Space of the Week: A Dark, Out-of-Date Living Room Gets a Timeless Makeover
Hint: Vintage never goes out of style.
Lauren Caron, founder and principal designer of Studio Laloc, is well aware of the impact small changes can make to a room, but that doesn't mean she's not consistently surprised by them. When owners Jennifer and Brian got in touch with her about their family's home outside Seattle, it seemed like it needed more than simple shifts. "The house was built in 1989, and had an architectural style that I can only describe as 'Cape Cod meets French Chalet,'" Caron remembers. "The family living room had a chunky fireplace surround, carpeting, purple walls, and beige ceilings. There were also heavy wood blinds, a purple sofa, and purple lounge chairs. It felt very dark and very purple."
The couple inherited the house from Jennifer's mom, and they were looking to start a new chapter in it with their daughter, Dahlia. They love to travel together, and wanted that to be reflected with eclectic pieces that still felt approachable—including for their dog, Lucia. "We wanted to create a home that feels fresh, yet rooted in historical details," Caron says. "Using their needs as a jumping off point and considering the home's original architecture, we pulled inspiration from early American New England."
The chunky fireplace and its millwork were demolished, making way for a more streamlined and traditional structure. Moldings above the mantel and on the wall were installed next to an existing built-in bookcase, and everything was painted Benjamin Moore's "Cushing Green" in contrast to the ceiling's "Cloud White." Beams overhead match the new wood floors below, and custom drapes in a linen blend keep the surrounding palette neutral.
"For the decor, we gathered influences from English interiors, incorporating that relaxed, eclectic feel that isn't held to one particular look or design era," Caron adds. A mix of bold-yet-cheerful accents are supplied by a vintage rug and side table alongside a throwback chair and artwork, proving that everything old can be new again. Just like the house itself.
The upgrade was completed late last year, and Caron still enjoys looking at the difference made by the details. "Through redesigning and rebuilding the facade of the fireplace surround, along with a little paint, we were able to completely change the character and mood of the living room," she says. "And overall, historic influences allowed us to create what we hope to be a timeless space that can be enjoyed for years to come."
Get the Look:
This mid-range shade of green is not only having a moment right now, but it's also part of Benjamin Moore's Historical Collection, meaning it won't go out of style.
Vintage-style brass candlesticks lend old-school style to a fireplace mantle, even when placed beside a modern TV. Set against the rich green backdrop, these metallic accents really shine.
For those who aren't afraid of color, go for a vibrant sofa in a hue you'll never tire of, like this luxe blue-green color. Keep the silhouette classic and choose a fabric that stands the test of time, such as velvet.
An Artful Arrangement
On either side of the television, Caron created mini gallery walls. Still life paintings have been popular for thousands of years, proving they will still be admired decades from now.
In the corner of the living room, Caron upholstered a vintage chair in fabric from Michael S. Smith. To get the look, opt for throw pillows in the same pattern.