Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Room Reveal!

If you follow me on Instagram (@shoppingcloset, of course!) then you saw these little "sneak peeks" of the living room. Well, after a ton of elbow grease and me, staring at the room for hours on is finally complete! Do you want to see?

The view from our front door.
As we began rolling the paint out over the weekend I started having a heart attack because it was reminding me of that 80's colonial blue my mom had painted in almost every room of my childhood home. She was a huge fan of 80's country style and as I rolled and rolled I was getting upset as my vision for the room was fading and images of country style ducks waddled through my head!
Once the second coat was on and almost dry, I felt relieved as it bared no homage to decades old decor that we would all be better off just forgetting about. I should know better than to question myself, I always go with my gut and it is always 99% of the time dead on.

Other than paint and painting supplies, the only thing I purchased for this re~do was this side table from Pottery Barn. I knew this vignette needed something round to contradict the square angles and this table was the perfect solution. It was reasonably priced for the quality and finish and I cannot even begin to tell you all how unbelievable Pottery Barn customer service is. I ordered this table Monday morning people. It is Wednesday afternoon and I already have it assembled and in place, and I did NOT pay for expedited shipping. Isn't that fantastic? (I wish I could say the same for JCrew and an experience I had with them this week, but that in itself might be another blog post!)

These bookcases were freebies. Now, before you hate me forever, I will tell you how that came to be. In the late 90's they were the "bath and body" fixtures for an apparel company I worked for. We received a memo to throw them out since they were being discontinued. My girlfriend and I took them from the stores we each ran and then called all the other stores in our district and drove in her truck from store to store to rescue the ones headed for the trash. In the end, I only got these two and she obtained three for herself. They were in my husband's office since we moved here 6 years ago and I cannot believe it took me this long to realize they rightfully belong in the formal living room. Ironically, they lived in the formal living room of our previous home!

The left bookcase.
Symmetry and balance are important to me in home decor. I spent an entire day decorating these two. This one is my absolute favorite. Since this is the formal living room, the books turned spine in give a more calming , neutral feel than if you were to see all the different spine colors and type.

I am a book lover (which also deserves it's own post) and I had to make some tough decisions to scale back some of my collection in order to keep the aesthetic I was looking for. I adore the sculptural quality of religious artifacts. I love Thai Cart Wheels (I have 2) and this stone Buddhist head I purchased years ago. It is solid stone and has to weigh over 50 pounds!

The right side bookcase was a challenge. I was so pleased with the results on the left that it was hard to come up with something that would appeal to me on the same level. In the end, I am happy with it. I still love the other one more, but such is life.

As I have mentioned before, my attic is a veritable prop closet and I spent the day going in and out bringing out items I have collected over many, many years. 

What really pleased me with the right bookcase was incorporating some inherited elements into it that had been previously tucked away. This clock was passed down to me from my father's side and I wound it for the first time after placing it here. It works like a charm and chimes the most beautiful sounds on the hour and at every half hour mark.

This Wedgewood vase was tucked away on a shelf in the attic and I was thrilled to have a rightful home for it.  There is just something so elegant and timeless about Wedgewood isn't there? 

When we bought this home, my mother was selling my grandfather's home here in NJ and taking him to live with her in North Carolina. He kept insisting that I take his china cabinet. He gave me the sofa and set of chairs I have in this room, but I already had a cabinet in my dining room for my china and dishes. I adore him so much, that I took it simply because I didn't want to disappoint him and I am so glad I did! Since we moved in, it has functioned as a bar cabinet and stores all my glassware, barware, and table linens! There is even a stereo tucked into the bottom right cabinet so we can listen to some Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra whenever we have guests over for cocktails!

The view from our dining room.
A sisal rug was just what this room needed to take the formality down a notch. It's like one of those tuxedo says, "I'm can be formal, but I still like to party". Or perhaps that just happens to be a line from one of my favorite movies....

After my grandfather had moved away, my husband and I were commissioned to clean out the last bit of stuff in his house. We found this coffee table in the garage attic and my husband refinished it. There is nothing I love more than when my Pops has come here and he sits back on his old sofa and nods with approval at how I have breathed new life into his old things. I wish he were well enough to travel and see this new incarnation, but I know my mom will show him these photos!

See the reflection of my hallway in my gorgeous starburst mirror? Well, with this update I've decided that the hallway color has really got to go....I'm thinking a soft grey with white undertones to go with this new "cool" color palette.

As I mentioned before, all of the elements in this room have been remixed and reused. The drapes were an investment years ago and I knew any new color palette would have to work with them. I feel like this proves two major points:
1. If you collect things you truly love, you will always be able to incorporate them into your home.
2. A little thought and elbow grease can create a whole new look and feel and breathe new life into any room!


  1. ummm, hello house beautiful! what a beautiful wall color. i love everything about this room. love the hand-me downs. i ADORE those bookcases and i seriously need them both. how lucky are you?! gorgeous, gorgeous room!


    ps - i've been to the empire state building and the statue of liberty but i've never been to catalina island just 26 miles off the coast of southern california!

  2. Gorgeous! I love the paint color and the sunburst mirror!!

    From Brooklyn with love,


  3. Wow!! Wow! Wow! You've got a talent for decor. I wish I did. The place looks fabulous.

  4. The room is lovely Eleanor! I love the wall color and all the personal/family pieces. So glad you kept your grandfather's cabinet!


  5. must be very utterly serene!!

  6. That blue-grey is gorgeous, a wonderful backdrop for your book cases (which now look so full of interest) and couches and lamps. What a wonderful change - you are so clever!

  7. It is fantastic Eleanor! I love the paint colour!! I will be hot footing to my local hardware store asap!:)

  8. you have NO idea...NO IDEA how jealous I am!!! I know my house has incredible potential and I also know that I am NOT the woman who can bring that

    NICE WORK!!!!

  9. I love the wall color! Your before color looks almost exactly like what is on our walls currently (boo) and I've been wanting to repaint in grayish tones since we moved here. You may have just inspired me to take the plunge!


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