A very, very large FO

The living room is finished. The living room is finished. Whew! As promised, here is a photo of it.

We got our paint from Sherwin-Williams. For other painting projects, we’d used Behr, but this time we decided to throw down for some really good stuff (this is, technically, the “showpiece” room of the house) and get some much-needed advice from People Who Do Know Squat About Paint. Yes, it cost a bit more than Behr, but wow, it was really worth it. This stuff went on the walls so easily and smoothly. Even our friend Gina, who has loads of experience with painting projects and helped us with this one, was impressed with it.

On the walls is Restrained Gold (probably the only color in the universe that goes with our furnishings, which are all from different color groups), in the Cashmere paint line, in a flat finish. It’s not completely flat–when you look at it from an angle, it has a slight sheen–but it’s nowhere near an eggshell finish. Unlike most flat finish paints out there, this stuff can be touched. That feature was pretty essential to us, since we don’t want to spend the next several years telling our child “Don’t touch the walls.” ‘Cause you know what? The walls will be touched. For the trim we used Alabaster (a white with a slightly reddish-gold tint, if you can imagine that), and the ceiling has plain old ceiling white on it.

The room isn’t 100% finished: we haven’t hung anything on the walls yet. We have a giant mirror (a five-dollar buy at a yard sale last spring) that will probably go above the piano after we sand and restain the wooded frame. We’re going to wait a little while before hanging any art, though, to give ourselves time to live in the room a bit and see how it feels.

So here’s a curtain question for you: what should we do with the windows? In the past, we had dark red floor-length drapes that we hated. (But they were left by the previous owners, and free is a very good price to pay for drapes–especially in a room that you’re planning to redo soon anyway.) We never closed them, though, preferring the natural light and airiness of open windows.

Let me say this up front: venetian blinds (vertical or horizontal, metal or cloth) are not options. I think wooden blinds or shutters would be too “heavy” for this room. I’m sort of inclined to go with a short curtain, something like a little longer than the windows themselves. But isn’t there some “rule” about how “formal” rooms are supposed to have floor-length curtains? I don’t have anything against floor-length curtains per se, but I think they’d end up getting stuck behind the table-chair arrangement on one side of the window. And I have two cats, so the bottom three feet of long curtains would be covered in cat hair in no time at all. So…any suggestions, anyone?

Finally, I want to point out one of the things in this room that gives me the most joy. This desk (a new IKEA purchase, as are the two glass-fronted bookcases flanking the piano) is what we’ve nicknamed “the dumping ground.” You know how you come in the door and your stuff just ends up in places–cell phones (and chargers) all over the kitchen counters, briefcases and purses and diaper bags all over the hallway? We decided to have a space dedicated to corralling this stuff. We don’t have a proper foyer, so we put this space just inside the living room, right around a short wall from the front door.

The large compartment of the secretary desk is where we put briefcases, diaper bags, and purses. The shelves above it give us extra storage for stuff we don’t need out all the time but still want accessible: camera bag, camcorder, external hard drive (back up your data regularly, people!). The bottom shelf is my favorite part: courtesy of an eight-slot surge protector, it’s the charging station for cellphones, camera batteries, wireless computer mice (yes, we are geeks), and other such gadgets. Everything has a place to go now, and when the doors are closed it’s all hidden. I love it.

6 Responses to “A very, very large FO”

  1. Katie Jon 28 Apr 2007 at 3:50 pm

    It looks fabulous! Have you thought about putting the mirror above the sofa? It would reflect even more light into the room since it’s right across from the windows. Just a thought. Above the piano would be nice as well and would certainly draw your eye to that side of the room.

  2. Slaax Gumboon 30 Apr 2007 at 2:15 am

    The living room looks great. We used a lot of Behr in our house, and we hate it. The finish is uneven, and sometimes it takes four coats to get an even color. Unfortunately, we had bought a lot of paint at once so decided to live with it.

    I don’t know about what to do with the window, but I would ignore any floor-length curtain rule if there are practical reasons for not having them.

  3. maggion 30 Apr 2007 at 3:56 pm

    looks awesome! great job!

    do you really need curtains? I am a big fan of non-curtained (or only on the side and off the floor a bit) windows IF you can get away with it; that is, a view without neighbors being able to see in.

  4. Marsha Brofka-Berendson 30 Apr 2007 at 4:49 pm

    Katie: Putting the mirror above the couch is something we’ve considered. But would it be weird for the people sitting in the two chairs across from it to see themselves in the mirror?

    Slaax: I’m leaning against the floor-length curtains, but I figure I ought to get some opinions just in case.

    Maggi: Privacy isn’t an issue for that room, so the no-curtain option could work. We’re just not sure if it looks too informal for the room.

  5. JDon 02 May 2007 at 8:32 am

    Guess who used to work at an interior design office? :) The LR looks GREAT so far! The mirror will definitely add some pizzazz. I love secretary desks and am in the market for one, too – the privacy and cleanness of the flap, and lots of cubbyholes for allsorts. Let me know how yours works out! Apartment Therapy always has great ideas; they’re in the midst of their “smallest coolest” contest now; and for window treatments, maybe Smith & Noble. I personally like the simple look of romans. Looking forward to seeing the progress!

  6. Anonymouson 07 May 2007 at 4:25 pm

    I’m a big fan of cornices. You can easily make one out of foam core board from the craft store, and cover it with the fabric from the red curtains. I put them up to the ceiling and pair them with sheers set into the window with a tension rod.