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Decorating & Furniture/A work in progress halted


About a year ago I noticed the lovely neutral schemes.  I had a typical 3 pce club lounge in French Blues & soft buttery yellows.  I love colours that reflect light and I'm not drawn to colours that absorb light. I began to decorate in a more neutral setting.  
My home is a large split level x 5 all open and divided as it ascends by only half walls.  The flooring is a brown mix slate & lounge is sunken to the right of the dining.  The windows looks out over a majestic valley floor view; it large and airy due to grey/beige walls.  Vertical blinds  lightest beige. The carpet is a soft brown with purple undertones, more a light raisin.  
The window seat is 4ft by 6 ft and extends out vertically along the roof line.  I collected old vases in varying shapes and sizes and textures, candlesticks, lanterns, 2 antique velvet boxes in all the lovely beiges with a touch of antique brown and henna red just dappled in. I did that well I felt! So, moving along I purchased a 4 seater nearly 4 mtrs long with the idea of decorator chairs to suit.  It is low back and feather cushions, inner sprung rubber seat cushions and so comfy. When I went to buy arm chairs (to escape the traditional look I realised this was expensive  as decorator chairs are worth tonnes, so it seems.  This slowed me down somewhat due to my budget.  I eventually found a 3 piece lounge that I liked and bought it for $107 on ebay, near new, hardly touched, just to have the arm chairs.  It had the low back style and wide seats BUT is in a traditional rose tapestry with muted greens, burlap colours and deep plums and dusty, musty roses.  
When my partner delivered it he loved it and said, hey you got a real prize with this one. Keep it as is.  Sisters came over and drooled, all voted I leave it as is. Ugh!!   I find that my living area is now divided by halves, half is modern, clean and stream-lined (love it!!), with beiges and cream tones and the other half is still antique, with burlap, and dark musty roses and deep plums.  

My dining table was sold and i bought a 5ft square one in a cedar which I regretted but thought that covering the typical eek cushions would help.  I chose a stone colour... and had the chairs re-covered in raw-hide pebble suede.

I am really stuck as I find that the dark colours are coming to the fore. I love wood but not this dark. I have mood lighting which means I need the benefit of light reflecting colours as it affects the sight - my home is beatiful architecturally designed with a 530ft view of the entire valley floor for miles and miles in every direction & multitudes of sky lights and high windows of every shape, but no direct light actually falls into the rooms as pure sunlight.  The ceiling is 28ft high and the lighting has orange bulbs so light at night is dim.
Before this I i did a fair bit of interior design, but since this, I wonder where on earth I thought I had that ability. Little funds left allocated to my adventure and feel quite foolish with beige and creams that I love and muted old world colours and aged cedars that I don't.  My husband went out and bought a really beautiful piece of furniture to go with my new look and it's really solid and great, but I want to take to it with a sander as it's so dark Aged Cedar.  I tried to love it all but find I am living someone else's colours and looks.  

I started out loving parts of the French Provincial look but not quite so arctic, I prefer natural earthy looks and lots of textures and pleasing light shades accentuated by some colour here and there.
I note that I look toward soft limes and celery greens and creams and beiges and sometimes, deep wines...but I don't want the dark look these CAN BRING.  I have been to upholsterers, paint & decorator stores, but the funds are really low now and the mistake is fairly obvious.  Without spending.
My dining room has now has plums and beige, but the plum is only picking up on my favourite photo of a framed English Lavender Rose with white frame half sanded and can be changed as it's only!!

Hello Meredith,
It sounds like you really do love your home, and what you've achieved so far in your design goals. The gray/beige wall color was an excellent choice that will serve as neutral backdrop for the furniture styles and colors. Budget limitations have stalled more than a few home improvement projects; but, there are inexpensive, and even free ways to work with what you have. Try mixing your styles and colors by rearranging your furniture placement; pair your modern pieces alongside the traditional pieces. The clean lines, smooth materials, and shiny surfaces will all work together to make the traditional furnishings less formal. Taking a sander to the dark cedar is definitely a feasible solution to lighten it up, and adding a few coats of polyurethane to seal it, would give it a modern edge. Contemporary lighting, pillows, rugs spread evenly throughout the space (decorate it as if it were one room), focusing on color and texture that appeal to your modern aesthetic, will create harmony and much needed balance in the space. Good luck. Hope this helps.

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Toni Gibbs


I can't answer any questions in regards to structural, or commercial space planning. I can assist in choosing furniture, accessories, color choices, lighting, recommending resources to find what you are looking for.


My experience comes from a passion for decorating, and an inherent understanding of the "art of Interior Design."

Dress for Success (Professional Womens's Group)

I attempted to obtain a certificate in Interior Design from Sheffied School of Interior Design, but, did not complete the course. I realized that there were many areas that felt remedial to me, while there are many other areas that are helping me to continually expand my level of expertise.

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Friends, family.

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