And I checked with her on this one. She likes the mix of the ornate mirror and the contemporary table, the airy feeling, and the pops of color. But she wants more color. So!
Here's the room she is redesigning, and my running commentary.
It's got high cathedral ceilings, which works for what she clearly wants - heavy on the white, contemporary but not slick. The red walls HAVE to go, and I would recommend getting rid of the crown molding at the ceiling line. It just brings down the cathedral ceiling. I think the point of this architecture is it wants to soar. So let it. Paint everything white (Linen White? with a little warmth in it?) including the beams (which already are white, but we want them to match the newly painted walls).
She should add more molding around the doorways and windows -- its not chunky enough to stand up against the large beams. It could even be salvaged wood, left in its raw state (I'd do that to the doors only, not the windows.)
The floors seem fine -- two of the photos she chose for inspiration above seem to have similar toned floors.
That ceiling fan should be replaced with something more modern. The current fan is really really busy and dated and I hate it. But Jen herself seems very nice. :)
I'd go for something either from the modern fan company ( http://www.modernfan.com/velo.html) or from the big ass fan company -- very cool industrial fans. Might be too big ass, though http://www.bigassfans.com/residential/index.html
I'm not super juiced about the spot lights, but for the moment I'll let them stay.
She should get matchstick blinds for the lower part of the windows. Ikea sells 'em cheap.
Everything in the room is so LOW to the ground and a bit timid and why is it hugging the walls so? I'll be looking for some bigger pieces -- a big mirror, large art, tall cool... things. Something substantial and tall is needed to balance out the massive stone fireplace you are about to meet.
Now this fireplace wall: the easiest thing to do would be to get rid of the mantle and all the bits and pieces up there -- they are too complicated with the already complex visual pattern of the stacked stones -- give it another coat of paint, white to match the walls. I'm considering some other options, though.
If Jen wants the room to be a bit more modern she could have a carpenter cover that wall in drywall to the ceiling, then wrap it in zinc sheets (with little brads hammered into rivet together the pieces.) It would look something like this, only not really because that's a stove not a fireplace. But if you squint you can see what I am envisioning.
Or cover the stones in wood all the way around, even into the dining room on the backside of the fireplace. This is a modern version, with the wood left unadorned. It could also be made really cheaply, and with more of an edge, from wood pallets, torn apart and nailed up on lathing. Jen could also get exterior wood siding and install it with an overlap between the boards -- that would be cool. Then that could be painted.. maybe a light grey or a dark charcoal. Or if she wants to go bright, a canary yellow?
Or she could cover the stone with plaster and make it smooth like a kiva, or just it give it the kiva treatment at the top and keep the rustic bottom. But you have to like rustic. Which she might.
In all but the last case I would get rid of the mantle. Jen I think is responding to the crispness and simplicity of the rooms above, and mantles are often just temptations to clutter. I say: make the architecture the art -- the height, airiness, the beams, the fireplace -- and get rid of all those little framed things. Busy busy busy.
So that's the envelope of the room. Paint out all the distracting details, let the room soar a bit, and begin to fill it -- but not too full -- with great pieces, mixing slick and shiny with patina and natural finishes, and ornateness with simplicity.
Now for some furnishings. She's in Memphis, and Craigslist is some slim pickins there. But there's a town called Jonesboro, AR, which Craigslist assures me is nearby (I checked a map) so I included some finds from there.
This couch and chair set are slipcovered in white -- perhaps off white -- and they are just $250. Jen's checking them out as we speak. They are a sight better than what she has, though not perfect. I'd like to find her something a bit more sleek and modern. These are screaming shabby chic and I'm pretty sure that's not what we are after. But for $250... they are a sight better than what she has now.
Together with the two chairs she has -- they appear to be pale yellow leather? -- they could make a fine conversational grouping, pulled up closer to the fireplace. and gathered in a U shape.
This cypress side table is a must. I think its $125, and if she doesn't immediately get in the car and go buy it, I might pass out from fury. need. that. table. The organicness of it! and it's graceful... like an old airplane model on a stand. I super heart.
This is just a start... some retail choices to come in the next post. Given the paucity of used choices -- at least those available on the Internet -- Jen is going to have to be patient.. the more patience, the cooler and cheaper the stuff.