Living Room: The Latest

July 8, 2010

cg roses in pitcher

I can’t quite put my finger on it.  I think my love affair with all things French may have begun when I was younger when I watched Gene Kelly in ‘An American in Paris’.  

Perhaps it was when I lost myself in Peter Mayle’s novel ‘A Year in Provence’ that I devoured many years ago. 

Most certainly, my l’amour was made permanent when I took my first trip to Paris in 1998. 

Whenever it happened, it happened, and my decorating style was forever altered.  I can’t help myself ~ I’m a self professed Francophile.


swirl snip

Despite my love of traditional French decor, I do like to inject a little modern flair, and the new mirror and trellis pattern rug in the living room certainly help.

cg liv room with rug


Here’s what the room looked like last year. 

cg living room fireplace

And now . . .

cg living room mantel and chair

Still a work in progress, but certainly lightened and brightened with the new paint, new wainscoting, and also a few new accessories. 

The paint color started out as Benjamin Moore’s ‘Tranquility’, but then I had the guys at BM pull two drops of blue out of the Affinity formula to arrive at ‘Tranquility Tweaked’ ~ my custom color ~ the perfect gray blue. 

The mirror was a lucky find . . . I was hunting for new light fixtures for my boy’s room a few weeks ago and found a floor sample of this Casbah mirror ~  I fell in love with the Moroccan shape and the 50% off price !   I was not  in love with the dark coppery bronze color, so what’s a girl to do ?   Spray paint in high gloss white baby !   


casbah before



mirror after

The candlesticks I found at a thrift store last year  ~  the textured raffia pillar candles are from Pottery Barn. 

These sandblasted manzanita branches are leftover from this project  ~  the shell ball I purchased in April at this antique faire.    

manzanita branches shell ball


I also replaced the twin light fixtures in the room, one hangs over the sitting area and the sister chandy hangs over the piano.   I ordered these inexpensive fixtures from Overstocks thinking they’d be golden, but when they arrived they were too dark bronze, so I spray painted them too, then accented the detail with a little Rub n Buff. 

chandy before and after  

Here are my new chandeliers, after a coat of Rustoleum’s Heirloom White spray paint, and some antique gold Rub-n-Buff accents.  

chandy detail trio

The black baby grand piano was a gift from our grandmother when our grandfather passed away.  It’s a family heirloom and classic piece, so there was no way it was leaving the room.  And call me sentimental, but I love to listen to my children learn to play on this incredibly gorgeous instrument  ~  there’s nothing that quite compares to the sounds of a home filled with music. 

cg piano in room


Who really cares that some of the keys are chipped  ~  it’s the imperfectly beautiful things that tell a story. 

piano keys living room


On the opposite wall, a few minor changes.  

cg new buffet

If you follow my tweets on Twitter, you know I found this antique buffet at the local thrift store last week.  I couldn’t pass it up at $300 at 50% off, so I picked it up for $150 dollars.  Solid wood antique with velvet lined drawers.  Love !

I had to slightly rearrange the gallery wall to make room for the new seaside oil painting we picked up on our visit to Carmel-by-the-Sea earlier this year.  We only buy fine art when it’s meaningful  ~  Mr. CG happened to love this painting because it reminded him of the the spot where we played on the beach as a family together.   How fortunate to actually meet the artist who painted it too !  

I love the subtle burled wood and art deco detailing on this antique buffet.  I can’t believe some of the pieces that I find in thrift stores !   This will suit me just fine until someday I save enough for the dream sofa to replace it.   P.S.  Pinch me, but my raspberry hydrangeas are insanely gorg this time of year.     

 buffet up close


With all the traditional style furniture, I definitely wanted a modern mirror and graphic patterned rug.   Originally, I was torn between these two patterns by Dash & Albert.  Aren’t they lovely? 

dash and albert samples


But then the kind folks over at Rugs USA sent me this wool rug for my foyer to review, and I couldn’t help but notice that the trellis pattern would look mega fabulous in the living room. 

trellis rug 

You can’t quite tell from the photo, but this particular rug is too small for the space -   it’s only 3.5’ x 5.5’.   The rug’s trellis pattern and large repeat is absolutely fantastic, and for the price, a great way to inject some modern style into your home.  But the rug itself is a little too thin for a high traffic area like the foyer – if I left it there, it would need a rug pad.  So I’m going to exchange it for the larger version in the living room ~ I think it will be the perfect pattern for this space.   

swirl snip

For now, there’s only a few things left to do:

cg living room to do

So far, the space feels much better than before.  I consulted with my future stylist-in-training ~ she thought her fluffy friends would enhance the space.


future room stylist

Give a girl some cred  ~  she happens to love soft texture and color!

For now, we’ll stick to the blue/white/gold color palette.    

cg liv room with rug

So that’s the tour so far !  I still need of some fantastic art for above the settee, I’m thinking a series of framed botanicals, and I’m sure in time I will find it somewhere. 

For now, the ‘new’ room is a breath of fresh air compared to what it was, but still a work in progress.  Thanks for following along ~ hope you like it too.  




145 Responses to “Living Room: The Latest”

  1. Carmen says:

    So beautiful! I am in love with that mirror. It looks so gorgeous painted white. I, too, liked the before picture as well. It’s so nice and bright now.

  2. Your room was perfectly lovely before, but all of these fabulous changes really are stunning. The room has such a light, airy feel that is so summery. I’m wondering what you’ll do when autumn comes. Will you make any changes with the seasons?

  3. Loving this post. The Benjamin Moore Tranquility looks so wonderful – lightens that whole room up. I’ve seen Rub-n-Buff on so many blogs lately. Does it have the same effect as sanding does? Where can you purchase?

  4. Looks divine, Kate! Love it. My daughter agrees that those fluffy friends improve the space even more. :)

  5. Adam says:

    Hi Kate! We were excited to see one of our mirrors in your living room makeover. It looks great in white! Here’s a link to the upcoming post:

    All the best!

  6. It’s beautiful – very soothing and grown up yet still a home. Love it. I can’t recall – are you in Sacto? I’m about an hour south (Lafayette – French! ;-)) and we have a darling little store here called Souvenir. They don’t have a website but this person blogged about it – I could just move in there: I thought of it when I read this post!

  7. Stephany says:

    I have the same rug in chocolate brown, I absolutely LOVE it! I bought carpet padding (large remnants from Lowe’s for about $20 for 8×10) to put underneath it which serves two purposes; it gives it some cushion (and looks richer) and it keeps the flat woven rug from slipping. I have gotten so many compliments on this rug and I saw the color you have in Southern Living magazine! Love your room colors, I plan to lighten my earth toned living room one of these days.
    Love your blog! You’re such an inspiration to us!
    Mom of 2 boys and 1 more boy on the way! I’m sooooo outnumbered.

  8. Carrie says:

    I love the lighter feel of the “after”. I’ll be the 108th (or so) person to tell you it’s FABULOUS! I love the color palate you chose and I think it turned out perfectly.

  9. It is amazing! I love the bright and happy feeling. The mirror is fab and I love the candle sticks too! The wall color is so pretty. I would be afraid to live in it it is so beautiful.

  10. Beth says:

    I somehow missed this post so I am THRILLED that you linked up. Wow. Can you say gorgeous??? I’m inspired.

  11. I somehow missed this one too! Love what you’ve done so far, and the wainscotting is fantastic! Great job!

  12. Erin says:

    Just fabulous! I LOVE that mirror. Great eye and such a wonderful blend of styles. I could just curl up with a book in there!

  13. Kerry says:

    I don’t think it would work for your living room, but I recently bought 6 canvas-framed prints for a seller on Etsy who specializes in a wonderful mixed-media collage technique of old pictures, newspapers, prints and postcards. They make my bedroom look so much more romanticky-Parisian, alternated with framed mirrors.

  14. Joanna says:

    I showed this to my hubby and we FINALLY found a look for our bedroom that we agree on! So I hope you don’t mind if I steal it. ;) Thing is, I checked out local fabric land for fabric the same gold as the curtains you have there (was going to sew my own) but I couldn’t find any. :( May I ask where you got your curtains from?

  15. Kerry says:

    Here are the links of a few I bought:

    This wonderfully creative Etsyist is (hopefully) going to be able to make a similar print, featuring my great-great-grandmother :)

    BTW, I have for months been working on re-creating your stairway (because some creative genius covered the walls of my new house with Stone Effects… hideous!), and I found that the same G&B wallpaper you picked looks fantastic in my halls! We’re just trying to figure out if it’s better to coat all the wainscoating area with plaster and sand it, or with 1/8″ drywall sheets, to cover up the horrible sanpapery texture.

  16. […] create the stencil, I found the pattern to inspire me from the lattice pattern rug in my living room.   I traced half of the basic pattern onto a piece of poster board, then cut it with a […]

  17. Kathy :) says:

    Hello, nice to meet you I came via Beth…Love what you did…

    All the best,
    Kathy :)

  18. […] home office?  My living room?  My master bathroom?  Yep, they’re mostly blue.  I make no apologies, I happen to […]

  19. Lauren says:

    Hi Centsational Girl,
    Your room is lovely! I have been checking out your other blue rooms, and I must admit I’ve been going through a blue phase lately as well. love it. My only suggestion would be regarding your grand piano. When I was getting my BA degree in interior design, in one of my rooms I had a grand piano in our mock clients floor plan. The correct way to place the piano would be turned around, that way the person playing it would be facing the rest of the room, rather than the wall or corner, so you can see the pianist. Anyhoo, just wanted to pass what I learned along (as I am a pianist/mom/interior designer). Can’t wait to see what more great projects you do, and congrats on getting on the tru value blog squad!
    take care,

  20. Hi, Kate,

    This is another gorgeous room! I am trying to convince my mom to let me redo her den/kitchen, and I want to paint the walls a pale blue gray. I love your “Tranquility Tweaked” – it looks so pretty against the white trim. My mom’s cabinets are already white, but they need freshening up. What white did you use for the wainscotting/trim? These pictures are definitely going into my “white and blue room” design inspiration files!


    P. S. I have been searching everywhere for a round white tray like the one you have on the side table. Do you remember where you got it (knowing you, you probably found it at a flea market and spray painted it white, right???) I cannot find anything like it, and I want a round tray to place on top of a square bunching table I have in front of my sofa.

  21. Larissa says:

    Hi Kate,

    How did you spray paint the mirror? Were you able to remove the mirror piece by opening up the back? Or did you just tape it up?



  22. What a gorgeous room. Funny, I am about to paint the walls in my livingroom beige like in your “before” pictures but have a similar blue in my master bedroom and bath. Love your style!

  23. Heather says:

    I really love the transformation. It was beautiful before, but its definitely a lot brighter and cheerier now! It’s amazing what a little paint and some wainscotting can do for a space.

  24. Brita says:


    I absolutely adore the paint color in this room (and the entire room for that matter!). Would it be possible to get the formula for Tranquility Tweaked? I know I’ve come across someone on another blog who got it, but was unable to track it down. Thank you so much!! Beautiful style.

  25. […] our living room is Benjamin Moore’s Affinity ’Tranquilty’ but I had the guys at the BM store […]

  26. Hilary says:

    Love the updated palette so much! The mirror is so unique.

  27. Katie says:

    You are amazingly talented! I’m so inspired and motivated to revamp my home. I love the crisp, clean look of your home. Great job!

  28. Anna marie says:

    Oooohhhhh this is so beautiful!! are so talented…..where did your drapes come from??? I love the color of them perfect for my living room redo!

  29. Anna marie says:

    Im looking at a similar rug from rugs USA…..are you happy with yours??

  30. Southgate says:

    I have that same rug in an espresso colorway! I bought it for the living room at the townhouse I was living in between homes, so its too small for the living room I have now. I’m planning to repurpose it in my study.

  31. Jacke B says:

    Saw this fabric ( and thought of the pale blue/teal and the brown wood and thought of your living room. Pricey, but an inspiration for sure.

  32. rasha says:

    loved ur room…im kind of having same style for my new living room but instead of gold im having silver :))) love it and love ur style

  33. sandra says:

    do you know the name of the trellis rug?

  34. Margaret says:

    I’m so glad you didn’t get rid of or do anything to the piano. Things like that make your house yours and not something out of a magazine. And as a professional musician, the only real pianos are black. ;P

  35. Susan says:

    Hi there, love your blog. Featured it yesterday on mine.

    Anyway, did you paint your ceiling this grey/blue as well?


  36. Rachael W says:

    Do you happen to have the formula for this gray blue color, BM’s Tranquility with 2 drops of blue? I don’t even know what that means “from the affinity collection”. Sorry I’m so new to all of this. We’ve always rented, and have been in our first home about a month. Sadly I get little to zero natural light in our living room, dining room, and kitchen and am looking for a cool gray that will help me brighten things up without having to go to blank white walls!! Help!! I would love to sample your wall color… though it looks like you get a lot of natural light…

  37. Donna says:

    I love the transformation! I am going to use your paint in my bedroom, it’s beautiful and the Moroccan mirror is just beautiful.

  38. Kristy says:

    Where did you get the brown velvet looking couch in your before photo?? I’m looking for one just like it!! If I have to look at my current sofa one more minute I’m going to scream!

  39. christal says:

    I’m looking for that exact rug. Went to rugs USA and didn’t see it.. can someone send me the link to it :) thank you

  40. Aliye Imam says:

    I have stumbled across your website, I am soooooooo in love with your work! It is soo inspiring and beautiful.xx

  41. Joanne says:

    A femail co-worker of mine showed me your blog and I just HAD to visit. Regarding the framed botanical prints you want…you might try “Half Price Books” and pull pages you like. Then just frame and hang. I used some pages from my “Birds N Blooms” magazine, used old frames I found at a thrift store and now I love them!

  42. Niecy says:

    I would so pay you to spray paint me a Casbah mirror like that. It is just so perfect!

  43. What colour have you painted your walls. I am looking for something similar. It all looks gorgeous!

  44. Tiphany says:

    Where did you get the blue ceramic lattice jar? I had one that was used as an urn for my childhood dog, and I recently broke it (I swear-you can’t make something like this up LOL) and I would love to find a new one!!

  45. Becca Smith says:

    I want your house!! lol Your furniture and style are just fabulous…

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