New Look, New Beginnings!!

Happy New Year!!!  I hope that you had a wonderful holiday season with your family and friends!  I had a great time with all my kids at home and my Dad in town for a visit. I thought I would share the completed redo of my den, breakfast room and kitchen, starting with the den.  If you didn’t see the process in progress go here for a birthday surprise and here for couch shopping.

I found this old photo of the den when we bought the house 25 years ago! At the time we replaced the metal sliding doors to wooden French ones, replaced the carpet, repaired the holes in the ceiling and painted. I think this was originally a walkway to the garage.

This was the outcome!  My husband decorated this room. Isn’t he talented!!  After we had kids, we replaced the workout equipment with a blue and white checkered couch and toys.

We did a major renovation to the home 10 years ago opening up the den to the kitchen breakfast area and adding onto the back of the house. The couch, rug and coffee table were previously used in the living room and we added the bench, chairs, skirted table and burlap drapery panels. The skirted toper was an old bedspread of ours.  The windows were fauxed to look like wood, a pigmented sheetrock mud texture was applied to the walls, and a design painted on the ceiling to create an oval feel to a square room.  I still loved the look, but with the wear and tear of the kids over the years, it was time for a change. This time around I wanted to go with a lighter, cooler feel for the furniture, finishes and fabrics. Special thanks to photographer Dave Schilling from Atlanta for the wonderful “before” photos!

We live across the street from a growing school, and my husband didn’t like the lights that would shine down our driveway at night.  To lighten the room and update the look, we plastered the walls in a creamy tone and then painted the trim Sherwin Williams “Stucco”. Though it took us a little while to get used to the new colors, we are really loving the lightness of it all. To avoid the hassle of moving the television, we kept the interior in the original stain color and did a specialty finish around the exterior. Heaven forbid John should go a night without TV!  My pup Charlie loves his new room too!! Thanks to photographer Wade Blissard for all the beautiful “after” photos. 

I always have a hard time describing my style to people—maybe you can help me through your comments! Instead of starting completely from scratch, I tried to use as much of the original finishes and furniture as possible. You can see the old ceiling design peaking through. By applying several glazes on top of the existing design we achieved a more faded look that I just love! While we incorporated some new pieces, others were simply recovered. The two chairs in the foreground were purchased at an estate sale years ago and recovered with a blue-gray linen fabric.  Working with so many wonderful designers every day, I am so lucky to get extra design advice. Cindy Witmer suggested that I use a trim with tacks to update the look and feel of these chairs.  Fab! This little detail made a world of difference!!! One of my favorite finds is this new light fixture that I found at a junk shop in the Heights for $30.

I found this mid-century modern coffee table from Marburger Farm Antique Showin Round Top for $500 and then raised it a couple inches to accommodate the custom ottomans. Covered in silver gray cowhides, they add quite a bit of additional seating, and we love putting our feet up when lounging on the couch and chairs. My friend Joni Webb from Cote de Texas says she puts a covering on her couch seat so the dogs can snuggle up to her and she doesn’t have to worry about protecting the light linen fabric.  Placing this leftover cowhide on our Hien Lam couch has been a linen saver! Thompson + Hanson had these lovely burlap-covered glass vases so I used three types of flowers for different heights—my favorite being the big kale. It’s just $5 a stem at River Oaks Plant House.  Ask for David there; he is great!!!

This is, of course, one of my favorite things in the room—the “orders for painting and glazing” sign that my friend Jill Brown gave me from her store Brown.  Previously in my daughter’s room, this chair from Joyce Horn Antiques was recovered in linen from Glick Textiles (only $30 per yard). Then we added a more expensive, contemporary fabric to the sides. To lighten up the interior of the bookcases, coral in creams and blues adorns the shelves. These were purchased at from Eric Brown at Marburger Farm Antique Show during my book signing there.  I think he has the best prices and selection of coral. I love the look and because I don’t feel that accessorizing is my best skill I tend to buy all of the same things for shelving.

I kept this same vignette from my previous décor.  We found this painting, originally in a gilded gold frame, at a fair in France and the wrought iron antique piece, formerly with a black base, from Joyce Horn Antiques. After hearing so much about Annie Sloan’s chalk paint, I painted these two pieces plus the once brown candlesticks in a French blue. It’s such an easy product to use and can be applied without primer. First, clean the surface and apply the paint with a brush.  It will rub off with water unless you seal it with their wax.  I purchased mine at WonderFaux Studio in Houston, but you can go online to find out where it is sold in your area.

Purchased by John and I 25 years ago, this table has been stuck away in a closet for quite some time.  The base was originally stained in a dark mahogany, accompanied by a glass top.  Now it has a completely new look with a weathered base. My stepdad cut out the new circle top and then I painted an open rose on it. A band that emulated metal with tacks was painted around the rim to echo the tones in the base. I love the eclectic look the piece lends to the space!!!

This view shows the family room moving into the kitchen and breakfast area.  To create another seating area without the heaviness of a second couch – I used a settee!! This one from Joyce Horn Antiques was recovered in a $40 per yard velvet from High Fashion Home. I love the trim from George Cameron Nash on the pillows that adds so much personality. The other wonderful, ready-made pillows are from Boxwood Interiors—they were the inspiration for the entire color scheme!  Also from Joyce Horn (and stolen from my powder bath), the little table next to the settee is on rollers, perfect for rolling around whenever I lay here! My mistake- the light colored rug made from a Sunbrella fabric.  Although I thought it would hold up well with heavy traffic, the dogs in a short time have destroyed this rug which was not inexpensive.  Other than this I love the changes!! I hope you enjoyed the tour of the renovated family room.  Next week, I’ll show you around the breakfast area. Have a good one and much health and happiness in 2012!!  xo  Leslie

Breakfast Redo
An English Christmas!!


  1. Wow, what a different on the before and after room. Love, love it. I just love the way you made the room a whole room by painting ceiling, trim, baseboard the same color, not just lines

    So looking forward receiving your book. Can't wait….

  2. Beautiful beautiful beautiful !!!!
    Happy New Year to you and your family my friend!
    Warm hugs,

  3. Hi Leslie,
    love the transformations of this room over the years…
    you truly have vision and can see real potential in less than
    perfect space…love the new look with it's lighter softer feel..
    and I like that instead of throwing everything out when you redo
    a room, you incorporate many of the same pieces, bridging the previous
    design with the new..
    so, what would I call your style? The New Classic…
    Have a Happy New Year!

  4. What a gorgeous transformation…love the calm and neutral color palette. Wishing you all the best in 2012!!

  5. Lovely-! So soothing. You have exceptional vision and I love all your work!

  6. What an amazing transformation! You have got to be thrilled. Thank you for sharing your beautiful home with us! I am so glad I found your blog.

  7. Wow! This should be in Architectural digest!!!!!!The mix of the neutral grays and the texture really makes it work…….It turned out gorgeous!!!!!!!!!!!!Love that table with the chalk paint………..And the chandelier you chose. can't wait to see more! Maryanne xo

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  9. love the changes !!! thanks for the shoutout – love the cowhide. ok – girl, get seagrass. the dogs can't ruin it!!!!!! not sisal – seagrass only. sisal stains, seagrass doesn't. then, after five year s- you just toss it and get a new one! call my seagrass guy – M. Anthony in the katy dec center.