Abigail Cahill O'Brien

Our Den Before & After

In Feathering the Nest on June 22, 2010 at 5:30 am

For the past year, this is what our den looked like.  Don’t you just love the blank walls?  The makeshift lilliputian coffee table?  The awkward photo in the corner that’s actually a wall-mounted air conditioning unit?


Me neither.  I’d taken to watching TV on my laptop in the living room.  My husband had to drag me in here to watch “big screen” movies, waving bowls of freshly popped popcorn under my nose and then backing into the room, snapping the sliding doors shut behind me.  We avoided the room so thoroughly that we eventually shut off the heat.

Enough torture!   Here’s the “after,” thanks to the interior design leadership of Amy Meier:

Image by Michael J. Lee Photography

Did you notice the drink shelf behind the couch?  The man of the house suggested that.  Smarty pants.

Image by Michael J. Lee Photography

Remember all the brass accessories I dug for on Etsy?  They live here now.  Amy wisely tempered them with a dose of handsome wood.

In the era of DIY, it may surprise you that I work with a designer.  I’m surprised myself.   I’m not sure I would have if Amy and I hadn’t been fast friends for going on seven years, and if she didn’t just happen to be a terrific designer.

I know what I like. For instance, I like grey (not in this room, but most everywhere else).  The thing is, all the grey paint samples I pick out turn out to be various shades of icy blue.  I know enough to know I don’t know the first thing about furniture scale or floor plans.  Amy’s guidance prevents big, fat mistakes, the kind that might ruin the room or my wallet.  Since we collaborate so much, the results feel very much “mine,” even though I couldn’t get them without her.

It feels like we’re setting the house’s bones, and while I’m an active participant, I’m glad there’s a doctor present.

Lest this sound too serious, you ought to know most of our sessions are fueled by good cheese, wine and dark chocolate.  After all, this is about creating a home to enjoy.

Bonus: here’s a peek at some of our family pictures hung in the den.

  1. Wow! That is just gorgeous. The photographs are wonderful, thank for sharing such a private part of your family history with us!

  2. Gorgeous. We have roughly 20 paintings and/or framed pictures that are scattered around the floors of our house leaning against walls because we are scrt to hang them because of a lack of confidence on just where to place them. Paralysis. Great work!

  3. Why thank you for the kind words!!! I could not be more thrilled with the way your home turned out. It should be noted that I don’t design homes for everyone over cheese and chocolate. You are a special client 🙂 Can’t wait to get my hands on your front room!

  4. […] doesn’t love a good before and after story?  Head over to my dear friend and clients blog, 5th Joy, to read up on a recent project of […]

  5. Love the panelling – its color is unusual and looks amazing with the vintage brass pieces and lighting. Posted about the buffet here: http://therovinghome.tumblr.com/post/712439677/furniture-to-a-good-home-only
    One last thought – thanks for sharing your family photos. A lovely, personal touch.

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