This spring I tackled another course towards my Diploma in Residential Décor at Algonquin College. The course was “Colour in Décor”, and most of our assignments involved mixing paint to create our own paint chips to match the colour scheme from a magazine photo. Harder than it sounds, I tell you! It was frustrating and time consuming, but ultimately I think it taught us a lot about the use of colour in decorating.
Our final project was much more fun: find a real “client” in need of decorating help, and create a mood board for their room. I immediately thought of my friend Christie. With three young children, ages 10, 8 and 5, she had a problem many of us share – a rarely used room that had become a landing place for random piles of “stuff”. Unfortunately, the room in question was her formal living room, which is clearly visible when you enter her open concept home. The dining room half of the space had been re-imagined into a functional and comfortable homework area with a gorgeous custom-made table incorporating built-in storage for books and school supplies. Christie wanted the attached living room to be a place where she and her husband could read and relax while the kids worked or played at the table, but she wasn’t sure where to start.
1. Flatiron Ocean at Tonic Living 2. Butterfly prints at Etsy 3. Varenna Sky at Tonic Living 4. Mellow table lamp at EQ3 5. Frame coffee table at EQ3 6. KVARNVIK storage at IKEA 7. Scroll tile rug at Pottery Barn 8. Gabardine sofa at Urban Barn
The room was pretty much a blank slate. Apart from the homework table, the only piece of furniture Christie wanted to keep was a tall black painted wood cabinet with glass doors. There are two tall, narrow windows and the floor is a medium brown hardwood. The homework table is a similar wood tone. Her existing furniture is somewhat traditional in style – think Pottery Barn – but she has recently been drawn to more modern pieces, so one of the big challenges was mixing the different styles in a coherent way.
I started by looking for fabric with a fun print to help keep the space young and inject the modern vibe Christie was looking for. I suggested using “Varenna Sky” for window panels for maximum impact and interest. The fabric’s white background is crisp and fresh and the large-scale pattern in sky blue, lime green, and charcoal grey gives a playful feel to the room while providing a calm colour palette.
The grey and white scroll pattern rug gives the eye a rest from the warm wood tones in the room and defines the seating area. The black coffee table coordinates with the black cabinet and has an industrial feel, with casters to make it easy to move around and an easily wipeable finish that’s uber practical when you have kids.
The sofa has the modern lines Christie admires and will be upholstered in a dark grey textured fabric that will serve as a neutral backdrop, allowing accessories to be changed easily in the future. I chose the turquoise and off-white chevron fabric to re-cover the chairs at the homework table, adding a fun element to offset their more traditional style.
Christie loved the direction of the mood board I created for her and has started to purchase the big-ticket items. She has the rug and is waiting for her new sofa, which she ordered in a custom fabric, and accent tables. Once it’s all in place, I’ve promised to go on an accessory shopping trip with her to pull everything together. I can’t wait!