Design crew

Posted on Sat, 30 Apr 2011 by midcenturyjo

Got a problem? Need some help? Just standing there shaking your head? Don’t know what to do? You’re not alone. Send us a link to photos of your design quandary and let the Desire to Inspire design crew help you …. that’s you lot… the readers! Kristin needs your help this week. She’s a woman with strong ideas on a mission. I know you’ll love giving your 2 cents worth 🙂

I just moved from a small one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan to a 3 bedroom house in Denver.  Luckily, my mom is selling her house and I was also to take some furniture with me.  My design dilemma comes to us in the shape of an awkward living room.  The living room is long and narrow.  The entry from the front door is smack in the middle and located on the walls on either side of the entrance are long radiators (i.e. no furniture along one of the two longest walls in the room.)  The other long wall is closed with the exception of the entryway into the dining room (about 12 ft wide).  The two shorter walls have a fireplace and staircases (one upstairs and one to basement), respectively.  What a challenge! 

I have decided to create two seating areas separated by the entryway.  However, in order to help the room flow, I would like to tie them together (using the existing furniture I have from Manhattan and from my mom – I’m on a budget) by using a navy/lilac color palette.  I have the basics – a neutral/ivory sofa, a navy sofa (a very dark ink color), a brown leather chair, a marble top coffee table with a walnut base and disparate wooden side tables. 

I discovered a local upholsterer who is selling two British cane chairs.  She will reupholster them in any fabric I choose (the frame finish can also be customized).  They will be located next to the navy sofa (the ivory sofa, leather chair and marble top table comprise the other seating area in the room).  As everything in the room is solid, I would like to introduce a lilac print.  I’m looking for a grayish-lilac or khaki-lilac, something neutral to play against the navy.

To tie it all together, I eventually want to buy two matching area rugs and to use throw pillows, throw blankets, curtains etc to help spread the color palette throughout the room.  Does anyone have any navy/lilac inspiration for me?  Also, can anyone recommend an affordable lilac fabric for the chairs?  I’ve been told that lilac is not a popular color by every single fabric store in Denver (including the Design Center!)

And here is what she has to work with.






peggy says:


Congratulations on your new home! Must feel strange to decorate such a large space. There are so many questions here, it seems hard to answer them all, I wish I was your neighbor, it would be so fun to decorate together.

First, forget the idea of two seating areas. You are still thinking small. Relish in the idea that you have a large living room. Use it. Go big! For the other area, have a separate small conversation area, maybe two chairs, an ottoman and a credenza, and maybe the pretty art you show. For the living room, spread out. Get a large piece of art and couple of chairs.

Here's a room from Simon Watson that was pictured on this blog:

I think this inspiration is perfect. It's even close to your color scheme, which is gorgeous. Don't listen to the naysayers! Lilac is beautiful! Also consult the designer Jamie Drake's work. He's a master with the color lilac.

Good luck! Remember to have fun and to post after pictures.

oregonbird says:

Peggy, that's spectacular! Her version directly opposite the door? Make it a BIG entry impact, more chic hotel feel.

Mr Rui says: is foreign inspiration. One product alone could work lilac with navy, ready-made, not trendy.

radiators are by the windows where cold comes from, stairs go along one wall, fire place is focal point on one wall, dinning room lost one wall to openness. That's the way it is.

I turn down furniture from my parents all the time. It's awkward every time.

Kristin says:

Wow – this is amazing! Thanks to all for your responses! A few points to clarify:

The settee shown by the stairs has been moved upstairs to a sunroom, so ignore it in the photos. Same goes from the side tables and lamps.

The large white slipcovered sofa shown facing the fireplace…I hate it and am considering replacing with the Azure sofa in Wisteria from C&B. Yes? No?

The artwork – big time sentimental value, but also quite valuable. I love the gold flecks in the paintings themselves, although it doesn't show in the pictures. I promise they aren't too fuddy duddy. Still, I really love the idea of reframing to modernize them.

No room upstairs for the navy sofa. I also just bought it and would love to incorporate it. Would side tables the height of the sofa arms (think Portica from Room and Board) with two big statement table lamps and a large piece of artwork help to make the area look more purposeful? Then I could put the two new upholstered cane chairs on either side and an upholstered ottoman or two smaller coffee tables in front (or even the two cubes shown under the white desk).

Oregonbird – Great call on Calico Corners. I found a beautiful fabric – Brussels in Moonbeam. It sits somewhere between muted gold and silver and would add a beautiful, subtle shine to the room. I like the idea of keeping the chairs neutral and using pillows and art (big statement piece would be amazing) or maybe even paint to carry the lilac.

Peggy – I wish I had a fun neighbor to help me decorate! : ) Interestingly, I invaded Michaels over the weekend and bought a big canvas and paints to try to recreate the Union Jack in lilac, navy, and seafoam laced with gold. (My partner is British, so he'd like a little slice of home!) We'll call it Royal Wedding inspiration! I appreciate the positivity in your post – thank you!

So much to consider and thanks again for all of these great ideas!

Tom says:

Hey Kristen,
Sounds like you pretty much have it figure out now.
The artwork you have will be nice once they get new fames, the gold flecked picture might look fine in the gold frame, hard to tell in such a small pic.
The gold flecked pic will look amazing with the "Union Jack in lilac, navy, and seafoam laced with gold"
Glad to hear the settee etc moved upstairs, I prefer the navy sofa, much cleaner and modern design.
You have amazing bones to work with and a bunch of people to throw crazy ideas out for you to pick and choose from.
I think it's going to look great!
Don't rush it's better to take your time and find stuff gradually.

Tom says:

Oops typo… I meant Kristin

oregonbird says:

Personally, I like the Union Jack that comes with the legend, "Lie back and think of England".

Florence Carole says:

I have to agree with Paul that painting the wall can bring out the beauty of that fireplace. You can also discard the living room navy sofa and buy another one, depending on the color of your wall.

MR. RUI says:

I bring keeping room for the place is large

although the plan hides the kitchen's location and guessing is not a plan, there could be a room just off the kitchen for the family to feel cozy, without replacing the dining room or the living room, with names like keeping room, family room, heart room, coming back from colonial large houses, using the furniture as is or becomes

I searched keeping room since the blog posts reminded me of this design crew post in particular

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