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Before & After

Decorator Advice Gives Couple
A Richly Layered Look


Marilyn called me because she had seen a kitchen I had done in my column for Houston House and Home.

“I just thought it was a great transformation on a budget,” she says.

Not a stranger to working with a decorator, Marilyn and Alan had received color selections, and fabric and kitchen advice from another decorator but needed low-cost help with furniture arrangement, bookcase accessorizing and art placement for their living room).

TIP: One way to balance a red sofa in the room is to paint the back wall of a bookcase red—in this case “Sultan’s Palace” by Benjamin Moore.

The couple had many choices but could not make final decisions on living room furniture and art placement.

“It was obvious that our living room just did not feel ‘finished’ without art on the walls,” explains Marilyn. “I did not want the room overly ‘styled.’ I preferred a more collected and casual look, using pieces we already owned.

“Obviously the flow of the room with the awkward fireplace walk-through and passages to the stairs had to work—I just could not visualize it.” She adds that being stymied made them both feel frustrated that the space was not “finished.”

TIP: Moving in an armoire from another room and flanking it with artwork balanced the room and did not interfere with walkways.

“I was very pleased and surprised that you and your assistant, Dorenda Longoria, could rearrange the furniture at that first meeting -- and accessorize our new built in bookcase, too,” says Marilyn.

“Your attention to detail was very helpful,” she adds. The hardest suggestion for her to visualize?

“I was a little dismayed that a blue chair I had just reupholstered for the room did not work but when you suggested we move it to the bedroom beside a new Era C end table from Crate & Barrel, I was greatly relieved—it works perfectly there.”

TIP: Sometimes a decorator sees a space and colors in a rug differently. That does not mean it is wrong.

The floating floral art over the red Pearson Quatrine slipcovered sofa is by Heidi Coutu and purchased from a discontinued gallery, while the seascape over the mantel (and the coffee table) came from Marilyn’s inlaws. The other artwork came from various antique stores, Ebay and the Round Top Antiques Fair.

The Benjamin Moore paint in the living room is “Blonde Wood” on walls, “Barely Beige” on the ceiling, “Squire Hill Buff ”on ceiling beams and trim, and “Twilight Gold” on the mantel. I recommended she paint “Sultan’s Palace” on the back wall of the bookcase.

The Pearson tufted armchair fabric is Neisha by Fabricut bought at Sunny Roads; the oval side table and small round metal table the owners bought at Accessory Place. The bronze pharmacy floor lamp came from M&M Lighting, while the tall lamp on the round game table was purchased from Bellacor. The couple purchased the rooster lamp at Bering’s Hardware.

The Pearson tufted armchair fabric is Neisha by Fabricut bought at Sunny Roads; the oval side table and small round metal table the owners bought at Accessory Place. The bronze pharmacy floor lamp came from M&M Lighting, while the tall lamp on the round game table was purchased from Bellacor. The couple purchased the rooster lamp at Bering’s Hardware.

What have friends and family said about the changes?

“They love it. Our youngest daughter, whose style is much more clean and modern than ours, says she likes the rooms just the way they are!”

Trade Secrets

Think “green”—recycling existing furnishing repurposes them, keeps them out of the landfill and saves thousands, too.

Paint consistently gives the most bang for your buck.

Sometimes the most effective strategy is not to gut your living room, but to first rethink the items that are already paid for.

Joetta Moulden offers home makeovers using your own home furnishings. See more makeovers on her Web site at www.shelterstyle.com, e-mail her at joetta@shelterstyle.com or call 713-461-2063. Appointments or referrals booked by February 31 will receive a 10 percent first meeting discount. Shelterstyle.com holds a "Pages of Happiness" rating and, for the fifth consecutive year, a “Super Service Award” presented to 5 percent of companies that achieve and maintain a superior rating on www.angieslist.com.

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