A room need not be filled with high-end furnishings, expensive art, and fine antiques. A room tells a far more interesting story when it’s an engaging mix of both splurge items and affordable finds. My husband and I started collecting antiques when we were in college. Now that we are in our 60’s we have a nice collection. However, we did not start collecting “real art” until a few years ago. Many of our accessories are not fine antiques. I source flea markets, ebay, and junk shops for many of my finds. We recently updated our “way too large” master by working with what we had, shopping our house, and by sourcing etsy, ebay, flea markets, and junk shops.
We have lived in our Monterey Style Colonial for over 30 years. Our master is way too large, to be honest. We built our house when we were young in stages so we could afford it. This room was part of phase II which covers the entire garage. The room looked like a bowling alley for years because we couldn’t afford the furniture. We gradually furnished it and did the best we could afford with the decor.
Here is what it looked like before the recent update. The floors were that pumpkin pine color that was so popular back in the 80’s. The walls were colorcoated.
We never liked our ceilings. A few years ago we added another layer of color (and knifed it off) giving the ceilings a richer more layered look. We still don’t “love” them but we aren’t up to tackling that project again. A few years back we also redid the floors in a dark stain (not very practical but I love them) the color coated walls we left as is for now.
I added curtain panels by Yvonne from Soft Accents on either side of the bed to warm things up. The curtains would be a splurge item but I used a really inexpensive linen that coordinated with a bed skirt that was a cast off from another client. The curtains are lined with the same inexpensive ticking stripe that is on the chairs in one of the following photos. The rods are the Pottery Barn Iron Essential Rod and Wall Bracket . They are an inexpensive alternative with a nice clean profile. The side tables are antique. One is a wonderful antique (found many years ago in Savannah) the other not so much.
The quilt on the bed was changed out to one of my favorites, the Pottery Barn Belgian Flax Linen Floral Stitch Quilt. I cannot tell you how many times I have used this quilt in client’s bedrooms. It looks fabulous, washes beautifully, is tough as nails, and has a much better price point than others not nearly as nice. It is also on sale right now. The monogrammed pillows are from Trish from Cottage by Design. These were a splurge but well worth it. The large bolster pillow was made by Soft Accents as well. The fabric is Brunschwig & Fils le zebre . Thankfully I only needed one yard. It is definitely a splurge item.
On the adjacent wall is a beautiful American Kas (owned for 25 years) in original blue paint (a gift from Steve’s generous brother and sister-in-law years ago for building their house). Next to the Kas, I switched out the pet pics (moved them elsewhere in the room) with the Mexican iron sconces that were on either side of the bed before the curtains were there. I didn’t change a single piece of furniture other than the Parsons chair on the right slipcovered in an indoor-outdoor fabric found on Ebay. You can read my post about the transformation of this chair in my post “Project Design Exceptionally Clever Chair Makeovers”. The chair was hideous!
My husband did not want to repaint the walls (maybe later), so I opted to deflect the attention from the “yellow based” wall color by recovering all the furniture and bedding in a very neutral bisque color. The fabric for these chairs was found on Etsy. It was a very inexpensive $10.99 a yard ticking stripe. My fabulous slipcover artist Katie Baker did the slips. You can read more about them in the above post as well. I purchased the windsor smith fabric for the pillows as a scrap on Etsy.
Here is a shot of the sitting area at the other end of the room before. The old blue shuttered doors house our tv. They were an inexpensive find at Crawford’s Antiques in Soquel (a great source for antiques at good prices) when we were building our house.
Notice the odd space to the left of the fireplace. I never could quite get that right. I finally dragged in a bench (that I had out on my balcony) and placed it there. Always shop your own home before buying something new. It is amazing sometimes how moving a piece to a different room, or repurposing it can change the overall look. I had Yvonne make a cute cushion in the same stripe fabric (yes I bought tons!) and added my favorite small flange detail. The kilim pillows came from Etsy and the blue and white polka dot are Jane Churchill Soleo with a jute flange. This fabric was a splurge but I only needed a yard and a half.
Here is another old shot of the sitting area. Note no functional coffee table.
Here is the updated version. This photo was taken by Patrick Tregenza for a local magazine. The rug is from Home Depot. This rug comes in many sizes. I have one under my bed (hadn’t arrived before photos were taken) and in my family room. It is a major bargain. It won’t last forever but if you have a dog like Beau it may not last regardless! Notice how the lighter neutral fabrics made the room seem more updated without changing the furniture or even the wall color. I did a post for Project Design “How to Style Your Spring Mantel Two Ways” if you would like to see the before and after of the mantel.
I removed the doors from the Antique Cupboard (also a find from Crawford Antiques many years ago) and filled it with white and blue to soften the look. All of the items I already owned or were found inexpensively at a junk shop. Don’t be afraid to mix the fine with the not so fine. The chair was recovered (front only to save money) in Peter Dunham’s Rajmata Paisley. This chair I found years ago at a junk shop. The back is covered in the same indoor outdoor sunbrella fabric (also found on Ebay), as is the sofa and chair in a half (also known as Beau’s chair).The little seagrass table is from Wayfair. You can see the before and after of this chair on the post for Project Design, Exceptionally Clever Chair Makeovers. The painting above the chair Steve brought back from Pennsylvania many years ago while visiting his brother.
The chicken on the top shelf was Steve’s mom’s who passed away. The oyster shell pot a junk shop find. On the next shelf is a crock we have owned for years found at a flea market in the midwest. The two wood tools, found on an Eastern junket are nice antiques. The white newel knockoffs (from PB a few years ago) are flanking two antique pantry boxes. On the bottom shelf is an oyster shell ball found at TJ Maxx and two reproduction pottery pieces.
The Lee Industries loveseat is slipcovered with the Ebay sunbrella canvas by Katie Baker. We have owned that loveseat for over 20 years. Buy a simple style that won’t become dated in a year. The vintage kilim pillows are from Etsy. The luster velvet pillows in back are from West Elm (supercheap on sale ). The other two rajmata from Peter Dunham. The American Hutch table we have had forever. The Courtney Ceramic table lamp is another of my go tos from Pottery Barn. It is on sale right now as well. I have used that lamp in every color and size imaginable on multiple projects. The mirror came from Ballard Designs several years ago. It was above the fireplace previously. The antique egg prints came from Ebay and were matted and placed in frames I already had. The coffee table is from Dovetail. The water hyacinth tray is from Pottery Barn. This is another repeat offender in my designs.
I am still hoping to sell the house in a few years but we don’t want it to look like “grandpa and grandma live here” . If you want a collected layered look; collect things you love, a few antiques for character and history, buy “real” art when you can afford it, don’t be afraid to mix the high and the low, and always shop your own house before you buy. None of these things need to cost a fortune. If you like a more modern look, infuse your decor with some vintage items that will not “go out of style”. All metal and plastic can be harsh and cold. Texture and patina add warmth. The best rooms have a “balance of both”. Happy Decorating!!