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Living Room Facelift

· Entertaining, Home Improvement / Decor, Makeovers, Uncategorized · , , , , , ,

One day, as I sat in my living room answering emails, I realized that I couldn’t stand my rug. Over the course of that afternoon, I became obsessed with replacing it. Immediately. So, I raced to the D&D building in NYC, selected three potential rugs, and brought samples home to review in the space. While none of them seemed right, and all of them cost more than I wanted to spend, I’m a sucker for crossing things off my list. So I called my dear friend, Allison Peyton, for help making the decision. Allison, who has phenomenal taste and is trained as a designer, has strong opinions that she finds difficult not to express.  In other words, the exact reason we’re such close friends.  When I texted photos of the rugs I was considering, she let me know she “hated all of them,” and I would need to clear my calendar in 3 weeks to spend the day with her.

On the appointed day, I took an early train to meet Allison in Connecticut. Our first stop was the Elizabeth Eakin sample sale in Norwalk. When the doors opened, we burst inside, and 45 minutes later I had purchased two rugs that cost a fraction of what I was going to pay for just one rug a few weeks earlier. Feeling excited about my new purchases and the money I had saved, I asked if she thought I needed anything else. 

Allison didn’t mince words. Apparently, my end tables “were so horrible she couldn’t speak” and a custom wall unit I had designed in 2002 was “a complete embarrassment, dated, and should be used as firewood.” She also thought the furniture could use a little rearranging.

The living room BEFORE the facelift.

As I considered her comments objectively, I conceded that the end tables and wall unit were dated. The issue was that, although dated, the wall unit had tremendous storage capacity. Its many shelves and cabinets were packed with photo albums, sentimental items, board games, books, and even a few hundred CD’s in drawers built to their specific size.  Allison was unfazed. “You’re an organizer, you’ll pare down and find other places for those things,” she told me as we approached Parc Monceau, a cozy furniture/home goods store. 

At Parc Monceau, we ordered upholstered stools and a drink table. New pillows were selected from Gracious Home in New York City, and a burled wood console with ample storage was purchased to take the place of the wall unit. I was ecstatic, but Allison wasn’t finished. She thought my existing chairs looked “a bit tired” and suggested I reupholster them in leather, remove the skirt, and add nail heads to better complement the new living room. 

Three weeks later, a handyman disassembled the wall unit (with its pared down contents), and the rugs and new furniture were delivered.  Existing furniture was rearranged including the newly reupholstered chairs that were relocated to create a new seating area.  The console was placed on the wall previously occupied by the wall unit. New pillows were arranged on the couch and chairs. 

As I surveyed the room, I saw that what was once traditional and dark had been transformed to a space that was chic and light. With the addition of some pillows, a rug, and some well-placed accessories, I had achieved a stylish new look without spending a fortune.  And, after much cajoling, Allison agreed to join my team at Life Organized. 

The living room AFTER the facelift.

Organizing a (Very Small) Laundry Room

· Home Improvement / Decor, Makeovers, Uncategorized · , , ,

Any home improvement project entails compromise, and the recent renovation of my kitchen and dining room was no exception. In order to enlarge the dining area in the limited confines of my New York City townhouse, I took my formally spacious laundry room and made it half of its former size. Fortunately, I knew how to maximize storage capacity and organize this smaller space to meet my needs.  Here are the steps I took:

  1. Purge After careful consideration, I decided to eliminate anything that wasn’t necessary for cleaning clothing, floors, or surfaces. This meant that I moved light bulbs, dog grooming supplies, tools, and other home maintenance items to other areas of my home. 
  • Design With small spaces, it’s important to think vertically. I started by replacing my washing machine and dryer with stackable models. I then designed high shelves around the perimeter of the room, installed a rod for hanging hand wash (a towel rack repurposed and hung from the underside of a shelf), and created space for a vacuum cleaner, and laundry baskets. A pocket door saved additional space.
  • Organize I used white Nordic Storage Baskets from The Container Store to store cleaning products, laundry products, microfiber cloths, sponges, floor cleaners. Frequently used products such as laundry pods, fabric softener, and microfiber cloths were decanted in clear acrylic canisters. A horizontal desk organizer was used to hold pens, notepads, a folding board, and a scissor. 

Watch Barbara on Only Good TV as she helps freshen up and gain more space in our laundry rooms with helpful organization tips and small decor changes that make things neat and efficient.