A vision for our refined home

6 February 2018

Happy Tuesday, friends! I apologize that we don’t have a new How We Do It installment for y’all today – Nancy is majorly under the weather, and since this week’s topic is one we feel so passionately about, we figured it was better to postpone than push posts out that weren’t up to snuff! The whole series is shifting back one week, so keep an eye out for our thoughts on organizing our work next Tuesday.

In the meantime, I have something fun for you. I was reading through some of my own 2017 survey responses recently as I helped my friend Rhi put her blog survey together, and it was so helpful to remind myself of the types of content y’all said you loved most!

One of those topics was home design. It’s not something I get to talk about terribly often as, though we have grand plans, we generally move at a snail’s pace :) But, I’ve been thinking through some fairly major changes I’d like to make to our living room over the next year or so, and I thought it would be fun to share them here!

I can sum up the changes in this way: I’d love for our home to feel like the cozy, warm, refined, and calm home of your most stylish and Southern childhood friend’s Mom. Got that? :) More Southern Living than Domino, but so warm and approachable — somewhere you instantly feel relaxed, and where you just want to spend a few hours nestled in and curled up, chatting.

So what’s my plan? The first change is that I’d like to evolve our color scheme to be a bit softer and more neutral. I’ve felt recently like it’s challenging to decorate seasonally or for holidays (something I love to do!) because adding any extra colors or layers on top of our already vibrant “look” takes things to a visually chaotic and cluttered level.

To this end, I’d first like to remove the red, orange, and coral tones to shrink our color palette a bit. That leaves us with blues, blushes, and neutrals, plus touches of green, yellows, and maybe deeper pinks here and there. Though I’m thinking of this scheme as a bit more refined, I still want it to come across as happy – that’s one of my favorite things about our home!

Removing some of the hotter tones means the red chairs, the area rug, our throw pillows, and even our floral artwork will likely be phased out. A few of these pieces I plan to sell to recoup some of the money we’ll spend on new furnishings; others I’ll repurpose elsewhere in the house. (I already have a spot picked out in our upstairs hallway for the flowers!)

The rug I’d love to replace with one in a similar pattern but a narrower palette – I’ve included a few options in the boards here! Also, if it’s not obvious from the boards, one of the things I’m most hoping to add is a pair of comfy armchairs (at least one with an ottoman!). To me, these epitomize the change: nothing says cozy to me like the comfiest, oversized armchair! I can just picture them paired with a reading lamp and lots of blankets to wrap up in :)

The last big furniture change is that I’d love to switch out the small dresser our TV sits on for a longer piece with doors instead of drawers so it’s easier to store June’s toys and for her to put them away herself. With the additional surface area on top, I’d love to display more family photos in frames. Also considering switching out our chest coffee table for something softer and lighter.

Whew! That’s a lot! Like I said, we’ll make these changes over the next year (if we’re lucky!!), but I like to have a vision for the end goal before we begin. I feel like I’m getting closer to that.

Honestly, though, the thought of making SO many large purchases so close together (and ones that we’ll hope to have for a long time, like the armchairs), makes me really nervous. Because of that, I’m considering hiring a local or e-designer in some capacity to help with the sourcing and confirm that my overall vision makes sense. Of course, working with a designer is an additional expense, but I feel like it might be worth it to put my mind at ease and feel like we’re stretching our money as far as we can.

Have one of y’all ever done something similar? I would love to hear, if so!! There are a few larger companies I know of, like Havenly and Homepolish, and then a few independent designers that I’d be interested in getting pricing from to compare. We shall see!

Sources from first board: vignette from Ashley Whittaker Design, armchair from Interior Define, bedroom unknown, pillow, basket, rug, stairwell, bedroom, ottoman, fireplace unknown, ottoman, living room unknown, bedroom

Sources from second board: armchairs, gray armchairs, blankets, living room, rug, window seat unknown, hutch, rug

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February 6, 2018 7:50 am

Oh I would love to know more about hiring an e-designer! I love your inspiration pictures.

February 6, 2018 8:01 am

You know I LOVE this refreshed color scheme! I have to say, a tufted ottoman has been a huge improvement in our living room. It’s so nice not having to worry about Charlie bonking his head, and I definitely think it contributes to the cozy feel of the room!

February 6, 2018 10:52 pm
Reply to  Lisa

I knew you would :) And yes, completely agreed on the ottoman!

February 6, 2018 8:47 am

I cannot wait to see these changes, Em! You know I’m such an advocate for balancing a beautiful home with function and this looks like a fresh new way to do it in the Thomas home!

February 6, 2018 9:18 am

Kate at The Small Things Blog used Modsy to help her decorate her office and family-type room. I would suggest looking into that!

February 6, 2018 9:30 am
Reply to  Allison

I second using Modsy!

February 6, 2018 10:52 pm
Reply to  Sara

I’ve never heard of Modsy, but it looks intriguing!

Rachel C
February 6, 2018 9:25 am

I love your overall goal and think you have some great inspiration to get there. But I’m wondering if you can speak to my biggest home decorating challenge – having cats. Our 2 cats have destroyed our current sofa and I’m hesitant to replace it fearing it will meet the same fate. Do you have a magic cat who leaves your furniture alone?

February 6, 2018 10:55 pm
Reply to  Rachel C

Haha!! Thankfully our cat does not scratch the furniture much at all (he prefers the rug when he is feeling bad), but I think one thing that has helped is having a velvet sofa! I’ve read (and can concur) that there’s something about the texture that is just not appealing to cats in general. So, that might be an option? Aside from that, though, I kind of expect to have cats my whole life, so I’m resigned to the fact that whatever furniture we get at whatever point might get some claw marks in it!

February 6, 2018 9:33 am

After completing a big house reno last year I’ve slowly been picking pieces to pull together the look I envision. I find artwork and rugs the hardest! I recently purchased a beautiful Crate & Barrel media console with doors for storage, after watching it for a couple years and finding nothing else that compares and it’s GREAT! Well worth the investment!

One thought–I have a few fantastic pieces from Pottery Barn and West Elm outlets. Do you have any nearby? Ours are 4-5 hours away but we did a side trip when somewhat nearby and I got a $1300 rug for $300(!!!) and two of our lovely armchairs were a fraction of the cost purchased there! You’re at the mercy of what they have at that time so you might call and ask when they get the biggest deliveries. And/or call your local (non outlet) store and ask when their floor models will go on sale. Feb/Mar can be a big change over! You can also be put on a call list for specific items or general FYI that their floor models are for sale!

February 6, 2018 10:58 pm
Reply to  emma

Such great tips, Emma! Thank you!! I know there is a Ballard Outlet in Atlanta that I’ve been to and loved! Would love to find a Pottery Barn one, even if it’s a drive away!

February 7, 2018 11:30 pm
Reply to  Em

There’s a Pottery Barn Outlet in Gaffney, SC (at least there used to be). There’s also a Restoration Hardware Outlet in Asheville. Also, look into Transit Damaged Freight stores for great deals on furniture. There are several in between Thomasville and Charlotte. I’ve bought two couch and chair sets from them and was extremely happy. The damaged part is usually minor and often in parts you can’t see (like a small tear in the fabric under the cushion), but the prices are amazing! Can’t wait to see how things come together.

February 6, 2018 10:02 am

I love your color palette! I love Jenny’s design esthetic from Everyday Occasions, and she got me reading Nine and Sixteen, Tessa Foley’s blog. If you work with her I’d be super interested in hearing about the process!

February 6, 2018 10:14 am
Reply to  Kelly

Tessa is one of the designers I’m interested in contacting!! Mostly because I think her personal aesthetic is a great fit for what we’re going for!

Megan Harrington
February 6, 2018 1:49 pm

You know I’m here to help as well as I’ve been rolling out my e-design process :) I LOVE this post!

February 6, 2018 9:53 pm

We recently attempted to use Havenly to decorate our living room. Unfortunately, despite identifying that we have a toddler and that the pieces needed to be toddler friendly, our design included very toddler unfriendly pieces (think open tiered shelving, very breakable pieces). In short, be very careful in selecting an e-designer to ensure that not only do they match your aesthetic, but that they understand and incorporate your lifestyle too! I’d also echo the outlet comment above, as well as looking into local fabric stores to redo the fabric on current pieces. We found that this was much more cost effective (and personal) than selling and buying new.

February 6, 2018 10:56 pm
Reply to  Danielle

Such great tips, Danielle! Thanks for sharing your experience!!

February 8, 2018 10:27 am

These inspiration boards are lovely! Can’t wait to see what pieces you end up with. <3

February 8, 2018 3:02 pm

Hi! I am somewhat new around here, though I’ve followed you on instagram for a while! I couldn’t help but reach out to you and offer my services. I’m an interior decorator and I offer e-design! I love working with families because I help to give them a plan within their budget and give them confidence that they are making the RIGHT purchases for their specific home, family and lifestyle that they can enjoy for the next 15-20 years. I know that I end up saving my clients money in the long run. Having a design plan prevents you from impulse buying (at Target, am I right?!) only to get home and realize it doesn’t quite work. I have a 6mo. old daughter and a dog and cat so I completely understand what it’s like to need something that is kid/pet friendly! I’d love to help if you are interested!

Tom S
February 9, 2018 7:22 pm

Had lunch with Granny Nanny today. Sounds like things are going well!

February 19, 2018 2:26 pm

Have you tried any brick and mortar places? I’ve found some good deals lately at local furniture shops, as they’re trying to compete with online shops. Have you ever been to Greenfront in Raleigh? I’ve had luck there over the years. Also have you ever been to market in High Point? You could totally get a press pass for the April show. It might be a great way to connect with sources/get a deal! Also it’s just one of those bucket list experiences! If this comment seems overly enthusiastic it’s because I’m in the process of redecorating my home. I’ve become a little obsessed. Ha.