Roeshel’s Living Room

Posted on Sat, 20 Jun 2009 by midcenturyjo

It’s our next reader’s makeover as guest blogger and interior designer Jason Martin helps Roeshel with her living room. Roeshel is looking for a beautiful neutral space that combines her husbands love of traditional furniture with her more modern cottage tastes. Time to be a fly on the wall during their e-consultation. Remember Roeshel does the “DIY” after Jason adds the “+”.

Roeshel’s notes

My husband loves the furniture (I don’t) and we’re so tired of the red walls…looking for something light and neutral. I like cottage style and my husband likes a formal look. The space has so much going on with built-in shelving, fireplace, staircase and French doors so even furniture placement is a challenge. 🙂 Keeping my fingers crossed. Thanks!

Jason’s email

Do you have any other photos to see the floor plan better? Maybe taken from the stairs.

Can you give me the overall dimensions of the room?

What are the top three things you want to address in this room?

Roeshel’s notes… more pics and measurements


The room roughly measures 19-22×15. I will have my husband measure overall dimensions and post an addendum this evening.

Top 3 things we’re looking for:
1 – Neutral/beautiful/comfortable space
2 – The room has three windows (one is to an enclosed porch area) but it tends to be dark so lighting is important as well.
3 – Successfully combining my husband’s traditional/formal/old world taste with my modern/cottage preference.

My favorites of your before/afters are Griffith Park and I love the art in Laurel Canyon.

Addendum: I emailed and posted a picture of my “very rough” floor plan drawing. Hope this helps!

Jason on paint and color

Wall color- You are correct in thinking that the red is keeping you from having the warm, bright room you want. Red is a very difficult color to get right and I would venture to say that it rarely works at all unless you are willing to go all the way with a monochromatic room. In your case it just fights with the other tones in the space.

Another mistake people make is picking a bold color and contrasting it against white wood work hoping to highlight the architecture of the room. In your case the contrast is so stark that it just makes the room feel disjointed. You can keep the white wood work just pick a wall color that is in the same family but a few shades darker. This will highlight the moldings and help the room feel lighter (therefore more open.)

My suggestion would be to use one of the two following colors. The first is a warm white with just a touch of yellow. It is good for a room that doesn’t get a lot of natural light. The touch of yellow will give a boost to the sunlight that you do get and help fake it when you aren’t getting any. The second color is a cool gray that will recede in the room and give a good neutral base to highlight the wood work nicely.

One other thing- paint that section of the ceiling under the stairs the same color as the wall so it disappears more.

Inspirations for how to mix traditional with modern

Jason on furniture

I think you are smart to pull the furniture out away from the walls. It helps to clean up the lines of all the doors and windows.

You need a coffee table to anchor the seating group. If you want to keep the space open get a couple of small stool style table that can easily move around and rearrange depending on the need.

If you are going to replace the upholstery I think you should go with a larger sofa (in front of the shelving wall) and two comfortable but smaller scale chairs on either side of the sofa.

See options below.


A few things that would help bring some life to the room

For one thing just that- something living. Find an easy to care for tree or group of plants to replace the fake stuff that is in the room now. In my opinion nothing sucks the air out of a space faster than fake or dried plants.

You may want to consider a brighter more casual rug for the space. Just to help loosen up the formality.

Ditch the small accessories and add a couple of large scale art pieces to the walls to help bring eye up. Right now you don’t have much above eye level that is of any real size so the room feels lower than it actually is.

So Roeshel now it’s up to you. I can see a lot of painting in your future but Jason has created an elegant solution for your living room. Send us photos when the hard work is done!

kim. says:

Jason is bang-on with his suggestions. Especially about paint. And I LOOOOOVE the grey ("Sterling"). I think that would be gorgeous. And I'd totally go for a graphic rug like the first one he chose. I hope to GAWD you send us after photos Roeshel because I cannot wait to see what the space looks like lightened up!

Roeshel says:

Thanks so much Jason for the amazing inspiration & Kim for hosting! We are in LOVE with Jason's design. Jason's suggestions are just our style and by breaking down the individual issues to be addressed, it's a green light to move forward, where as I was overwhelmed by looking at the complete project. Right now it's just a thrown together mess with so many other home improvements going on in our old (new to us) farmhouse.

We're working on some outdoor projects right now but this will be next on my DIY list – in about a month's time. I'll keep you posted!

Thanks again! I'll be crediting and linking to the both of you on my blog too! I'm so grateful that I have a "treasure map" to follow for my DIY project – for the first time! 🙂

Libby says:

Yes please Roeshel we need to see your home when you are finished. I love this style of decorating mixing treasured traditional pieces with a modern cottage twist and Jason has found some lovely accessories. I so need that Henan lamp from Jayson Home and Garden in my living room right now.

A treasure map! What a great way of thinking about it Roeshel. I love how sophisticated yet relaxed Jason's scheme is for you.

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