We found a beautiful desk at Father Time Antiques. The desk is from the 1930s and had a green leather top that was in good, but not perfect condition. The desk fit our room perfectly, has a great classic look with history and was on budget at $195.
After doing some research, I decided to replace the leather top myself with a new black leather top with gold tooling. I had a great experience doing this, it was easy, and the results speak for themselves.
My first step was to vacuum and sand out the interior of the desk and drawers. I waxed and polished the wood and lined the drawers with cork. It initially had a musty smell but that completely dissipated after these steps were complete. I am sure it also helped to have the drawers on the floor for a week airing out.
When I removed the leather top, I noticed there was water damage on one area of the desk where the wood felt “soft”. I cut this area out with a utility knife and replaced the veneer with a piece I found on Amazon.
I measured the space with a piece of magazine, and cut the veneer with a pair of kitchen scissors.
I glued the new piece of veneer with wood glue and placed heavy books on top. Then, I filled the edges with wood putty and sanded it down when dry.
I ordered the beautiful new leather top from Dave at DCT Leathers. They are based in Canada and did an amazing job!
All I had to do was follow his instructions: brush a layer of wallpaper glue, roll out leather and smooth with cloth. Done!
This desk will live in the den, which is painted dark navy / black Railings by Farrow & Ball.
Ellis green, a needlepoint rug, and Ikea hack woven leather chairs
I posted the “before” photos of the dining room many months ago, when it was gray (and boring!), and I am not quite ready to post the “after”, but I’ve certainly made progress. What makes this room special is that all of the major elements were either made by hand or procured second hand from Ebay and 1stDibs. The most expensive item in this room was the paint. We painted the dining room Ellis Green from Farrow & Ball for a big impact. While the dining room has a lacquered look and feel, it is actually a high gloss finish and not a traditional lacquered application which is why it is not a perfect mirror, but it is close. This saved ~$5k and it works. I love the high gloss green and it makes a big impact for less [than Swedish putty / lacquer]. The inspiration home (linked above) was painted with the traditional lacquer treatment. Otherwise the paint color and finish (high gloss) are exactly the same. Comparing the two rooms you can see a difference, but one that I am willing to live with for the savings.
The ceiling and molding is painted Wimborne White. Similar to the guest room, the rug was from Ebay and is an Asmara needlepoint rug. It was a great price (<$1,000) and a perfect fit, in perfect condition.
The chairs were an Ikea hack with a $25 Ikea frame and leather strips purchased from an online supplier, based in TX. I posted a tutorial on these chairs on my old blog that you can find here. The chairs were ~$90 each. My father made the table and the bar cabinet.
The artwork is my own and flanks the large window while it awaits the perfect chintz drapes, TBD. I have pulled a few samples and am working on my final selection for long drapes, but haven’t made a final decision yet.
The fireplace is marble and was custom made for the house (by the prior owner). We will hang a large piece of art over the fireplace this month. The piece that I have chosen is currently in a show at Downs & Ross in New York. I will post the great unveil when it is hung!
I love Chairish, as you may have assumed from my previous post. What I am most excited by is the opportunity to give something “used” a new life, and to find great quality pieces at affordable prices, that are also unique and different!
I found this nightstand while searching Chairish and paid $113 for the nighstand + $80 shipping (negotiated down to UPS from white-glove). It is prettier in person than it was in the listing and there are two operational drawers that were not initially highlighted that made me so happy to see.
Am now searching for a new lamp with more color to add to this room – potentially an emerald green or a painted floral base. TBC…!
The inspiration bedroom for the guest is of course, Tory Burch’s Bird & Thistle bedroom in the Hamptons.
While the wallpaper was easy to identify, the rug was not tagged and I had to deep dive the internet to identify the rug as the Asmara Ferncroft. Tory has layered multiple rugs in this room as you can see from a photo taken at an alternate angle. It is unclear to me if this rug is also Asmara, but it does not appear to be.
Both rugs are beautiful, but at >$6,000 for the size we needed, they were out of budget, so I shifted the search to Ebay and found the perfect fit 6’x9′ for <$400. There are plenty of needlepoint rugs on Ebay to choose from. Most important for me was to find a larger floral pattern that would compliment the Bird & Thistle wallpaper well. Matching a rug to wallpaper is a bit like matching a tie to a shirt. You can mix and match patterns but the sizing should complement and the colors should coordinate, but don’t need to match perfectly. The rug that I purchased was $450 including shipping, a far cry from the thousands of dollars you could spend on a new rug, and this rug is new itself, but made in the 1990’s.
You may remember the rug that is currently in the guest room from this post, but here is a refresh:
The rug lays flat, is an off-white color, has crochet edges and is 8’x10′. I am currently selling this rug on Ebay. Here is a picture of this rug in our room, before we swapped it out.
The new rug in position couldn’t be more perfect and I love the play of pattern across the rug, quilt and wallpaper.
The seating area is coming together with the addition of artwork and furniture transitioned from the loft. As a reminder, this is what the living room looked like in the listing (staged).
And, the living room when we moved in:
The living room offers a good amount of space and light but as I’ve mentioned before, the paint job was not high quality (stray painters tape, drips and drops) and I am not a fan of gray, so our first step was to paint the entire space Wimborne White and start FRESH.
The paint made a huge difference in unifying the space and making the moldings pop!
The paint brightened up the space and highlighted the woodwork, providing a great fresh slate for furniture and art, beginning with the Pink Eyeshadow Monkey.
The living room will have two seating areas and each will be anchored with two matching rugs. After some time spent swatching, I decided on two Restoration Hardware Teen rugs that were on sale in 10×12 size. Unfortunately they will not be delivered until August, but they were relatively well priced and the colors fit the space.
We faced the chairs away from the fireplace which is a trick I first noticed at Twin Farms in Vermont and I like it here because it includes the couch in the conversation vs. facing the chairs towards the fireplace and away. The Sapien bookcase, artwork and furniture came together nicely to frame the fireplace until the rug comes in.
Our real estate agent purchased the horn vases for us in Africa, the bookcase is an Amazon find, the coffee table was a floor sample from Molteni, the chairs were reupholstered in Ralph Lauren fabric and the chaise couch is from Room & Board.
Design Within Reach has finally re-released the famous Story Bookcase in a short and tall version here. I purchased ours on Amazon in 2017 before the re-release here. The Amazon version is 79.6″ high, 14 shelves and $285 + $43 shipping. The DWR version is 75.5″ high, 12 shelves and $295 + $21 shipping. If you’ve ever seen this bookcase in a photo and wondered how someone can possibly stack their books so neatly without them falling over, well, this is how.
While the bookcase is a bit pricey, I love it because it can hold a ton of books in a super space efficient way and it looks chic.
I stack my books from large to small, bottom to top (I wouldn’t recommend any other way), with white bindings or pages facing out. Yes, this means that if the binding is colored, it is facing pages OUT and binding IN such that the entire front of the stack is in shades of white. Of course you can stack any way you’d like.
To most quickly order the books from tallest to shortest I first line them against the wall to gauge height and organize on the floor first, into groups, then transition to the shelves.
The Sapiens Bookcase is such a great architectural piece that adds nice interest to any room. If short on floor space, the short stack can be added to the top of a desk or console for equal impact.
The den has been painted Railings by Farrow & Ball. It is a sophisticated color and makes for a cozy room! A flashback to where we started:
And, where we are today. A completely refreshed base for what will be a den.
The choice of color was an easy one, working with the fireplace surround, but I was in suspense leading up to the big reveal and wasn’t disappointed. Walter and his team from Tapia’s Works did an impeccable job.
You may recall that a prior owner had painted around the mirror, leaving the space beneath a surprising shade of pink! We cleaned that up this time around.
A sprayed finish is the way to go for smooth surfaces like doors, and detailed surfaces like molding, with a brush sprinkled in as needed for more detailed trim. I must say that I am a true Farrow & Ball subscriber after seeing the finish compared to the prior paint.
We still need to identify a good spot to hang a television and make a decision on drapes.
Now that the base is complete I am considering furniture ideas and searching for the perfect plaid rug. Let me know if you have any ideas!