Wednesday, August 19, 2009

So you want to come and visit?

Come on in!

You might recall what the den looked like before.

It was red.

It was intense.

It felt very dark.

I decided that my life is intense enough-and my kids are {ahem} a little....intense?

So it was time to create the "Zen Den"-a relaxing room that encouraged everyone to relax and put their feet up.

So come on in!

Before, as you entered the room from the dining room:

Now. Can we all let out a collective...ahhhh.....please?

Fireplace wall before:

Fireplace wall now:

You all might recall my dilemma with the funky windows in the room. Someone suggested to extend the curtains from the fireplace wall all the way around the tall windows. So I did.

Wall where the couch was:

What is there now:

Where the entertainment center was:

What's there now:

The crap toy closet/desk wall then:


For those who are interested, let's talk design:

First of all, the light is soooo bad in these pictures. But if I wait until tonight to take new pictures, this post will never happen.

The color is Monroe Bisque. For whatever reason, the color came out a lot more gray than I anticipated. My friend who has the same color in her house agrees. Not sure if it was mixed wrong or what, but it's a lot more gray-ish than tan-ish. And Benjie says he will NEVER paint again. This room has been three colors in seven years. So Monroe Gray-ish Bisque it will remain.

I'm still undecided about the fireplace. I still kind of want to paint it white. Benjie does. not. want. me. to paint. the. fireplace. He mentioned maybe painting the wood mantle instead. Opinions? I still have dreams of enclosing the Hearth of Death and tiling it but am afraid/have not a clue how to do it.

The curtains are drop cloth curtains. I'm considering adding some trim to them, but not sure if it will be too much. I started out with upholstery tacks ala Nester, but maybe I'm a spaz because they looked sooooo bad. So I picked up new rods in a bushed bronze color at Target-really skinny with a small finial at each end, mounted butted up to each other in the corners. I love them-and they were only $4-6 each!

I got bamboo shades for the two large windows. Still considering matching ones for the three small windows-but am not sure.

Opinions on the large paper lamp thingy in the corner? I'm thinking it's too modern-it only cost $20 at Ikea so it's no biggie if it didn't.

LOVING my new sisel-esque rug from Home Depot. Only wish that it was a tad bigger.

Do you all notice my awesome new little chair from Ikea? I love it!!! I wanted a small chair and my mom and I found the perfect one at Ikea. And it was cheap!

Let's look again at the top of my entertainment center. Not loving it. It needs more. It's such a big area that I'm afraid it will get too full. Help!

I need something BIG to go up there-but what???

Also, the corner by the new chair needs some lighting. I have a petite 3 arm white chandelier that I could hang there. (you can see it sitting on the Hearth of Death in the closeup of the fireplace) Thoughts?

I also moved my photos what were above the fireplace to over my couch. But I think they are too high. I need to move them down about six inches, right?

By the way-every accessory came from inside my own home! I just gathered all my white and cream accessories and grouped them in my den. I'm very happy with it!

I hope you all have enjoyed the bad lighting tour of my new Zen Den!


Anonymous said...

i feel so .... calm.

and so... jealous!!!

you should be on a tv show or something! do you step into the room a thousand times a day and just gloat because you (ok, and benji too) did such an AMAZING job?

i have to go back and look again, but i think the fireplace wall looks great now...could you have your cabinet maker friends make something to enclose the underside of the "hearth of death" and use it for storage?

ok, going back to check out the pictures again...

i actually like the wood of your mantle, and the brick is really not even showing so much any more...your new to the room accessories on the mantle are great!

enjoy, enjoy!!

Anonymous said...

LOVE it! Just looking at these pictures gives me that zen feel! Though its hard to tell from the pictures, I agree that you should move the family pictures down a bit. Re: the top of the entertainment center: You can try getting an interesting vase or something of that sort on ebay for cheap...

Miriam said...

WOW!!! Love it!!! Miriam

Shosh said...

it looks AMAZING. but i do agree you should lower the pictures

Shira said...

I love love love it!! I had to enlarge each picture about ten times to really catch all the details. You are seriously insanely amazing. I'm not the biggest fan of the paper lampy corner thing. But I love the chair and everything else. I think if you go to TJ Maxx or Marshalls you can find some weird artsy thing to go on top of the entertainment center. Love it! You must feel so accomplished! Enjoy it.

Rach said...

It looks so much more bright and open and relaxing and amazing! You're awesome!

Anonymous said...

Yikes. You might want to google zen and avodah zarah (hint: buddhism).

All My Monkeys said...

Wow. Looks FAB! And I LOVE LOVE LOVE that you did not paint the brick. I think it is much more balanced because of that, it's a nice focal point without being obnoxious, adds warmth with it's soft color. Oh yeah. Nice job. I actually liked being able to see the wood floor more, despite that you said you wished the rug was bigger. Not wild about the corner lamp thingy. Chandelier would look good over the chair. Pics..hmm... looks kinda checkerboardy. Could you take the top 2 and make a row of 4 at the bottom? Or would that look too pyramid-y? Just a suggestion to try out. I love the curtains, and the shades. I wouldn't add shades to the other windows. Don't need em, imo.

Ok, so, my house next??? ;D

Anonymous said...

according to Wiktionary, the colloquial usage of the term zen means "extremely relaxed and collected". I'm sure that you, sara, meant that definition and meant no connection to Buddhism.


Anonymous said...

Tamar is 100% right! There was absolutely no connection whatsoever to Buddhism in the make-over of the den, only some very much deserved calmness and relaxation. I know that for a fact since I helped in the selections for the make-over. Sara's Mommy (and Tamar's Ima)

Anonymous said...

about the pictures...kind of like what all my monkeys suggested...lower what is now the middle row (you and b, family pic and four kids together), and then put all four of the individual kid pictures along the top, spread out to the same length as the other three pictures. it will make for a smaller display, so then maybe you would want to mount something (sconces? does the sofa need more light) up higher near the windows on either side.
just a thought.

rickismom said...

Looks real nice! The amount of light (vs darkness) is MUCH better.

Christy said...

Wow - lovely! Quite the change! It looks great.

galiah said...

I love your new "home improvements!" It's amazing how much a color can do. I LOVE (in the 4th pic from the top) those 2 tan panel-y things with the lighter tan snowflakes (not sure exactly what they are or what they're made of but they are beautiful and look great there). I do like your fireplace the way it is-- that's my opinion.
(Hey, do you do consultations?! Next time you're in NY, I'm hiring you!)

amy (3Peas) said...

SARA!!!! Love it!!! Seriously- so zen/calming- NICELY done!!
I like the fireplace as is- it helps tie in the brown tones from your couch and harwood floors.

melissa said...

Sara~it looks soooo much better! Brava! What about 2 picture ledges next to each other to display your great family pics on? I would tile over the hearth of death, I think. And are you sure that is monroe bisque?? Maybe it's just the lighting? You did great!

TidyMom said...

Looks GREAT!!! I like what Melissa suggested about trying picture ledges.

of how about this layout for your pictures-
leave the large one in the middle (but come down a bit) on one side use the picture of the two of you slightly lower than the center picture and closer in - above that hang 2 of the smaller pictures one of the other - then do the same on the other side, but flip flop it - hang the family one slightly higher than the center pic, with the other two smaller ones each under.

Does that make sense? so the left side from top to bottom would be
small medium
small Large small
medium small


TidyMom said...

ok, my typing changed after I posted that LOL

on the left




2Thinks said...

Gosh, this is gorgeous. Projects like this paralyze me. For years I've been thinking about just painting my bathroom wall, I got the wallpaper down (never will I ever buy a house with even one stitch of wallpaper- again), but now I can't seem to get the glue from the wallpaper off of the wall. I get it wet with hot water, wait, rub, scrape. It comes off bit by gooey bit, while I sweat over it and get all out of breath. When I'm done, I haven't even conquered a 5 inch square of wall area. Depressing.

Your Zen Den rocks, as my kids would say and I love that you call it the Zen Den.

To The Moon and Back said...

Great transformation. So relaxing now. I used to have a red scraproom, couldn't deal with the color. It was as if my blood pressure rose every time I walked in there.

KMfamily ;-) said...

You out-did yourselves!
Awesome & great job!!

I like it much better than the red

Melanie said...

Wow! It doesn't even look like the same room. It us open and relaxing now. I love what you did with the window treatments. Looks great.

Karen at Nittany Inspirations said...

I love the transformation. Keep the fireplace as is, except for boxing in the hearth. The pictures above the sofa need to be grouped together closer to look like one unit. I like the idea of ledges, or you could also paint a rectangle on the wall and keep all your photos in that area. Perhaps moving the smaller ones to another area and hanging those vertically.

Frugal Jen said...

What a great transformation!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm a photographer and I agree the checkerboard photo wall has to be redone. I always tell my clients to layout their pictures on the floor and try different formations to see what you like the look of best. If you can't decide that way then use painters tape and tape up the photos on your wall...but just tape where they will be so you can try different ideas without putting so many holes in your wall. My initial thought looking at it would be to put the 4 smaller photos in a row underneath. I think that would look good but the other ideas might also look good.

Victoria said...

Came over from 320 Sycamore to see more of your transformation! It is beautiful. Love how it lightened everything up!

I would paint the mantel but I would because I love painted wood much more than stained wood.

erin said...

How about putting up a big wrought iron clock above the entertainment center. We got one at Walmart for 30 bucks and placed it above a fireplace mantle in the kitchen. It will take up space and draw attention to it, but you will still be able to place nick-knacks on top of the entertainment center.

Tracy @ comfortandluxury said...

Great job! Love the art over the mantle and the new color scheme and your little chair and yes, I think a chandelier would be nice hanging in the space above it. What do you think about painting yours black? I think the clock over the entertainment cabinet is a good idea... then layer other objects on top of the cabinet and overlapping a bit in front of it. Here's another idea for your over-the-sofa photos: move the four kids photos in toward the center til the space between them and the center photo is the same as the space between the medium and large photos. Then, move the whole grouping down the wall til the lowest point is about 6 inches above the top of the sofa. You'll end up with a pleasing oval-shaped arrangement... especially if you place a decorative object at top center to finish it off... some sort of scroll-y wall plaque with curvy lines. Hope you don't mind me tossing in my two cents!

Tracy @ comfortandluxury said...

Wait. I'm second-guessing myself. Move the smaller pics in toward the center til they line up on center with the medium pics. Better.

I read your opus. Pretty amazing. I deal with insurance companies daily as the medical biller for a small group of doctors. As maddening as it is for me as a job, I can't imagine how frustrating it is for you considering the greater seriousness of your situation. And the fact that it's your LIFE, not just a job. Keep fighting. In the brief time I've been here, you appear to be up to the challenge. Dovi found the right mom.

Megan said...

Wow!! What a difference!! I really like it. I like the brick right now. Maybe it's the lighting in the picture, but it brings some warmth in with the floors and the bamboo. Maybe this is odd and you won't know if it would work until you try it, but what about adding a layer of fabric around the hearth and then using it to stow away your toys and what nots. Or just continuing the basket theme with some large textural baskets? I really like the mantel set up. Great job!

Amy Jo said...

Amazing! You guys worked fast! WHen I saw the original pics on Melissa's post, I think I actually shuttered. The red color was so overpowering, but it looks great now. So much cleaner and lighter. You flipped everything around and it looks great. How do you like the paint dropcloths for window treatments? (they look great!) I hung one up in my bedroom and was really surprised at how thickly they hung. Did you wash yours? I'm contemplating it.....

Carol said...

Would you like to add vinyl wall words to your grouping of family photos? There are so many neat quotes that pertain to families that would really bring your grouping together. The picture ledge suggestion is very good or also bringing the photos together more and putting the 4 individual photos in a horizontal line either above or below the bigger pics. The LARGE clock above the entertainment center sounds good too.

Anonymous said...

Love what you did! I think the paper lamp tower needs some trim, so use whatever you decide to use on the curtains. The photos over the couch need to be grouped more closely: The big fam pic in the center, little fam pic under, pic of you and hubby on top and then the individual pics two to a side over each other. I love the vinyl lettering with the family grouping idea, love grows here or the definition of family would be good. How about a jar of rocks, like a nice fat biscuit jar and a fern? Great room!!! Patty