Tuesday, November 3, 2009


I'm a big fan of The Lettered Cottage. Layla lives in an adorable cottage in Alabama and her blog is full of design fun and stories of how she and her hubby have tackled crazy & fabulous projects to make their house a home. I enjoy visiting her blog because she's got skills that I wish I had and she puts ideas into my head that make me smile. She's also sort of a goof and isn't afraid to laugh at herself which ranks high in my book.

My friend Denise re-did her kitchen and dining room on Layla's advice and they both look fabulous. Anyway- late this spring she celebrated her 1 year blog-anniversary and had a special on her design consultations. I'm all about a special, so I bought a photo consultation and decided to ask for her help with my living room.

I didn't have a ton of money to spend, but I thought that some paint and a few tweaks would make a huge difference- I just couldn't figure it out on my own.

I sent some pictures to Layla and told her a little about my style, things I like and where my struggles were. Basically, there are lots of family pieces in the room that I want to continue to use and for the life of me I couldn't figure out what to do with the huge gaping expanse of white wall in the room. I was happy-ish with the furniture arrangement but was open to something different and I realized that the sofa and chair/ottoman weren't made for each other but that I couldn't help that so could she help me tie them together.

These are the pictures that I sent-

(looking in from the front hall)

(view from the dining room)

(the view that best captures the nightmare wall that has been stressing me out)

Oh, the other thing to note is that although I bought the consultation in the spring, I didn't send her the pictures until August....and in the meantime- she was inundated with business. No worries- I was happy to wait.

And so, when I opened my in-box on Friday and saw that she sent me a message- I was over the moon.

This is what I saw-

In addition to the picture, she gave me a ton of written suggestions-

*Try a mirror over the mantle (larger than the picture that's currently there)
*Swap out the sofa table and the large chest
*The picture over the chest may be a tad low
*If you add a mirror, you may want to try a grouping of 4 pictures over the piece of furniture next to the fireplace.
*I'd suggest a gallery wall in the open space- I've included an example, but if the sea theme isn't your thing, swap it out for something else.

I cannot tell you how excited I was!
I spent some time (and a little cash) over the weekend and have implemented a few of the changes that Layla suggestion. The only thing that I bought was the large mirror over the mantle. My friend Sallie (a design guru herself) braved the terrible weather and helped me with the selection. Thanks Sallo!!!

The other changes were swaps from elsewhere in my house and made me look at things with a different lens. I don't love the picture next to the corner cabinet (Layla suggested another mirror and the one that I took down is too small I think)- but it will work for now- it's larger than the picture I had there originally.

I also don't love the dragonfly pillow on the sofa(I do love it- but not here) but I needed something and why not try free first. I moved those pillows from the porch and Layla was right- it makes a huge difference. The old pillows found a new home in the guest room. Who would have thought! I've still got the huge blank wall- but it's something to work on and now I've got inspiration.

I do love the coffee table (so does Jon)- which was in my guest room serving no purpose. I'm also crazy about the wooden chair with the round side table and floor lamp. I think that may be my favorite thing so far. It wasn't something that Layla called out specifically, she just made the changes and as I looked at them I thought- hey- I can do that! She did suggest using an initial pillow in the chair- which, as luck would have it, I happened to have in our bedroom. Now it gets showcased.

I'm happy with it so far although it's still a work in progress...the paint will come, as will a different pillow on the sofa and a little handy work from Jon to hang the mirror rather than just having it propped up and of course, filling the wall. I'm also on a mission to find things to fill the corner cabinet. I made a few changes, but nothing drastic.

Here is the view now!

(This is the same view as the photo that Layla designed)

(another view- see the swapped sofa table and raised picture?)

Isn't it great when you see things from a different perspective?
Go check Layla out- hope she makes you smile too!

Thanks Layla!


Lettered Cottage said...

I am LOVING it! It really looks amazing...way to go!

Keep the photos coming, I've gotta see what you do with the hutch!


Sandra said...

I love the transformation that can come from suggestions from friends. I just rearranged my great room too. Like you I pulled pieces from other rooms and shifted things around for a more balanced look. Great Job.

The Browns said...

This all turned out fantastic!!! Love the changes!

Denise said...

Carolyn, I LOVE all of the changes..I told you Layla was the best! You have a knack for putting things together too! Hugs~