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Coulda Woulda Shoulda

Alternate title: Photoshop is Fun!

You saw the library last week, yes? The rug was on loan for a styling competition and it’s already on its way back, but the chairs that were supposed to be temporary are going to stick around for a bit longer. They’ve actually come in handy and the kids really like them! Well, that, and I totally lost the tags and receipt. What’s up, new chairs?

Making it Lovely | Anastasia Loloi Rug

No, I didn’t intend to keep them. I picked them up in the first place because they were:

  • the right color
  • cute
  • in stock
  • affordable
  • returnable

But also:

  • the wrong finish (those silver legs)
  • don’t look inviting / right for a library
  • too modern / not interesting enough = looks cheap in context

They’re staying, for now, but I wouldn’t hesitate to sell them off at a steep discount. My loss, my mistake.

And here’s the thing. You know how you might kind of suspect something (ooh, those chairs aren’t as good as they could be), and then you have this weird job where your house and everything you do to it and put in it is shown to tens of thousands of people every day?* And then the choice you were least confident is indeed the thing people pick up on and don’t like? Yeah, that.

“They don’t really go with anything in the room and seem like nothing more than a last minute attempt to add a vibrant color to a relatively toned down room as well as looking like they ran out of money right at the end.”

Oof. I know. So here’s a little peek behind the curtain at what I would have really wanted to do for the rug shoot, had time and money not been a factor. (Aren’t those always the deciding factors?)

* Psst: I do love this job. I can take constructive criticism just fine (or worse), so I’m not complaining! Plus there were plenty of lovely, nice, complimentary comments as well. But you have to admit, it is a weird position to be in, right?

First up, the Roadhouse Leather Chair from CB2. I’ve written about these before, and a few other similar options. I would have gone with these, had they been in stock. It’s a lot of brown, but the leather adds a different texture that I like a lot.

Roadhouse Leather Chairs, CB2

Continuing on in that vein, we have another leather option. This time, the Baldwin Armchair from Jayson Home. I wouldn’t have been all that interested, having only seen them on the site, but in person they’re fantastic. Great scale, rich leather, just a nice, versatile chair.

Baldwin Leather Chair, Jayson Home

That Eames rocker in the background does not go well with these. Ignore it. (It didn’t make the final shot anyway.)

How about some Wishbone chairs? I’ve always liked the look of them.

Wegner Wishbone Chairs

Nice, but they’re not really working here. Hoffman Prague chairs instead? Those are great too.

Hoffman Prague Chairs

I like those. Definitely more “dining room” than “library” but that’s OK. I was staging it with glasses and plates. Thonet, windsor chairs (and modern interpretations like West Elm’s Scissor Spindle dining chair) — they all have a similar feel, just a tweak to the overall look. We’ve got a lot of mockups happening already here; let’s move on to something different!

Stripes! I may sell the striped sofa at some point (too long for the space). Go with these instead?

Anthropologie Grassland Striped Dining Chairs

I like them, but I don’t love them. Maybe a couple of these hostess wingback chairs from World Market. They’re a little larger, so just a pair instead of four.

World Market Wingback Hostess Chairs

The color isn’t really working with that rug. Something darker, but still with some blue to reference the sofa. Like this.

World Market Wingback Hostess Chairs and a Loloi Journey Rug

Ah, but that kind of defeats the whole purpose of the shoot then, doesn’t it!

OK, we’re getting closer. I like the wingback and I like the upholstery, but it needs to be a different color. Restoration Hardware offers some nice fabric options, and I’m fond of their 1940s Wingback side chair. In blue? Charcoal? Mustard velvet! (OK, I’m probably the only one that really likes mustard/ochre/shades of brown/tons of wood. But so what? I’ll own it if I love it and nobody else does.)

Restoration Hardware 1940s Wingback Fabric Side Chair

Except those are all custom orders, and they would take too long. Plus, then they’re ours for keeps and whoa whoa whoa, what’s all this talk about commitment?

What’s that, Target? Your cute chairs are $40, the right color, and you have them all in stock ready to go home with me immediately? All right then, sold. And since I’m a scatterbrain lately, they can stay for now. At least it won’t sting too badly when the kids inevitably drop a marker on one of them while coloring — although that only ever seems to happen with the super nice things you pine and save for.

Now on to the important stuff. Which chairs are your favorite? And did you know that after making a bunch of these and coming across a chair I wanted to mockup that didn’t have the necessary alternate angles, I briefly thought I could turn it around in Photoshop so we could see more of the front?

Styling Anastasia

You remember the blue Journey rug from Loloi that I styled a while back, right? I love the chance to play dress-up with my house, so I was excited about switching things up with another room.

And guess what — this is a competition.

Loloi Anastasia Rug in Making it Lovely's Home Library

To celebrate the line’s release, Loloi invited eight design bloggers to participate in a styling contest. Super fun, but the best part is that the winner will get a $1000 donation made on his or her behalf to the charity of their choice! A win for me would be a win for Rebuilding Together. They work with low-income homeowners, bettering their houses and their communities at the same time.

Loloi Anastasia Rug in Making it Lovely's Home Library

Loloi Rugs - Anastasia

The Anastasia collection features traditional rug design elements made modern in scale and in the patterns’ distressing. There are bold colors (indigo, ochre, teal), but they’re tempered by creams and cool silvers. Our library has a whole lot of wood in it, especially from this angle, and the rug adds visual and tactile softness to the room.

Loloi Anastasia Rug in Making it Lovely's Home Library

Like last time, this rug is not a permanent addition (alas!). Nor are the chairs, which I added to echo the blues in the rug and pick up on the color of the sofa in the next room over. And since it’s a bit of a fiction, I set the table in our home library for dining — even though you guys know we really eat our meals in the dining room.

Loloi Anastasia Rug in Making it Lovely's Home Library

You have until midnight, October 14 to vote for your favorite room. Hopefully it’s mine (hint, hint) because I’d love the win for my charity, but everyone did an amazing job and chose equally worthy causes. Go check them out!

The Anastasia Rug (AF-07 in Sand/Lt Blue)is available from Wayfair and RugsDirect.

Decorating and Perfectionism

I can already hear the snickering at that title (ha, she thinks what she has done is perfect!?), but stick with me.

I’m slowly working toward my overall vision for the house. Certain things (like wallpaper) are on hold until the rewiring of the house has been finished, and the rewiring is on hold until at least after we host a bridal shower here next month. Holes in the walls and ceiling are so distracting at parties, you know?

Because our plan is to be here for a long time, I find myself obsessively fixating on getting things just right. I finally ordered the Dawson pedestal table that I’d had my eye on for over a year. The upside to fixating on certain pieces and keeping track of them is that you’re aware of when they go on sale, so I was able to grab the table at 30% off. I’m kind of kicking myself though for not having bought a pair of Deeda chairs when the pink ones went on clearance a while back. They can still be ordered in that fabric (farrow-strawberry linen), but I didn’t buy them when they were $500 instead of $1500 because I didn’t have the cash on hand at the time, and I’m not going into debt over a couple of chairs.

I borrowed one in the stock fabric so that I could check the scale and photograph it (because hi, I’m a blogger and my job is weird). Through the magic of Photoshop, I turned it into a pair.

Pair of Deeda Chairs in Making it Lovely's Home Library

Is it really everything I’ve imagined for the past year? Yes and no.

I love the table. I love the chairs with the table, and that farrow-strawberry fabric would be the most beautiful shade of pink for our library. But the chairs are tall, and the pair of Lincoln armchairs in the adjacent room look bitty when viewed together. So, go for the chairs I’d wanted all along, and sell and replace the floor model chairs in the living room? The house has already been photographed for publication — why not switch things up? Or stick with the ones I got, find something else to work with the table in the library, and stop spending so much damn money in pursuit of some silly inflexible vision? The room would still look good. It would still work. It just wouldn’t match what has been in my head.

Living Room, Looking into Home Library | Making it Lovely

I’ve been working toward this arbitrary idea of what our home should look like, without taking time to stop and reassess. What has changed? What can I move forward with, and what can I let go?

I’ve been here before. I included these phrases in a post from seven years ago, and they still apply now.

A good idea today is better than a perfect idea tomorrow.

Don’t let best get in the way of better.

Done is better than perfect.

I think that with the first house, there was less pressure. I always knew in the back of my mind that we would move on some day. Instead of ‘perfect’ I would go for the ‘good’ and the ‘done’ with the idea that it might be replaced eventually. It came together over time, and I loved it every step along the way.

Changing Living Room, Making it Lovely

And if we were still in that house, no doubt it would already look different.

I’m always aware of what is available and what’s coming on the market, so I’m constantly finding myself drawn to new! next! now! I could create an entire room design around the latest whatever because it’s far easier to pull a room together all at once, but how many of us can realistically do so? Most of us, myself included, are decorating over time, which means that your vision has time to grow and change. We create cohesion and a home that reflects our style while leaving room for things that may not even exist yet. In theory, each new piece for your home should bring you closer to the finish line, but in practice, that line is always moving.

We’ve lived here for almost two years. That’s crazy to me! The time has gone by so quickly. I’m coming out of the fog of caring for an infant as the baby gets a little older (and a little easier), and I’m excited that I’ve got this big old lovely house here just waiting for me to go nuts with it. Time to revisit my initial vision for the home, reassess, and move forward. Even if it isn’t perfect, it can still be pretty damn good.

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