RSS Feed

Living Room Switch Up

August 5, 2011 by admin

So last weekend Sara decided we needed to revamp our living room.  I know, I know, the one that was just in House & Home Magazine.  But she’s the boss!  For all of those who wonder if poor Sara gets any say in the decorating, here you go!

She really wanted to try having the sofa in the bay window (secretly I think it’s because that’s how it was in her parents’ house).  I like it there too, but I’m not sure about all of those chairs in this arrangement.

The coffee table feels a little lost this way – Sara would like to try another sofa or a two-seater perpendicular to the sofa in the window, which I agree, would hold the room a bit better.  The mantle was lightened up severely because she was getting a little tired of my many tableaux, so it’s just candles and vintage bottles with ferns at the moment.  Lighter for summer.  Or at least the moment.  In person, the room feels airier and more open than before.  I’m sure we’ll continue to switch things up and layer up again as the weather turns, but for now it was fun to try.

One little corner I do really like is above with the burlap skirted table (picked up in Maine) and the shells and fern and pottery etc.  It’s a nice little spot.  We’ve had this set up for a week now, but with the weekend just around the corner, who knows what will change next!



  1. sharon says:

    Hi MIchael,
    Love the sofa. Who did your slip cover?

    • Thanks Sharon – I love it too! The fabric is from Designer Fabrics in Toronto and the Slipcover was by Pat Walker – google her and House & Home and I’m sure something will come up. Or email me. She’s great!


  2. Mary says:

    Try switching your chairs. Put the chair that’s in the lower-left side of your picture, to the left of the fireplace. Next to the floor lamp. And the 2 chairs in front of the fireplace now, put them to the left side of your sofa. Basically switch the location of the chairs.
    It looks a little crowded in front of the fireplace now. This will make your beautiful fireplace more of a focal point. But I like the sofa in front of the window. It allows you to read & look out the window at the same time.

  3. joe says:

    where did you find the chairs in front of the fireplace?

    • The chairs came out of a hotel my Dad worked for – cherry wood frames stained dark and burgundy-like, wine-coloured and gold striped shiny fabric. Basically so heavy and ugly! But the frames were painted white and the fabric is a Sunbrella indoor/outdoor seersucker from InVu Drapery in Toronto. Glad you like Joe!


  4. Ali Ryan says:

    I love moving furniture around too – too much so – ha ha! How about the 2 bergeres in the window with the skirted table in between and the sofa facing the fireplace with maybe a console behind it with 2 lamps? A pair of small chairs or benches near the fireplace? Really though, it is a gorgeous room and you have so many wonderful accessories – I’m sure anything you do will be fabulous!


  5. Stacy Begg says:

    Where is that ikat fabric from – love it. I kind of like the sofa in front of the window.

    • Haha Stacy! The ikat fabric (which I fall in love with again each time I see it) is from Lee Jofa. If you watch Million Dollar Decorators whenever they’re talking to that long haired blond guy you see it on cushions in the background. I think they picked the same fabric! It’s great though eh? Such a pretty, watery colour.


  6. Karen says:

    Its good to know that even professional decorators are always tweaking and even rely on trial and error sometimes. I sometimes think that you guys just know what works and the rest of us are just trying to catch up. Love that skirted table.

    • Oh no, don’t think that Karen! Decorators are the same as everyone, just trying this and that. For me, there are certain set ups that I instinctually know will work best in a room – maybe just out of practice – but in this case Sara and I just wanted to have fun and see what else might be an option. I think that’s just part of the fun right?


  7. Emma says:

    Another option is to move the chairs in front of the fireplace so that they face the couch. That might make the room feel a little more balanced.

    I love how you and Sara collaborate and on design decisions! What a good team.

    • Thanks Emma – that’s an option we’ve tried too, only trick is it leaves the fireplace wall and the built ins looking like one big long wall of, I don’t know, something weird. We layered our smaller occasional chairs in front of the fireplace to help that out, but then it seemed strange having the four chairs facing each other, especially given their vastly different scales. And then the big sofa seemed shoved in the window by comparison. Arg, back to the drawing board…Thanks again Emma!


  8. Steve says:

    It’s a really lovely room. I had to go back to see how it was in the magazine. It’s always fun to move furniture around because it give a fresh perspective to everything. This setup is definitely more open as you enter the room but the magazine room feels more balanced. I like the chairs in front of the fireplace–totally fine for summer–and the light chairs against the dark fireplace support that as a focal point. Is that searsucker on the bergere chairs? Love that. The covered table vignette is gorgeously summer.

    But I have to ask about the lovely mirror over your fireplace. I see those as distinctly American with the eagle and 13 orbs representing the original colonies. Is it a nod to your neighbors on the south side of Lake Ontario or have we just made up that symbolism in a moment of patriotism?

    Beautiful room.

    • Thanks Steve, yes the chairs are upholstered in a thicker version of seersucker and I love them! They’re also very comfortable for reading and chatting etc and most people curl up with their legs crossed on them. THey’ve been dragged around to three homes by us now! And two different fabrics!

      The mirror – yes, kind of American, but bought in our favourite spot in Maine. It just feels so evocative of that place that we love so much. And I grew up on Martha Stewart shots with lovely gilded mirrors like this, so I just had to try it out. Thanks for your thoughts!


  9. Nancy gaylord says:

    Nancy Nice and airy.I love it for summer. I try to take out items for this season because winter and fire in fireplaces and Christmas decorations add so many things and cozy it up. I Think less is better for the hot months. The covered table in the corner is pure joy. Lovely room.

  10. katy elliott says:

    Ha! Love this post and it’s fun to see your Maine find on the table. Looking good!

  11. Paula Nolan says:

    Your friendly neighbourhood undecorator. That’s what I love about decorating and styling, no right and wrong, it’s what pleases. Granted some please, more than others. Life’s a transition, always changing…my decorating has always been a ‘it will do… for now’ proposition. You never know how long ‘for now’ will last. Hope your dining room lasts a long time…that’s a great set-up.
    Did you see Jessica Fletcher in Maine?

  12. Cynthia says:

    Good morning! Michael, I have to say I discovered your blog about a week ago and have read EVERYTHING on the internet that has anything to do with you! I love your decorating sense! It is great that you have your lovely wife to help you in arranging furniture. I do this constantly and have finally said, that is it! I told my mother to not allow me to move my heavy sectional in the living room again! It always goes back to the original position anyway! Thank you so much for all you do!

  13. naomi says:

    Fun! Apparently nothing brings us readers out of the woodwork like a chance to give you decorating advice 😉 I love to read on a couch by a window, and I think that blissful feeling is worth a bit of a challenge with the room/furniture proportions. My two cents, (and it’s off the top of my head so it might be all wrong) is that a higher, larger round table maybe wicker like this one from Pottery Barn table replacing the coffee table might balance out the regtangular couch/room and then you could leave the chairs where they are and face them with a two seater.
    Whatever you do it’s still such a lovely room.

  14. I love switching things up. My apartment’s never the same – something’s always moving…changing…evolving. I wouldn’t have it any other way 😉

  15. Lisa says:

    Hi. I just now saw this while perusing the archives, and you’ve probably re-arranged your furniture several times since your post, but if not … Have you ever considered replacing the coffee table with antique tea tables? There was a Jeffrey Bilhuber room similar to yours that did that, and it looked fabulous. Tea tables are so light and airy compared to low, squat coffee tables — I’m on the look-out for some myself.

  16. nalleshouse says:

    Hi, Just came across your lovely living room in a search for a tuxedo sofa with a wood frame bottom. Do you have the source for the sofa (not the slipcover)? Thanks so much for your help!

    • It’s a Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams design, called the Clifton Sofa. I bought mine from Elte in Toronto but you can get them lots of places. Google Mitchell Gold and you’ll find it! Hope that helps!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *