Category Archives: TABLES

Dining Room Update!

Just to refresh our memory, here is my original sketch for the dining room:


And finally the paint has ben laid and the chandelier has been hung!


Now for the fun part! As you can see we used the dark blue (Newburyport Blue) for the bottom half and kept the white molding throughout to give the room strong contrast. The top of the walls are painted with a slightly warmer white (Monterey White) that still adds enough definition between the stark white molding and the wall itself.

Now that I have been seriously thinking about this room, and by seriously I mean with a tape measure and budget, I have decided that a rectangular table will not work. The room is only 10′ X 10′ so the best option is to go with a round table that can be expanded when more room is needed at the table. This will allow for much more breathing room the rest of the time, which is most of the time, when the table is not expanded.

Here are my latest two sketches for the room now.

OPTION_3 DSC07509 copy

Now let’s see how close we come to this! Step one is to find the right table. Since the table is the center of the room, literally, it’s best to build the rest of the room around it. The table that I used for these sketches is available at Restoration Hardware, but is much more than I want to spend at $1,095, AND, it is not expandable. However, I will use this table as a jumping off point to find a similar look and style at a lower price, hopefully!

Everything else is more or less a stand in for now until we get the right dining table. But at least we have a sense of direction to start building!


PROBLEM: How do you fit a baby grand piano, two accent chairs, a side table, a floor lamp, an area rug, and accessories all in a 12 X 14 room? I don’t know yet, but I’m gonna figure it out.

The client wants the room to be elegant, but simple, with clean lines. There’s not a lot of space to work with, in fact the room really only has two walls. The third wall is mostly windows and the fourth ‘wall’ is actually the archway to enter the room. Making things even more difficult is the fact that there will be a baby grand piano occupying most of the 168 sq feet.

SOLUTION: So what does one do when space is this limited? The answer is scale down. People have a tendency today to buy oversized furniture far too often. Part of the problem is that when we shop for furniture we usually see it in a giant store the size of a warehouse. Only when the pieces are delivered to our 12 X 14 rooms do we realize our eyes were bigger than our floor plans! We end up with giant sofas and enormous coffee tables that make it so we can’t even walk into the room anymore. So the plan with this room will be to make sure the items we place in it are the right size. Take a look at the sketch below which illustrates what sort of furniture and decor we should be aiming for as a guide. Also, as a bonus all the items you see (except for the Steinway piano and Benjamin Moore paint) are available from One stop shopping, you can’t beat that!


Here’s what’s what:

A. Bottoms up! We might as well start with the foundation. There will be hardwood flooring in this room which is a big plus for any room to start with. However, we need to give the room a little softening up, and one of the best ways to do that is with this gold Metropolis area rug. The rug isn’t meant to occupy the whole room, but rather to go under the seating area we are creating. It has a timeless Moroccan pattern and is a steal at $150.

B. The baby grand! Pianos can sometimes be a nightmare to work around, especially if you find yourself having to move it one too many times. On the flip side, they do provide a sense of classicism to a home as well as fill it with wonderful sounds, hopefully. If nothing else pianos can act as big shelves to display your curios!

C. Paint in the Butt. One of the hardest things to figure out in any room is what color to paint the walls. The client said she wanted a white with slate gray scheme. My suggestion is this palette from Benjamin Moore. The lighter gray called silver spring has just enough of that hint of slate blue but still keeps a very neutral tone. Match that with the much lighter steam color and you have a great base to start building your room.

D. Light it up! This Nova Lighting tripod floor lamp will make a great addition to the corner slightly behind the seating area. It should provide enough light for reading or just sitting back and listening to the music. It’s a bit pricier than I would like at $284, but still within reach. You might be able to find a cheaper version that looks very similar, so do your research before you buy.

E and F. Travel in pairs. Here are a couple of somewhat matching black vases that can be added to the room, be it on the side table, or perhaps on a corner shelf. The taller Tung Chi vase is 14″ tall while the shorter Jar is 12″ tall. Both cost $63 each.

G. Have a seat. These accent chairs are a great size for a smaller more crowded space. The Safavieh Noho Lounge Chair is about 30″ high X 30″ wide and 25″ deep and costs only $228 each. Buy two of them to create a nice seating area while saving on space AND money! These chairs have very simple lines. The fact that they are armless will help give the room a sense of having even more space. The white piping and buttons are a great touch that adds some contrast the the gray fabric.

H. Table time. I really like this gold table. Gold is in again so don’t be afraid to use it. This great little side table is also made by Safavieh and sells for only $130. It’s about 20″ high X 17″ wide and 12″ deep. This is a perfect size for a small vase, a cup of coffee, or just a place to rest your book. The top is actually mirrored so it will reflect a lot of light brightening up the room even more. The elegant gold color of the table against the gray side chairs and wall will compliment each other nicely. The lines in this table are as clean and sharp as they come. The straight verticals and horizontals will be a good contrast to the curved line of the side chairs.

I. Soften with Color. While I think the chairs may be great by themselves, you may find that they need a little more cushion. My suggestion is to add a pop of color with this set of two pillows made by Key Lipstick which sell for $70. The rich, deep, red color add a bit of luxury and elegance to the room, while the gold embroidery helps pick up the warmth from the rug and side table.

I’m Stumped!


I was going to call this post Stool Sample, but I couldn’t bring myself to write that as a headline. Stools, particularly wooden stools, have been around since the earliest human sat down in the woods on a fallen tree. Usually when I think of a stump stool I picture some cabin in the woods, surrounded by flannel blankets and hunting gear, where some old man is sitting on an old tree stump he hauled in from the forest. He’s not using it for the aesthetic style as much as he is for the pure function. A simple round base with a flat top for him to rest his legs while he guts fish, or whittles pipes, or whatever camping folk do these days. Maybe he just sits there while he’s on his iPad, who knows.

Now there are thousands of styles of stools available today made from countless varieties of material. Sure there’s wood (natural and man-made), plastic, acrylic, metal, leather, cotton, ceramic, hell even bean bag style stools, but what can really make a statement today are these stump stools. It’s odd to see them out of their natural environment, or at least out of the cabins, but adding these little seating elements to your home can make for a great conversation piece as well as a functional stool or table.

Take a look at a few I found today:

This one is available from West Elm for $199. It’s a very natural color wood, because it is natural, and is a perfect height to serve as both a side table or stool at 19″ high X 12.5″ wide. Place this in front of a sofa or next to a chair, maybe even in the corner as a lamp table or in your entry way as a place to throw your keys and mail when you walk in the house, or sit down to put your shoes on before you go out.




Here’s an option from KALON STUDIOS starting at $85 for the small size (8.5″ wide X 12″ high) and $350 for the large (12″ wide X 17″ high). Made of maple or ash depending on availability and then dried and sanded to keep it’s natural color and tone, these are some pretty sleek looking stools. They kind of look like big teeth to me, but that adds to their cool factor! Check out the rest of the Kalon Studios website for some more really cool wooden furniture.






Lastly there’s this molten silver looking stool available from Amazon for $325. This is definitely my favorite of the three. The stool measures 20″ X 18″ and is cast from a real log then manufactured in resin and hand finished in silver-leaf. Sounds very expensive, and it certainly isn’t cheap, but I still think it’s a good deal at this price. The silver leafing provides a real modern feel to the stump, yet the natural texture makes it still seem very organic.




So as you can see from the three examples above, a tree stump can be so much more than a place to gut your fish!

Case Study

PROBLEM: A living room that gets very little light and is currently occupied with oversized furniture, and walls that are too dark.


SOLUTION: Start by choosing brighter wall colors. A buttery beige on the two side walls is accented by a cooler, yet still light, slate color on the back wall. A lighter toned bamboo shade is added for some privacy while still letting a fair amount of light in. A smaller and brighter sofa and love seat take over where the oversized green microfiber left off. A retro-modern ottoman serves as both coffee table and storage space and adds a rich aqua color to the center of the room, drawing your eyes in away from the dark corners. Two white side tables that flank the sofa are narrow enough to fit in the tight space, but open enough on the bottom so as not to feel heavy. A black and white photograph on a brighter wall always adds great contrast while the orange chevron pillows add the final pop of color that was needed.


Otto, Man. And I don’t mean the bus driver!

Ottomans have been around for hundreds of years, long before Dick Van Dyke started tripping over them (Dick Van WHO?).


Of course the Turks were using these comfy yet utilitarian pieces of furniture for hundreds of years, but it wasn’t until they made their way to Europe that their popularity grew.
And today almost every home (well maybe not every home) has some sort of ottoman or foot stool plopped in front of their couch.

The thing I don’t like about many of the ottomans I see today is that they are part of a set. Someone buys the sofa, love seat, and ottoman all at once. The same fabric, same style same everything. It’s like having Vanilla ice-cream when there’s a box of Oreos sitting right next to it. In other words, mix it up! Add those cookies to your ice cream and add some color/texture/style to your living room furniture via the ottoman.

And don’t forget, often times your ottoman can pull double duty as a coffee table too.

Here’s a few I’ve found that can work nicely almost anywhere.

This is a colorful and contemporary option from TARGET. It’s a bit pricier than I’d like at $225, but still worth it for this stylish yet casual piece.


This one is a bit funky from OVERSTOCK (on sale for $194), but could be really cool in the right home. The cow hide pattern and texture adds a bit of fun and playfulness to what could  otherwise be a very serious room.


If silver and gold is your thing check these two out. Also from they are priced great at about $64 and $67 each. Think about getting 2 or more of these in place of one larger ottoman or table. They are also available in a host of other colors, so try mixing and matching. See the links below for more details.






Here is an option for those of you who are in to leather (wink wink)! Well…pleather anyway. This is available at for $223. It’s got a great color to it and a slightly stressed leather look which softens it up a bit.



One Kings Lane has this affordable blue spotted ottoman for $129.


This is a nice chevron pattern ottoman in orange from 55 Downing Street for $150.



Also at 55 Downing Street is this black tufted ottoman for $250. Probably my most favorite out of all of them, a bit more expensive but very elegant and trendy looking.
Also it is fairly large at 35″ square.


So next time you sit down on your couch and go to kick up your feet,
think about what you’re stepping on!