Being a lover of fresh, light and bright decor, I'm typically not as drawn to large, dark-colored sofas. My first instinct is that they kind of suck the life out of a room with their massive, somber selves. Our current sofa (graciously given to us and enjoying a very happy life, but not what I would now choose) is a medium brown. When having it photographed, I draped an ivory throw over it, in a desperate attempt to lighten it up (as seen below).
So…when a client owns a brown leather sectional that they intend to keep, I'll admit that my first reaction is not one of excitement. BUT any hesitation pretty quickly turns to the thrill of the challenge -- one of the favorite parts of my job is to take a design challenge and figure out how best to address it. In my mind, it's kind of like a puzzle. I always tell my clients that my process is very much that…a process. Especially during the first 48-72 hours after an initial consultation, my wheels are turning like crazy (crazy). I'm arranging furniture in my head and imagining different combinations of finishes, textures, patterns and colors. I'm brainstorming just the right mix of styles to best represent my clients' tastes. Images are searched and collected for inspiration (like the top leather sofa image, above, which I happen to love!). All the while, every idea and preliminary decision gets filtered through any practical needs of the project. I start to internalize the mood/feel/vibe/style of the client(s) until I really get a pulse on how this will be reflected in their home. It's crazy energizing, and I love it.
As you may have guessed, I'm in the midst of just such a fun challenge at the moment! This is a gorgeous house in a lovely neighborhood in San Francisco. So much potential. But… the first thing that struck me is that the home definitely does not reflect the fun, personality-filled, lively, young family that lives here …and I'm on a mission to remedy this! I'm sure this home has a point of view and we're going to find it. :)
So, back to the brown sofa story. A funny thing happened in the 24 hours after the initial consult…I surprised myself and started to really get excited about a design plan with this in it. This house is going to get cozified. (In one of my favorite design books, I was introduced to the term "cozification," and it resonated with me in a huge way! My husband and I always joke that 'cozy' is one of my core values… I'm just all about bringing out the 'cozy' in a home!)
Also, it's time I tell you there actually are two rooms in this home affected by the brown sofa factor… in addition to the leather sectional in the family room, the adjoining living room houses not one, but two brown sofas. Whew! So, are you ready for the plan of attack?
I'm lobbying for the walls to be painted, likely a very light gray. I'm aggressively trying to balance all the yellows/browns/reds that are currently prominent throughout the house by bringing in lots of cool colors. I'll share more photos in a later post to give you a sense of this. Both rooms need new rugs, which is such a perfect opportunity to bring in the personality I'm craving here! The rooms really are open to each other, so for my first-round design boards, I'm just tossing in a variety of pillows which essentially can mix and match between both rooms. The rooms currently have matching rugs, and although they definitely need to coordinate with one another, I'm proposing that each space to feel like its own, distinctive corner of the world. They're used for different purposes and I'd like for them to reflect this.
I am so excited about this mix. How could you not be just a little happier walking into this room? Taking the very traditional bones of the house + leather sofa, I'm feeling sort of a fresh, modern twist on a library (minus any dark paneled walls). Rich colors send a message of both cozy and luxurious, while the unexpected mix keeps it understated, comfortable, welcoming. With a fairly open floor plan, shades of purples and peacock blue will be a common thread throughout the rooms on this floor, providing connection points for the eye as you travel from room to room.
Just a few of the ideas rattling around in my mind during these early days include… natural elements such as light wood & plants; more strategically placed art to bring the eye UP and accentuate those high ceilings; pair the loooong sectional with other large pieces to counter its current attempt to monopolize the room; add a variety of textures, arrange furniture to better suit the space. Oh, and we're also giving new life to dining room chair and counter stools with freshly-covered seat cushions, adding at least one family gallery wall, sprucing up the entry… I'm so excited to see it become a place that really reflects the awesome people who call it home!
Interested in working together to make your home a place you love? Contact me here. I would love to hear from you!