Friday, March 14, 2014

Farm House Friday: Living Room Design

Here it is the part I've been looking forward to the most...the Interior Design step of building our farm house.  I've gone room by room and started planning details for each.  The living room has become the most thought out thus far so I wanted to share my design and inspiration for this space.

We have a very open floor plan, the entrance, living room, kitchen and dining all flow right into one another.  An open floor plan is great for entertaining and living, especially with little kids you can always keep an eye on them, however when it comes to design it has a few more challenges.  The biggest one is defining space without walls!  Walls are good, but they close a space off, ceiling treatments are another way of defining space and keeping your design open.  For example, in the kitchen the future plan is to hang reclaimed wooden beams on the ceiling, thus defining the space and setting it apart from the other spaces.

Big Open Space
Another challenge is where to stop paint colors or how to make the design flow so that each room is defined for its specific function, but doesn't compete with the designs of the other areas.  The key characteristics to a cohesive design are flooring, design style and color.  Let's begin with flooring.


I like to start with the big choices first, or the materials that are going to cover more square footage.  For example, flooring.  The choice for us on flooring was quite simple, we wanted to maintain all hard surface floor coverings.  Like tile, wood, cork, or bamboo.  Other options might be linoleum, vinyl and even stained concrete.  Hard surface flooring reduces allergens and is great for high traffic areas, which are two reasons we chose to stick with hardwood and tile.  (I just hate the fact that you can't see what's been ground into carpet.  The unknown germs give me the hibbe jibees!)

Hardwood will cover most of the main floor, excluding the kitchen, mud room and front entrance, as well as the two bathrooms.  Now we haven't decided on pre-finished or site finished, but we have narrowed it down to two different wood species, acacia and hickory.  Both species lend a rustic vibe to our design and I believe we can't go wrong with either option.  Which, leads me to our next cohesive element, design style.

Left: Acacia  Right: Hickory

Design Style

Defining your style might be difficult and could stop your design before you even start.  It's important not to get hung up on this. Yes, it does create cohesiveness, but typically if you buy what you like and keep to a color palette you will start to see your design style develop with little effort.  DON'T OVER THINK IT!

To ease your mind, I had trouble defining my design style.  I liked so many different things and my husband seemed to like the opposite.  The husband likes rustic stuff, raw wood and log homes. While I like modern, elegant, retro and luxurious, mainly mid-century modern furniture, crystal chandeliers, elegant upholstery fabric and retro inspired wallpaper.  Initially, I was hung up on how I would combine the two that it kept me from doing anything.  (Even Designers have trouble, but it's always easier designing for other people.) Until I realized, just buy what you like and buy what he likes.

On my shopping trips I have in mind or on a list what we are looking for.  If I see something in his style and it's on the list, and it's a good price, I get it.  Then the next item I buy is my style preference. I just keep alternating keeping a mental note.  I also like to keep pictures with me of what I have bought, this helps keep it organized.

By combining elements from each style that you both really like you will create a space that fits you perfectly and speaks to your design style.  Don't be afraid, just choose what you like and it will all come together.  So, I have combined everything we love and developed our own design style:  Modern, Retro, Luxury with a Rustic Twist!   

Color Palette
A color palette is a good way to make your design cohesive.   You can achieve color flow easily by using lighter and darker shades of the same color throughout your home.  In addition, choose three or four of your favorite colors and alternate their application in different rooms.  For example, perhaps the main wall color in one room becomes the ceiling color in another.  I have chosen a color palette of four of my favorite colors: gray, turquoise, yellow and ivory or cream, some may call in beige, they are all neutrals!

The first color choice was gray!  I picked gray, because  it's a neutral that goes with a lot and I fell in love with this sectional sofa from I.O. Metro.  The upholstery is microfiber, but looks and feels like velvet.  (Know where I'm going with this?  That's right, the look of luxury for less and its kid friendly!)

Second, I chose ivory for the walls.  I chose Benjamin Moores, distant gray.  (For now that is the color, always sample paint before buying and painting the final color.)   Neutral walls will not compete with the furniture and cabinetry.  In addition, I will be applying wallpaper to some areas in the house and ivory will be a good background color.  Notice the ivory color I have chosen is a cool ivory with blue and black undertones instead of yellow and pink undertones.  Choosing hues with similar undertones create continuity.  If you love blues with black undertones, look for other colors with black undertones. 
Benjamin Moore Distant Gray

Benjamin Moore Classic Gray

The third color I chose was an accent color, actually two accent colors, yellow and turquoise.  Bold!  I know:)  However, keep in mind that all color does not have to be fully saturated, actually a room looks best with different hues, tints, and shades of color.  These two colors will be used more sparingly through accessories, wall paper, and upholstery.   

Luxury and Elegance
Upholstery Fabrics

A Touch of Modern and Retro

So we've covered rustic with flooring and we've covered luxury and elegance with the upholstery. Now to touch on modern and retro.  Modern will be integrated with smaller furniture pieces like the side table and the media console.  

Now for the retro...I took inspiration from an old quilt my mom had.  She has no idea where it came from and I remember growing up thinking this thing is hideous, but now I see the beauty!  It's made from 4 x 4 inch squares of recycled clothing, probably from the 70's and probably a lot of polyester, but the colors are great and the pattern and textures, chevron, houndstooth, tweed, polka dot and plaid to name a few, add interest.  {The picture doesn't do it justice, but I snapped it last night with my phone in really bad light, but it will due for now:)}  

From the quilt I pulled the yellow and turquoise I was talking about and went with different hues and shades for accessories.   For example, turquoise is part of the blue or the green family, so is navy blue. Thus Navy blue is represented in some accent pillows.  In addition, yellow, like the turquoise, has different shades and hues, but each color can also be metallic, in this case yellow to gold.  Gold is also luxurious.  The third pillow combines both the turquoise and gold and adds some pattern.  The zebras, well I just had to have an "animal print"!  

Some More Rustic

We have the floors that give a rustic vibe, but I wanted to add more and I came across some great inspiration for cladding our fireplace.  I want to use recycled barn wood, hopefully the wood we were able to salvage from my husband's, family's farm, to face the fireplace, much like this picture below.  I will also incorporate some wood beams.  Not only is the design rustic, but it also has modern flare demonstrated by the straight lines.    

Last But Not Least

And probably the most important for most families...the storage!  Even though we are building a new home with closets and lots of space we still need storage for everyday activities.  Displaying accessories, storing books, magazines and toys, hiding the remote, hiding the DVD's all of these things need to be taken into consideration and make a room function yet still be inviting.  Because honestly who wants to look at all that all the time?  Not me!  I designed a full wall of built-ins for our living room.  Storage for toys, movies, blankets, decorations, dog stuff, you name it it stores it!  There is also a lot of display space.  

My Design!

My Inspiration!

Full Design Plan

Floor Plan

Furniture and Accessories

There you have it...the living room in theory!  Now naturally things may change between now and the finished product. What do think?  What is your design style?  Do you know how to define it?

Happy Friday!

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  1. What a cool blog you have here!
    I love anything to do with fixin' up an older place..did a little of that myself!
    Glad to meet..from the bloggy hop.
    Kourtenay from
    Just HAD to enter your giveaway!

  2. Kourtenay thanks for visiting and entering our giveaway! Happy trails! Alissa