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Project Dive #1: Modern Family Living Room + Dining Room

This post is my first of a mini-series where I dive a bit deeper into recent projects. First up: the Modern Family Living Room + Dining Room Project! Feel free to scroll to the end to see a brief project snapshot.

As you may have read on Instagram, this project was super special to me. My clients had been running an at-home daycare center since Covid, a magical place in my neighborhood where my daughter attended up until preschool. When they decided it was time to close the daycare and reclaim the house back for their family of 5, they reached out to me. We dove deep into what their family needed, what furniture could be kept, what needed replacing, and where items could be moved to better use. Install occurred while the family was on vacation, right after the daycare closed — and it was pure magic to watch them return to their “new” home.

The Problem:

But let's back up more. Due to the chaos of not just an active family of 5, but also having additional children and staff running through their main spaces throughout the week, the rooms where seeing a lot of wear and tear. But not just use - many furnishings did not "fit" the space. This happens a lot when we move to a new home and work with existing furnishings or are gifted pieces from family. Or furnishings were purchases without scale and measurements really taken into account. (Inches matter!) The clients were seeking a more minimal feel, knowing that all the "stuff" and clutter they were seeing in their space was making them feel stressed and overwhelmed. So we really needed to do some editing and adding of storage.

Let's take a look at some before images:

Project Workarounds:

Every project has its limitations. It's something I don't mind - as it can pull out creative design solutions. The clients had a few specific requests when we started: they wanted to keep their sofa as well as the wall paint color. (I tell clients that by the time they spackle holes and do touchups, they might as well have painted the whole wall...) They also needed to keep the piano in one of the rooms and the credenza was a family heirloom - also a must use. Other than that, everything else was fair game. Budget was 15K.

Design Solutions:

I started with their layouts, really thinking how I could shuffle some of their furnishings. In the living room, the sofa unfortunately was locked into placement due to size and the openings of the room. I really wanted to move their piano out of the doorway area, and turn this into a hidden "mudroom" area for jackets, shoes, kids bags, etc. I was thrilled when I realized the piano could be moved into the dining room! I knew mom was gonna love not seeing kids coats. I also then needed to move their large figurative painting, which I also wanted to highlight better. That could go above the family credenza, on an accent wall in the dining room. Other furnishings, such as the coffee table and end table were replace with more space-saving and family-friendly round edges. Goodbye corners! I also added a large arch lamp over the sofa and since the kids love to sit on the floor and watch TV, I added some large floor pillows that can be tucked under the sofa when not in use. And when I found out that dad had a broken record player sadly in the corner of the dining room, I said, let's fix that bad boy and create a little listening area!

In the dining room, we all felt that the chandelier was out of scale for the space. The clients also wanted something less bright. As a fan of multiple light sources in a room (it really gives you lots of moody, ambient lighting come evening or winter), I added a fun table lamp on the piano and sconces on the sides of the painting, in addition to updating the chandelier. And the navy accent wall really solidified the solid palette and connected with the blues in the living room.

As for other bits in the room, the dining room table was updated to one that was wider and shorter, fitting the squarish room so much better. And the best part, it's extendable - perfect for larger gathers but still sits 6 daily. The kids' artwork was placed in easy-to-change-out kid frames for a more gallery feel. Again, less chaos for mom. Win! The mirror over the piano added more curves to the space and black to the wall. Apparently, it's the new family selfie mirror. ;) And the patterned curtains across from the navy accent wall add a touch of playful drama.

All in all, the changes in furnishings, both new purchases and shuffling current pieces around the room, made a huge impact to the look and feel of the space. Holler with any feedback - I'd love to hear your thoughts!


Project Snapshot

Name: Modern Family Living Room + Dining Room

Location: The Tree Streets, an historic neighborhood in Johnson City, TN

Main Problems: Lots of visual noise, spaces needed focus, furnishings not to scale or worn out

Design Workarounds: Clients wanted to keep their sofa, along with the wall paint color

Furnishing Requests: Dining for 6 at all times, up to 8

Budget: 15K

Key Solutions: Softer edges with smaller footprints to make the space larger, more cohesive look with a color thread (navy blue!), more lighting options, showcasing art, hiding daily clutter



Lockers: Maisonette

Living Room Rug: Lorena Canals

Living Room Coffee Table: Joss and Main

Record Player Stand: Line Phono

Chandelier: West Elm

Kids Art Frames: Amazon

Dining Room Table: Crate and Barrel

Dining Room Chairs: Wayfair

Dining Room Curtains: That Dutch Girl via Etsy

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