|My living room.|
I knew I wanted mint-colored walls, but I didn’t want my living room to look childlike or cartoonish. After buying far too many paint samples, I settled on Breezeway, a Behr color that has all the coolness of mint, without any of the confectionary undertones.
My first big purchase was the chairs. I’d seen spool chairs in magazines, and fell in love with the intricate shape of the legs. I’m notorious for buying uncomfortable furniture, and didn’t want to make that mistake again. So I splurged on the deep-seated Behnaz Chair from Thomasville. Able to choose a custom fabric and wood finish, I selected a sumptuous velvet—a welcome dose of warmth in a cool room—in almost the exact same color as my walls.
Next, I began the hunt for a rug. A classic Oriental rug would be the obvious choice for an older home, but I wanted something a little more modern. Thus the zebra print. It was meant to be: The rug was sold out everywhere online, but I found the same rug, brand new, on my local Craigslist.
Although the rug is advertised as having gray stripes, they’re actually closer to beige. At first, I was concerned—I tend to go matchy-matchy, making sure every pop of color is exactly the same shade. I decided to override this impulse, selecting the slate-gray curtains (made to look like dupioni silk) I’d originally had in mind. To keep this from looking like a mistake, I chose a blue-gray tufted velvet sofa—the color picks up the mint in the chairs and the gray in the curtains, while the velvet material mirrors the fabric of the chairs.
I bought a bolt of geometric Schumacher fabric on Ebay, and made the throw pillows for the chairs. The fringed gray pillows on the sofa came from Pier One, while the geometric-print pillows are Vera Wang (a Marshall’s find!).
I already owned the final two big pieces: a 1940s cabinet as my TV stand (a Craigslist purchase from college), and an off-white tufted ottoman I’d purchased at Marshall’s for our previous home. I added the glass and silver side table for a touch of modernity, then flanked the sofa with two tables in a dark-wood finish similar to the chairs. The white ceramic lamps—a thrift-store find—mimic the curves of the tables, while also bringing a sculptural element to the space.
For the longest time, the wall above the couch remained blank—I was uninspired, and didn’t want to purchase one of those generic “paintings” from HomeGoods. I wanted something with significance that also made a statement. When I found a booth selling vintage postcards at an area antique store, I knew I’d found my answer—I dug through box after box of postcards, searching for twelve that featured places significant to our life (e.g. Lehigh University, where Frank got his M.B.A.; the park in Allentown where I took wedding photos; a bridge from my hometown).
One problem: Postcards are tiny, and my wall is huge. I like the simplicity of small pictures with large matting, so I bought square silver frames from Ikea—another modern element—and matted the postcards two to a frame. The entire installation cost me under $100.
The final result was exactly what I wanted: a restful space where Asa can play, Frank and I can relax and enjoy a movie, or my friends can gather for a Bible study. That is, a space both beautiful and functional.