The challenge: Jill Ellingson had lived in her Woodbury home for a decade, but had never been thrilled with her family room. “It felt stale, generic, cold, just kind of blah,” she said. “I wanted to freshen it up and make it more comfortable.”
The designer: Jeralyn Mohr, Full Nest Design, 651-442-5596, www.interiordesignminnesota.com
Moving ahead: Before calling in Mohr, Ellingson had started her enhancement project with some new furniture. She reupholstered a pair of chairs in a cream fabric, and bought a brown leather couch. “Once I got that, I was stuck with what to do with the rest of the space,” she said.
Two in one: The room posed several design challenges, Mohr said. “It’s long and narrow, with an awkward path going right through the middle. It was tricky — how to make the room look full while being sensitive to the traffic pattern.” She dealt with the two halves of the room by creating two furniture groupings, each anchored by a new area rug. “She gave me a lot of options, and found incredible deals on great-quality rugs,” Ellingson said.
Cozy spot: Mohr wanted to add seating near the window, without blocking it. “That bank of windows is low enough that I didn’t want to cover it,” she said. So instead of a high-backed chair, she looked for a chaise longue, and found one on Craigslist — “a steal” at $150, she said. Another Craigslist find: a Pottery Barn lamp with an oil-rubbed bronze finish. Ellingson approved the purchases online, then picked them up herself, to help keep costs down.
Less is more: To give the room a clean, fresh look, Mohr removed wall shelves that had held an array of framed photos and accessories. “We needed to simplify and declutter — make bolder, fewer choices,” she said. “I used decorative boxes and picture frames that she had on the shelves, but used them more sparingly.”
Color therapy: To brighten the room’s brown-on-brown color scheme, Mohr introduced pops of vibrant blue and gold via accent pieces. Then she painted a large abstract on canvas in those hues, “to unify the palette,” she said. New accent pillows, many sewed by Mohr, also bring in the new colors.
Paint makes perfect: The upholstery on the cream-colored chairs was in good condition, but the wooden legs had faded from sun exposure, particularly on the chair closest to the deck door. “They looked like a different wood,” Ellingson said. Mohr spray-painted the legs with espresso-hued Rust-Oleum, and also spray-painted some old candlesticks that now decorate the mantel. “What a huge difference,” Ellingson said. “It looks like they’re brand new.”
Old and new: To accessorize the room, Mohr “shopped” for pieces Ellingson already had. “She walked around my house. Anything was fair game,” Ellingson said. “She found things in other rooms and repurposed them.” A few new accessories, including grommet-topped drapes in a Moroccan-patterned fabric and a cushy faux fur throw, add warmth and texture.
Final touches: When one of the rugs arrived, it had more burgundy in it than either Mohr or Ellingson had expected, so Mohr decided to bring that color into the palette. “Why not? Let’s roll with it.” She added burgundy stems to vases bought at Goodwill, brought in a burgundy pillow and a burgundy book that Ellingson already had in her library. Ellingson also had some dark red craft paint on hand, so Mohr used it to line a gold picture frame. “It was a happy accident,” Mohr said. “A few pops of that burgundy were just punctuation and made everything a little richer.”
The result: Ellingson and her three teenage kids all love their new space, where they gather to read, do homework and watch TV. “It’s the room we all hang out in,” she said. “It’s warmer and cozier. It feels like a completely different room.”