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…

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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87 thoughts on “Bright Velvets in the Library

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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!

  4. 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!

  5. 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!


  6. 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.

  7. 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!!!

  8. 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!

  9. 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.

  10. 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?

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

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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?

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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. :)

  22. 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!

  23. 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!!!

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

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