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One Room Challenge Spring 2017 | Week 2 | Living Room Foundation Pieces

by - Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Welcome & thanks for stopping by! If you're new here, I'm a Toronto-based blogger / conference organizer / agency owner / plaid devotee who loves to fix up her new old house, one DIY at a time.

It's Week 2 and the dust has literally been flying around here as we work on our preppy + traditional living room for the One Room Challenge, hosted by Linda at Calling It Home and media partner House Beautiful. If you missed Week 1, catch up and see our design plan here.


If you follow me on Instagram, you saw that the new ceiling is in and the old baseboards and window trims are out! YES. And this Easter weekend, in between chocolate bunny breaks, we'll be painting the room in sumptuous Farrow & Ball paint and cladding it top to bottom in Metrie moulding. Lots and lots of moulding.

But first... let's get real. Renovating a room from start to finish in only six weeks just might be impossible. To bring this room in on time, there were a few pieces that needed to be decided upon, ordered, and put in production a few weeks ago. I thought you might like to hear more about that process and how I decided to fill this big, empty space.

The Foundation Pieces

To me, beautiful rooms start with choosing smart foundation pieces. These are the furniture pieces and larger elements that define the room, are seldom changed, and often move with you from house to house. I wanted to keep these pieces timeless and versatile,  so I sought out quality products in classic shapes in neutral colours.

The Sofa

Last week, I shared with you that I'm working with the awesome team at Barrymore Furniture to create a custom William Birch-style sofa for this space. I'm not going to sugar-coat it. This is an investment piece but if you're like me, and have worked your way through more than a few sofa hand-me-downs, then Ikea sofas, then ready-made off the showroom floor sofas - none of which give you that sinkable, snoozable, level of comfort you long for - there will come a time when you will want a sofa like this. On the up side, a high quality sofa should hardly ever need replacing. I'm fully expecting to pass this one on to my grandkids ;) Barrymore currently has a Spring Sale going on with up to 30% off so it might be worth it to pay them a visit soon if you're looking for a custom sofa of your own.

Barrymore offers lots of English roll arm sofas including the Kentucky, the Kerr, and the Kayleigh but it wasn't until I saw this prototype in the Toronto store that I knew exactly what features I wanted for my sofa:


Based on the Dylan sofa, this sofa featured a tight back but with a custom arch in the middle and a centre seam. It looked elegant but not too fussy. Just what I need for our transitional living room. We've always had sofas with loose back cushions and while comfortable, I always found they looked a bit sloppy and I was forever fluffing the cushions up. Our living room will be used for more formal entertaining so the tight back seemed the better choice for the space.

Then there were the other details I fretted over, like should the seat cushion be one long bench cushion or two? Should it have a plain front or double banded front edge like this chair?


Casters or not? What style and wood for the legs? That's the thing with a custom sofa; every detail can be altered to suit your personal taste. And then there was the choice of fabric. Barrymore has 1000's of options in their fabric library but seeing this sofa in the showroom kind of sealed the deal...


...it had to be velvet. There's something about the way light hits a velvet sofa that makes you want to touch it. Plus, we had a maroon velvet armchair in our house growing up and to this day I remember how soft and comfortable it was.


I narrowed it down to these options and ended up choosing the camel/tan colour - even though we had lots of yellow in our last house and I swore I was over the yellow! But this tan colour feels like a warm neutral so it will pair well with most anything.


For a bit of interest, I did specify a contrasting welt in grey for the toss cushions. That little extra detail helps the sofa coordinate with other elements in the room. The tan sofa will be a classic and it allowed me to bring in the blues and greys in other ways, which brings me to...

The Rug

Rugs are getting lots of attention these days and rightly so. They're a great way to add pattern or colour into your design scheme. With this room, I didn't want the rug to be a show stopper. Rather, I wanted it to be a background player, with quieter colours, but still feel luxurious. I'm a sucker for texture and love a rug that feels good beneath my feet.

Familiar Frame carpet from Karastan
To find just the right rug, I headed over to the Karastan website. You can search their carpets by pattern and, naturally, I gravitated to their check/plaid/stripe rugs. I was initially drawn to the Familiar Frame collection of sophisticated plaids. It had a nice crisp design and offered modern, masculine colourways. The Berwick Tweed family caught my eye as well. The tweed would very much lend a library-like feel to our living room. Lastly, and what I ended up choosing, was the Woolcheck Classics in Ashcott Camel (bottom left in this photo).



Could there be a more perfect carpet to pair with the camel-coloured sofa? I think not. I love the pairing of the cool grey and warm camel colours. This carpet was the softest of all the samples and had a wonderful, woven loop texture.

The Woolcheck Classics is 100% New Zealand wool, which means that it is not only a natural and sustainable fibre, but it is extremely stain resistant, durable, and non-allergenic. For a rug that gets heavy use, I would always recommend wool. We had a wool runner in our last house and it stayed in perfect condition despite almost a decade of daily use.

The Armchairs

What didn't last a decade of use? Our yellow armchairs.

Our old living room
I still love the shape of the chairs and they're still very comfortable but I'm tired of the geometric fabric. It's a bit worn on the arms and edges, probably the result of a little girl who insists on doing things like this when mom's not looking.

Fabricut to the rescue. They have an enormous selection of fabrics and I couldn't decide what design direction to take the chairs so I ordered a plethora of samples:



You can probably sense that I'm really drawn to a menswear look in fabrics and rugs these days. These fabrics combine great texture and durability.



I actually needed fabric for two applications, for the armchairs, and for a bench cushion. More about the built-in bench and bookcases on next week's post ;)

I made my selections, opting for a textured blue for the chairs and a plaid with tones of yellow, camel and black for the bench cushion. Pulling it all together, here's the fabric story for our preppy + traditional living room:

preppy traditional living room fabric selections | One Room Challenge | Ramblingrenovators.ca
Panorama Marine for armchairs | Chatham cream for bench cushion
Brie for custom sofa | Woolcheck Classic rug in Ashcott Camel
I'm really happy with how this room is coming together. It's warm, masculine, and preppy. Keeping the sofa and armchairs in solid colours will allow me to change up their look by simply adding in patterned or colourful accessories. The darker rug grounds the room and will feel great under our bare feet. And the bench cushion - I'm really excited to show you the plans for that. We've had built-in benches in our old house and they are one of my favourite things. I think of them as almost works of art: when they're not in use, they create beautiful vignettes with a few pillows and throws.

preppy traditional living room fabric selections | One Room Challenge | Ramblingrenovators.ca


We'll be using the Easter weekend to make some real progress on this room so follow me on instagram to see the latest. Now head over to see what my fellow designers are working on for their One Room Challenge spaces.



Media Partner House Beautiful | TM by CIH



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Thank you to these amazing sponsors who are helping to bring this room to life.

Karastan | Fabricut | Barrymore Furniture

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