pair of blue and taupe striped chairs
Roger Davies

With Help From a Friend

"I don't feel confident when it comes to picking things out," says Sandy Henry. "But at the same time, I wouldn't want to live in a space that doesn't reflect my personality. I really just needed a push in the right direction."

That push came in the form of friend and Cottage Living Style Editor Heather Chadduck, who helped Sandy decorate her open living and dining room.

Inspired by Sandy's favorite pair of khaki pants, Heather created a neutral color scheme of cream, taupe, and brown, accented with soft blues. Simple stripes, soft floral patterns, and a mix of natural materials―such as sea grass, wood, and bamboo―have a warm casual feel.

living room with neutral tones
Roger Davies

Taking Shape

Two 11-by 13-foot sea grass rugs define the living and dining spaces while maintaining a seamless look and grounding the room with a layer of texture.

Heather floated a deep, high-backed sofa in the middle of the room to anchor the space and visually divide the living and dining areas. She covered it in an overscale floral made of weather-resistant outdoor fabric to protect it from everyday wear and tear.

dining space
Roger Davies

Twist on Traditional

A large domed pendant with simple lines and a matte finish highlights the dining table as a focal point.

Sandy and Heather chose neutral striped fabric and ran the stripes horizontally on the curtain panels (a technique called "railroading") as a creative twist on a classic pattern.

Heather hung the curtains on substantial bamboo rods to draw the eye up and make the ceiling appear taller.

dining area with monogrammed chairs
Roger Davies

Practical Style

Heather repainted an old pedestal table a glossy chocolate brown and painted a set of chairs white. The chairs gained new life with monogrammed fabric backs. Faux-ostrich vinyl, used on the seats, is both stylish and childproof. "I just wipe them down with Windex after meals," Sandy says.

painted buffet and chalkboard
Roger Davies

Update a Classic

An old sideboard found at a yard sale became a pretty new storage piece with the help of a coat of paint and fabric-tie drawer pulls.

Heather created a one-of-a-kind message board by fitting a piece of chalkboard into an antique frame.

porch with table, bench, and chairs
Roger Davies

Extended Living Space

Just outside the living room, Heather covered a discarded church pew and set of chairs in the same weather-resistant stripe she used inside.

Sandy and her husband Richard extended their roof to cover the backyard patio. Beaded board adds architectural interest to the ceiling and curtains made of drop cloths soften and define the space.

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