In the Mood: Sophisticated Relaxing Modern Living Room

A while back, I shared with you the inspiration for my living room redesign, a look I’m calling Sophisticated Relaxing Modern.  Since then I’ve been playing around with the floorplan and looking at furniture that I felt would capture the vibe I’m aiming for.

One of the big reasons it’s taken me a while to move on this room is: THE PIANO.  Exhibit A:

Vintage Modern Living Room Before and After

To see what the room looked like after our remodel, go here.

Moving a piano is no small task.  I’m stubborn and often believe I am stronger than I am, but moving a piano is not something I would attempt.  All the floorplans I had included our massive baby grand, which felt a bit wrong because my husband (the piano player in the house) never loved the quality of sound that this big piano produced.  So, after some discussion, we decided to bite the bullet and look for a new piano. We also determined that we could get an upright piano instead of a baby grand, one that would sound better, but would eat up less space in our new dedicated “music room”.  Basically a win-win. Go here to see my husband after he found “The Piano”.

Once the piano decision was made, things started happening including delivery of the new piano, and more importantly removal of the old piano.

Piano 1

Piano 2

Bye bye piano, you served us well. Now the fun starts and I’m also removing the old rug and getting rid of our beloved rounded loveseat to make way for my new design.  I went through a couple of different moodboard/floor plans to arrive at one that I felt hit the spot.

Relaxing Sophisticated Living Room

Sadly, the grey velvet sofa in the moodboard is only a stand in, but I couldn’t find an image that more closely matched the sofa we will be keeping.  What do you think of this new plan?



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Reveal: Relaxing Scandinavian Surfer Tween Bedroom

Relaxing Scandinavian Surfer Bedroom _20t

It’s week 6 of the One Room Challenge.  That means it’s time for the reveal!

Before we dive into it, let’s walk down memory lane. When we bought the house, the room looked like this:


After months of remodeling and renovating we got to move in and I gave our older son a big boy room:

ReLocatedLiving_Bedroom1_20 copy

Now that he’s on the doorstep of tweenhood I decided to give our older son’s room a makeover as part of the One Room Challenge. The look I was inspired by was “Relaxing Scandinavian Surfer Bedroom”. After six weeks of I am happy to report that the room looks like this:

Relaxing Scandinavian Surfer Bedroom _04

It’s incredible how different the room looks and feels, yet this is really a story about the power of decorating. I made no structural changes, I didn’t even a change the paint on the walls (which he wanted to keep). Since we’ve been busy with hardcore physical labor fixing up our Farmhaus (see my instagram for what I’ve been up to lately), revamping this room with furniture, finishes and a reimagined layout was actually relaxing.

To get the full effect of the Relaxing Scandinavian Surfer vibe, I think the transformation is best shown in sections. Since this is a bedroom, let’s start with the sleep zone.

Relaxing Scandinavian Surfer Bedroom _02

In my original moodboard, I imagined a different bed but my son/client insisted on a trundle. I’m very happy with the one I found, it’s handsome and tailored without being stuffy. In fairness it took a lot of energy to put the bed together, but the result is worth it.  The navy piping is a little extra detail that elevates the design.

Relaxing Scandinavian Surfer Bedroom _21

The nightstand is one that he’s had for a few years when I decided to replace his original nightstand. It’s a classic midcentury design, but I gave it a little DIY treatment by painting the front of the drawer white. A small change that makes a surprisingly big difference, plus it ties it in with the desk and makes it feel fresh. Another big change was opting for a wall-mounted sconce instead of a lamp. I didn’t want to call in an electrician, so I knew the sconce had to be a plug-in.  I looked at so many options until finally finding the one. I chose a sconce because it gives him more surface area on his nightstand. That way Big Boy can have his speaker nearby and listen to music (that’s a thing at this age, plus this is a cool speaker that he got to build himself and learn about sound waves, electromagnetism, etc. but I digress).  To bridge the space between the nightstand and the sconce I decided to hang a photo I took last summer featuring him jumping into a pool.

Relaxing Scandinavian Surfer Bedroom _17

Relaxing Scandinavian Surfer Bedroom _19

The beddings have a hint of pattern without being theme-y or juvenile.  The accent pillow cover is another DIY from a scrap of fabric I found in my “stash”. I chose to mix blue, with white and tan as a reference to the sand and sea, the colors are similar to those in the rug. The art selection is very chillax in a surfer dude kinda way. While I prefer to use non-mass art, these prints of palm fronds make me think of palm trees so I go them anyway. The photograph is just that quiet moment of heading out into the water to patiently wait for the perfect wave. I looked at tons of images of surfers and surfing, but didn’t want one that was “too active” lest it break the spell of relaxation I was trying to cast.

Speaking of relaxation, let’s move on to his favorite spot in the house, his new armchair in which he reads, plays video games on his iPad or kicks back and listens to music.

Relaxing Scandinavian Surfer Bedroom _15

The chair is super comfy and was a complete steal. It was the first piece of furniture I really knew I wanted for his room, so everything in my moodboard was selected to work with it.

As you keep moving around the room you will find his new bookshelf. He used to have his books tucked away in his closet, but now that they are out, I feel that they are being celebrated. I’m happy his books have come out again.

Relaxing Scandinavian Surfer Bedroom _09

In my moodboard I had zeroed in on a different bookcase, but once the pieces started to come together I knew I needed more height to keep things balanced and the eye moving. Fortunately for me, this new wood + white number came out just in time. BTW – if you’re installing a bookcase by screwing it into the wall, use proper wall-plugs that will anchor your screws. I saw this same shelf in someone’s shopping cart in the return aisles. Having just installed the same shelf I inquired about what had happened. It had come tumbling down! I politely asked if they had used proper wall anchors. I could tell from the blank stares that they had not and had simply put screws straight into the wall. People, use common sense!

Relaxing Scandinavian Surfer Bedroom _08

Finally, we get to the desk. I debated long and hard about which white+wood modern desk would work best.

Relaxing Scandinavian Surfer Bedroom _05

Ultimately I chose this desk because of its clean simple lines, features, dimensions and price.  At just $180 (it’s currently on sale for even less), I think it’s a very good looking desk. It’s #8 in my desk roundup.  It captures the vibe of #3 which I had featured in my moodboard, but cost $400 less and has the clean Scandinavian lines I was after. The placement of the desk was the most controversial aspect. My son didn’t want the desk where the bed was, but I did want it back under the window as his desk gets all the afternoon sun, not good for homework.  He also didn’t think I could have the desk jutting out like that. But by placing it as a peninsula, he can still have the view to the window but without the glare.  He realizes now that mommy is usually right, and loves the new location of his desk.

Relaxing Scandinavian Surfer Bedroom _24

His work zone features a little gallery wall that includes a mixtures of personal photographs including a beach scene from our trip to SoCal during Winter break, purchased prints, a vintage painting and my very first DIY wall hanging.  Remember when I wrote a post about wall hangings and that I wanted to give it a try? Well, I finally did and I loved it.  Now I have to find space for all the yarn I am starting to accumulate. Oops.

My son is ecstatic about his room.  He had his best friend over this weekend and when his friend’s mother came for pick up, my son proudly asked her if she wanted to see his new room. Mission accomplished!  Hope you like the room as much as he does.


On a parting note, first off, thank you for following along!!! I am so happy I decided to participate in the One Room Challenge.  I have discovered new and like minded designers around the world, but also it forced some needed discipline in my blogging.  In this spirit, make sure you stick around as I’ll be posting overdue updates of the Farmhaus in the weeks to come. Lots happening on that front.  In the meanwhile I’m excited to explore what the featured designers and guest designers of the One Room Challenge have come up with.

Relaxing Scandinavian Surfer Bedroom _02sq

Relaxing Scandinavian Surfer Bedroom _01

Trundle Bed | Sheets | Surfer Print | Palm Prints | Plug-in Sconce | Armchair | Rug | Floor lamp | Bookcase | Desk | Desk chair | Flushmount Light | Beach Print | Bamboo Blinds | Curtains (discontinued) similar

Cassie Bustamante - what a great makeover! it was awesome before, but now it’s so much more grown up for him. love the bed and the artwork and his desk area is fab!

Lizzie | Emmerson & Fifteenth - I love the whole room! All the gorgeous textiles you chose, the Danish-style bookcase, the new desk, and that adorable wall hanging. He must love it!

LESLI - i LOVE this room…I have two sons and I have always advised folks doing boys rooms to “choose the wall color wisely” because it has been my experience that boys do not like too change colors. My daughters walls have been 6 colors – the boys – 2 . Your color choice is spot on and looks great both before and after!!! Great job!!!

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ORC : Relaxing Scandinavian Surfer – Week 5

DETAILS Scandinavian Surfer Bedroom 2

The finish line for my One Room Challenge is in sight. Last week was all about building the big pieces of my Relaxing Scandinavian Surfer Tween Bedroom, this week it’s about layering in details.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, art is so important in personalizing a space. It’s not only decorative, but the pieces you select say a) a lot about you, and b) can really set the tone of the room.

ART Scandinavian Surfer Bedroom

For this room, I chose a selection of photographs, both my own and a few I purchased from Society 6 and Etsy.  The vintage seascape painting was scored at the flea market.  The cool thing about the flea market painting is that I went on a sourcing trip with my Big Boy/client and together we agreed on the piece. This was his first time going to the flea market, so I introduced him to looking, asking, bartering.  He enjoyed the process more than I expected and more than he expected, so I think we’ll be going together more often, maybe turn it into our special alone time.

DETAILS Scandinavian Surfer Bedroom

I also want to bring in some texture and pattern.  Overall I want the room to be very relaxing, but I still plan to add visual interest through fabric and plants, and objects.  While doing some major spring cleaning, I came across scraps of fabric that I hoarded, fortunately some of them work for this room. If you watch my instastory, you’ll see a few more projects I got up to this week.

The room definitely feels like it’s coming together. Just a few more tweaks and we’ll be ready for next week’s final reveal. Check out the other guest designers progress by going here, or the featured designers by going here.  Next week is going to be amazing.  Stay tuned.


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ORC: Relaxing Scandinavian Surfer – Week 4

I simply can’t believe it’s week 4 of the One Room Challenge. Where does time fly? This week has been all about assembly. I received the desk and bed, and purchased a desk chair, and they all required me putting them together. Exhibit A:

Bed Assembly

I should have taken more pictures of the bed assembly, because it took two of us a full hour and we’re very handy. Each one of those beds slats was done one at a time. Plus, unlike the room’s moodboard in which I featured a regular twin bed, my son/client insisted he still wanted a trundle bed for sleepovers. Not one to spoil his potential social life, I indulged. However, it meant that assembly essentially required assembling two beds, not one.

For me a desk is a crucial piece of furniture for any tween/teen’s bedroom. That way they can have a dedicated space for homework.  His last desk had a lot of drawers for storage. I thought that would be a good thing, but honestly he just stuffed junk in there. This time around I’m going for a more streamlined look with fewer drawers and no room for HOARDING.  Since I’m going for a Scandinavian surfer vibe, I felt that mixing wood + white would work well. It keeps things light, while the spare lines keep things modern. After searching everywhere for desks that look good and don’t break the bank, I thought I would share with you some of my favorites.


Budget Friendly White Wood Modern Desk_1

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

You’ll have to wait for the final reveal to find out which desk I ended up choosing.

I also decided to upgrade his desk chair for something on casters, that can swivel.  With his last chair I really felt that he would benefit from a) more back support, and b) more freedom of movement.  Here are the selections I narrowed it down to:

Modern Neutral Desk Chairs

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

For the desk chair I didn’t want something with armrests.  While I enjoy armrests on the desk chair in my office, I wanted something that would easily tuck under his desk and out of the way. If you want a hint of which chair I chose, check out my Instagram.

Since the big pieces of this room redesign are in place, next week is going to be all about giving the room some soul. I need to find art and I’d love to find some vintage pieces.  I’m also tempted to work on a DIY project for the room, but I’m not sure if it’s too much to handle since I’m simultaneously working on landscaping and curb appeal at the Farmhaus and planning the details for Monkey’s 6th Birthday.  We’ll see how the week plays out.

In the meanwhile, if you’re looking for more inspiration, check out this year’s One Room Challenge featured designers and other guest participants.


Lizzie Ravn - Love the bed! I’ve been on a slow search for a good looking trundle bed for my son’s room & that one is gorgeous. So are all those desks and chairs. Love chair #2 especially, but any of them would look great. Not long now!

isadorag - Thanks for the encouragement. Need to push through to get it done. 🙂 Can’t wait to see yours!

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ORC: Relaxing Scandinavian Surfer – Week 3

JAGS Progress 1

It’s week 3 of the One Room Challenge and as you can see from the photo above, we have some progress happening. I got the rug and chair and love them both. What’s even better is the chair with it’s clean Scandinavian inspired lines is super comfy and it has quickly become my son’s favorite spot. The rug has a mix of blues and beiges in a flat weave; the perfect color combo for the relaxed surfer vibe I’m going for. We’ve also hung the new bamboo blinds. In my head I always envisioned the chair would sit by the window so that he’d have natural light flooding in while he sits in his chair, plus the trees outside make you forget you’re in the middle of Oakland. It’s not quite surfing waves, but at least it’s nature. So far, so good.

Now comes the rest of the room. As a reminder below is the room’s layout before, but now that the chair has moved to the prime spot near the windows, everything else needs to get shuffled around. You can see how the room used to look like with old layout by going here.Layout Before

The first option is to keep the bed where it is and just swap out the dresser for his new desk. Not bad, but I feel there’s too much open floor space, which is not in itself a bad thing, but since he’s a tween and doesn’t play on the floor much, it feels like a waste.

Floorplan 1

Option 2 involves a little more shuffling around, which I like because it changes the energy of the room. I like this option because furniture isn’t stuck to the edge of the room. However, when my son looked at the plan he told me he doesn’t want to walk into the room and look at his desk first thing. It makes him think about homework. Plus, I don’t love the feng shui of him having his back to the door.  Back to the drawing board.Floorplan 2

When my clients express a need, or wish, I listen and try to find a solution between function, design and their wishes, even if my client happens to be my own son. But honestly for a while I was stumped with his bedroom. Then a couple of nights ago, before going to sleep I started playing around with furniture in my head and I came up with Option 3. This option orients the bed in a different direction, whereby he’ll be able to look out the window when he’s lying down. Also, the desk isn’t glued to the wall and it gives him an opportunity to look out the window, without the glare of the sun falling directly on his homework. Perfect! The only thing now is that the bookcase I originally picked in my moodboard doesn’t feel like the right fit anymore. The bookcase needs more height and my vision for how the artwork would be hung will likely have to change. You can have a plan and a vision, but I think you always need to retain a certain amount of flexibility to work things out down the line.

Floorplan 3

Option 3 also feels more social should he have a couple of friends over hanging out.

Still much to be done. Click here if you want to catch up on my Week 1 ORC Inspiration, or my Week 2 ORC moodboard.  See you next week.


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yasmara - I love that you’re treating your son like you would a client! Meanwhile, my son has asked for a gray bedroom for 3 years…he finally got one when we put our last house on the market & enjoyed it for 3 months & now he has a blue room. We should have painted before the furniture was moved in but we moved during the year-round school year in our new town & the kids literally had to get up for school the next day so we wanted their rooms to be as chaos-free as possible. But I’m regretting not painting his room the 2 days we could have before the movers came! I was dealing with a major foot injury at the time, though, so it really wasn’t possible.

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