Front Parlor Update

The whole house is perpetually in the middle of a seemingly infinite to-do list. So I thought that, for my own sake and perhaps for your entertainment, I would go room by room and outline what has been done and what is yet to be done. First up is the first room — what we’ve been calling the front parlor (because I feel like our house was built to have a “parlor”) or the library.

View from the hallway as you enter the front door.

Done at this point:

There haven’t been any structural changes in this room. The back wall was kind of butchered to add the plumbing for the upstairs bathroom, located directly above this room, so it has fresh drywall. The rest of the walls are the tomato red that we moved in with. The one thing we did in here is add the built-ins, which had been a long-standing goal for our next house. The lower cabinets are just Home Depot kitchen cabinets, which made this project a lot more affordable. Our brilliant contractor Boyce Wright installed them and built the custom shelving above. They have been primed with a tinted primer.

Yet to be done:

The built-ins still need a couple of things: 1. paint, 2. stone countertop under the window, and 3. some trim to compensate for a mistake I made… Ugh. So, I failed to make clear that the inside of the shelving has to be 12″ deep instead of the overall depth (which is indeed 12″). Because of this, the records overhang about 1.5″ from the face of the shelves. Fortunately, it should be an easy fix: add 1.5″ of trim so the whole thing protrudes the necessary amount. The key will be making this look intentional instead of a cover up. I have some ideas.

One thing that will make the biggest difference in this room is paint. We plan to paint everything Gentleman’s Gray, which is actually a dark and saturated blue. And I mean everything — the walls, all trim, built-ins, mantle, and even the ceiling. We already had the two blue sofas, which is honestly a lot of color for my neutral-loving heart. I figured that making the whole room monotone will dial down the contrast and make blue kind of its own neutral in the room. We’ve leaned into that concept and got a blue antique rug on ebay too.

This guy has been patiently awaiting its debut, which will have to be after the painting is done. With dark walls and this shiny gem hanging down, this room will be so dramatic — probably the most dramatic in the whole house, which kind of gives me the freedom to really go for it. Fun!

The room still needs a lot of styling, especially those book shelves. I like a mix of vertical and horizontal stacks of books and other knick knacks, like the picture above. I’m already on the hunt for some small, wood side tables and maybe a round velvet ottoman to fill things out visually and functionally. Plus, those floor-to-ceiling windows need some shades stat. I’m thinking of doing bamboo shades for now, for privacy and some light filtration, and then adding some full drapes later.

How magical is this space above?! I can only hope that our front parlor will end up as collected, lived-in, and inviting.