May 5, 2012

Decorating our living room

We have moved in this house for more than 2 years now, and we are still trying to make it our "home" by personalize it and finding furniture and other items to decorate rooms. I want to share with you our progress with the living room, which had come a long way from an empty room to where it is now.

We refinished the hardwood floor and then moved in at the beginning of 2010. We came with a mission style coffee table that we got at an antique store somewhere near Ithaca on a road trip some years ago. When we had visitors, we would use our black metal folding chairs from Target as seating. There was nothing for window dressing. The walls were all white, and there was a prominent wall next to the stairs that had an old style wallpaper.

Living room when we moved in; after floor was refinished

The wall on the right of this picture had wallpaper that we removed (this was Dec. 2009)

The first thing we did was to remove the wallpaper and paint the wall. Because the wall is two stories tall (16 feet) in some areas, and the stairs were curved, I was not able to reach all surface with my ladder. I resorted to borrowing scaffolds from a friend and proceeded to remove the rest of the wall paper and paint the wall. The process took about 2 months, including patching the wall with drywall compound where the wall paper removal had made it uneven, and sanding it smooth. We painted the wall with Benjamin Moore Hazy Skies (light grey) to give it more visual weight. I thought a grey color might make it seem like it was made of concrete. We painted the ceiling Chantilly Lace (white), the south wall with windows Pale Avocado (light green), and the wall with the fireplace White Sand (white with a slight grey). We got the inspiration mainly from Benjamin Moore's 2009 colors guide.

Removing wallpaper with ladder in March 2010.  The tallest corner was not reachable with the ladder.
Apply drywall compound to smooth out the wall. (May 2010)
Scaffolds are seen in this July 2010 picture. Also, the wall was patched and sanded and ready for paint. We used painted posters to test the color combinations.
The tall wall was painted and the scaffolds were moved to paint the wall on the right. (August 2010)

The next thing we did was to get the sofa. We want the sofa to have a modern style with clean lines, be comfortable, but not too hard when sitting on it.  We looked at several furniture stores but most of the products we encounter didn't have the look that we were looking for. Finally, we found something we liked at Ethan Allen. It's the Avanti sofa. We picked the white leather to make it color neutral and easy to clean. We had a designer from Ethan Allen come to our house to measure the room and help us design and pick out the furniture pieces. The design included the long and medium sofas, tremont sofa table, two different end tables, a fabric chair, a small side table, table lamps, a rug, and window curtains. The total price was astronomical, so we ended up just buying the two sofas, and took advantage of the 10% off sale deal they were offering.

The sofas were delivered professionally, and they looked good, just as we imagined. They are very comfortable, easy to clean, and still look very nice after 2 years. Micah was able to leave some scratch marks with his little fingernails and strong grip, but it is only noticeable up close.

We then set out to shop for area rugs for the living room. We went to several stores including Macy's, Carpet One, and Huckfinn's Warehouse and More. We were looking for something that has a modern design and colors to match our Pale Avocado wall. Finally, we got the Momeni New Wave NW-15 rug from This Chinese wool rug has simple geometric design, clean lines, and nice vivid colors. Actual color is brighter than how it looks on the computer, which is perfect and matches with our light green wall.

After we put in the rug, we were desperate for window curtains for our night time privacy, so I encouraged Jenn to spend some time to find the curtain she thinks will go with the room. Pretty soon, she found and bought the curtain pieces from JCPenny. They are dark brown satin color and we also put shears in the middle so it can provide a different feel during the day. For the curtain rods, I was't satisfied with the selection at Lowe's or Bed Bath and Beyond, and finally I got the wood rods, the finials, and the support brackets from I got the Kirsch line of rods because the brackets hide the mounting screws completely, so it gives a clean look. I had to order 2 six foot rods and use 3 brackets to support the combined rod. The curtains worked out nicely. My only minor complaint is that opening and closing the curtains involves reaching behind the sofa and tugging them a few times to spread them out.

Living room coming together in Dec. 2010. In time for Christmas.

So far these things were accomplished in 2010. In 2011, Micah was born and I was busy working on the laundry room. While shopping for the new washing machine, we discovered a consignment store called Treasures in Saratoga Springs. We got a big table lamp from there, thinking it could be used in our living room one day. It had been sitting on the floor of our bed room as supplementary illumination until recently, in April of 2012, we visited Old Brick furniture unplanned, and saw an end table that we liked, and decided to buy it for our living room. The table is the Jofran rough hewn cherry plank end table, which has simple lines and a hefty, substantial footprint, with distressed surface finish. It came in a box as 4 pieces, and assembly was easy. The table surface was bumpy, like they didn't bother to sand it after the last coat of polyurethane, so I took my 400 grit sanding tool and lightly knock those particles off, and it was even nicer than than it came.

we put the end table into service and put the table lamp on it. This is how the living room looks right now. The lamp gives a nice warm feel to the room at night. I appreciate the full spectrum of light given by the 57W halogen light bulb.

Still on the to do list is getting another end table for the other side of the sofa, and a floor lamp that goes with the room.  Optional is sofa table behind the left sofa plus a pair of table lamps for more illumination.  At some point we might change out the hanging light fixture above the stairway.


  1. Guys, this looks AMAZING!!!! Great job!! I can't believe how much hard work you put in, but it definitely paid off! :)

  2. Thanks MB!! Can't wait to see you again, are you coming to visit us??


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