Not Before, But Not After

June 2, 2017

White Sofas In Living Room

When I was a little girl, my parents were always entertaining. Always. My mom cooked, cleaned and set up for large parties with very little help. Kids are not really reliable (especially a brood of four with a vast age range) and while my dad was great in the kitchen things like bathrooms and dusting were not on his list.

So it was no surprise to anyone when my gorgeous mother ~ and I do mean gorgeous ~ was not ready when the first guests arrived. Either her hair was in curlers, or her make up was not completely on, or she was in a housecoat. It got to the point where it became a running joke among our family and friends.

Of course, when she finally did come out fully dressed and coiffed, she was stunning. However, some of the wow factor was lost, since the guests had caught a glimpse of her in process. Oh don't get me wrong, she was always a wow, but instead of was more like wow...

That's kind of how I feel about what I'm going to show you today. 

You see, I have been updating my living for summer and I have decided to share a bit of the process since it's been a slow go. I have a feeling though, that when the room is finished, the super wow factor is going to be gone, since you already know what it will basically look like. 

Minus a few detailed touches. 

Ah well. It is what it is.

The living room has always been more of winter space to me. I think it's the fireplace. It's very large feature and it's dark. It's more fitting for ski lodge than a beach cottage, but I work around it. 

In the past, I have tried to lighten up the room with pillows, but I failed miserably. 

This year, I got smart and used a technique that proved very successful last year in my kitchen and family rooms.

I subtracted. 

I sent the red curtains to the dry cleaner and then got busy simplifying.

How To Decorate A Room

The old lampshades definitely needed to least for now. 

Stenciled Lampshades

After fifteen years, I wanted something a little more elegant and updated, so I picked up two that matched to flank the couch. While I was out, I stopped in to a discount curtain shop and picked up some window treatments. 

But they're a problem. I wanted tab top valances again, because A) I didn't want to change my wooden rods and B) ring clips for a 2 inch wooden rod, were PRICEY. And I am cheap. 

I was ecstatic when I found these at my first stop, but they were a close out. Six bucks for each valance and a pair of tiers. Usually a great price means work and these babies are no exception. 

The valances over the couch are perfect. The tiers however, need to be hemmed. 

Hemming Curtain Tiers

And then I need to use the extra fabric and make a pair of rod pocket valances for the porch door. 

Magnetic Curtain Rods For Metal Doors

None of this would be a problem, if my machine wasn't such a pill. So I have been putting it off. I have also been putting off painting this chair. 

I found it in the garbage years ago, wiped it down, had cushions made and have been unhappy with the beat up finish on the wood ever since. I'd also love to update the cushions...but...that means more quality time with my sewing 

Wooden Spindle Chair

Other than that, the room will just need a few accessories. I had thought about painting it white and and ditching all the red, but then I remember how much I love it in the winter.

Cottage Style Christmas Decor

So I decided to stick with the majority of what I have and just make some simple swaps for summer. 

Summer Cottage Living Room

It's quicker this way, so I can enjoy more time outside instead of redecorating and it's certainly much less expensive.

So there you have it, my in process living room makeover.

Not really a before, but not an after either. 

I still have to comb out the curls and put on the lipstick.

And hope that you're super WOWed when I'm done.

Should I have shared my half dressed room? Do tell...

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  1. In a previous post about styling your bookcase, I noticed the picture of your mom during her Broadway days. She was absolutely stunning!You're right about the living room looking all cozy in the winter. Love it!

  2. Well, Kim, You can be certain that a WOW will be coming from me. Your cottage is like that forever young woman that never seems to age. Doesn't need all the paint and foo-foo to still look young and pretty. What you have done so far has really lightened up your space and makes it feel cool and summery. Don't do anything that won't take it back to the warmness of your Christmas picture, however!!..Happy Weekend..xxoJudy

  3. I have always loved your living room. It is just so darned cozy! You go with you gut and not with trends!

  4. and it's lovely. in any season! xo

  5. Your sweet home is ♥WOW♥ in whatever way you choose to spruce it up. I hope that you and your family have a nice weekend. Blessings ♥ Teri

  6. Hi Kim, your summer lighten up is beautiful. Love the valances. The chair is a gem. Have a great weekend!

  7. But dah'ling, you shouldn't have told us! Because it already looks freshened up beautifully for summer--well, maybe that valance does need to be hemmed. Otherwise, we'd have thought it was a finished, magazine ready summer room. Much as I love your look for winter, adore it even, I can see that this works better for summer.

    Now your mother's party ready story is so much fun, so I'm glad you did tell us! I just love that she didn't gnash her teeth at guests catching her like that, that's real confidence! Be sure you let that rub off on you, Kim!

  8. Love love love it Kim. The simple change makes a big WOW! Looks very fresh and light for summer. Have a great weekend.

  9. Very Summery already! Love it this far...waiting for the finale!!

  10. Kim, this is real!! We don't all start over each season and I appreciate that you keep it real that way. When I get things that I love, they stay with me a LONG time. That's great in my eyes. :)

  11. I love the fresh new look, Kim, and I love your signature red, too. With your ;light furniture and being a whiz with curtains, you'll always have a way to change up your look. I've been playing more with pillow covers. Many easy shops make them and Hobby Lobby sells them. I just get a size that fits my existing pillows. How easy does that get?

    I'm like your mom, or was, when it came to being ready for a party. I always put myself last. I'm older and smarter and I get to put that drop down oxygen mask on first!!!

    Jane x

  12. I think your 'garbage' chair is wonderful. Have you considered painting it white? Then you print is good any time of the year. Your living room is just beautiful.
    Sandy in Calif.

  13. I love the color of the new valances. It will be fun to see what you do with them. The room is so much lighter and brighter with the red valances down but come winter they will be perfect again. Perhaps it is more so the lighting, that one is an evening picture and one is a daytime picture that makes the difference. I haven't started my sewing projects either.

  14. Of course you should share, after all we are all friends here. I think I have more respect for bloggers and all they go through when I see their thinking and the process they go through to get there. It's there that you can see the workings of the mind and why they chose this and not that. Are ya followin me? And of course it will not take away for the WOW! So I would say take a paint brush and redo that chair. Otherwise I'll come over and help! ;)

  15. Kim, I think come summer or winter your room looks great.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and ideas, they are always appreciated.

    Happy Weekend Wishes

    All the best Jan

  16. Bringing in a lighter summery ook, I think,
    is a great plan . . . Looks wonderful so far and
    I am sure it will be a WOW when completed.
    Time to enjoy the sun and the swimming pool . . .
    Happy days . . .

  17. I adore "progress" even more than "before and after"! Keep it coming, Kim; I look forward to seeing and hearing from you.
    Re: the monster machine; do you have a friend that sews? Ask for some help! :)

  18. I like the new summery look! The valances really made a difference.

  19. I love seeing the process! I love your couches, and the cottage feel of your room. I like that red pillow, too! I like to change things up around here and we have a tight budget too, so its great to see what other people do in their houses!

  20. Hi, lovely as always.
    Did the end table have the skirt before?
    I really like that idea!

  21. Hi Kim, oh I love the light and airy look of your room with the white window curtains. I am lazy and just leave the same curtains up. I hope you have a great summer and hope we can get some sunshine! LOL.
    Take care and have a nice week.
    Julie xo

  22. She looks so pretty.
    That's what I do for the summer, put away things. I prefer that. I don't really need to change curtains here though, because the weather is always considered warm for most of the year and HOT for three or four months.
    It looks really pretty, and light. I love your ceiling, but I think I've said that before.
    Our kitchen door is similar. Is that a magnetic rod? Is there a reason to hang it at an angle. I ask, because I've thought of putting something there sometimes for various reasons. xoxo Su

  23. Looks very summery, very inviting, very classy. I love it all! Fun to see it evolve. Hugs, Nancy

  24. Looks amazing, as it always does in your beautiful home!! I am not sure how this is halfway, as it looks perfect to, I'll be anxiously awaiting the next post to see how you can possibly make it better!

  25. You are very ambitious changing things up with the seasons, something I am afraid to do! I forget what I have when I don't see it! Looks great so far. Do stay with the red though. It is the wow factor!

    1. I forget too, AnnMarie. Once it's out of sight, it's essentially out of my mind. I don't have a ton of storage either so I only keep what I love...which includes all that red!

  26. Very fresh and welcoming for summer! And why haven't I ever noticed the pretty skirted fabric around the end table? Love that!!!

    1. Thanks Lisa! It's been there for a few years. It needed a makeover and it was fabric to the rescue!

  27. What a darling story about your mother, and how you tied it into your house, quite a storyteller you are Kim! Now, I don't think any of the WOW factor will change at all... I always love how you take something simple and turn it into a WOW! I love your new curtains, they are perfect! And sewing machine woes, I do feel your pain, I had a horrible machine for years and it kept me from doing anything... a nice Brother machine I purchased at Wal-Mart has made all the difference, and I mean really! Only about 100 dollars or so... well worth it, in my opinion... and I always love the peek into your living space, it is so cozy and warm. I have a curtain issue in my bedroom, and I still haven't decided what to do about it. The sun comes up here at 3:30 in the morning in the summer! So we need blackout curtains for the summer, and valances for winter to let in the light when the sun doesn't get up until 8:00 a.m., lol. I am still trying to decide how best to handle that. I will watch your updates in the living room with interest :) Hugs!

    1. Oh Marilyn, I understand your bedroom dilemma. I have the same issue. Exactly. I have opted for pleated black out shades with no curtains for summer and in winter, I add a soft sheers to frame the windows. Form and function. I wish you luck with your own sunny windows. And 3:30...yikes! That's the darkest part of the night here. And thanks for the machine tips. I will check out Walmart...

  28. When I saw your chair it reminded me of a no sew slipcover I did a few years ago. Here's the link

    It's still on the chair and looks just as good as when it was first done. I even did it for the cushions by the fire pit. If the back cushion is exposed it's not such a great technique, but if it's somewhat hidden, I recommend it for your chair.


    1. I am off to check it out, Doreen! I can use all the help I can get. Thanks for thinking of me! ♡


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