The Treehouse: Living Room Plans & Ideas

INSPIRATION: (Above Chaffee Braithwaite's living room AGAIN ;) I'm using it as inspiration... I'll be going with a bit more warmth & a little washed/ muted pattern. My goal is for the room to feel light airy, natural, raw, fresh with a classic modern feel and a hint of old-fashioned pretty. I want a fairly neutral backdrop for ever-changing accessories & shots of color. (In the image above, I love the jolts of green from the wheatgrass and views for Springtime!)

Below, here's what our living room looks like now: (Since the living space is on the second floor, you're way high up in the trees, hence the name "treehouse.") For now, I'm keeping it this shade of white & will get the perfect white on the walls once we're more settled. (we've got bigger fish to fry for starters!!)

For now I'm putting the sofa on the right wall facing into the room. Opposite it will be two chairs with a table in between and under the window i'd like to have a couple of chairs or possibly a settee. (My computer & scanner are still down so I'm not able to get you the floorplan) We're hanging drapes from the ceiling on simple iron rods. I'm going with simple white linen for an airy feel & a fresh, clean backdrop for changing up accessories, slicovers, pillows, etc: For the sofa, I knew exactly what I wanted: English arms with turned legs on casters. (Because- #1- I like to rearrange often & usually do it by myself while my husband's gone & the sofa is always the toughest thing to move, so casters = problem solved!! #2- I want the space to feel large, open & airy, and of course legs will help with this, and #3- I love the classic with a hint of old-fashioned lines of this sofa. It'll work perfectly with both traditional & modern pieces. So, below is what I was looking for ( I was hoping for 1 or 2 cusions instead of 3)

And the sofa below is the one we just bought on Craiglist!!! (Since we're on a budget & the similar sofas I was finding were all around the $2500- $3000 range, I decided the search on craiglist. After searching through listing after listing & saving a few possible options that were close to my dream sofa, I came across this one!!)
I couldn't believe my (exhausted) eyes!! it was exactly what I wanted!! It's a Lee Industries sofa that retails for around $3000! We picked the sofa up in our new (to us) pick-up truck (it's actually old- 250,000 miles) in Capitol Hill and the family couldn't have been nicer!! The owner of the sofa worked for the Kellog Collection for many years & was so sweet & her son arranged the whole deal & helped my husband load the sofa. (I'm sure I sounded like my usual nutcase-self, because I just couldn't stop telling them how excited I was to have "THE" sofa I was looking for!! haha) So, we're reupholstering it in this cotton velvet below:
As I mentioned in my previous post, this image doesn't do the fabric justice. It changes witht he angle and it looks creamy, golden or whitey-beige. It should look something like this chair (from Oly Studio) below when reupholstered:
I'm planning on pulling in some grays & whites in the pillows for "base" time (when the room's not decorated seasonally with other colors) with lots of different textures including this super-nubby linen (below) *** You can find a very similar fabric to this one at Calico Corners called "Slubby linen" ***
Now, here's where things become less settled-upon. I'm using the fabric below on the reverse to give the piece a more time-worn, muted look. (Darryl Carter's trick!!)
Now I'd like whichever piece the fabric goes on to be situated under the windows & facing into the room. So, this could possibly be couple of chairs or a settee (I was condsidering a gilding settee with a shirt, how fun would that be?! I don't love the shape of this one but did come across a pretty one & have now forgotten the source!)
The only thing is, I just came accross this driftwood chair from Oly Studios & I'm sort of in love... I really like balance & don't feel that a piece like this should have a matching partner & don't so much have a spot for a lone chair... (I might be able to squeeze it on somewhere though)
Now, across from the sofa will be two chairs with my fun metal vintage table in between:
I'm having so many different thoughts on the chairs. (In reality, I'll most likely thrift store/ flea market or craiglist them but here are some of my loves now. Also, any of the chairs pictured could possibly under the window as a pair or combined with the reversed toile or driftwood chair)

A pair of (washable!!) slipcovered wing chairs like the chair below would work really nicely because the shirts to the floor would stop the eye and that's sort of what I want because the dining area/ work area is on the other end & I like the separation. This is pretty budget-friendly because old wingchairs are really easy to find via thrift stores & craiglist and they could be easilty reupholstered!
I also can't help loving this modern wingchair from Oly Studio (below). It comes in other leathers but I really love this one... A pair of these with the silver table between would be amazing... I love the modern jolt in the room (I'd like to have at least 1 in each room becasue the house is so contemporary).. These could go across from the sofa or under the window. (Oh, and quick reality check here--- these would not be arriving for a VERY long time because of the unfortunate existence of a low budget.)
And here are some other chairs I like:
I like the thought of this one (below, Martha Stewart) upholsered in the toile... The only problem is the legs are a bit red for me & don't come in other colors... I'd hate to buy a new chair that I'd need to change...We love to entertain & of course kick up our feet so I love the idea of one of these 2 leather 0upholstered benches from Oly Studio:
I picture them moving around wherever needed & think they would look really pretty accross from the windows when you first walk in, so as to clsoe off the conversation area but not block the view. Here's the other:
I also have a cool camel saddle that looks similar to this one (image from here) but isn't in cow hide. (It's in a terrible brown vinyl right now & I'd reupholster it in a prettier one.)

I actually would love a cowhide rug... Here's the view of the dining area/ work area... Since we'll have an eat-in kitchen & island with stools I don't envision nightly meals in the dining area. We'll primarily use it for projects, reading, and entertaining. It'll be nice not to have to put projects away every night!

I love the idea of a trestle table piled high with books & 2 comfy chairs on one side and a bench on the other ... I'm having so many thoughts about tables, but it will have to be something rectangular & fairly narrow... (However, my square folding table will have to do for a while!)

But I love some of these options, like this zinc sawhorse table from Bobo Intriguing Objects: (I wonder if we could try to make something like this??--- I did look up some zinc countertop places & they seemed INSANELY expensive... does anyone have a cheap source for zinc sheets?)

I'd also love a trestle table similar to the one in Kirsten Hollister's (of Boho Belgian) dining room: (And look, she has the bench I want too!!! - I know Ikea used to make a bench like this, does anyone know if they still do? -- I couldn't find it online.)

I picture the table with wingchairs & I could possibly go with the white slipcovered ones if I don't go with them in the Living room: (Again, they'd be nice on casters so I could always have options)The wingchair below is one of my favorite wingchairs, by Martha Stewart. It's got nailhead detailing & is of a really manageable size for smaller spaces. (Some are so huge!!) Now, for the chandelier... Here are some I love from Bobo Intriguing Objects: The wine barrel chandelier:

And also the "planet" wine barrel: (I think this would be kind of cool with all the books!)

And this one I'm CRAZY over, but it's way too big for my house!!! (Over 4 feet high!! JEESH) The drfitwood chandelier: (I really wanted it in my entryway & it would still be too big!! arg)

And here's a chandelier I really love that's so much more in my price range. I saw it at On a Whim & need to go and see if they have anything like it or if it could still be there: (Please don't go buy this!!! heehee ;) Part of me thinks I need to stay natural & rough & quirly like the others but it's just so hard to resist this pretty vintage crystal!!!

And for the back wall behind the table, I want some type of storage. It's really important to me that I have surfaces that I can change up accessories on & also some hidden storage for my son's toys. (I like to keep toys in all the living areas as long as they can be hidden away so that every room's kid-friendly.) I'd use big baskets for toys on the bottom shelves & put pretty things & books on the upper shelves of this pharmacy rack from Bobo Intriguing Objects:

(It's highly unlikely we'll buy that exact piece but we'll be looking for similar items.) I'd also like some type of dresser or cabinet in the living room for more toy storage.

Well, we move tomorrow & over the weekend & I am having a bit of blogging withdrawal from not having my computer!! Also, I just did another post right before this one as a follow up on my kitchen decisions(2 posts in 1 day, I know! haha) so check it out below.

miss you guys,


The Treehouse: Kitchen Decisions

First, I just want to thank everyone so much for your feedback & ideas!!

I'm still undecided about the wallpaper as I got about the same amount of votes for "pineapples" and "sunflowers" from you all in comments or emails.

I'm still waiting to receive the actual samples, so I'm hoping once I see them both, I'll know which one to choose.

Also, I do design boards for all my rooms, I just don't have any way to post them as I'm SO computer unsavvy ;) ;) and actually don't even have one right now to scan in!! -- so I think of these posts as my boards :) When I'm back on my compuer with my programs, I'll try to load them in!

I think I've also about decided to go with the saarinen-type table, but am leaning towards formica because I don't want any worries with kids (ok, honestly, I can be super-messy too when hungry!!) & found a steal!! I won't be getting the real thing & do really appreciate all the advice about that. I truly wish we could afford the real thing, but as it's just not in the budget. I'll be going for a vintage knock-off so I can have the look & functionality of that super-skinny leg that won't get in the way of chairs and little kicking feet. Maybe one day we'll reaplace with the real thing if we get the urge...

I've also decided we're definitely going with open shelving.

I'm a super-freak & even like the insides of my cabinets to look pretty & organized so I figure, why not show it off? (haha, plus we have no budget for new doors & I can't stand the arched doors with the rest of the house's architecture!!)
I am also now thinking we're going to completely rip off the uppers and do vertical beadboard all the way up to the ceiling with shelves running accross like in the photo below: (Peri Wolfman & Charles Gold's NY loft as seen in the NY Times)

I wish the photo were better but I orginally came accross the image in Atlanta Bartlett's At Home With White on page 90-91 if you have it ;) I'm hoping to attack the kitchen on Friday... I want to be able to put dishes away this weekend so I'll let you know which way I go!!

I haven't decided about countertops... A reader mentioned a black granite & sent me pics which I love... Of course there are so many pros & cons with both marble & soapstone being so soft & porous... I've also gotten great feedback about both... One thing about soapstone that I do like is its price compared to the others... But, I have a long time to make this decision since countertops are definitely not in the immediate future ;)

And my island didn't make it to Virginia this weekend like I'd planned( My husband drove out to Chicago to pick up my dad's old truck & was planning on bringing back some goodies but it poured rain & he couldn't. So, I haev a big ikea worktable that'll stand in until the island arrives.

Anyway, thank you so much for all your input & ideas!! keep it coming!!!



The Treehouse: Kitchen Inspiration

We're moving to our new house in only 6 short days!! I wanted to show you what I'm planning on doing in the kitchen.

(The image above is a chandelier thought for the dining room. ) To give you an idea of what we're dealing with: Our budget is really tight right now & so we're doing things like temporarily painting over linoleum & using what we have until we can afford what we really want. Below are some photos of the kitchen now:

The beautiful flourescent light will be one of the first things to go (I might use this vintage chandlier I found with Eddie in NY-- It'll look much better once I clean it up!! :)
Below is another view of the kitchen into the living room/ dining room:

The cabinets are newly installed, but they aren't right for the house. The crown moulding & arched uppers don't suit the house, which is simple, and very contemporary & natural-feeling.

To give you an idea of my color scheme, I want to show you some of the fabrics we're using in the living room (below), since the kitchen is open to it.

The fabric below is a creamy-warm-beigey velvet with a hint of white sparkle to it. (Depending upon the way the light hits it, it can look cream, golden or white.) This image does simply not do it justice:

The fabric below is a simple, white linen: (haha, can you see it??)
This fabric is a oatmealy-gray super-nubby, burlappy linen:
The fabric below is an overscale linen toile that I'll be using on the reverse: (I tried to play with the image to give you an idea of what it looks like on the reverse) There are hues of all of the other fabrics we're using in this fabric & it was the inspiration fabric I started with.

(I'll be posting my living area plans later & will go into more detail about what each fabric will be used for, but hope you get the idea for now.) I'm going for old-fashioned meets simple-clean. (The image below is my Grandma Maestranzi's old platinum china that I have now & love. --Cannonsburg Wild Clover- I think it really embodies what I'm going for: simple, clean but with some intricate, old-fashioned detail.)

I want to have some beautiful florals & borderline "grandma" fabrics & antiques & accessories mixed in with clean-lined pieces and fresh, crisp natural fabrics. The overall look will be fresh & happy & light & airy.

At first glance the space should feel fairly transitional/ modern & very natural, but upon closer inspection, I hope people (ok, seriously probably only my design-loving friends) will notice that there is a real hommage to tradition & days gone by, but in a fun & playful way. I want to feel comforted & reminded of certain things & people from my childhood, but don't want my home in another era either.

SO- now that you get the feeling/ mood of what I'm going for, here are the details! To start with, we'll be painting the linoleum floors white. There's a breakfast nook in the kitchen: (scary in this pic, yes I know)

I'm ditching the cornice above the window, trimming out the window in simple square boards & lining the walls with paper. I'm leaning towards these finalists & would love your input:

1) Cowtan & Tout's Botanique Spectaculaire (Thank you Dana for finding out the name!!) and I just love the sunflowers- so happy & beautiful!! I also love how wild they are...

2) Studio Printworks' Pinapple paper. Again, I love it & I love how happy it is & pineapples are my favorite fruit & it's a kitchen... Yet I worry is it strange because I live in Virginia to have pineapples on my wall??? **** UPDATE: I FORGOT TO MENTION IN THE ORIGINAL POST: I would be using a smaller-scaled version of this pineapple (called "pineapple petite") but don't have photos of it in use********

so fun though!!
3) The paper below is a custom wallcovering from and I'm IN LOVE. I've emailed them as to price (I'm scurred!!) and haven't heard back yet. I might want it a hint warmer.

4) The image belown is from and its more of a mural. beautiful!!
--- hahaha, ok this is too funny!!! my husband just walked in & surprised me with a bouquet of sunflowers for my birthday!!! I think maybe Botanique Spectaculaire is meant to be!!----------------------- (ok, but I still need your opinions!! ;)

So for the window, we'll probably go with simple white linen roman shades & a window seat & cushion (in a fun white vinyl) underneath:
For the table, I'm seriously considering going for a Saarinen-type table.

It's totally Tom Scheerer's fault (see below.) When I saw this image for the first time in House Beautiful, it was the first time I actually like the tulip table. It was the combination of modern & traditional elements that did me in. Now, I'd also love some input here. I know we won't be buying the real thing. Andy thoughts on the knock-offs? I'm leaning towards a white marble top and would love to find a vintage knock-off, but what do you think?? Is it "go all the way or go home" in this case??

We already have the Swedish chairs below, and I think their simple clean lines will work:

We're ripping the doors off of the upper cabinets (hahaha love how I'm like "ripping"?!! Can you tell I want them OFF?!!) & will keep the shelves in place and paint them gray so it will look something like this: (both kitchens below are Martha Stewart's)

I have lots of white dishes, bowls etc & will stock up the shelves. (There should be room for more though!! ;)

For the cabinet paint, I'll pull a gray out from whichever paper we do settle on. If we go with the sunflowers, I think the Ralph Lauren color (below) looks perfect.

Above, it's Ralph lauren "Mountain Sage" (SF02A)--(and although it looks good on the screen, I think the actual color has more green & so we'll most likely be looking for a color that looks like this color does on the screen)
For the backsplash, I'm leaning towards white hexagonal tiles or some other white tiles. (If I go with the marble topped saarinen table, marble would be pretty, like below)

For an island, I found an antique walnut blanket chest a couple of years ago in Antioch, IL where my dad lives. I planned to use it in his kitchen but he really wasn't into it, so now it's mine! (It has better lines than the one pictured below-- not so much into the country legs at the bottom in the photo-- but is of similar shape & color)

Eventually, I'd like to top it with a thick slab of marble:

For the countertops, we've been going in a few different directions. Originally I was dying for soapstone (below), but now I'm also considering more white marble.

I'm still leaning towards soapstone because I think it would be beautiful with the black in the wallpaper and provide a nice contrast against all the white and I LOVE its look... NEED the laundry sink, below, in my kitchen, whether it be stainless, soapstone or porcelain:

BUT... If I went with soapstone, would I have too much going on with the gray cabinets, walnut island and 2 different counter colors? And would the kitchen be more pulled together if at least one of the 2 moveable pieces- either the table & island- had some connection to the grounded cabinets?? (I'd love to hear thoughts here!) I'll get an idea of the look because we already have black formica. yum yum!

We definitely want to go with stainless steel appliances... you would be surprised though how cheap some standard stainless fridges are now that there are bottom-freezer models!!

There's definitely more to come & I'll post fun details as we make more decisions. If you get the chance, can you let me know your thoughts - and especially on the wallpapers, countertops & saarinen table?? I really do value your opinions- you have no idea how much!! :)
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