Design Mixology: A Traditional/Preppy Space for Our Clients (And a Few Living Room Decor Ideas For You!)

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When our clients came to us, they'd just bought a cute village house right here in Skaneateles, NY. Though they loved the architectural "bones" of the historical home, they wanted to update the living room for their modern lifestyles by turning it into a family gathering zone where they could also entertain guests.

Sound like a tall order? Not really, as long as you have a few of our "design mixology" tricks up your sleeve!

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First of all, we established that - even though the space would be seeing daily use from the family - this historic beauty's architecture called for something a bit more polished than the average family room. And even though our typical "farmhouse" look is far from slouchy, it just wasn't the answer here.

Instead, we landed on a mix of updated traditional and New England preppy styles to best suit the home and its owners' preferences.

Here's the living room before...

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 living-room-redesign-before

While it didn't need dramatic changes, it did need some brightening up to keep it from looking dated and tired. That sounds a little like a makeup tutorial for (ahem!) more mature faces, doesn't it?!

At any rate, we lit up the space with a soft green-blue paint and a new rug in a light, neutral palette. I love that the rug looks classic and fresh at the same time.

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I love that the rug looks classic and fresh at the same time.

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We also focused on bringing in beautiful fabrics. By starting with a foundation of neutrals and adding punches of preppy coral pink and modern floral patterns, we gave the room an  "updated classics" look and feel.

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 modern-ottoman

The sofas, chair, and white ottoman are all covered in "performance" fabrics so there's no need to worry about clean-ability. There are so many choices out right now that are perfect for family use, while still looking sophisticated rather than "industrial" or "kid friendly."

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 family-friendly-fabrics
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Just like with farmhouse style designs - it's the details that really pull everything together.

Mixing a few modern accessories together with traditional ones, and combining natural textures with sleek finishes is key. This blurs the lines between past and present, formal and casual so it all feels timeless and balanced, but also fresh and interesting.

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 bookshelf-styling-ideas
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We left the Art Deco style overhead light fixture in place since 1) it so perfectly lands in the intersection between sophisticated and cool, and 2) a smart way to upgrade a family space's style is by using sophisticated lighting and artwork because on the ceiling and walls, they're well out of harm's way. 

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The classic artwork which is an original  John Dodgson Barrow who is a legendary local artist in Skaneateles during the late 1800's  showcased in a  traditional frame is a great contrast over the clean lined sofa.

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By hanging a large mirror over the mantle, we bounced light around the room and opened up the space visually for an airy, fresh look.

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A mix of modern details like a clear glass decanter-like vase and sleek ginger jars are perfect foils for the traditional stone mantle and gilt mirror frame.

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 mantle-decor-ideas
 mantle-decor-ideas

These brightly patterned pillows just make me happy!

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The centerpiece of the entire room - both in terms of looks and functionality - is the armoire.

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Isn't it gorgeous?! You'd think it was a priceless heirloom if you didn't know it was brand new.  Just look at the detailing.

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 fine-carpentry

But wait - there's more! Because when you open it up...

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Surprise! It's actually a "barmoire!"

The homeowners specifically requested a tucked-away wine and liquor cabinet, so Andy - my talented husband and I custom designed and built it just for them (but I think he can be persuaded to make a similar one for you if you ask nicely!).

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 wine-liquor-cabinet
 wine-liquor-cabinet
 wine-liquor-cabinet

I'll be talking more about barmoires in an upcoming post; but for now, just know that adding this one piece to the mix makes all the difference for our clients and how they use and enjoy this space.

After all, what could be better than being able to usher guests into the living room for a casual drink while the kids hang out there too?!

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This cocktail of sophistication and functionality updated the room perfectly. With just a few key details, we created a space where our fun clients can enjoy modern living as they entertain and relax as a family - all while still staying true to the home's traditional style.

What about you? Does your home need a shot of updated style and functionality? Contact us here!