May 18, 2011

In Living Color

Say what you want about our strange, sculpted Living Room, but this bad boy had us a hello. Even through it's thick, golden oak molding, dirty carpet and strange peak-a-boo holes into the bedroom above, we could see the potential. But more importantly, it was different. We had entered dozens of homes that sport a formal Living Room to the right and a formal Dining Room on the left, and in general, that builder grade standard didn't impress us. We wanted unique. We wanted drama. A two story high oak plank fireplace... BAM- drama.

But as much as we were impressed with the space, I had no earthly clue what to do with it. As a reminder, here's what we're working with:
Photo from the listing, as they had a fancy wide angle lens to get it all in one frame
As a reminder, this is not our furniture or accessories
My first instinct was to paint all the trim white. Heck, better blogs than I like Young House Love and House Tweaking are painting wood trim like it's their job and I LOVE the crisp, clean results. I thought maybe if I painted just some of the trim, and left the rest the true oak color, that it would be a beautiful accent, not over powering. But this terrible decision maker doesn't do anything that permanent without being sure, so I whipped up a little Photoshop mock up.

Now there's all sorts of wrong going on with this look, but let's start by agreeing to ignore the black and brown leather sectional. Could you do that for me? Gracias.
These paint colors are similar to what I had in my Living Room in The Bungalow, so I thought I would start there since I knew they would match my furniture and accessories. Those mustardy-brown shades do nothing for that beautiful oak though. In the words of Simon Cowel, "This is an utter disaster."

Don't mock the mock-up- this is just to get an idea.
So I switched to gray tones, and even though they complimented the oak much better, I wasn't won over. The wood floors were another dilemma. We definitely want to put in wood floors, but I did not want them to match the golden oak. I thought that maybe going with a nice, modern dark color would mix the woods in the room, again, so that nothing was too overpowering. I was sort of bought in, until I thought about the stairs. How would dark wood floors look when they ran up next to the oak stairs? Would I have to refinish the steps? Then what about the stair rails? So I gave up. There are dozens of other rooms and projects in this house that I can dream obsess over. I'll get to the Living Room when I'm good and ready.

And somewhere along the line I started to find inspiration. Natural oak wood in modern homes that doesn't remind me of GameBoys and Members Only Jackets. Like this:

West Elm
And this:

And this:
West Elm
And this Dream Home beauty: (Which is Aspen, not Oak, but you get the idea.)

HGTV Dream Home
And then it became obvious to me that I would ruin this house if I tried to change it into a new style with dark wood floors and white trim. That's not what The Lodge is about. It's about big, bright, light flooded spaces, and embracing the nature all around. So for the flooring, we took the Dream Home and West Elm as our guide. After-all, from the beginning we likened our wood plank accents to the ones featured in the West Elm stores:

And their floors look like this:

A rustic floor with variations of color will pick up on the oak accents, but also lighter and darker colored wood that we can layer in. Plus, it will look great with the oak steps. Put it together with light wall color, and lots of pops of color in the furniture and accessories and you get something like this:

Obviously we're still playing around with the mock ups, but this is what we like right now. I think the space already looks much more modern and clean. Now if I could just figure out how the heck we are going to get up there to paint this room....

What do you think? Are we on the right track? Anyone else embrace the natural wood in your home, or do you prefer the paint it a crisp white?


  1. Embrace it! You can always paint it later if you decide that it's just not for you.

  2. AnonymousMay 18, 2011

    We have plenty (too much) honey oak everywhere in our house, so I can't wait to see what you decide! :) - Beth Rice

  3. Embrace it! You can always paint it later if you decide that it's just not for you.