Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Top Five Favorite Living Rooms

I've been thinking about doing a series like this for sometime now --listing my top five favorite images for each room of the house.

I think I'll start with the living room today.  Here are the photos of living rooms that I fell in love with instantly when I saw them.  The kind I'd be happy to have in my own house.

I think this one is probably my favorite of the bunch.  I adore the bright, white walls, the relaxed vibe, the stripes on the chairs and the yellows and blues mixes together.  There is more pattern that I might normally use, but I do love it here.  It has just the right touch of wood and warmth to balance the cool white.  The beams on the ceiling and the fireplace shape are perfect.  And there is just enough asymmetry in the decorating to throw the symmetry of the room off a bit.  It feels cozy and casual and anything but pretentious. 

I wish there were wider angle views of this room (there is another photo, which you can see here), but regardless, I love everything I see.  The overscaled illustration, the casual/natural feel of the furnishings, the gorgeous warm brass sconces, the bright white walls with tons of contrast, even the pattern on the navy blue pillow is fabulous.  A room full of texture.

Are we sensing a theme?  Love the tones of green and blue (with some orange/yellow warmth) the wood, the fabulously asymmetrical overscaled art.  How the floor lamp on the left balanced the art on the right.  And the painted brick is pretty awesome too.

Just as an aside, I do wonder if we are drawn to rooms that feel familiar to us.  For the longest time, white walls seemed anything but acceptable in the decorating world (at least it was repeated over and over again in magazines), but I've always loved them.  And I think it's because I grew up with bright white walls in house filled with light.  My mom painted a huge wall of brick like this in our living room, and we always had wood antiques, which I think think are divine against white.

LOVE.  Jessica Helgerson designed this one and she remains one of my absolute favorite designers.  The eel traps above the fireplace are pure genius.  In fact the entire room feels a bit sculptural, doesn't it?  Not a single antique here, but lot of mid-century stuff.  Which surprises me since I have very few mid-century pieces in my own house.  Then, again, I grew up in mid-century built house, so maybe that's where this love comes from.  Anyway, I'm not sure I'd love to get comfy in this room, but it is beautiful nonetheless. 

This is one I was delighted to find on Pinterest, as it had been a tear sheet from Cottage Living years ago.   This room feels so current, yet I think it was featured at least five years ago, maybe more.  I remember that it is a California cottage.  I love the rustic wood, the bright white walls, the casual feel of the sofa (I think there's another parallel to this one), and the contrast with touches of black and dark wood.

I think it's important to realize that our tastes can evolve too.  Below is a living room that I still love, but it doesn't land in my top five anymore.

Oddly, this living room (also from Cottage Living)  is probably more similar in style to my current living room that the aforementioned photos with its dark antiques and floors, classic architecture, beige sofa...

If one pays attention to the advice of magazines (which were my main source of decorating advice before blogs and Pinterest) one might feel the need to follow someone else's rules about decorating.  Use lots of color!  Neutral is boring!  Introduce varying patterns in different scales!  Well, folks, I've come into my own when it comes to decorating and I'd say it's clear what I love. Neutrals; lots of natural texture; balance of symmetry and asymmetry; a few overscaled pieces; wood tones against white walls; smalls bits of color in greens, blues, and yellows; very little pattern; and lots of contrast. 

But it took years to get here.  To get to a place where I can identify what I think it good decorating and beautiful for another's house, but not for my own.  That's the key, really.  We can admire a style, but how do we differentiate that from our own?


  1. This post speaks to the way you look at decorating, Camille: philosophically, analytically, thoughtfully. Like you, I'm especially drawn to the last image and, also like you, being drawn to this subdued mix of soft colors and antiques has been evolving over time. Whatever it is that resonates about a particular must come from something familiar, whether it be color, texture or the mixture of pattern.

  2. I could definitely add those to the top of my list!!! I love everyone. Light and bright....curated and not to matchy.....I'm in!

  3. I don't know how I could love a room (#2) so much from a picture of one corner, but I do.

  4. i love that all your faves are similar, they all have the same bright, fresh spirit.

  5. oh i just love these and i love this idea of yours. ill def tune in!

  6. You're just so smart!! You are so right that our "decor loves" evolve with time...it's clear that you like white...walls...furniture...anything :) Great round up.

  7. Liking your series already! It is hard not to get side tracked by so many styles and ideas out there. I'm finding too as I get older and we get closer to being at the point of decorating our house that I'm trying to narrow down what I really love and what our true style is.

  8. How I miss Cottage Living!! Love all of these spaces and love the idea for this series!!

  9. OMG...I am pinning image #1...LOVE IT. I have already got image 2 and 3 on a Pinterest board. I just love the effect of over-scaled artwork. It really works beautifully in both those spaces. I do remember that second-last image too and I always loved that one as well.
    You are so right about coming into your own on understanding what you like. I used to struggle in the days of magazine-only with the various trends I would see and the latest mantras and what not to do and what to do and what was in and what was out. Kinda drove me crazy. But, now I am very similar to you in style choices given what I see here....and I know what I like. I look at a lot of magazine shots and really wonder who lives there or does anybody live there???
    It is nice to know your own style and be comfortable with it. So much less stress. :)

  10. Boy Camille you have hit the nail on the head. I have always loved white walls and sometimes in the past have been a little embarrassed by that. It's really important (and takes years!) to find out what you really love.

    Love all the rooms in your top 5....especially the third one from the top with the giant bird painting and the big branch lamp...it is the living room of photographer Victoria Pearson. I carried a tear sheet of her kitchen to every tile store in L.A. only to find out her tile was vintage reclaimed stone from France! Love her entire house...all walls white btw!

    Awesome post :)

  11. Loved this post and loved your top 5. How do I not remember that one from Cottage Living?? Love texture so I loved all of these and thanks to you I feel like I understand what I love, does that make sense? Another great post, Camille:) btw, I'm revealing our master bedroom on Friday (hopefully)...I think you'll like it;)

  12. I'm so with you Camille. The tough part is taking my existing home and moving it in the direction that I now know is true to me. Great post. I'm looking forward to seeing you other favorite spaces.
    Take care,

  13. I love every image you posted! So much to process. I think a lot about how my taste and design preferences are evolving and I try to be OK with it. I want to have a signature style but also incorporate new knowledge and trends into that. I'm so lucky to have your eye to help me refine it from time to time too!

  14. My favorite is the last one that Turner styled from CL. I think you'd also like the home of Jamye that Rene from C&V recently posted about!

  15. These are all really beautiful rooms. They make me want to redecorate my house. LOL!


I enjoy reading every comment.