June 26, 2018

Our Historic Modern Sitting Room Makeover

Over the past three months, we've been on a journey to transform our front office into a multi-functional library and sitting room; today we couldn't be happier to call this makeover complete and share the final outcome!

Sources: Ceiling fixture | Leather chairs | Loveseat | Rug | Curtains | Marble nesting tables | Vase | Bookcases —> diy template | Brass sculpture —> diy template

To give a little background, we transitioned our office to the upstairs after Brandon moved into his first apartment here in Richmond, so this was one of the first rooms we've had the opportunity to start completely from scratch. Doing so has helped us learn so much about our style; we loved creating a cozy modern vibe that still honors the historic character of our home.
Sources: Ceiling fixture | Leather chairs | Loveseat | Rug | Curtains | Marble nesting tables | Media console | Speakers | Triangle record display | Vase | Brass sculpture —> diy template | Bookcases —> diy template

The primary goal was to design a space we'd actually use; we knew we didn't want a formal parlor and we've desperately needed additional gathering space, especially when we have family and friends over. Our house is a row or railroad style where each of the rooms connects into the next (like railroad cars) and this room is the very first you'll see off the front entry. We wanted it to have a unique personality but not too far a stretch from the style of the rest of our home and connected family room.

Sources: Loveseat | Rug | Curtains | Marble nesting tables | Media console | Speakers | Vase | Bookcases —> diy template

Now we find ourselves gravitating in here, be it listening to music, reading or unwinding after a long day. Favorite tunes on repeat right now include Kacey Musgraves, George Harrison, and Leon Bridges.

Just the other night Brandon, Stephanie and Troy were here to celebrate Father's Day and at one point three of us were in the family room and the other two in this front room. The conversations were flowing but we all still felt very connected — it was in that moment that I felt like we'd accomplished what we set out to achieve downstairs.

The bookcases were the single pieces of furniture that remained from our office, but not without a little updating of their own! We'd built them a few years back and decided that with the office moving upstairs we actually didn't need quite as much storage as before, so ended up shortening them. We both prefer the updated look and it motivated us to pare down to the books, records, and collectibles that really bring us joy.

I painted the artwork on either side of the mantle. I hadn't painted since my art school days nearly 15 years ago (where does the time go?), and it was fun to channel and rediscover that creative side of myself. I'll share more about the art soon, and found inspiration for these paintings from this genius tip over on Room for Tuesday. Ultimately, we're planning to hang them on the wall above each bookcase.

These chairs, be still my heart. We used the leather chairs and the moody paint color as starting points to design the rest of the room around, which you can read all about here. We love how they help build interest and a foundation for the lighter elements we layered into the space, like the floor to ceiling window panels I swiped from our kitchen while it's under construction.

When it came to the rest of the furniture, we felt challenged by the smaller space. We wanted ample seating without the formal feel and a configuration that was both inviting and comfortable.

We opted for a loveseat to balance out the furniture. Its compact size was just the thing we needed in order to create additional seating with enough room for passthrough on either side. That said, it doesn't lack for seating or comfy factor — it's one we can both cozy up on together or stretch out separately. I wanted something modern in design to tie into the personality of the room, but lighter in color to help brighten up the space and echo the fabric of the couch in our adjacent family room.

Sources: Loveseat | Rug | Marble nesting tables | Vase | Bookcases —> diy template

And while we're speaking of brightening things up, marble and brass are one of my very favorite combinations, which is why I fell for these coffee tables the moment I saw them. The tables nest which makes them so versatile for use — we can split them up if we need more table space or make them more compact if we need floor space. So far, we've kept them in this central configuration to kick our feet up on.

Sources: Loveseat | Rug | Marble nesting tables | Vase | Brass sculpture —> diy template

Basil loves curling right up on the rug; it's a Moroccan style with layered tufting — can you blame him?

To finish the room, Tim installed a modern light fixture that ties together the pops of black on the radiator and fireplace cover. I just love the mix of modern paired with the historic charm of the ceiling medallion. This fixture is on a dimmer, and we've been enjoying playing with the lighting in here at different points throughout the day and evenings.

It's amazing to us the transformation this room has undergone in just the last 6 years. When we first moved in, we set it up as a formal parlor working with the furniture we had from the move and rarely set foot in here. Later, we created a home office that we used and loved every single day. Now with the office upstairs and providing a bit more privacy, it felt like a new chance to do something fun in here that tackled our pain points and addressed our needs much better. For fun, here's a peek down memory lane at how this room looked when we first moved in, later set up as a formal parlor and then the office:

Needless to say, we couldn't be happier with where the evolution has landed today. What felt like a marathon has certainly been worth it in the end. We took our time with this makeover, mainly because it was unexpected, but we also wanted to address some needed restorations and the furniture buying process from scratch is no joke, y'all. It not only takes me a while to decide on different pieces, but I like to take advantage of seasonal promotions, ya feel me? I held out until Memorial Day weekend to make the majority of our larger purchases, which helped save on the overall budget.

Thanks so much for taking the time to check in our house progress today — we'd love to know what you think! If you're interested in seeing how everything came to life, we documented the process through video clips and saved them to our Instagram story highlights titled "Front Room."

The photographs in today's post were captured by our talented friend and photographer, Ali Williamson of Alisandra Photography.

Discover More: For even more on this room, catch up on the background details into what sparked the makeover, a behind the scenes look into the renovations it needed first, this simple change we made that opened up the room, this mood board for the full design inspiration and a first look at the room with details on the chairs that inspired the design.

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