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Family Room: Not Quite Finished Yet, But...

So I lied on Tuesday. I didn't get the family room done this week. But I should've known that. After all, I'll probably never consider the room totally, 100% complete. And I'm still waiting on a few key accessories for the built-ins. But I wanted to get you an update on where I am now. If you'll recall, this is what the room looked like when we moved in last August:

After moving from a much smaller townhouse, I decided to put our existing living room furniture in the upstairs den (which is actually larger and therefore better able to accomodate our large sectional). For months, we lived with an empty family room while I searched for just the right pieces. As you may recall, here's how things looked 7 months later:

Not bad, eh? While the major pieces had all fallen into place pretty quickly, I was still struggling with how to deal with both the large niches on either side of the fireplace as well as the two-story wall of windows. For the windows, I knew that I wanted to add some softness to the room, visually lower the tall ceiling to create a cozier feeling, but I wasn't sure exactly how to go about doing it. After consulting with a decorator, I decided to hang long panels from the top of the highest window all the way to the floor -- and I think the result is pretty stunning:

I love the hit of pattern and how the blue ikat really helps tie everything all together. The fabric is called Kalah Blue and is available at Calico Corners. It's got a good weight on it though I did have the panels lined to give it a better drape (particularly important given the length of the panels). All in all we needed about 30 yards to create four single panels. We kept the hardware simple and classic (RH's antique silver rod with a ball finial) since it's so far from the ground to really be visible (and I wanted to keep the focus on the print). Fortunately, my fabricator did the installation as well so Dave and I didn't have to scale a huge ladder to get these up there.

The next major project we tackled were the awkward niches on the fireplace, that were just begging for built-ins of some kind. I decided to do something a little different than just simple bookcases as I wanted these to double as extra seating when we have company as the room is actually on the smaller side and can get crowded when we entertain more than a half dozen guests. Additionally, I wanted to move our TV from the bedroom into here so we could watch TV in here (or in the adjacent kitchen/breakfast room). After a few weeks of working with our contractor, this is what we came up with:

Of course as soon as these were up I was anxious to style them up and I've included some of my favorite things here for full display. I'm still awaiting the arrival of the navy (with white piping) cushions I ordered for the bench seats, which will add a much needed shot of color and contrast to these built-ins. Initially, I had thought about painting out the backs in a strong contrasting color (graphite, navy or coral, specifically), but I think for now I will leave them white and contemplate painting the walls a deeper color to create more contrast that way.

Here are a few detail shots of the space, which I'd now say is about 95% complete:

The Built-Ins. Our contractor was able to replicate the moldings on the fireplace surround into the bench and shelves for a seamless, "it was built this way" look. We also added closed storage in the benches. The cabinets on the left hold TV components while the ones on the right are perfectly sized to stash pet toys and other, less attractive items. Louvered doors lend a coastal, British colonial vibe and remind me of plantation shutters (which I would someday love to replace my existing blinds with).

The mantle. Sunburst mirror is from Restoration Hardware (no longer available, alas). Topiaries are from Ballard Designs. I scored the two blanc de chine ladies from High Street Market on Etsy. The blue and white urns are from my mother.

The shelves. This is my first stab at styling these, though I think I need a few more books to go on the middle shelf (and of course something fabulous for each of the corner niches on the top shelf). The large zig-zag jar on the top shelf is Mexican and from Emilia Ceramics (and second one is on order for the other built-in). On the middle shelf, the blue and white ginger jar is from High Street Market and the three Qing emperors are from Tozai Home (but purchased on One Kings Lane). On the bottom row, my dachshund bookends hold a few of my favorite Pengiun classics and the plate is my grandmother's (via my mother). I just got the petite framed intanglio from Quatrefoil Design (the virtual storefront for the fabulous Holly of Things That Inspire) earlier this week and it looks perfect sitting atop some of my favorite design tomes. The two small blue pagodas from the Chinatown collection at home, james! are actually a pair of salt and pepper shakers from (also purchased on One Kings Lane).

The sofa and some key accessories. A few throw pillows constructed by Melanie at Plum Cushion in two of my favorite fabrics (KWID's Imperial Trellis and Chiang Mai, both available through Schumacher) perk up my Ethan Allen sofa. The side table is also from Ethan Allen and holds my orchid, a bowl full of shells Dave and I have collected over the years while on vacation, and a grapefruit-scented Delirium & Co. candle. Behind the sofa, the Kate lamps from Circa Lighting flank a Jonathan Adler hippo, which makes me grin every time I look at his chubby figure.

I'll update more once I get the built-ins fully styled. In the meantime, have a wonderful Fourth of July weekend!

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