Irwin and I have been married for almost twenty-nine years and like most married couples, our lives are often like Ground Hog Day where we relive the same conversations over and over and over again.
I am the neurotic one. I always worry about the completion of a project and its result. Irwin is the visionary who has already planned the entire project in his head and can see the finish line before the start of the race.
This DIY project was no different. With the new finish of the fireplace wall complete, Irwin and I waited for the furniture delivery from the gallery the following day. I knew what we were sending back to Connecticut, but had no idea what Irwin had selected for our Great Room. Despite knowing that Irwin’s record spoke for itself, I worried about how the room would look and how this initial infusion of Mid Century Modern design into our country home would meld with the clean yet relaxed country feel of the rest of the house.
In our ten years of country life, we have had deliveries in rain, sleet and snow. We have had trucks that were unable to make it up the driveway, bookshelves that would not fit through the front door and mattresses that did not fit up stairways. Delivery day arrived, and true to form, it poured. The Bobs (our wonderful delivery company) finally arrived and carefully wiped their muddy shoes before entering the house and revealing the choices for the fireplace wall area of the Great Room.
The first piece to make its entrance was the Mid Century gold credenza. As the Bobs centered it on the wall, I was amazed by its perfect fit. Although originally designed to be a filing cabinet by General Fireproofing, this beautiful MCM filing cabinet offered us clean, modern design with quite a bit of storage. Irwin coupled the cabinet with a pair of Italian blue glazed lamps that were Mid Century in design but were more organic in both shape as well as materials. The focal piece on that wall became a repurposed industrial sculpture, which in reality was the discarded portion of sheet metal that had been stamped out. We had originally placed it against one of our outbuildings where it acquired its beautiful patina, but when Irwin placed it on the credenza, we knew it had found a new home. The mixing of MCM design with Industrial pieces from the same time period added a new layer of interest to the room and a new area of interest for Irwin.
The two oversized southwestern club chairs that we had inherited from my mother-in-law were sent to that infamous underground Green Room in Stamford, otherwise known as “The Basement” and were replaced with a pair of French Deco cowhide club chairs that once graced our living room in NYC. The chairs were perfect in front of the fireplace wall and visual proof that it is entirely possible to mix periods within a room or a home and that doing so often enriches the design aesthetic. Besides, the chairs will offer much welcomed warmth on a cold night.
The shallow, more formal sofa that originally occupied the fireplace area of the room was unsuitable for lounging so we replaced it with a low profile modern sofa, covered in brown velvet. The newly covered MCM piece allowed for a flawless vista of the entire fireplace area from the other side of the Great Room and beyond. From the front, the sofa revealed deep plush seats with oversized comfy pillows ideal for lounging or conversation and is a favorite respite for our family pet Charlie.
Bedside tables turned sideways in lieu of end tables flanked the sofa. The tables, topped with white marble accentuate the light carpet and added to the expansive feel of the room.
The patchwork copper and brass coffee table with its glass top was a perfect addition to the room supplying yet another layer of organic Mid Century design to the room along with the19th Century hand forged farm tools and…that graced either side of the fireplace wall.
Whew. What a surprisingly easy transformation in just forty-eight hours. This was truly our favorite DIY project to date: An enormous return on a minimal amount of work and a brand new polished space to entertain in. Who could ask for anything more?
Well, we could. The space still needs custom pillows and window treatments along with a bluestone mantle, but for now, we’re just happy to kick back and enjoy our tenth year in the country.