Now that my sister and I are all grown up it has become increasingly more difficult to buy birthday and Christmas presents for one another. So last year for Christmas, and her birthday which falls in January, she asked me to do a redesign in her living room. (She wanted that along with a half gallon jar of my French onion soup!)
This past Monday afternoon I finally made the trip down to Kim’s to redesign her space. Luckily for me my sister has very specific taste in regard to furniture, color, pictures and other decorative accessories. I always kid with her that any item in any given room can be moved to live anywhere else in her house, it’s all interchangeable. Her style is what I like to called “Old World Elegant “, however the furniture she had in her living room actually belonged to my parents and was somewhat on the contemporary side. She had a loveseat and sofa which were light in color with a low back and sleek lines. Despite the fact the furniture looked as if it could have been just rolled off of the showroom floor, it was 21 years old and my sister has had it for 16 of those 21 years…she was ready for a change.
Oddly, for some reason on Monday Kim was having a hard time with letting me try new ideas in her room. For example, the first thing I did was to pull the beautiful yard sale leather sofa off of the wall and place it in the middle of the room, facing the opened French doors and fireplace in the family room. She always says that she likes to be able to see the fireplace from the living room, so moving the sofa smack dab to the middle of the room made perfect sense to me. Kim was skeptical but kept her mouth close. She didn’t need to speak; her face told me exactly what she was thinking!
Then I put her area carpet down in front of the sofa with the trunk she purchased at the same yard sale as the sofa, on top to be her coffee table. She was OK with this because that’s what she bought it for. Alright…I’m going to stop here with my story and back up for one second. When I do my redesigns I like to remove everything from the room and then bring back the things I want to incorporate into the new design, piece by piece. So first I place the big pieces of furniture then the tables and rugs, then lighting, and I like to finish with plants and accessories. So back to the story…I am at step 2 and I look up and here comes Kim walking into the room carrying her large fichus tree with the look of complete determination that this tree will be in the redesign come hell or high water! She was getting so stressed by this point that she jumped right into her comfort zone of her plants! She loves greenery! When I did her family room I had her remove everything in the room and by the time we were done Kim’s kitchen looked like a dang tropical rain forest!
What was I to do? I let her bring in her plant and as she put it down on the floor I told her to go pour a large glass of wine, relax and to have a little faith in me.
“Remember” I said, “this cost nothing it’s not permanent!”
So once she had her wine in hand I hit her with my next idea. Unfortunately I prefaced it by saying “I’m not sure if you’re going to like this but…” I wanted to take the small narrow table she had in her kitchen and place it behind the sofa as a sofa table. “NO WAY” was her very firm reply. “That is the only thing I like in my kitchen and it’s not going to be moved!” Again I said for her to humor me and if she is still against the idea after she sees where I am going with it, we will put the table back. So as we were moving the table I began to feel really bad because she looked like she was about to cry. We got the table in place and then, in an effort to make Kim feel better I knew I needed to find a way for her to love that table behind the sofa. I had to think fast and then remembered the recently bought beautiful iron piece she so proudly showed me when I first got to her house. I picked it up from the floor where it sat amongst all her other decorative items and placed it on top of the sofa table, then said, “There…now this has a place of honor in your new room. It’s a show piece!” I waited and watched her face…did I do it I thought to myself, did I win her over? Not being sure if it was the effects of the wine or if she actually liked the idea, I saw her eyes brighten and the small corners of her mouth had turned slightly upward. Yes it was the beginning of a smile…”I really like that” she exclaimed, and thank God I thought! From then on it was smooth sailing as everything began to just fall into place.
We finished with most of the redesign however there was one thing that was bugging me. We planned to bring down the rest of the wall unit from one of the upstairs’ bedrooms and place on the long wall in the living room. My brother was suppose to be over that day to do some things around the house for my sister, but had called late the day before to say he needed to reschedule. Drat’s I thought…so he’s not going to be here to help move the piece and I really want to bring that bad boy down here so I could truly complete this redesign. I turned to my sister and said “Do you think we can bring down the rest of the wall unit ourselves? If we empty it and slide it down the stairs on its side really carefully, then put it on the area rugs to drag it over the hard wood floor I think we can do it.” “Kim replied “Well we have 25 minutes until Aunt Ann gets here for dinner” and up the steps we went.
We got the thing emptied out and removed the shelves. Then we had the daunting task if getting the one section of unit downstairs. We slid it out of the room and after about 10 minutes of finagling this thing down onto its side at the top of the stairs, we slid it down, down, down the steps. I’m not sure what the picture looked like from the bottom, but my 7 year old son who was standing at the end of the steps yelled to us “Am I going to die here?” I retorted “Only if you don’t move”!
Well we got it to the floor and stood it upright and then slid it onto the throw rug and drug it over the hardwood floor…even onto and over the carpet to the new destination! We put it in place with the two corner pieces flanking it. Perfect…it was perfect! I quickly accessorized and placed another one of my sister’s prized yard sale finds, a giant clock, in the center of the unit! She loved it…as a matter of fact she loved the whole room. And as she looked around the room the grin on her face became larger and larger. “I love my new room, I really love it” she exclaimed with sheer joy!
Yesterday morning my phone rang at 7 am. and it was Kim. She called to thank me again and to tell me how much she loves the living room. She wants me to send the pictures I took to her but reminded me not to send them to her best friend; she wants to surprise her the next time she is over. And just before I hung up the phone the last thing Kim said to me was “I may have to take off from work today, because I just want to sit and enjoy looking at my new room.”