Taking Your Home To A Stellar Level



P.O. Box 2009 Lake Arrowhead, CA 92352


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Image by Matt Artz
  • Dana D. McKee

Time is on our side .... Yes it is!

Courtesy of Wowow, Home. The view is the real star!
Our former living room. The furniture was too big and too high for the space.

The domino effect of our living room shakeup continues. As I mentioned in a previous post, we got rid of our coffee table because it didn't fit with our new low slung mid- century sofa. The style was wrong; it was not cohesive with mid-century, and it was too big and too tall. The chairs that went with our old sofa were also wrong in style and size, so they needed to go. Yes, I knew this would happen when I selected the sofa and my husband questioned the practicality of the change. Back to that later. Again, we should have considered the style of our home before we bought any furniture years ago, but we did what a lot of people do - we rushed the process. Now, many family and friends have said to me that the room was perfectly lovely before all this; that we didn't need to change a thing, but I knew that our living room had greater potential and knowing that made me crazy. Let me explain and then tell me if you do or do not agree.

Courtesy of Freshhome. The low slung furniture makes the room appear much larger and lighter.

As many of you already know, we live in the mountains in an A-frame home built in 1970. We've kept many of the mid-century elements like the hollow panel dark brown doors and the oak cabinetry and wood floors. A lot of stylists would have ripped all that out, but to me, that's taking the chicka bow wow right out of this home! Our furniture, though, was more cabin-style or rustic, meaning a lot of leather and it was heavy looking. I liked it for a long time, that is, until we started collecting vintage art glass and adding more mid-century pieces. I started studying mid-century design, too, reading everything I could get my hands on. As my design eye became more refined, I could see all the things that needed to be changed in order for the room to look right. My advice to anyone who just bought a home is to work your way from the outside in when making interior design choices. So, if you buy a Tudor-style home, then hopefully you lean into English country or a traditional style. Mid-century or Scandi in a Tudor-style home will always seem a little off, no matter how perfectly it is styled. And please, don't paint those wood beams!

Courtesy of Wowow, Home. Not too much furniture. This room is perfection.

Our soon-to-be gone buffet. Again, too heavy, too high and not mid-century.

Also consider where you live and paying attention to the light - the sunlight and at various times of the day and how it affects your home and living space. A trend that I am seeing a lot of where I live is painting everything in a home, top to bottom, all white. I thought it was going away, but the trend is still going strong because I see it on Zillow. We have a lot of stylish L.A. couples coming up here and painting everything white, expressing how they truly loathe the orangey tones in the wood of these little mid-century gems. It's the "Scandi" look they are going for, but excuse me for stating the obvious - this is not Scandanavia. The light is very different there. I understand about wanting it clean looking and bright, but in doing so, I believe they take all the warmth out and, more importantly, the very soul out of the home. The beautiful golden light of California goes perfectly with that wood. I don't know about you, but I don't want to sit in all white room in the winter with snow falling. I imagine I would go blind with all that white! Or in the fall with a fire blazing in the fireplace. Or even in the summer. Sure, it gets hot up here, but I still want that cozy and comforting feeling of unpainted wood in the mountains. I get it if you have a coastal home, or a cottage, or love farmhouse style and want everything white - that's when it looks right. If you want a really good read on how the all white trend began and how it affected design, go here.

Our former Danish dining set. It was pretty. The canoe shelf went down to the game room.

So, back to the shakeup - no coffee table, the chairs are going away, and, we got rid of our dining set. too. Yep. And the buffet and bar stools have been added to the proverbial furniture death row now. None of it works with mid-century, and. believe me, I've tried to convince myself otherwise. All because of a sofa change. Regarding the question of it being practical, was it? Well, that depends on perspective. This blog is all about taking it to the next stellar level and that's what my husband and I talk about all the time and how we stretch our imaginations. That's what we enjoy most. Here was a bit of our conversation over coffee this morning:

Me: What are we going to do with the buffet area now? It looks all wrong.

Hank thinking for a hot thirty seconds.

Hank: Well, how about we put a large freshwater tank there and we fill it with piranha? And when we have guests over, we could, for entertainment, and, to their horror, drop a live mouse in it.

Photo courtesy of Amazing Aquariums. Hank's Piranha filled tank.

Seriously. Yes, he's wrong on all levels, but he makes me laugh. He also suggested a swing for the area where our dining room set was, or leaving it open for tap dancing. Not that he tap dances. What will go in that space, eventually, is a credenza similar in style to this one here. (Not in price!) Then again, that may change. We often settle on something and keep looking to find a better alternative. So for now, during this time where we can't go anywhere, we will continue to sit in our half empty room and be more than okay with it. The fun is in dreaming and creating the perfect space is something that I've learned (the hard way) is one that should take time.

Please let me know your thoughts, mistakes you've made, and successes. I'm interested! Let's get the conversation started!

Courtesy of Sunset Magazine. The swing we're not saying no to just yet.

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