Remember my post about wanting Eames-like chairs and sheepskin throws to outfit my naked fireplace area? Well, I
have some exciting news! My fireplace area is no longer naked! It's warm, cozy, inviting - and has seating! - and it brings a smile to my face whenever I look at it (which is often). Want to see? Read on as I explain what I did and show some very exciting before, during and after pictures!
My fireplace area was naked and seating-free (we're talking an awkward 10' wide x 6' deep or so of furniture and rug free space), and I wanted to be able to cozy up next to the fire with a glass of wine. A week and a half ago, I finally decided to act on my obsessive thoughts about both wanting to seat myself near the fireplace and feeling an inexplicable need to own a set of Eames-like chairs with sheepskin rugs. My parents' coming to town for Thanksgiving added some extra incentive. Plus, Matt was working incessantly, which usually leads to my own obsessive home projects (it's dangerous and exciting when there's no one to question my impulsive choices!).
While I would have died to have the real-deal Eames® Molded Plastic Dowel-Leg Armchair (DAW) available at Design Within Reach (which my husband and I jokingly call Design Not Within Reach), at $499 a chair, a pair of chairs from there was not in the cards (and to be honest, I was more into accessorizing the chairs than having the chairs alone; despite attempts to the contrary, minimalism just isn't my thing). I decided to find the look for less at Overstock ($166.99 for a set of two) so I could use the extra funds on a fab new wardrobe for the chairs. Three days after placing my order, a massive box from Overstock arrived at my door complete with two chair shells, two sets of chair legs, some nuts and bolts and no directions. I forgot about the assembly component! Luckily (and perhaps because I was so incredibly excited), they were pretty easy to figure out, and within 15 minutes (on my own with an injured foot), I had a new set of cheapo chairs flanking my fireplace. They were bright white, and I was totally freaked about my decision. I tried not to panic as I waited patiently for my sheepskins to arrive...
I ordered two sheepskin rugs from Sheepskinstuff.com (which came with a pair of free mittens! So adorable!), and I could not be more pleased with the order! I ordered on a Monday and received the items on a Saturday (the 48 hours between receiving the chairs and the sheepskins was a nerve-wracking period of time). The sheepskins are a lovely off-white color and fit like gloves into the chair bods, and they are SO SOFT. You just want to cuddle with them. Also, I am so glad I found rugs that were 42" instead of 36" - that extra 6" really makes a difference in plushness. They elevate the cheapo chairs to a much more luxurious level, and help tie the look in with the rest of my less-modern decor. I went from thinking "Oh, lordy, what have you done this time, Kate?" pre-sheepskin-arrival to patting myself on the back for being so darn brilliant once they'd made it. You'll see the tags in this photo, as I hadn't committed yet (but I've since ripped them off - with gusto!). Overall, I was pleased with the purchase and thought it turned out almost exactly how I had expected:
And Everything Else That Gets Us To After:
Let's face it. If you give a mouse a cookie, he's going to ask for a glass of milk. I don't like to do projects halfway, and I like milk with my cookies. While I was pleased with the results of the chairs + sheepskins combo (they did turn out almost exactly as I'd expected), there was still something missing... a je ne sais quoi, if you will.
Except I knew exactly quoi: a rug, for one, and color. I am obsessed with color, and whenever I try to do white, I then want to just douse it all in lots of color, and these chairs desperately needed some color to bring the look to life. I just didn't know quite how to go about it.
I typically would have gone for a dhurrie (my favorite go-to inexpensive-yet-expensive-looking rug, which I will certainly feature in a future post!), but in the living room, I wanted a more luxurious, layered feel. Something antique-y. Something that wouldn't make my mom say, "Oh, that's so sweet, honey. You can always update it later when you've found the look you want to go with." I wanted a grown-up, lasting rug. One that would make my mom say, "Oh, now that's a rug!"
And so on Sunday, I set out to ABC Carpet and Home's Warehouse Outlet (my in-laws kindly let me borrow their car for the trek to the Bronx) to poke around and see what I could find. OMG, did I score! It just so happened to be the last day of their semi-annual sale (what luck!), so everything was marked down an additional 20% off the lowest marked price. I happened upon a fabulous (and perfectly sized) Turkish oushak rug and was able to negotiate quite a bit on the price (it was 20% off, plus an additional 20% off, and then I tried to make a deal about the imperfections of the rug, so they compromised on price and threw in a perfectly cut rug pad for free). I called both my mom ("It's fab!") and my mother-in-law ("Negotiate!") to make sure I wasn't getting ripped off and that the rug was in fact great, and they both agreed - I ended up with a fab, negotiated rug. It was expensive (more than the chairs and furs combined), but in my mind totally worth it. I am a fan of the high-low look, and you can't have it if you don't make a few splurges to counteract the saves. I am very picky about rugs, and this one fit all of my requirements of color, texture and worldliness. I was pleased.
But wait - IT GETS BETTER. As I was leaving the store with my loot, a pair of tiny (12"x16") pillows caught my eye, and I swooped in. I had been hoping to find some tiny, colorful pillows to insert in those little chair-bod craters to help round out the look, and I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw these! After looking at a number of horrendously expensive ikat pillows, I thought there was no chance these would be cheap... but then I checked the tag to discover they were $29 each? ? Down from $52? With an additional 20% off? YES, PLEASE. I scooped those bad boys up and then headed back to Manhattan to survey my spoils.
Below is the AFTER, and I am very pleased!
Voilà! Coziness with a kick.
Overall, I would say I am pleased with all purchases! I wouldn't get the Overstock chairs if you're looking to use them solo - they're totally fine and a great knockoff (and are ergonomically a nice fit), but they need a little something to make them not look... like they're from Overstock. I am obsessed with my new Canadian sheepskin company and can't wait to order more things from them. And I am also ridiculously excited about my new "grown-up" rug and my paint-splattered pillows, which add that bit of fun I was looking for.
And now I'm ready for the next project....!
Hope you enjoyed the Before & After! What projects are you working on? I'd love to hear! And I'd love to help!
I am an artist/designer and former financial professional with a background in comparative literature, business and design. I live in New York with my overworked lawyer husband and my two boys Michael and Theo and spend much of my free time dreaming about how to enhance the aesthetics of our little world. I am endlessly inspired and always in search of something new. This is a blog about my search, my inspiration and things I just really, really like or want.