Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Guest Post at Sadie + Stella

Today I am guest-posting at the fabulous Sadie + Stella design and lifestyle blog. Lindsay, the brain and a stylish total package, runs a very interesting series called "Favorite Room Feature". Please head over to Sadie + Stella to say hi. 

Hello Sadie + Stella readers! I am so thrilled to be part of the Sadie + Stella's Favorite Room Feature series. My name is Michelle Shen, and I am the blogger/designer behind AM Dolce Vita. My design blog started out as a chronicle to document our house renovation projects. It has since evolved to an idea repository where I share and help friends and family as well as online reader community with their design questions and plans.
It's so hard for me to pick a favorite room in my house as I love most of them, but I should say my living room is probably my first most successful transformation project. Four years ago when we moved into our custom-built house, our living room was in serious need for character and life. The walls were white, the floor was laminate, and it also warehoused some old furniture we brought with us from our last house. I will spare you some eye sore from the "Before" pictures, but in case you are interested, you can check them out here. After a few iterations involving getting rid of pretty much everything from the room for a clean slate, I came up with this design board.

I had a vision what I wanted our living room to look like, and a design board like this helped me visualize it.

First of all, I wanted white walls. There is no other better way to add character and impact to a room than moulding, which creates an always-there type of appeal. I went with full-wall wainscoting throughout the room then painted them in antique white.
I also wanted the room to be fresh and airy, classy and elegant, classic but also timeless. An Edwardian lantern I scored from HomeSense (HomeGoods in the US) not only set the tone in the room, but also complemented the framed antique architectural prints. The wood top from Urban Barn's Lumex coffee table introduced warmth to the overall white space, and the clean-lined box legs didn't compromise the airy feel that I was trying to accomplish. 
Blue is one of my favorite colors, and I wouldn't pass on using it in a room I decorated. These blue silk drapes not only added luxe factor to the room but also a touch of fresh color. The Martha Stewart trellis wool rug added that understated and muted elegance I was so after. 
The classic tone was carried out to the other side of the room with the antique artworks on the wall. A more contemporary curved-arm couch then gave the room a more intimate and relaxing ambiance. 
Adding some pretty coffee table books is always an easy way to add colors and sophistication to your living space.
My rock collection not only added some color pops but also served as a great conversation piece.
It was a painstaking (and costly) process to take our living room to a state which I am completely happy with. I am a true believer of "cost over convenience" when it comes to designing your own house. You should take your time learning what you want from a room and envision what you want it to look like. Don't be afraid to rip out a page from a magazine and start to design a lookalike; leverage design boards like what I did or Pinterest to help you visualize what a room would end up like with all the elements you pick out. That way you are very likely going to enjoy your design longer and more.
You can read more about my living room project here.
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