Wednesday, June 10, 2009

How To Woo a Room

My living room has been in a sulk lately. It's had to sit through one too many NBA playoff games (don't ask) and yesterday I looked at it and I swear it was in a total state of depression. The furniture had lost its sparkle, the artwork looked apathetic and even the books were in a slump.
I sensed it desperately needed to feel like the center of attention again. Playing second fiddle to a bunch of tall men in shorts had really worked a number on its self-esteem. It had so much love to give, but it had fallen prey to a mean case of the blues. 

I needed to go Oprah on it.

I had some friends coming over the next day for tea and had originally planned to hang out in the kitchen with them, but that was before I realized I had a room in crisis.

This morning, I baked a batch of pumpkin bread and while its spicy scent was filling the house, I began my good-karma assault on the living room. I turned on some music, plumped cushions, opened curtains and windows, lit a scented candle, did some rearranging and brought in a vase of fresh flowers. I could almost feel the room stirring back to life.

I put together a tea tray with all the accoutrements, and when I set it down in the living room...

...I swear the red leather wing chair suddenly sat up straighter and the low-slung tufted duo craned their necks forward to get a closer look. The room felt sassy and rife with confidence, just the way I remembered it. 
I had scarcely set the tray down when the doorbell rang and within moments, the room was filled with boisterous chatter about life, kids, husbands and school fundraising (which, FYI, is the Energizer Bunny of topics: it just keeps on going and going and going). It took three hours of drinking, eating and laughing, but by golly, that room was fully back to life when we finally finished the last drop of Earl Grey.

Moral of the story: Most living rooms have a feminine soul. This means they are usually high-maintenance and like to be lavished with attention. Never take them for granted. Live in them, laugh in them, entertain in them and above all, be happy in them and they will repay you tenfold. And if you must watch TV in them, turn on Fox Sports and ESPN at your peril.  

25 comments:

Sesame Jones said...

I love your curtains! Your living room is a pretty lady!

Courtney said...

I just love reading your words. Really. Your blog is a treat to me...I can never decided whether to dive into the unread post first or save it for the very last. Such difficult decisions you leave me :)

I am so very glad you were able to resuscitate that living room. What would be ever do without her? And a tea party?! I couldn't think of a more appropriate occasion to breath life back into such a gorgeous room.

pve design said...

You sure know how to live and put the life back into a living room. Atta gal!

Blue said...

A delight to read as usual. I am surprised by the idea of living rooms having a feminine soul and my initial reaction was a strong "what?!?!" but now I'm thinking about it. It will probably occupy me in my spare moments this morning - interestingly, to me at least, I often tell my students when designing for residences that they need to gay it up! So, as you see, between your designation and my perhaps glib instruction I have a lot to think about. For that, I thank you.

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Good words of advice!! Just a little attention is the best recipe for a tired room!

Mrs. Blandings said...

It appears that she missed you, though is truly no worse for the (boy) wear. I'm sure your friends were thrilled to linger there.

Simply Mel said...

The photo of the tea tray alone made me smile, and then I kept smiling with your delightful afternoon description! You are so right, we must LIVE in our homes and Enjoy!

Terry said...

My number one method for beautifying a room is to bring in the ladies. The way the reds are spread around the room is spectacular.

Prairie Girl Studio said...

hi lisa!
i think you were spot on when you said your room had a 'sulk' ... such a perfect description of being in ... well, a 'funk' ... isn't it amazing how a room can speak to you? but you knew just what to do and oh my what a delightful space to gather in ... lovely!
prairiegirl

wild thyme flowers for modern romantics said...

Yet another wonderful post! Your living room is so lovely. I bet the ladies loved having afternoon tea at your house !

tartanscot said...

Lisa,

your beautiful writing style never ceases to amaze me.

and, I usually just tell my room, "wow, have you lost weight?" and it just totally melts into me . . . lol.

Laura [What I Like] said...

I have never noticed that red leather chair before...what a wonderful brightness it brings! And I must say, you've inspired me to have some friends round for tea. I need to justify keeping a massive box of china teacups my mom recently passed along, plus time with friends is never a bad thing.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I totally agree. Whenever my rooms feel blue, I always bring them flowers...lots of flowers. I never fails to do the trick.

Shopowner said...

So lovely - your gorgeous presentation of the "bread" made me move on with my thoughts of having a little brunch for my friends. I always have these little gatherings in my head but hurry on through my day without further planning.
I adore my living room and often will sit down on my sofa in the early morning to enjoy my "first" cup of coffee - then onto my favorite place - the lanai - to enjoy the beautiful mornings in Florida.
I will use my yellow English Chintz for this gathering and will post photos on my blog and my shop's website which is: www.ShortStacksAntiques.com
Thanks for sharing - I just started following and really enjoy your words.....

Lisa Borgnes Giramonti said...

Courtney, PVE, Blue, A/Design and Mrs. Blandings: Your words are, as always, so appreciated and your blogs infinitely inspiring...thank you! xx

Simply Mel: Your comment tickled me. Thank you... :)

Terry: I have to agree...ladies (and well-dressed men, for that matter) energize a room, no matter how down in the dumps it is!

Prairie Girl: Thanks for commenting...I love your blog and your fabulous life up there in the wilds!

Wild Thyme: It was a good reminder to me how easy it is to whip up a tea. Berries, bread (or scones/sandwiches/whatever) and some good fragrant tea leaves and boom, you're done!

TartanScot: Ohmygoodness, you are tooooo funny. Why didn't I think of that? No matter. I will be telling my LR every day now that it must be on a low-carb diet it looks so lean and elegant... :)

Laura: Have some friends 'round! Lucky you -- I bet those teacups are amazing...give them a chance to preen and be adored!

Shopowner: Your description of your morning routine sounds right up my alley if I didn't have a seven year old running around trying to find his jeans with the hole in them. Oh, and a lanai? How very Babe Paley that sounds...
Send me an email when you post your photos so I don't miss them!

Things That Inspire said...

I love that you had people over for tea. So civilized (coming from a confirmed Anglophile and a devoted tea drinker - I have never even tasted coffee).

I agree, most living rooms have a feminine soul.

Clarity said...

When you walk into that room now do you just sigh happily?

I like your eclectic and elegant mix of furniture, especially the tree trunk coffee table and the white chaise... that tea tray looks delightful, your friends must have felt so welcome.

A Super Dilettante said...

I love the way you prepare meal or in this case tea and cake. Moral of the story is such a beautiful summary. I read that paragraph twice. What you said was so right. Most men stay in their study. My mother makes the decision of the interior decor for the rest of the house including the sitting room except my father's study which she has no creative control, so to speak! It's entirely his room!

home before dark said...

What do you think is eccentric about your room? Other than boys having to watch NBA games in it. Love the red and the books.

Gina said...

You are so right... just clear up the mess and put some flowers on the table. To buy a cake and put some powder suger over it personally will do as well

Have a look at my pics here:

www.ginaspis.net

VictoriaArt said...

It is so funny that you write about you living room like that....
We have a family room, you know, door to the deck and tv, even my desk is squeezed in there and we have a living room: fireplace, baby grand plus the doghouse; this is the winter room, it always goes somewhat dormant during the summer month. I do not like it and during these month I always feel it is in such need to be revived and then comes October, won't you know it, back were it should be: center stage!Now for weeks we've had nasty cold rainy days here, so yesterday my lady came back with a fire lit and lot's of Earl Gray...
I know how you feel!
Rooms need wooing!
Yours got the love!

Have a inspired weekend - tea party and all!

XX
Victoria

Scott Fazzini said...

L.B.G. - I don't think that anyone is as in touch with their living space as you are -and it shows beautifully! She's a lucky gal to have you, and you to have her.

Tara said...

What a great space...nothing wrong with a "chic" sorta room about--why do we feel we need to make every room for everyone else? No reason this space can't be just for you and the gals!

Love the Union Jack pillow- a surprise!

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David Herbert said...

lisa... thanks for making me smile... lovely post

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