Monday, August 7, 2017

Rooms That Make You Go Hmmm

The other day, a fit of decorating wildness came over me, and before I knew it, I'd decided to shake up the sunroom. 
First, I moved the green farm table. Since Christmas, it had worked perfectly fine as a little breakfast area. And it looked okay from all angles.

Next, Bandwidth helped me bring in a rattan loveseat--it had spent the last year on the porch and was covered with spider webs and cat fur. We swept everything, and I went to work. 
At first, I was excited. I grouped the loveseat and chairs, then moved the farm table behind the sofa. Oh, goodie, I thought. What a nice, little sitting area!

A rug would help. I had one on the covered porch, though I wasn't quite ready to fetch it.

When I looked at the sun room dead on, through the adjoining living room, I wasn't sure if I liked how the rattan loveseat jutted up. I have a tendency to decorate in the Noah's Ark style, two of everything, but this was something else. Now I was decorating in speedbumps. The sofa acted as the first bump, the orchid was bump number two, and the loveseat was three. This doesn't include the columns or the doors.

I asked my Instagram tribe what to do, then I got to work. It was logical to break up the speedbumps.
I put down a rug, too.

But not from this perspective.

Or this one.


After switching the furniture, I could see that I was going in the wrong direction.

I mean, it was fine, but I still preferred the original configuration.
Since Bandy had disappeared, I gave up the idea of putting things back together this instant.

I decided to leave the room alone for a while.
 I needed to think.
What was the purpose of this room?
To sit and be quiet. To drink morning coffee or afternoon tea. To curl up on the loveseat and write.
An old desk would be wonderful and useful, but the shape of the room made it hard to visualize. (For me, anyway.)

The next day, I moved an upholstered bench from the man cave to the sun room--just to see how a bench would look in front of the window. I had a theory that two benches in Noah's Ark style, one on each side of the bay area, would be streamlined and functional. I must say I liked the idea of a bench, and I even liked the polka dotted bench.

My friend Beverly, author of the blog How Sweet the Sound, saw my call to action on Instagram, and she told me about drapery panels she'd seen at Pier 1. Pretty! And the colors would work with the living room, too. So I will try a panel and see how it looks in my space. (If it doesn't work here, tit should work in the blue-and-white dining room.)

I walked around the room and decided the chairs looked better behind the sofa. And the loveseat really looked better facing the chairs. But didn't I have another love seat? I did. Bandwidth helped me carry in a very spidery carved bench (you may remember it from posts on the Underporch). It's a bit small, and even though it is almost as high as the rattan loveseat, the bench has presence. However, I don't know if "presence" is needed in this room.
I stole pillows from the living room.
Chairs from the bedroom gave weight to the bench.

But is it getting too cluttered?

I walked to the front of the living room to check out the "dead on" view.
Well, like my grandmother used to say, you can't get everything you want in a room or a man. But I preferred the wood bench to the rattan loveseat.

I can always go back to the table and chairs, even though it has its negatives, too. It's kind of small, and the room has many angles and empty spaces (though I still think draperies will soften the room's hard lines. With window treatments, I may feel the need to add less "stuff.'

The next day, I wasn't ready to give up on a sitting area, so I brought in another table from the underporch, an old iron piece from Ballard Designs, circa 1992. The glass top was broken by movers long ago, but I'd used it as a plant stand on the underporch.
(In case you're wondering what an underporch is, go HERE.

Now, I used an old shutter as a top.

Actually, it was rather level.

So, I'm going to think about this space a while. If you have ideas, I'd love to hear them.

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  1. I can totally relate to your dilemmas. With a husband who doesn't even like stuff or change, I end up frozen and vascillate between wanting to collect and arrange, and wanting to pare down to minimalism.
    What I really, really like in all of these different arrangements is some space among arrangements. That breakfast table under the pastoral painting with basket underneath is perfection to me, and I really love the look of the two wicker chairs there. The rug is a great addition too. What's hard is that I love the look of the bench from the underporch as seen from the LR with the open framework. BUT....I would think the wicker loveseat is more comfortable, esp when you define the function you're looking for (morning coffee, tea, to curl up on the loveseat and write). And if the wicker wins out, then having it in the space of the bench might look too heavy-ended on that side of the room. Then again, maybe the two chairs from the BR, in conversation on the side of the hutch (which provides weight and balance on that side) could counter that other side's proposed arrangement. I like seeing those end pieces of furniture on each side, and the vignettes you've created in each of those spaces to be included in your overall design. The bench and potting table may still work in the overall design since they're both open. One allows potential extra seating for gatherings, the other potential serving space.
    Maybe once the panel is in the room will speak louder as to what it needs.
    I love your grandmother's wit.

    1. Thank you so much for these wonderful ideas and musings! The carved bench is actually unstable because one end has a deep slash in the wood, and if the left legs aren't aligned just right, the whole thing could crash (I already sort of broke my desk chair after eating my way through a Medrol Dosepak--but the chair was old and rickety. LOL). Just last night I was thinking about moving the carved bench to the foyer and adding the coat rack (I used it last year). This will be perfect to hang our coats and Jasper's leash. A house just doesn't work unless it's functional (I'd rather the design be wonky, and I think most would agree). Cindy (see below) gave me the idea to move the old gateleg table back there. I would love for the sunroom to be "my" place to write, and the gateleg isn't too high. I will try the rattan loveseat in various places, as it is VERY comfortable. I like the idea of draperies, too.

    2. Just reading this. Maybe put the wicker settee in with the two upholstered chairs, and move the carved bench to the foyer and the wicker chairs to where the upholstered chairs were. See what that gets you.

  2. It's a wonderful room, you can't go wrong! I would just rearrange it with the seasons or every time you get a wild hair~ I'm crazy about the floral pillows!

    1. That's probably the best way to approach this room--to have fun with it.

  3. The round table you once had on that underporch.... go get it and put it in the middle of your room with the bench and the wicker, etc. around it. Would that work as table and desk? Would it provide scale and balance?

    1. You know, I had just been thinking about that gateleg table. I'd moved it to the sun room last fall, and after Christmas, I let down a leaf and moved the table to the foyer. It looks a bit "leggy" there, especially when I added art. I had not thought to use it as a desk--what a GREAT idea, Cindy!

  4. I love to move things about. But I don't have as much room and things to move as I once did. Whatever you decide on you have lovely furniture pieces so you can't go wrong!

    1. I agree: it's good to shake up a room now and then.

  5. I second the idea of a round table. I love that you have so many items at your disposal to play with!

    1. Thanks! I think the round table will work, too.

  6. Take the love seats out

  7. I am quasi less is best theory, what if you use your Ballard shutter as a sofa table in arch area and then two chaises. I am all about staring out to read, sip tea and ponder. I see something u shaped towards the window in my head, cozy sectional slip covers, with ottoman, feet up languishing the hours away with a good book.

  8. This an architecturally beautiful room. But I agree, it does present decorating challenges. We all see differently. From my point of view, I see a room with no full stops. Your focal points are on the sides of the room. What is emphasized architecturally is openness, light and air, which is gorgeous but the eye travels straight through to the outside. It is almost as if you have no walls, except those on the sides where your lovely vignettes are staged. Perhaps this is just what you wanted or, this may be why you are leaning towards curtains. They will provide a soft period at the end of the room.

    If it were my home, I would go with plantation shutters (maybe later, layered with curtains.) They would give the best of both worlds - outside view and inside coziness. Shutters are architecturally beautiful, clean, do not immediately draw the eye to themselves as fabric does, they provide light control and a full stop which helps form a background for the things in that part of the room.

    You have been given some nice ideas to try. I think a large round table in the middle of the sunroom surrounded by chairs is a nice idea. Seasonally adding a beautiful botanical or ethnic styled table skirt would add some warmth, color and pizazz. You could place a tall arrangement and books or whatnots in the center and use your laptop there.

    Another option is to simply turn your first arrangement around and have the wicker settee face the outdoors rather than the LR. Your sofa table would be between both sofas. Or, If you have the room for the settee and the round table, so much the better.

    The room is shaping up beautifully. The look you have achieved so far is wonderful - just right for that space.
    You are more talented in this area than you give yourself credit for. I can't wait to see what feels right to you!

  9. You're making great progress, and everything is coming together. I'm so glad you like the curtain panels. They still look great in my head. lol Do you by any chance have an upholstered loveseat that you could try where you have the bench? I love the bench, and I think it looks great there, but I was wondering if you would enjoy more of a small loveseat size sofa to "cush" in to.

    Years ago I had a chair custom made for our bedroom. I loved it, and I still do. But, I just couldn't find the right place for it. Then one day - boom. I finally had the lightbulb moment. I wondered what took my brain so long.

  10. My right arm is in a sling because I had surgery last week. I'm still on Percocet so if this sounds like too crazy an idea just blame the meds!
    Put the Ballerd table with the shutter on top between the columns. Place the that great lantern on it and maybe a thing of flowers or something. Or you could use that Carpender tool holder with the flowers in it to kind of block the height of the wicker loveseat. I would put the wicker loveseat up against the Baller table. So that your upholstered sofa and the wicker loveseat are sort of back to back with that Ballard table in between . Put the wood love seat across from the wicker loveseat and the upholstered polkadot bench between the wood loveseat and the wicker loveseat Put the wicker chairs on either end of the bench so you have seating for six if you wanted to. Put a silver tray or some kind of tray on the polkadot bench and use it as your coffee table. Put the white garden seat next to a wicker chair. I agree with what someone said above about the farm table and the paintings in the basket underneath it. That looks great. I love that wicker basket with the canes sort of in between the windows. I love that little wooden bench with the cut outs that you're using as a coffee table right now. I think it would look great in front of the windows.

  11. Do you have so many neat things! Is there a second glass lantern? It be cool if you had three and you could put those on the table between the sofas

  12. Also put your floor lamp the one that's over by the farm table plug it into the one of those floor outlets so you can read in your wicker sofa
    OK, I'm done. Just think I'm crazy!

  13. I like your first photo but I do see what you mean about the love seat being too high but maybe if you hang the drapes your eye would not go directly to the high love seat.

  14. It's a fabulous space, for me I'd probably want a dining table in there because I love to host dinner parties. But since you already have a dining room I guess that doesn't make sense.

  15. I haven't read the other comments - so you may have already gotten this one. Could you switch out your little wicker chairs for the two matching arm chairs in your living room? I think that might connect the room a little more. Beautiful though.

  16. I made the longest reply to this last night and then it went away into lala land of internet space....sigh.....too late now.
    back tomorrow!

  17. Well I feel as if I'd just attended a very helpful interior design class just looking at all your options and reading these responses. I am impressed with it all. Smart ladies! Now I want to go see what I can do with my own awkward space.