the switch - living - dining room

Right before Christmas, I mentioned that we switched our living room and dining room. While the thought has been in my head for awhile I always hesitated because it meant losing our white oak credenza on the main floor. It might seem hard to believe but the only wall it fit on downstairs was the one it was on. After some measuring and some cajoling, I convinced my husband that it was time to try the switch and move the credenza upstairs.

The front room of our house is a very awkward space to put furniture in. With two doorways, a cast iron radiator, a bay window, a fireplace and a maximum width of about 12 feet across creating a comfortable seating area is difficult. It's fine when there are only 2-3 people there but once you add any more guests it becomes difficult to communicate.

Luckily, the sofa I bought when we moved functions as both a sectional and as two separate seating areas. I always thought it would work well against the long wall in the dining room with one or two of our Bertoia wire chairs facing it. I've also always loved the idea of having a dining room that also functions as a library or study. I could easily imagine lining all the walls of our front room with bookshelves and really making using of all the vertical height would have. (Not to mention that it would be nice to finally get all of our books out of the basement.) If we decide that we really like these two rooms this way than I'll think seriously about getting some bookshelves put in.

To date the change has worked really well for us. There is definitely more circulation space between the two rooms which makes life a little easier. I also really like collapsing on the sectional with the whole family at the end of the day. It's a little more informal and relaxed than our old set up. I've also added a bit more colour to the living room through some new pillows and a flokati like rug (from the lovely Mrs. Huizenga). I originally bought the new rug for Henry's new room (it might still end up there) but threw it down when I bought it home and it hasn't moved since.

What do you think of the switch? How about the splash of colour I've added to the living room?

By the way, don't forget to enter the Big Tinsel giveaway to win a Fox Necklace. You can do so on last Thursday's post. You have until Wednesday night to enter. Good luck!

five paint colours to love

I would have to say that the question I get asked the most often is what colour is your fill-in-the-blank here. Sometimes it is my hallway, other times my bedroom and sometimes it is the living room or dining room. With so many choices out there I'm not surprised! It can be totally overwhelming. I've made my fair share of mistakes along the way and now I tend to stick with the same handful of colours. So today, I thought I would dish out my top five paint colours as used in my own home.

They are:

1. Chalkboard Paint - Black - I used this in the kitchen on the East wall and in the office on the East wall. Of course, I stole this idea from Jenna Lyon's fantastic home!

2. Revere Pewter - This colour is used on the upper walls in the hallway. It's a lovely, light warm grey neutral.

3. Cloud White - I use this colour everywhere. It is in our  hallway (chair rail), and nursery. It is great wherever you need a warm white.

4. Steel Wool - This is the colour of our bedroom. If I had the chance to paint it again I might go with something like Kendall Charcoal. It's a bit warmer and more inviting for a bedroom.

5. Raccoon Fur - This is the colour of our bathroom. This is one of those shades of black that has some blue in it. It has great depth and character.

(All colours by Benjamin Moore.)

As you can see, I'm drawn to black and white and the range of greys in between. I find they provide an interesting neutral back drop that you can play around with. It is rare for me to put colour on the wall (my guest bedroom excepted!) How about you? Any paint colours you use over and over again?

before and afters

Are you like me? Do you love a good before and after? Two years ago, this March, we moved into The Marion House. Since that time the house has gone through a lot of alterations and renovations. I have tried to document the changes along the way. The other day, as I was going through my archives I came across this selection of before and afters. What amazes me is that many of the rooms have already changed since these photographs were taken! The living room in particular looks quite different. I guess I really am a serial renovator.