Bright Velvets in the Library

One of the big house projects we haven't tackled yet is the built-in bookshelves in the front room we're calling the library (it's the sunken space just inside the entry). I have a handful of inspiration images and a few drawings that I want to share with you guys. It's turning into a sort of expensive project, so I'm nervous about pulling the trigger. More on that later though. In the meantime, I've been making some progress on decorating the other side of the room!

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We had my Lee roll arm sofa (which we've had for almost a decade! - a record for me!) upholstered in a mohair that I got for something insanely cheap, like $15 a yard, on sale at my old favorite fabric store in the city, JEM. It's a deep moody charcoal with lots of blue-green undertones. When the upholsterer dropped off the sofa a few weeks ago, my Gracie said now it was the color of the ocean and I think she was spot-on.



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The newest addition to the space is this pair of bright yellow Henredon chairs I got from a consignment store for $50. I picked them up at the same time and place that I got the pink ikat sofas (they were probably owned by the same person).

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I fell in love with the color and the Schumacher strie velvet was pretty new, just a little marked up from sitting in the store. And I knew the chairs could look a little more modern if I removed the skirts and left off the back cushions.

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When I got them home, I used a damp microfiber cloth to take off most of the smudges. I usually give all my vintage upholstered finds a good vacuuming and then a pass over with my steamer in case there are any mites or bed bugs (haven't had any problems yet).

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The feet aren't my favorite, but they look better than the skirts and I have some ideas for changing them up down the road.

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The room's far from finished, but it's fun to have a place to sit and host visitors. I'm on the fence about the Designer's Guild pillows on the sofa. The green bergeres have needed new upholstery for a long time now (thinking gray Bengal Bazaar or some other pattern in a neutral color) and the rug is there temporarily. I do like the magnolia mirror in that spot though! 

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85 comments:

colleen said...

The windows in this room ( and your whole house for that matter) are to die for. Love the seating area you have arranged and esp enjoy the rug, but perhaps you have a better spot for it. Couch looks like a great place to snuggle up w/ a book!

Brynn Mood said...

Weren't you hinting that the rug might turn into a runner for the stairs? I've been so intrigued by that prospect as I need to figure out how to DIY a runner for my own stairs. So...nudge, nudge :)

The chairs are awesome. I initially assumed you'd recovered them in that great yellow velvet. Amazing that you found them in such great condition!

Heather said...

Love the mohair. Any chance you can reveal the maker and color?

Annie Neal said...

Love the yellow. Orangerie pillowa are perfect!

Elizabeth said...

Love the bright colors! I found some vintage chairs that are similar; I'll have to look into removing the skirts on mine.

I see your new floors. Please tell us about the installation!

Sarah @ 702 Park Project said...

Wow! I can't believe how great they turned out. The yellow really pops!! PS- I'm in love with those lumbar pillows on the couch! So pretty!! :)

Anne said...

This room is going to be awesome; can't wait to see close-ups of the floor!

Question: In this room and your room with the fireplace, I noticed you've arranged the furniture around the perimeter of each room. I thought this was a designer no-no?? Maybe you could explain your thoughts on furniture placement in a future post?

Dee said...

I LOVE the windows in your home! The chair colour is perfect. I'm interested to see what you do for the coffee table. Do you think you'll pull a few chairs closer to the sofa once you decide on a table?

Ivy Lane said...

Beautiful room so far! May I suggest to paint the feet on the chairs black? I think that would look great..they would sort of disappear..plus you have the black lamp shade and the legs are dark on that gorgeous sofa. Are the chairs comfy without the back cushions? I have a Henredon sofa.. I love the comfort and support of the back cushions...

Gillianne said...

Sofa cushions no; everything else, emphatically yes! Where did you find that stylish chair along the wall in your entryway? (and why don't I ever stumble on the treasures you find?)

Kris L. said...

Love all the pieces! What finds! Your room looks so spacious...might you later move the chairs away from the walls a bit?

Newburgh Restoration said...

We have the exact same sofa in almost identical fabric, but we bought it made from MGBW.

Jenny at LGN said...

I'm all about traffic flow of a room, so it doesn't bother me when furniture hugs the walls a bit, though I do love the look of a floating sofa or chair. We're going to add a coffee table or ottoman and move a small settee to where the green chairs are and then float either the bergeres or the yellow chairs at that point. :)

plum said...

I love, LOVE the bright cheery yellow. What a knack you have for sourcing great finds for cheap. And your sofa, sooo yumm!

Did you try some of the accent chairs pulled off/away from the wall? I always love a room that isn't "encircled" by chairs. It's like at a dance party when no one wants to be the first one to jump in the "dance circle". :) Love all your design ideas and hope your spirit and joie de vivre has returned!! good luck with your new studio.

HannahJ said...

LOVE this! those chairs were an amazing find for sure- that color is killer- and the sofa looks amazing as well!

Kimberly Hannon said...

I love the colors. The yellow is sublime. Thanks for some room updates- its great to see how far you've come. I only wish we could see more of that gorgeous floor!

Jessica said...

Loving the yellow chairs in that room! You will really be able to snazz them up with some different feet/legs. And the wall color is such a beautiful neutral. The mohair is seriously gorgeous and I like the tie in with the black mirror. (I think the flowers on the mirror are dogwood though ... it's one of my little design obsessions.)

Bethany DeVore said...

Loving the yellow and what a great price!

Jessica said...

oh - and can't wait to see your designs for the giant wall of books! it's going to be stunning!

Ashley said...

Jenny, I'd love to hear about how to replace legs on arm chairs (especially when the legs appear to be part of the frame, and not screw-on legs).

I've got a pair of armchairs with legs that are less than desirable, so I'd love to hear your tips!

Your sofa looks fantastic in its pretty new clothing!

Celeste said...

Those chairs are perfect. And I love the new upholstery!

Every time you post about a room you're working I remember just how much space you have to decorate! I'm sure it's a lot of fun (and a lot of work).

I just think you're great!

erica said...

Beautiful pieces! Oh my goodness, those yellow chairs and that couch are to die for. Your floors are absolutely stunning.
I am wondering about your furniture placement in here and in your living room - is there a reason why you have all of the furniture up against the walls? Curious about your thoughts on placement...

Lexi said...

The yellow chairs are such a perfect pop of color!
xx Lexi, Glitter, Inc.

KayceeParker said...

Do you know where the side table is from? The one between your two adroable yellow chairs. Thank you!!

Lynne Millar said...

Those yellow chairs look SO great in there! And I really love your cloud painting in this room, too. Beautiful!

MissMDragon said...

Absolutely love the yellow!You always give great tips about shopping for furniture,I think I would have passed them over due to the skirt,I'll certainly be more open-minded in the future! Méabh
www.peachparade.com

Hook, Line and Sink Her said...

Those chairs are stunning - like sitting on sunshine!! I can't believe what a bargain they were too- you do find some amazing stuff :) xxx

Angela said...

LOVELY!

The Glam Lamb said...

It looks beautiful Jenny! Congrats! Just one suggestion, I think it could look great if you didnt have all of the furniture bordering the room, maybe brought it in a little bit? like a foot or so away from the wall.... Just a suggestin, gorgeous pieces!! xo

Kristen said...

I love your bright colors! The sofa is beautiful and those chairs are so fun! Great idea to take the skirts off - the yellow is so fresh and happy!

Trisha said...

I really can't believe the pieces you find! When I'm out shopping and debating whether something is hideous or fabulous, I ask myself "what would Jenni think?" Thanks for all of your help ;)

Michelle Ash Latham said...

I LOVE the yellow chairs -- especially without the skirts. So bright & cheerful!

Michelle @ ahealthymrs.com

PurdyMom said...

Love the yellow chairs. Its so bright and cheerful. So happy that I stumbled upon your site. You have given me so much inspiration. Thank you.

dailyinkling.com said...

I actually couldn't love those yellow chairs more if I tried! I love that you saw their potential, I am very jealous though! :)

Anonymous said...

Looks like a waiting room. Very dinky accessories and inappropriate as well.

Amanda said...

It's looking so great!! Love the bright yellow chairs and I have to say, the floral pillows work well :)

hammerandheels.blogspot.com

S@sha said...

It's looking great so far, but what are your plans for the windows? I think I equate libraries with moody English Manors, so it seems like floor to ceiling drapes would be appropriate and would help emphasize those crazy high ceilings.

Also, I think the main problem with that rug is that it covers up too much of the lovely herringbone floors that you slaved away installing!

Amanda said...


Love the cheerful yellow chairs (whoever called them sunshine, right on!). I also like the bolsters, but perhaps life in Snowville has made me unthinkingly embrace anything with flowers?

Thanks for sharing your process; it's so great--and inspiring--to see the journey, not just the finished product.

Not inspiring: rude, anonymous comments (though I'm jealous of the waiting rooms h/she apparently frequents). I hope that person is having a better day.

Gwen, The Makerista said...

I love the colors in this space! I think the side table you put in-between helps to balance out the chunkier legs on the chairs. I'd say for $50 and some amazing upholstery, you did great!

Anonymous said...

Are you concerned with your new wood floors cupping. Yikes!! I thought they were new, 3rd photo show major cupping. So sorry to see that.

the language of design said...

Just gorge. I hope you have the strength to move beyond the rude comments. Keep on with the details and photos as it is such a fun read.

Dana Frieling said...

You find the best furniture deals hands down!

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Lauren Frayne said...

Taking the skirt off used chairs... What a good idea! I much prefer chairs with kegs ( they looks so much less heavy) so I rarely find any I like. Such a simple thing to do but so effective.

Anonymous said...

I love the space! May I just sugest moving apart the walls all the furniture a little bit? Or what are your thougths about the place of them in the room?

Anonymous said...

I like the furniture and the colours you've got going on, but I just don't understand why all the furniture is mashed up around the walls. It looks like a collection of chairs you'd find in a shop not an actual living arrangement (or three separate vignettes for the sake of blogging not living).

I would pull out the yellow chairs and put them facing the couch and tuck the other chairs on opposite sides of the couch facing each other (the coffee table would be in the middle once you get one). You don't need to keep chairs side-by-side when they're the same. You can split them up. This arrangement would be more conducive to conversation and flow. Plus it would be nice to have the option of looking out of those beautiful windows instead of having them all to the back of your furniture.

Lindsey said...

Jenny...always love what you do. Yours is one of my favorite blogs to follow, bar none. I was inspired about a year ago to reupholster my camel back sofa with a velvet. While I still love the idea of it, the execution in my case wasn't great. Your couch in this post, on the other hand, is sublime. Would love to get some info on what types of velvet options are out there and your tips on how to pick the right ones. I feel I have a good handle on other fabrics, but velvet is a mystery to me. I live in Dubai, so my options are limited, but I'd love to be educated. Thanks!

Ferren said...

I really admire your ability to see past what's right in front of you. It's inspiring when you say exactly how you'd change these great finds because I feel like I can go out and put these ideas into practice!

Zoe Royall said...

The Anon comments here are making me want to poke my eyeballs out. Ladies (or gents), if you are going to be a negative Nancy, at least call yourself Nancy.

Jenny, work it to own it lady. You and your genius eye are lovely. I want to lie in the middle of that room and stare at those fabrics while eating bon-bons and holding hands with Ryan Gosling.

Anonymous said...

Love the space - even in progress you've got more style than most with a finished product. Thanks for welcoming us into your home and sharing your talent!

Kelly said...

Just beautiful! Much thanks for the removing the skirt on the chair tip. I have an inherited armchair and sofa that could do with some modernizing like this. I do appreciate these in-progress shots! Thanks for the inspiration!

Angie said...

Love the bright yellow! So wish I were thrifting with you in AZ :) Great finds - looking forward to seeing where those beautiful sofas have landed too! Inspired by your two-tone bedroom chair - I painted a mustard yellow chair with bright yellow and am loving it in my room, too - Thanks for sharing, Jenny!

Rachel said...

I'm glad you plan to continue your DIY projects on the blog. You inspire me to move forward with my own ideas like no one else. Don't know what I would do without you!

I hope you'll eventually use two smaller rugs for this room to show off more of the awesome chevron floor. You did such a great job with it!

xo

Michelle said...

Those yellow chairs, wow!!! This room is so cheery and inviting.

Carmen said...

I just saw this on my local craigslist: http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/nva/fuo/4300007594.html

And nearly died! Almost the same yellow chairs! They're not velvet, which is a shame. But the shape/color is great.

If I had the space, I would have bought them. Hope someone gets them!

Preparing for Peanut said...

Those windows...be still my heart. And I love the newly covered sofa and the yellow chairs!!! Oh how I wish I could find things like that at our local consignment stores. Just beautiful.

Carrie @ Cosy Carolina Interiors said...

Heavenly!! I love the yellow chairs and the moody sofa and the floral pillows and the huge windows...

Brandyn | Southern Distinctions said...

What a great find! Love the pop of bright color in the room!

Tiffany said...

Jenny I love everything you do...you have an impecable eye, lucky star, and you see the potential in everything. Thank you for inspiring me once again. You never fail me. I was excited to hear that you are working on a book. It'll be coffee table worthy for sure!!!

Debbie said...

Love the magnolia mirror and how it reflects the windows. Love the yellow chairs, though I would probably separate them, have them flanking the couch and then put the bergere chairs opposite the couch. Because they are more open, they are less likely to impede the visual lines of the room.

But, of course, seeing both sides of the room in the same post would help us see your vision! Would love to see more full rooms!

Price Style & Design said...

Seriously, you have the absolute best luck at consignment and thrift shopping! Those yellow chairs are fabulous!

Anonymous said...

I like all the furniture but it looks like a drs office waiting room with everything pushed against the walls especially in such a big room. I would like the sofa pulled out a bit, a yellow chair on either side facing each other and the green chairs across from the sofa facing it.

Anonymous said...

I'm so afraid of color in my own home, but I love seeing it in yours! Those chairs are fabulous! That room seems so large. Have you ever thought of having the furniture "float" in the middle of room instead of against the walls?

Anonymous said...

So inspiring as always with your unexpected yet classy choice of colors! Round rug would be amazing in this room.

Jenny at LGN said...

LOL/ouch! Looks like it's time to turn off anonymous comments again. :)

The good news is this room is very much in progress. We need to find a coffee table and then we'll move the chairs around and play with the layout. Everything's just thrown in there right now. We've had lots of little kids staying with us this month and that rug has been a great place to spread out with puzzles and those rainbow loom bracelet things, so it made sense to have an open space. Haven't had a chance to move things around since then. Just mostly wanted to share the new chairs find and the reupholstered sofa! :)

Zoe, Kelly, Angie, Rachel, Tiffany and others - your comments meant the world to me this morning. Thanks for taking the time to give a girl a little boost! xo

Melissa@TheChicDream said...

I love the natural light that you get in that room. Those chairs are amazing and your newly-reupholstered sofa is heaven. I am am dying over that fabric. I always look forward to seeing how your home is coming along.

Shawna said...

Love the colors and the chairs.

Since your library is kind of a pass through from your entry to the music room. Have you tried placing your sofa in the center facing the windows for the view. Maybe add a console table behind the sofa and bring the chairs forward for a more intimate setting.

Patty said...

Love those yellow chairs! And NEED that side table between them! Where is it from?

Kate Galston said...

What a transformation! So little time (although it probably seems like more to you who are living it rather than to this reader) and already your house looks like a home and you can see your fresh style throughout. Love the architectural detail in the ceiling of the library and wow those floors! The chair color adds just the right wow.

Sally said...

I've never commented before, but had to comment to say several things:

1) Your room is STUNNING - the light is beautiful, the mirror is impeccably placed, the chairs are stunning, and you make me wish that I'd never passed up my grandmother's furniture! Oy.

2) Yo, anon posters - didn't your mother tell you that if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all?

3) Again - your blog is SUCH an inspiration for someone who is trying to design outside the box, and I just wish that you were still in the Northeast.

Stay kind, everyone.

Nico said...

To Sally who said this:
2) Yo, anon posters - didn't your mother tell you that if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all?

I don't think anyone was been saying anything that was unkind - I've seen several people offer suggestions (and perhaps they have a lot of knowledge on the design subject for all we know). Comments do not exist solely for praise, but can also be for recommendations, suggestions and constructive criticism.

Bessiemae said...

Man, tough crowd! Looking beautiful, Jenny. I have that same couch from Crate and Barrel--it desperately needs to be recovered, and yours looks fabulous.

I have a question about the height of your yellow chairs versus the couch. It looks like they are lower? I have that same situation in my living room, which I never noticed until my mother in law pointed it out, and now it drives me crazy! What do you think of that?

Anonymous said...

Maybe Jenny could be a little more clear when posting these reveals? Knowing its a work in progress and that the pieces are not staying where they are photographed makes a big difference on first impressions.

Sally said...

Nico - I was referring to not "nice" comments like this anon one:

"Looks like a waiting room. Very dinky accessories and inappropriate as well."

That is NOT constructive. I'm not referring to constructive comments. I'm referring to unkind comments.

Trista S. said...

Geez, a lot of people feel really passionate about chair placement. I read years ago that the front two feet should be on the rug. Then I read somewhere else recently that they should be all on or all off(I see your chairs are all off).Now I don't know what to think! What are your thoughts? I promise not to berate you, either way. :)

Hilary28 said...

I wonder if you'll share the name/manufacturer of your steamer! We could use one, and I'd so value your advice if you have a second to share. And I wish I could take you consignment-furniture shopping with me! You see the gems!

Kim said...

Yes - please do turn off anonymous commenting! Snarky knuckleheads are interfering with all the good mojo you create on your blog. :)

Love your style, Jenny!!!

Krista said...

I'm loving that yellow. Try as I might, I never seem to have much luck in the thrift and consignments stores here in Charlotte. I bet you'd find some great stuff though! What's the story on that mod little table between the chairs? I've been searching for a similar inexpensive one to help tie together my mid-century dining table with my mish mash living room furniture.

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ELT said...

You have the BEST consignment finds!!! Love the chairs.

Sarah Chong said...

Oh god, those yellow chairs are just glorious. So pretty! :)

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Jill said...

I love the the fabric you used on your couch!! Darling. And I love the rug, too! Everything looks great. Have you thought about bringing in some of the chairs to make more of a conversation area rather than furniture lining the walls? Now that you have all that space you can do that and I'm envious! Your home is gorgeous.

Portland Sunshine said...

looooooove the yellow chairs! it would hard to sit in them and not feel happy (at least happier). good find. your blog is always inspiring. thank you for that.

Anonymous said...

how did you remove the skirts?

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