there -- thanks for this. Are there a seagrass vendor and a specific product that you like? There seem to be a variety of patterns. thanks!

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    1. The man I use is listed on the right - Anthony Perez. But, most places that sell seagrass are fine. Just be sure you are getting seagrass, not sisal. There is winter seagrass and summer seagrass and one is rougher than the other. But that is the main difference in seagrass that I know of.

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  2. Joni-it was because of your posts on seagrass rugs that I looked into them for a bedroom...Now I have 4 seargrass rugs, including one in the dining room and one in the sun room/family room. They are indestructible! I live with 3 standard poodles, one of which was a puppy when we brought him home a year ago. My rugs are just perfect, all 'mistakes' from raising a puppy easily cleaned up. I also have two small grandchildren who have no problems setting up their BRIO trains on the rug; they don't seem to mind the hardere surface at all.I wished I knew how to get my stairs carpeted in seagrass! If you can't do good wool carpets, do seagrass..

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    1. even the wool carpets don't hold up like the seagrass - it's unreal. also - Natures Miracle - we use it for most spills. the binding shows the most wear and tear and that can be easily replaced.

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    2. I have seagrass stair runners! Lots of people do. LOVE IT.

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  3. I really enjoyed this post!! Thank you for taking the time to answer a reader's question :)
    Darlene
    www.BundleMeBaby.etsy.com

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  4. The LAST ONE is dynamite!!! GO FOR IT!! franki

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  5. Great post, so nice to wake up to these beautiful rooms. I know you may have mentioned before - but who do you suggest for custom seagrass in Houston area? Would really appreciate any suggestions. thanks

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    1. I use Anthony Perez = 713-861-3000 but Creative Flooring is another great source. They are the #1 seagrass seller in the U.S. For Houston, those are two great sources.

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  6. We have seagrass in our family room. It held up with puppy accidents but not when she chewed holes in it. Little stinker. No big deal because I can buy a new one at a very reasonable price. Agree with you on the sisal. I made a huge mistake buying it for our play room. It's going in the trash. I'll never buy it again.

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    1. Well, no. It won't hold up against chewing! But I think you could deter a puppy by putting down a cheap mat???? We never had that problem and we've raised quite a few puppies. That's a real shame. But, like you said, it's not a huge investment per room.

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  7. Hi Joni,
    I too now have 3 bedrooms with wall to wall seagrass because of your blog. I love them, even though they are tough on my grandchildren's tender feet and knees. I do have a problem with one of the bedrooms. The seagrass ran at the area between the bedroom and bathroom. The bathroom has tile. The fooring company that put it in suggests that I put in a transition strip at the threshold. What would you suggest, a metal one, rubber, or is there something else out there that perhaps they do not know about?

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  8. Hi Miss Cote de Texas! I love the seagrass pictures on your blog. I went to my carpet dealer and she said it was a bad idea for my area (Denver) - too dry. Does this sound right to you?

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    1. Hi Lily,
      I live in Boulder and have some seagrass small rugs in my house. They have held up perfectly. I actually think it is better in dryer climates as a friend in L.A. installed it wall to wall in many rooms and had an issue with mold and had to tear it all out. I am about to order a large 15x17 custom seagrass and have it in my living room. Joni just convinced me!

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    2. Great - thank you so much for the information and encouragement!

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    3. Wrong advice. There is a lot of it out there! Listen to Joni!!!!

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    4. Bless your heart, Penelope, trying to "help." I admire you for putting yourself out there...... and "doing the best you can"!!!

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    5. Just be sure to see if they have the thicker backing - that will stop the lumping that comes with large pieces and climate changes, I've found. Not sure about Denver, but why not try a smaller piece first and see what happens?

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  9. Joni, the mood board with the map print shows a tuxedo sofa with roll cushions. You said this was from Ikea? If it is, I'm heading there right now lol.

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    1. wait! No!!! that's a mistake!!!!!! not sure how that happened. God. I'm so sorry. That actually came from One Kings Lane. Not sure why I used that - it was a mistake though. All the other white ones were for Ikea. I"m so sorry!

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  10. I realize this wasn't the readers question, but it is really not recommended to install seagrass on stairs. While not quite as slick as sisal it is still waxy and becomes slippery easily. Most installers will not do this. If you insist on seagrass on stairs at least have it installed sideways for more grip, but why take the risk when there are much better, beautiful runner options around?

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    1. People say this, but actually I know lots of people who installed seagrass on stairs and they have zero issues. I don't think seagrass is at all slippery and most installers will put it on stairs. They do it all the time. But, I know this is repeated a lot.

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    2. Is this an urban myth? I've had people ask me the same thing when they see my seagrass runner and I remind them how many people don't install them in children's rooms because they offer so much grip that it can actually hurt sensitive feet. I'll tell you what's slippery - wood stairs! My dog slipped twice and point blank refused to take the stairs again - until I had seagrass installed.

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    3. Maybe an urban myth! I have installed literally dozens of clients' stairs with seagrass! Zero accidents! I love them!!! Get dark brown or black 3 inch binding....and the edges won't wear out! even if it does; as Joni says....rebind them....a fraction of the cost of any new rug!!!
      Brilliant, Joni!!!

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    4. "Literally dozens"--you certainly are keeping busy! We love to hear about all your..... activities, penelope!!! Brava!

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  11. Seeing the other questions about where to order...I am aware of Natural Area Rugs, Sisal Rugs Direct (they have seagrass) and Wisteria. Do tell Joni some other options especially who has the heavier backing as that is a great idea and one that I would benefit from.

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    1. The heavier backing is an option that Anthony gives me and when you have a large piece - I think it's a must in Houston. The seagrass tends to get lumpy during major temperature changes = from cold to hot. The heavier backing prevents this. I don't know what more I can say - not sure if online places have this option or not????

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    2. Joni, do you know anyone in the Dallas area that does custom cut seagrass?

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    3. I'm sure there are lots of them!! Maybe call Creative Flooring in HOuston and ask them, they might know. I'm sorry, I just don't.

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    4. I've gotten 2 "seascape" seagrass rugs from the Home Decorator's Collection catalogue and they've held up great!

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  12. Joni, this is all great advice for the reader !
    You have given her a lot of different ideas to choose from for her living room!

    xoxo
    Karena
    The Arts by Karena
    Painting Central Park

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  13. ♥♥♥ this post, I love intelligent, helpful information and you are always so thorough and helpful. one question, does seagrass have an odor? I know some baskets will have an odor about them?

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    1. a wonderful odor like new cars do. it last for a few days or weeks and i hate when it's gone. but i guess that is personal?

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  14. I would try taking the corner section of the sectional out and put it all up against the wall. Might not work, but it would really open the room up!

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  15. Thanks, Joni, for another great post. Having put seagrass rugs in both Houston (very humid) and Santa Fe, NM (very dry and on top of floors with radiant heating), I can testify that it works well in both environments.

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  16. This is one FABULOUS post! Wow! Great advice. Thank you!

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  17. I love the very last mock up in greens and white. It makes a very stunning color way, in my opinion. Wonderful suggestions for the reader to consider.

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  18. Another "education" post of the best of the best! Rugs, how to separate the sectional....split it up and it can make sense in two places. (people tend to "keep things as they are"!

    Splitting it up is brilliant....and creative; and it can fit much more comfortably in two rooms; rather than taking over the whole living room !!!

    Joni! You are the teacher that decorating never had!!! Brava!!!!

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  19. I love all your posts but these are my favorite! Really showcases the true talent you are!!! xo Leslie Sinclair

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  20. Hi, Joni - Wonderful design boards and great selections! I, too, love versatile and durable seagrass. I also love the sisal with the diamond pattern - the texture makes it very forgiving. Cheers

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  21. I hate to write anonymously but I have no of the accounts. I have two questions. 1. Do you recommend buying furniture online through discount dealers? 2. Is there a website to see Bunny Williams remodeled home you referenced above? Love it. Love your website. Thanks!
    Mary

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    1. I buy almost everything online! Yes!!!!! and One Kings Lane has all of the new pics of Bunny's house in the country. It's better than ever. Especially the dining room - the green striped wallpaper is gone! yea! I didn't care for it. Her bedroom has been redone too and I love it.

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  22. Hi Joni,
    I am so grateful that you inspired me to use a seagrass rug in our living room. We moved into a home with hard wood floors two years ago. Happily, the seagrass was easier on my budget than other choices. I still love how it looks and it has held up beautifully.


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    1. Joni teaches truth! Great comment!!!

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    2. Awww, still trying to "help," penelope!

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  23. I think I've stumbled upon a house that used seagrass rugs. Yes. i'm definitely right. It really gave their living room texture and class. Thinking maybe I'll get one for our house too. For sure, my family will love how our living room will look like.

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  24. Hi Joni..this was so informative..I'm thinking of adding a seagrass rug to my living room..I bought a beautiful rug at Round Top, but its a tad small..seagrass rugs look so good when there layered.

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  25. This is a great post. Thank you Joni! I have spent a fortune on various sisal rugs that never held up, know I know to try seagrass instead! I need a custom stair runner, a foyer rug, a den rug and a library rug and really hope seagrass is the answer so I don't have to keep ordering and fiddling with that durn sisal! You are wonderful and I always look forward to your posts! (But what is going on in your comment section...? Must be a feud going on with some one who only writes as anonymous. Very off- putting and sarcastic...and negative. I wish they would stop.)

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    1. yes, he is an old "friend" that loves to tease Penelope. - try a small seagrass first and see what you think. it's so much better than sisal. it's a huge difference, you will probably love it, but test one first!

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  26. Great post! If the sectional is staying, I agree with sea grass layered with a cowhide rug or sheepskin for texture... I think that room needs a touch of color. I would add some art work and throw pillows with design/graphics or pops of color. Also, I would maybe take a few pieces of the sectional out to make it a better scale for the room if possible.. xo, Ivy...

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  27. Does anyone know if the seagrass is treated with pesticides --I'm not referring to when the grass is growing; but after it's harvested. (I have allergies to many pesticides). Also, will seagrass hold up in southern Florida, with the humidity? Will it get moldy or attract insects? Thank you very much for any input!

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  28. I love it all especially the last suggestion with the green pillows, leather chair, and rattan chair, can you tell where these pieces are from. Ikea? Ballard?

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