Wednesday, February 25, 2015


I was saving this project for a special day, and it turns out that this ordinary Wednesday, is that day. I actually finished this project almost a year ago, but it remains one of my favorites to date.

PROJECT NEEDS: My clients are one of those beautiful couples with even prettier children who needed a home that matched their great taste and good genes. They had a good budget, but didn't want to tear down any walls but rather work with the space that they had. In the kitchen they simply wanted a face-lift, not new cabinets and appliances, etc. So we were going to do a cosmetic overhaul on this family room, dining room and kitchen area. Today I'm going to focus on their family room.

The bones of the room were good: the floors were nice original wood floors and the fireplace mantle was pretty and original. But the room was missing the finishing touches that makes a room feel sophisticated and interesting (without furnishings). What they needed was finishing work:
  • Crown Moulding
  • Casing the Windows
  • Wainscot

And let's talk about the furnishings. They had inherited this furniture and while it was comfortable, the sofas were way too big for the space. The earthy tones didn't fit their design aesthetic anymore. This beautiful couple also happens to travel to New York and London often on business and wanted furnishings that you would find in the chic spaces of these cities. We wanted to go from earthy to glamorous and traditional. 
  • family friendly sophisticated seating
  • art on walls (they had great art they had accumulated over the years)
  • new fireplace tile to match the new furnishings

And this is what we created.
(all photos by the talented Sara Bateman)


  • The English Roll Arm sofa is made of a beautiful extra-durable fabric that cleans beautifully but looks high-end and comes in the best colors. (sofa available through White + Gold
  • The Chaise/Bench sofa was a custom design to allow the light from the front window to come through without a back of a sofa blocking it. It is also extremely comfortable to lay on while watching TV or reading, which is what they wanted for the kids. 
  • The blue Madeline Weinrib rug added the color we wanted for the room. My client was in New York and spotted this rug I had shown her, in person, and fell in love. It's the hero of the room for sure. 
  • The slipper chair is upholstered in a bright graphic pattern that they wanted to be the hint of glam and trend in our traditional room. It's also as comfortable as it is pretty. (slipper chair available through White + Gold)
  • The marble coffee table is from Wisteria and it's a total love for me. A great piece for any room.
  • The mirrored sconces added style to the fireplace mantle and made the TV not feel too techy and more artsy. (sconces available through White + Gold)
  • The fireplace tile is my so great! I love how it's reminiscent of a honeycomb since Utah is the "beehive state" and the marble surround and threshold is so pretty. 
  • The velvet blue piano bench was a lucky find and fit perfectly! A great way to glam up your piano. 

Can you believe the transformation?! It was such a satisfying project and so much fun. Tomorrow I will post the dining/kitchen. You have to see it! Such a great relatively inexpensive update that made the biggest difference.


  1. So pretty! Did you have the walls smoothed out before you had the trim put up or were they already smooth? The trim makes the room look so expensive!

    1. We didn't smooth the walls first - they were already smoothed when the previous homeowner remodeled the home.

    2. And I'm so glad you like the way they turned out! If you follow me you know I'm a little bit of a wainscot lover :)

  2. Gorgeous! So many lovely, elegant details. Beautiful work!!

  3. Marianne, I had a question about the wainscot that you may have answered above. So the trim is placed directly onto the walls? There isn't a panel of wood underneath? I love your abundant use of wainscot, I think it totally makes the rooms you design. This makeover is stunning, can't wait to see the rest. x

    1. Yes, it's the less expensive way of doing it, but it really looks nice. They apply the trim to the painted and smoothed drywall instead of laying wood.

  4. Such a stunning transformation. Do you mind sharing information about the window treatments? So simple but elegant. I can't tell if they're a woven bamboo or fabric.

  5. what an amazing transformation...crazy what a little molding can do! i just love the fresh color palette and the great patterns!

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