Living/Dining Room: After

I spent so much time planning and scheming over our living/dining room that it’s actually kind of shocking to look back at the ‘before’ photos. You can check out more ‘before’ photos and inspiration photos on my previous post. In case you guys forgot, this my photo from when we first saw the apartment:

The biggest impact comes from the enormous mural on the long wall across from the kitchen. It’s from SurfaceView, a UK company that makes custom-sized all murals of art from lots of different collections. This is from “A View of the Island of New Caledonia in the South” by William Hodges (c. 1772-1775) from the UK National Maritime Museum.

These are peel and stick panels that are fully removable/temporary (and that I hung myself). They definitely aren’t as perfect as regular wallpaper hung by a professional–they do have some air bubbles– but given that we are renters, it is a fantastic solution that totally changes the mood and character of the room. By using a painting with perspective, it also adds a lot of depth to what is really a long, narrow room.

The rug is a Moroccan Beni Ourain rug from Atlas Weavers that I fell in love with the pattern of, after telling myself that the last thing I wanted was a high pile, trendy rug. Oops. It’s soft and cozy and for a while we had no sofa so we just had to lie on the rug and I wouldn’t change a thing about it.

I spent months looking for the perfect coffee table, and first bought one from Ikea which was way too small and shook when we inevitably bumped into it. I really wanted a round one because I thought it was a good shape with the sectional and, again, less painful when you bump into it (is that just us?). Also, I hate glass topped tables because I tend to get tons of dirty fingerprints all over them and then I can either be the neurotic lady with Windex under her sofa or accept that dirty fingerprints are a way of life. I prefer to be lowkey messy in reality, but maintain the fiction of cleanliness.

Anyway, I saw this perfectly sized coffee table from a furniture maker on Etsy called Sutton Projekt who designs and makes furniture in Florida. He kindly agreed to make the table in curly maple and it is so beautiful. The shelf is also the best part because all of the things that I don’t know what to do with but aren’t pretty enough to put on the coffee table are under there.

The sectional is from Anthropologie because I really wanted a jewel-toned, velvet sectional and they had the prettiest colors of velvet I saw without going truly custom (I would highly recommend getting swatches, because it made all the difference). We measured and remeasured the space to make sure it would be the right size and then I looked around again to see if there was anything else that would have worked. There wasn’t. The cute little stool is from World Market and the standing lamp is Bower for West Elm.

I did the drawings over the TV in life drawing class at FIT and the painting in the bedroom on the left in a painting class at Yale (it’s a copy of a piece in the Yale Center for British Art). The TV is the new ‘Frame’ TV from Samsung which displays an image when it is off and adjust the brightness to match the ambient light so it looks ‘matte’ and blends with the real artwork.

This image is probably the one in which it’s easiest to see the layout of the room and most closely matches the orientation of the ‘before’ image. I decided to delineate the living and dining spaces with the rugs and wall mounted bookcases, but the mural acts to blend the spaces together. The kitchen also is very much in the space so it made sense to keep the space relatively informal.

I did all three of these paintings, during and after college. Because of the mural and the number of closets (which are great) we don’t actually have so much wall space for painting, so the window sill is the perfect solution.

The blue rug is from Anthropologie, as are the blue lacquered dining chairs. The chairs were the first pieces I decided on for the dining area because I needed to have a padded seat for comfort and I liked their elegant shape and the slightly unusual color. The table, although I love it now, was a much harder decision to come to and very much came from an elimination of lots of other options rather than looking at this one and saying it was perfect. It was tricky to find a table that was big enough for six chairs and not so big that we wouldn’t be able to get around it. The trestle legs were also important to allow us to pull up a few extra chairs if necessary.

The table that fit all of those criteria (and was pretty) was a live edge trestle table from West Elm. It’s no longer available– I guess no else but us ever wanted a 68″ dining table– but it’s a lovely color. The art piece between the CB2 bookcases is by Hari and Deepti, paper artists whom I really admire and I commissioned this piece from.

I really love how the patterns in both rugs echo each other, which you can really see here. Also, pillows with elephants are always a good idea.

Here you can really see the color of the chairs and the beautiful light that the dining area gets. I should also note that all of the gourds that look weird and misshapen are mine and any that are pleasing and symmetrical are my wife’s. This in no way reflects on our personalities.

And here is one of the most beautiful parts of the room! (His sister was sleeping in a drawer and wasn’t ready to be photographed). His name is King Arthur Pendragon (‘Dragon’) and he loves biting and naps.

6 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I love a good before and after! You’ve done such a great job with that space! I don’t know what my favorite part is, but the rugs have definitely got my attention!

  2. Hi Caroline

    Visiting from Kate’s blog, Mad About The House, in England, after you linked your beautiful sofa.

    I am so impressed with the way that you have married style and substance. Having seen the finished room, I genuinely would have estimated it as being twice as big a space as that “before” picture. Your layering, perspectives and sheer usefulness of the space is hugely impressive. It’s a room that makes me feel relaxed and welcome, just looking at it. I hope that you are enjoying it!

    I too have a sitting- dining room (in an 1879 Victorian house split into two apartments), and am giving serious thought to a 150cm (five foot) diameter round dining table – in part for the reasons you gave re: your coffee table. Did you consider a round dining table at all? What made you decide against it, if you it was up for consideration?

    Will be subscribing to explore further.

    Best wishes


    1. Hi Denise,

      Thank you so much! Because I fell in love with the sectional first, the dimensions of our room wouldn’t allow for a round table as well, so I didn’t really consider them in this space. Personally, I love the look of a round table and it’s great for conversation– if I’d seen a round table first that I’d fallen in love with, this might have been a different story! I also like how a round table often allows for a more spacious buffet/serving table, which we can’t really fit in this space.

      So glad you are subscribing! We have more before & afters coming soon.

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