Monday, 30 May 2011

A Decorating Challenge

We are four months in our Melbourne house now.  We are loving our neighbourhood and enjoying the amazing local parks and colour.  As experienced intercontinental travellers, we now recognize that moving presents a wonderful occasion to shed the 'stuff' from our life that hadn't yet been regifted or recycled.  It's a chance to pare down to the essentials, the furniture and bits that matter, that represent a life lived thus far.  It's an opportunity to recreate new living spaces that reflect our newer and matured experience and taste.

Both C2 and I are passionate about interior design.  We love great textures, shapes, lines and materials.  I am no Sarah Richardson (my style and decorating icon) but we have tried to infuse every room in our home with elegance and design appeal but have also kept in mind comfort and use by an active family with a sofa-loving Labrador.  Most items in our house have a story.  A place it was discovered, a meaning behind it, a reason it belongs. We eliminated a lot of flotsam on this last move from Geneva.   However, once we had placed everything in our new house to our satisfaction, we were left with a challenge.

We had two items left to occupy our near-empty family room.   A large red painting I have never liked (but C2 loved) bought in Calgary for a song to temporarily occupy a large wall in that house.  Somehow it is still with us.  The second item was a chair purchased impulsively many years ago which I love but is ugly and PINK.  Therein was our challenge: to economically create an inviting living space around an inexpensive red painting that I hated, and an ugly pink chair that I loved.

My mum and I scoured design magazines in vain looking for inspiration but nothing suggested how to reconcile red and pink.  I couldn't imagine creating a pink space - blech!  After hours of debate and reflection, I decided that red would be the focal colour supported by other bright colours against a neutral background hoping to have that incipid pink recede in the process.   The other focus would be squares.  The red painting was based on a series of squares, and squares would be reflected throughout the space.  I also decided to include things I love like mirrors, wool rugs, and books - lots and lots of books!

Squares in the mirror, squares in the magazine rack and squares in the sofa pillow - score!   Do you see the square Sid Dickens tiles reflected in the mirror?  An old and beloved Hudson's Bay blanket helped to anchor the red.  I originally wanted to find a red throw but my wise mum advised that two much solid red would "argue" with each other - wise woman.


My library corner, where I can curl up for a read embraced on all sides by my books both classics and classic mysteries.

Here is the end result.  I still want to add a couple more large orchid plants; the natural light in this space should help them thrive.  Also perhaps a corner lamp and a candle lantern or two.  Otherwise, I think I managed to make the pink work?  What do you think?


Elizabeth said...

It looks so cozy, and I love your reading corner. That's heaven to me!

Anonymous said...

Looks great. Well done you!


Anonymous said...

I just love the fact that I get to see your "stuff" insitu and pretend that I am sitting next to you on your sofa with a cup of coffee...someday...

Anonymous said...

PS That last message was from Me! (Sheila) x

Melissa Miller said...

Please come to P-town and rescue my dining room!!! Ach!! Your space is beautiful.