Sylvia is a sophisticated young woman who juggles two big jobs: one as a busy lawyer and the other as a single mom to a two-year-old named Chloe. She and her daughter recently moved from a small condo in the city to a great house in an older, well-established neighbourhood. But with most of her time spent working or taking care of Chloe, Sylvia had little time to enjoy her new house, let alone any kind of social life.
Since she could not go out most evenings, she wanted to be able to enjoy some adult company at home after Chloe was asleep. But her living room, the one room in which she could entertain friends, was bare and uninviting. The space lacked style and elegance, and the only colour came from Chloe's toys. So I gathered together my crew and geared up to give Sylvia a fashionable and practical living room that would work as a modish place for adult guests, but be comfortable for little people, too.
To brighten up the dull space, I chose a colour palette of cool blues, vibrant golds, rich browns and bright whites. And I immediately punched up the colour quotient in the room by painting the walls a gorgeous shade of teal blue, which is rich, yet calming.
I worked along the perimeter of the room to start. Along one wall, I installed a variety of store-bought, clean, white cabinets, which I customized with glass shelves, mirrored backs and interior lighting. These brighten up the room while adding handy storage space - closed storage for Chloe's toys and open display shelves for mom's trinkets. Along the wall of cabinetry sat an unused fireplace, so I painted it white, installed a new gas insert for warmth, and put up a beautiful screen - for ambience and safety.
On the wall across from the fireplace, I installed even more cabinetry and found a perfect place for a television - low enough to watch, but high enough so that little hands cannot reach it.
The wall between the two cabinet-filled walls contained a gorgeous bay window. For this window, I created drapes from a luxurious and feminine damask fabric with teal and gold tones. I also put up light-control blinds for privacy when needed.
I then got started on the inside of the room. I chose some flirty and chic furniture that provides enough comfortable seating for entertaining in style: a teal, three-seater sofa by the window, a few velvety brown slipper chairs across from the sofa and a round, distressed leather ottoman (no sharp corners for Chloe) in the middle.
I added some much-needed "bling," putting up a brilliant crystal chandelier in the centre of the room. I also put in several sconces, some puck lighting and various lamps to brighten up the space.
After a few more new accents and accessories - some artwork, a cool rug, a bunch of throw pillows and a few vases - the living room was complete.
Before, the only thing this living room was good for was entertaining a toddler. With the addition of rich colour, chic storage and sophisticated, yet cozy furnishings, this room is now an elegant and relaxing space in which Sylvia can entertain friends of any age. Now that's divine!
Interior-design consultant Candice Olson is the host of Divine Design on the W Network. A resource guide for the items purchased for this column is available at http://www.divinedesign.tv.