Blue velvet chairs
Jason Bernhaut

A Starting Point

After three years in their cottage, the Cobbs family's living room remained an "empty eyesore," says homeowner Katherine Cobbs.

She wanted a family-friendly space that blended her attic full of hand-me-down pieces with her more modern taste. She even bought a neutral sofa with clean lines, but was afraid to take the next step.

Enter Cottage Living assistant decorating editor Anne Turner Carroll, who guided Katherine through her decorating process. "She really nailed down my likes and dislikes and pushed me to relinquish my plain-Jane tendencies," says Katherine.

Young girl reading on sofa in stylish living room
Jason Bernhaut

Kid-Friendly and Fabulous

Together, Katherine and Anne Turner granted the family's ultimate wish: that their living room be cozy enough for a family of five and still sophsticated enough to entertain friends.

Even better, Katherine gained a greater understanding of her own taste and the assurance to move on to the next empty room in her house with decorating gusto.

Arched Doorway View
Jason Bernhaut

Keep It Simple

Just off the foyer, the living room acts as a pass-through to Katherine's home office. Anne Turner suggested keeping the walls a soft white and accenting doors and window sashes with bold black to match the ebonized floors.

Trim paint: Platinum (7-29)
Door and window paint: Obsidian (33-17)
Available at Pratt & Lambert

Vignette on fireplace mantle
Cottage Living, Jason Bernhaut

Making It Happen

Katherine started with inherited antiques that she wanted to blend with modern pieces. She added a pair of sixties retro slipper chairs from her mom and dad, which she reupholstered in kid-proof white vinyl. "It looks more expensive than it is," she says.

She subtracted a Queen Anne-style upright piano, which didn't harmonize with the room. To provide plenty of seating for family and friends, Anne Turner and Katherine gave the window seats new tweed cushions and fashioned floor pillows from the perfect "tie-it-all-together" fabric.

Game table in corner
Cottage Living, Jason Bernhaut

A Prime Location

With no TV in the room, the Cobbs had to find other ways to have family time. Daughters Ella and Parker perch at the game table, one of their new favorite spots to hang out. A new tweed cushion on the window seat and a set of diminutive stools -- a lucky flea-market find -- round out the seating.

Antique piece with blue interior turned into bar
Cottage Living, Jason Bernhaut

What's on the Inside

Katherine saved by repurposing an antique secretary as a bar. Anne Turner chose a crisp shade of blue to liven up the inside. All of Katherine's barware fits behind the glass doors, and her cocktail napkins and coasters stow away in the drawers.

"The subtle hits of blue and orange are a great way to add color without it being overpowering," says Anne Turner.

Shale Blue (124)
Available at Ralph Lauren Paint

Living room fabric selections
Cottage Living, Jason Bernhaut

Katherine's Fabric Breakdown

A lively mix of prints and solids keeps things colorful (shown at left).

The floor pillows provide a graphic punch.
Bloomsbury in Emerald by Lulu DK
Available at Pacific Design Services, (310) 360-6418

The side chairs are covered in plush texture.
Velvet in Aloe (360-TOU)
Available at King Cotton, (205) 322-5878

Sofa pillows provide a splash of color.
Stripe in Vert by Hable Construction
Available at Pacific Design Services, (310) 360-6418

The window seat grounds the palette.
Tweed (262-135)
(top right) Available at King Cotton, (205) 322-5878

A throw pillow lightens things up.
Woven Checker in Serbin by Hable Construction
Available at Pacific Design Services, (310) 360-6418

The slipper chairs are sleek and modern.
E-Z Vinyl in Bone (EZY-5003)
Available at Spradling International, Inc., 1-800-333-0955 ext. 146

Photographs in black frames and blue chair
Cottage Living, Jason Bernhaut

Finishing Touches

The new velvet chairs -- finished with nailheads -- were a splurge, but add a luxurious touch to the space.

They finished off the room with a wall hanging system for family photos. The frames have removable backs so the photos can be updated as the children grow.

"The photos make me smile every time I walk into the room," says Katherine.

Photo Grid System
Available at Walker Display

See Katherine's dining room transformation.

By Jennifer Berno, Cottage Living

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