Refreshing the Southampton Family Room

July 1, 2012 · 24 comments

Located just of the open kitchen, it’s the room we really live in, and, after five years or so, it was looking a little too lived in.  The chocolate brown upholstery on the sofa wasn’t exactly worn out, but it was starting to look pretty tired, and the off-white linen (what were we thinking?) on the midcentury French “finger” chairs was getting downright shabby.

Here are a couple of pictures of these pieces in better days.

We were happy with the overall color scheme for the room, but we wanted –and needed– a change, so we turned up the volume a little with the upholstery, adding a bold pattern from Trina Turk to the sofa and swapping the white linen on the chairs for a more vibrant (and more practical) bright orange wool from Maharam.

The result isn’t a dramatic change, but I think the room is warmer and more cheerful than before —and friendlier to three year-olds in wet swimsuits and the adults who fret about them.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Oswulf July 2, 2012 at 2:33 am

I don’t want to be rude, but it really looks very 1950s/early 60s. And are those chairs really comfortable? I rather doubt it.

cnordquist July 2, 2012 at 6:54 am

Hello, Oswulf. I’ll take that period — it was a great one, and it was the era of those chairs, which are very comfortable. Cheers. DD.

Ludovic July 2, 2012 at 7:03 am

You are a master at matching colors and prints. Kudos! The room looks great.

Will you add something above the fire place?

christpher July 2, 2012 at 8:14 am

Great job freshening the room up!

cnordquist July 2, 2012 at 8:15 am


Nick UK July 2, 2012 at 9:08 am

The colours look great, and very practical. I like your candelabras.

suzanne spina July 2, 2012 at 8:07 pm

I am going to say it …but Oswulf, you know what? Ok never mind…
Chris, your living room looks great. I LOVE the couch. The whole package. Great. Well and of course you know how I love your tv stand. Coveted.
Hope you guys are have a wonderful 4th of July week. Julia is getting so big.
Suzanne in Old Lyme

cnordquist July 2, 2012 at 8:43 pm

Thanks, Suzanne. I’m so glad you like it. I hope you have a great 4th too. DD p.s. The TV stand is really easy to make with a few simple modifications to a standard painter’s easel.

cnordquist July 2, 2012 at 8:48 pm

Thank you, Ludovic. I sometimes put a decoration over the fireplace at Christmas, but otherwise I think I’m going to leave it plain. You can’t really see it in the photos, but it’s covered in a subtle tile pattern from Heath Ceramics that catches the light in interesting ways. Also, there’s a lot going on in that space, and a little emptiness feels nice. Ok, now that I’ve said that, I’ll probably fall in love with something and hang it there next week . . . . Cheers. DD

dj July 3, 2012 at 6:41 am

DD – Looks great, as usual. Who is your upholsterer?

cnordquist July 3, 2012 at 7:17 am

Thanks! We used Interiors by George and Martha in Brooklyn for this job. They did excellent work placing and matching the pattern on the sofa, and the details on the chair cushions are excellent too. DD

Marguerite July 3, 2012 at 12:25 pm

I would say the result IS dramatic, modern both in terms of now and referencing back to the (rather fab) midcentury modern.

Beautiful! Inspires me to do something at my place.

sarah August 2, 2012 at 7:06 pm

I would love to change the rug to maybe a dark brown and tan leopard print rather than this one. I think if you reupholstered your little foot rest to a solid blue (much like the color of the vase) and hang a coral / orange something about the fire place this would look less hippie-martha stewart-ish. I love what you have done though. It still looks beautiful and cheery. You do an excellent job!

Nick August 13, 2012 at 1:14 am

Isn’t early sixties\mod\palm springs\jcrew\martha american classic\eclectic\retro contemporary the entire esthetic of all his decor posts? So the chairs should mesh no?

Bart August 18, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Yes Nick, it gets a little tiring. The formula is always the same, whether in 11968 or 10011. A little Bitossi pottery, a couple of Marimekko prints, something orange, something blue, lots of humble-bragging, and there you have it.

Nick August 23, 2012 at 5:35 pm

It’s their home

lexi bruk October 4, 2012 at 9:22 am

first time reader here, by way of the apartment therapy blog. did you reupholster your sofa in the print or did you make a cover? either way, did you do it on your own? i’ve been wanting to recycle my ugly brown sofa like yours; right now it’s hidden by a bunch of beautiful pillows but i really love the change you’ve made!

Urban Cholita October 4, 2012 at 9:57 am

I love it. Totally love it. What a difference those changes made!

cnordquist October 5, 2012 at 10:17 am

Hello, Lexi. I’m glad you like the refreshed family room. The sofa was professionally recovered, not slip-covered. I have done some basic upholstery before, but matching a large scale pattern like this one at the seams was something I thought I should leave to an experienced upholsterer. Good luck with your project. DD

deneen October 5, 2012 at 6:34 pm

PLEASE tell me how to modify the standard painters easel to hold the tv…..i’m loving that! I hate mine over the fireplace

Simone October 10, 2012 at 11:27 am

I LOVE your creative interior! But what I love MOST OF ALL, is that your doggy is also allowed to enjoy the newly upholstered sofa…good people!

mrs.a October 31, 2012 at 9:09 am

i love the revamp! please tell me where u bought the rug… so much texture and colour,, makes me happy 🙂

Christopher Nordquist November 2, 2012 at 6:38 am

Thanks, Mrs A! The rug is something I’ve had for over 10 years, and it’s a favorite of mine. It’s a vintage Moroccan run — probably from the 70s– that I bought from a dealer in San Francisco that’s no longer in business. For Moroccan goods I now usually go to

Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: