Saturday, March 13, 2010

Keeping Room Take Two

The keeping room, hearth room, den or whatever-you-want-to-call-it room in our house has been a thorn in my side since we moved in two and a half years ago. It became the catch-all for extra furniture that didn't really have a place. Here's a photo of the keeping room when we purchased the house.

Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of it after we moved in because I never knew I'd be doing this. And I never liked it enough to photograph it. At any rate, take a journey into your imagination with had a red sofa facing the fireplace, a red chair to the right, a red and gold hooked rug, and a brown wood/woven chair with gold cushions to the left of the fireplace. The brown wicker storage trunks that you will see in the photos below were pushed together in front of the couch to make a coffee table. The pine cabinet that you will see below had a red and gold silk flower arrangement on top and random pottery pieces inside the glass doors. Basically the room was very red and gold French country looking, and while I like that look, those colors are not found at all in the rest of our house. It also was very dark, as the room faces south.

We have two young boys and a dog, so we mulled over what to do about the furniture. Leather cleans well, but it is also dark. I wasn't sure about upholstery. After much consideration, here's the room now:

So airy and light! And, yes, that is the head of a little boy hiding behind the pillow. He's son #2 (age 5)  and I'll call him Monkey Boy from here on out because he climbs all over everything. 

Anyway, back to the room. That's right folks, WHITE slipcovers! WITH TWO BOYS AND A DOG! I must be CRAZY! At least, that what some others think. But, they are the best thing EVER! We already had the Ektorp sofa and chair from IKEA so the most economical thing to do was just buy new slips for them. We did have to retrain the boys not to eat in there because I didn't want to have to wash them everyday, but they have been on for about three months now and I haven't washed them yet. I take a lint roller and go over them weekly, but so far they still look great.

The new jute rug is also from IKEA. I pushed the dark brown wicker trunks that we use for toy storage in front of each window flanking the fireplace. That opened up the room tremendously and gives the boys a place to set up their Hot Wheels tracks and Monster Truck shows (the activities du jour).

Ok. Yes. I'm a sucker. I bought the Pottery Barn bird pillows. When I saw them in the spring catalog, I instantly loved them and had to have them. I'm usually too cheap to shop there, but I knew they'd look great in the room as it was already painted yellow. As for the green pillows, I did go cheap. They are from IKEA. The wall color doesn't come across very well in these photos, but it is one of the Laura Ashley cowslip colors. Can't remember exactly which number, though. It isn't nearly as bright and loud as it looks here.

Wheeeere's Monkey Boy?

Another look at the chair with the embroidered bird pillow.

We've had this pine cabinet for a few years and it is currently houses the boys' art supplies and random crap, junk, stuff that I'm sure we don't need. It used to have a very nice, but very traditional/French country flower arrangement on top. I was perusing Ballard's Back Room (the Ballard's catalog outlet) and found these cute olive trees. The room has a vaulted ceiling so I felt I needed some height. I'm still not sure about them. What do you think?

Behind the glass doors, I changed out the random pottery with some of my ironstone pieces. The picture propped up is kind of an accident. I was going to hang it somewhere else, but I decided to leave it there because it hides a basket full of more stuff the boys can't seem to part with. I'm not sure it looks great, but it's better than the eyesore behind it.

Time to play Can You Tell What Monkey Boy Destroyed? Look closely at the lower cabinet door. Now do you know why we call him Monkey Boy? He used the knobs as a step one too many times. (Don't judge...yes, dangerous, I know...he did it when no one was looking, k?)

This is another can't-decide-what-to-do-with-it spot in the room. The t.v. is housed behind the doors so I can't put anything on the mantel in front of them. I found the lanterns at Home Goods and loved the little birds on top (see below) but now I'm not sure about them. Again, any suggestions? I'm more than happy to take them! By the way, the clock was on clearance at Target.

And before you tell me I need curtains...yes, I know. However, the house is for sale (another post for another day) and I don't want to put them up now. 

Close up of the bird lantern. Should they stay or should they go?

Overall, I'm very happy with the way the room looks now. Maybe just a few accessory changes and THEN it will be finished. And then we'll sell the house and have to move. One thing at a time....

I'm joining the Slipcover Party at Pink and Polka Dot and Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch. I'm pretty sure you're visiting from one of those two places since I don't have many readers yet, so thanks for coming!


  1. Beautiful slips, gorgeous room!

  2. Looks very charming! A comfortable, stylish room! I like the lanterns - and I'm not really a bird person.

  3. Looks much roomier than it did with the red and the trunks as a coffee table. Still think you need more height on either side of the mantle, but the close-ups of the lanterns show that they are much cuter than I first thought.

  4. Hi Erin, love your white slipcovers and your home is beautiful! I like the lanterns, they're cute! Deb

  5. Lovely room...and some thoughts about the doors covering the TV. Two coordinating pictures hung on the doors...or one big picture, split...or doors removed and a framed two-way mirror hung over the opening - you won't see the TV when it's off, but it will shine through when it's on (at least, I think that's how it works - I saw it on another design show, but my kids were making a ruckus and I didn't quite catch what kind of mirror it was)...

  6. You are my idol. I love love love this look. I have yellow walls too and love them and I am sooooooo wanting to do the slip covered look in white. Stunning, really.

  7. My first thought was something taller on the mantel because your ceiling is so high and a contrasting color other than white since your mantle is white. But the close up shows how cute the lanterns are. I bet you have another place for them because they are darling. I visualize something taller and perhaps a whispy green vine like stems in a taller vase on each side of the t.v. doors. I like the idea of a picture on the t.v. doors that opens. It is a shame you will be selling your house after so much love and effort to decorate. Great learning experiences though.

  8. I love the picture with the bird pillow, so in right now, I think your place looks cozy and comfy, thanks for sharing....Phyllis

  9. Thanks for your comments! Unfortunately, I can't do the split picture thing on the doors. When they are recessed, there is no room between the doors and the walls, so I'd have to take the pictures off most of the time when the doors are open. I am thinking about putting something taller on the mantel, though.

  10. What a beautiful room. So bright, airy and charming. I love the lanterns but agree something taller might look better. Since the doors are recessed do you have room for the trees on either side along with the lanterns? Then leave one tree on top of the hutch and add something else there. Maybe a large picture off to the side? Just a thought.

  11. try something tall on each side of the fireplace mantel to grace the middle cupboard, maybe your olive trees