Before & After: Living Room Update (Almost!)


I really wanted to get the living room update done before we had Christmas here and we’re very, very close. Close enough for a reveal! The BEFORE photos are from when we first bought the house (Feb 2012), but the plastering, painting, and bookcase were done right after the sale went through.


Since the last before and after post, we realized that cats destroy all furniture. We bought a $20 vintage leather test sofa to see if they would trash it. They did. So we designed the sofa bench, bought a custom organic cotton futon for the bench, and ordered a custom cushion cover and bolsters. We also swapped the sheepskin on the mid century chair for velvet cushions, moved the wire chair and found, painted, and reupholstered a vintage rattan chair – staying away from upholstered chairs that the cats will destroy. I realize this sounds crazy. Theoretically, I like cats more than I like pretty wingback chairs. Maybe. Maaaaayyybe.

What else? We added: another shelf to the bookcase, a lot more pillows, the new rug, a new coffee table, side tables & lamps, swapped curtains for roman shades, repotted a few plants in nicer pots, and put in a new front door. We also moved the boys trunk of toys out and will let them fill one of the new bench drawers with toys.


There’s a few things left – for one, we can’t leave the tree in that corner forever. I have no idea what could go there, though, so it’ll be empty until I figure it out. We’re still waiting on this magazine rack, and the art above the sofa bench is temporary until something jumps out at me. The folding screen (purchased at an antique shop when I was 17, holy cow) is temporary until we build a giant fence outside in the spring. Neighbor issues! We also need to paint and frame the front door, please note paint color strip and blocking around the door. Ooops! We’re thinking either grey to match the cushions or green to match that little table under the mirror.


When we were deciding on the fabric to use for this chair, I asked my mom “What would Nana do?” – so we dug out old photos of my grandmother’s living room in New York. Green on white toile was my favorite of her decor – and I already had this roll of blue and white toile fabric.


Meet Moon! He’s nothing like Huey. I think he’s part Siamese because he has blue crossed eyes, super long legs, talks a lot, and opens cabinets. He’s the dopiest cat I’ve ever met, but I volunteered at the Humane Society here and couldn’t leave without bringing a new friend home.

The rug seems short for the room, but without going custom we couldn’t go any larger on the standard sizes without getting too close to the wood stove.

bench_detail coral greenchair2 coffeetable Sources:
Rug: thomaspaul
Coffee table: CB2
Chairs: vintage finds
Blue ikat pillow and vintage Swedish textile pillows: Alpine Home, Stowe, Vermont
White silk pillows: Eileen Fisher for Garnet Hill
Toile fabric on rattan chair: Waverly Idyllic Days in Lakeside
Upholstery on sofa bench: Rags & Riches, Burlington, Vermont
Sofa bench: My awesome dad and brother
Drawer pulls: House of Antique Hardware
Wall color: Benjamin Moore Steam
Roman shades: Restoration Hardware Baby & Child
Pendant lamp: Nelson Crisscross Saucer
Front door: Jeld Wen (yes, I wanted wood, but Vermont winters wanted EnergyStar more.)

Holiday House

bar2 boyssnacks ira_cat orchids packages table

Best Christmas in Vermont yet. We held our celebration on Christmas Eve this year, which was nice and felt more festive than doing it earlier. (The boys go to their mom’s house for Christmas Day, no matter whose week it is.) Sean made the most amazing meal, and we were all warm and cozy and content. Hope you all had a wonderful holiday!

Roast beef with sea salt / thyme / rosemary rub
Roasted root vegetables
Asparagus galette
Mashed potatoes
Spinach salad
Italian rolls
Chocolate mousse with fresh whipped cream

Winter Prep

It’s cold out there! We’ve been prepping the house for winter on top of the living room update, which is coming along nicely. I pulled out our vintage stash of tartan throws, ordered a new festive doormat, and finally got around to getting a log carrier so our sweaters and floors aren’t covered in wood debris. I really don’t know why I put so many basics off for so long – it feels amazing to get things dealt with and to build our little nest out. Here are some of my cozy finds to get you ready for winter!



1. Tartan Plaid Blanket // 2. Bean Boots in blue, rather than the standard brown. I feel rebellious. // 3. Russian Caravan Incense // 4. Les Confitures a l’Ancienne Powdered Drinking Chocolate // 5.  Log Carrier 6. Snowshoe Doormat  // 7. Bulleit Bourbon 10 Year // 8. Tartan Mug 9. Camp socks. I appear to have lost EVERY PAIR I had last winter. How is this possible? // 10. Oui Matches.

Disclosure: This post contains some affiliate links. I may receive a commission on purchases made after following an affiliate link. How else could I afford $40 hot chocolate? (Just kidding. I bought the packets.)

Farewell to Fall

We’ve had our first dusting of snow, and the leaves are mostly off the trees – here’s some shots from around New England from the last two months to say farewell to a too quick season. The Christmas music is on and we’re starting to nest up here in Vermont – not much else to do when it’s dark by 4:15pm!






















Living Room Update: Take 2!

I’ve basically been having a complete meltdown over the state of our house – living in renovation / decorating flux for 3 years is starting to really wear on me, especially as I cruise toward turning 39 and feel soundly middle aged. Ok, I don’t really feel middle aged, but there are some milestones I’d like to reach. One is feeling like my home is comfortable, cohesive, and deliberate. The living room is next on the list to tackle, and it’s been a real challenge to get comfort, style, cat proof, nothing-disposable, and non-toxic all in one.

Here’s the vision I’m working on now – and will hopefully unveil before the holidays!

livingroom_update floor lamp (have similar dark green & brass vintage one) //  acrylic coffee table (done) // nelson lamp (done, see the before link) // coral leather pouf – 20% off right now but still steep // chinoiserie side table – found at an antique store – same shape, but no glass top and cherry wood instead of lacquer // built in bench – in progress, Matthew Smyth example here // regency eagle mirror, ours is a hand-me-down from Sean’s mother //  pillows – planning to make these, inspired by: havana pillowbanana leaf pillow, malachite green pillow // creamware – this is Setsuko Klossowska de Rola (she’s a huge inspiration in general) for Astier de Villatte, mine is an ever-growing thrift collection // the rug is the big decision: thomaspaul rug or gobi wool rug? //  x magazine rack (on order, will fit nicely under the chinoiserie table) // coral, antique hand-me-down from Sean’s mother

Just putting this all together made me feel a lot better about where we are – getting the bench finished and the rug decision made will go a long way!

Disclosure: This post contains some affiliate links. I may receive a commission on purchases made after following an affiliate link.