Decisions decisions: dining room chairs

As posted previously, we’re pondering a new dining room table which of course means we will also need new chairs. The chairs are proving even harder to choose than the table.

We don’t want anything too formal. A lot of the modern but informal chairs either look too much like something from Beetlejuice for me, or too much like the plastic chairs you see in schools for Grimbil.  I’d really love to find some upholstered chairs with a cool pattern, but that is proving surprisingly difficult.

We could go for simple white leather and chrome, to go with the white and chrome theme in the kitchen. Something like this:

 

Or we could go for walnut from the same manufacturer as whichever table we pick. Perhaps something simple like this:

 

 

Thoughts?

 

Decisions decisions: dining room table

For the past 3 Thanksgivings we’ve been bemoaning our lack of a proper dining room table. To be honest, we eat most of our dinners on the couch but we do also like to entertain. Having our friends huddle around the couch is getting old.

We know we want a table that is extendable. For everyday use we would want it to seat 6 people but for Thanksgiving and any other massive dinner party we’d love to be able to fit 10 or even 12.

We also know we want a wooden table. Walnut seems to be the best option for our decor.  It’s darker and warmer than oak but not as dark as wenge (the other popular options for dining rooms). So walnut it is.

We also want the table to have a bit of flair to it.

The contenders are:

1. The Omnia table

Pro: the legs are cool, and they remain at the corner of the table even when it’s extended
 Con: you can see the hardware when it’s extended, and it only seats 10

 

2. The Cinetic table

 Pro: The legs are even funkier than the Omnia, they stay at the corners, no hardware visible when extended, and it seats 12 people
 Con: We can’t see it in person before buying it  

Which will it be? I’ll leave you in suspense for now…

 

Decisions decisions: curtains

Happy new year! I know, I know, we owe you several posts about the holidays but right now I’m fixated on curtains.

Our naked doors

For about a year we’ve been meaning to get curtains for our bifold doors, for privacy, warmth, and to “soften” the space. I’ve also noticed that our 4-month-old couch has started to fade, which has us worried for the paintings and rugs. Who says there is no sun in England?

The first thing to figure out was color/ pattern. We have a gray couch and floor, so I thought some subtle color on the curtains would be good. Perhaps a shade of blue to go with the carpet? But the wrong blue would blend too much with the gray. Maybe a red? But that might be too much. And should the pattern be large since its a lot of wall to cover, or would that be overbearing?

I love the quatrefoil pattern on these curtains, but I’m not sure I’d love 10+ feet of it

Recognising that I was talking myself out of every idea, I decided to see what the members of Houzz.com thought. If you are ever looking for interior design ideas Houzz is a great place to go. They also have a Design Dilemmas section for people who are floundering like me.

I posted the top picture (above) of our living room and asked for advice on curtain colors and styles. Initially I got more advice on how mismatched our living room is and how we should remove everything but the couch, floor, and bifold doors. * sigh* But after I clarified which pieces of furniture are leaving (coffee table and end table), showed them the big picture view of the open plan, and explained that we are trying to blend our art/ Persian carpets/ antique furniture/ ethnic knickknacks/ modern furniture, I finally started getting helpful advice. There is nothing like wading through a bunch of advice that is wrong for you to help identify the advice that is right for you.

So what was the advice? That since we have a small space, plain curtains are best. But more
importantly, our art/rugs etc should be the focal point of each room. Who notices curtains when there are beautiful paintings and interesting artefacts scattered around? Plain curtains it is!

regenerative nest contemporary bedroom
Nice plain curtains would blend in to the background while still adding privacy and “softness” to the space 

I’ve always known that we have the makings of an awesomely decorated house, but I’ve let myself get sidetracked with making sure the colors relate to each other, and other rules of design, that I’ve forgotten the most important rules of design: your space should reflect your taste and personality, and the best way to see what works is to have fun trying out new combinations. So hello gallery wall over the sofa and around the tv. And I think it’s time to unpack that box of photos and knickknacks that has been languishing in the attic. Its definitely time for our house to start feeling like us.

Anthropologie inspired loft eclectic bedroom

Here’s an example of a gallery wall (ie, a bunch of things hung together)

Decisions decisions: sofas, take 2

This past weekend we paid a visit to Camerich, the home of the sofa I posted about earlier. Turns out that sofa wasn’t in stock, but since we were there we decided to see if another sofa caught our eye. After all, the wood on the original sofa was much darker than the rest of the wood in our house. So we sat/laid down on a bunch of sofas, trying to find one that was comfy for us, low for Otto, and would fit in our 258 cm space while allowing us to have a chaise lounge / L-shape option. And looked cool and modern.

We have a winner: the Casa sofa.

I know, that fabric is neither cool nor modern, but the shape of the sofa is awesome

Imagine that sofa minus the floral thing. And in a completely different fabric. We love the low slung design and the big square arms (practically another chair!). We also like that we are actually buying 3 separate sofa pieces so we can change the configuration. I guess technically it’s a sectional sofa. Anyway, the chaise part of the L will be next to our bifold doors, and if we have the doors open all the way it would be nice to have the option to move the chaise to another part of the room. Instant love seat!

We’ve decided to go with “graphite” as our fabric, a nice gray that hopefully won’t show every little thing we spill on it nor every piece of hair that Otto sheds. It goes well with the gray tile floor and (I hope) picks up some of the gray-blue from the carpet in the living room.

Now we just need to save some dough….

Decisions decisions: sofas

When we moved into our house, we were lucky that the previous owners left their furniture. Between us we owned: 1 barcelona chair, 1 mattress (but no box spring or bed frame), a coffee table, 3 antique occasional tables, and a funky but not very functional (according to Grimbil) antique chair from India.  And lots of paintings and carpets. We’re all about the accessories.

In a way, we are also lucky that the previous owners didn’t have very good taste. It certainly encourages us to upgrade sooner rather than later.

Our classy hand-me-down furniture. Yep, that's a lawn chair in the corner.

We’ve been debating what’s next for our house and our money. The two big contenders are bathroom remodel vs new sofa. I think we’ve pretty much decided that for now, sofa wins. I for one am not eager to start another renovation project.

So, what do we want in a sofa? I want something that works well for Otto (not too high and hides his hair well). Grimbil wants something with a chaise lounge attachment, so that all three of us can comfortably lay down while watching TV. It would also give us some extra seating in our not-big  living room. Both of us like a modern style. 

If we were back in the states, we’d know exactly which stores to look at, but here we’re still finding our way. Fortunately we have the internet to help us, and Grimbil found this guy who looks like a winner:

We’d probably go for a charcoal grey or a chocolate brown, but still, we really like the style. Time to start saving up the cash!

Decisions decisions: pendant lights take 2

When last we were debating our pendant light situation, we were completely undecided. I’ve been sporadically trolling the interwebs looking for inspiration, and stumbled on Furnish.co.uk.  I think it’s going to be my go-to site for home accessories shopping from now on.

I kept being drawn to pendant lights that are way too ambient to put over our island, but then I saw this:

I think we have a winner! We want to go look at it in person before making the final decision, but still, I love how it’s sleek but curvy.

As for all those ambient but sparkly lights I’ve been drawn to, well, there are 3 bedrooms that will eventually need lights….

Decisions decisions: pendant lights

Our kitchen design includes two pendant lights over the island. Given how early it gets dark here during the winter, good overhead lighting is a must. Our builders got everything ready for us so now we have two empty wires just waiting for us to decide what the heck to buy.  We could screw in some lightbulbs in the meantime but knowing us those lightbulbs would never get covered. Ghet-to.

Part of the problem is that we don’t really know what we want. The kitchen is glossy white / warm wood, with some stainless steel thrown in. Do we keep it simple and white/ clear?

Or pick up on the stainless steel accents?

Or add a splash of color?

Or do we soften the modern vibe with something completely different?

The other problem is that most the pendant lighting is boring, and the stuff I do like is not well suited for overhead task lighting; it’s too ambient. Like this:

MIssion Loft  living room
Anyone have any suggestions for sites or brands to look at?