Living thirty to forty years in one home has a way of creating many collections of pictures, photos, vases, candles, glass collectibles, knick knacks....you get the idea.
I had the pleasure to meet a terrific couple who needed help with paint colors and reorganizing of some space. They had not painted some rooms in over 20 years. Even the best paint doesn't last that long, so a freshening up was in order!
One perk of being welcomed into complete strangers homes to help them with a very personal space ~their home~ is you learn what has made this house their home. This particular couple is celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary mid June. [Turns out they have the same anniversary as mine :0) ] He turned 83 in May and 'robbed the cradle' for his bride. (A very romantic story of how he asked her out on their first date---which has a picture frame to go with it). They have so many family memories and collectibles with a great story to go with them all, that the husband point blank asked me "What do you do with all of this stuff?"
Some of the items were inherited from parents, grandparents, siblings and aunts. The screen above was handed down to my client. There was more of an obligatory feeling to display it, but they do like the screen. The picture to the right has a set of four expensively framed pictures. They do not relate to the theme on the screen. This is how we resolved the clash.
Some tough love was in order. When all of the items had to come down for fresh paint I advised my clients to leave everything off of the walls for a week. Then bring out the items they truly miss. We concluded during the color consultation that the grouping of four like pictures was staying, so I recommended arranging them above the sofa.
The small pictures close to the book case are hand drawn from a Maine artist. The two chairs in the picture on the right are from Maine. Sailing is very important to this client, so the nautical theme related items could make it back into the room after painting. Many others would not make the cut.
Here is how the room looks with a tweak to the paint color (we picked a color that took the pink undertone out):
When you compare the before and after pictures you can see what a great job my clients did at editing the many items they love. The sail boat that was on the mantel is now to the left of the couch on top of a bookshelf, with a mirror behind it. The combination looks open and great.
The hand drawn pictures from Maine are going to be placed staggered above the couch, replacing the floral pictures. The sail boat to the left of the fireplace will sit atop a tall streamlined book case. The TV will be hung on the wall to the far right of the fireplace, and a second identical book case will flank the fireplace.
The picture above the mantel now stands out without the sailboat model in front of it. I picked a color to match the rustic frame and it now has some weight above the strong brick surround.
Overall this couple had some welcoming colors in their rooms. I matched up the existing off white for the living room and kitchen and a soft garden green in the den to give them a name so the painter could get the standard colors easier.
One of my favorite blues is Benjamin Moore's Gossamer Blue. It is like a robin's egg blue. Soft, grown-up and not gray.
As I mentioned earlier we took the pink undertone out of the family room color, which coincidentally is the same new color as the kitchen cabinets, as the two areas are in one big space.
It is hard to tell by this picture, but the client did a huge editing process for the collectibles in her kitchen. So proud!
Two big changes we made color wise were in the guest bedroom and dining room. Here is the guest bedroom change:
The wall with the hat and pictures is now 'blank' for the eye to have a place to rest. The curtains are now a lace panel borrowed from another room (love Redesign cost saving steps!)
The dining room is a big open space with the living room. You see the area when you enter in from the front door. Two walls were changed to a soft green to define the space and help accent the painting the husband's sister created.
This project had so many decorating elements and problems that I love to solve: color choice, room organization, and being able to give a client a professional unbiased view to editing their personal items. I did have a nice surprise. This client already had the 5th wall (see this link for more) in the den painted the same as the walls. We repeated the process with the soft garden green.
So what do you do with all this stuff?
- Use tough love to edit.
- Make piles for keep, donate, discard (recycle).
- Leave your walls or shelf space blank for a week to figure out what you truly miss.
- Find creative ways to use items in a different room.
- Group like items.
- Don't put something back in a space just because it has always been there.
- Walk room by room with an item to see if it can logically replace something. If not, walk it right back to its storage spot for next time.
Painting a room or redesigning a room is a great opportunity to make the space fresh and new, without necessarily spending any extra money.
I would love to help you if you are stuck with picking paint colors and/or redesigning a space. Contact me for a consultation!