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Tailored Transitional Style for a Period Living Room (11 photos)

Renewing a living room with life and light!

By Becky Harris on 2019 06 03 in Houzz

8th AvenueSabrina Alfin Interiors
Photos by Dean J. Birinyi

Living Room at a Glance
Who lives here: 
A retired couple
Location: Lake District neighborhood of San Francisco
Size: 170 square feet (16 square meters)
Designer: Sabrina Alfin

A few years after completing a beautiful kitchen remodel, this retired San Francisco couple wanted to match its style in the adjacent living room. “My clients told me that this was likely the last decorating job they would ever do, so they wanted it to be high-quality, long-lasting, comfortable and beautiful,” says interior designer Sabrina Alfin. Their needs included a sitting area, a table for two and a very comfy chair for him. They also wanted to be able to watch their beloved San Francisco Giants from all over the room.

As soon as they had signed on with the designer, she assigned them some homework — putting together inspiration photos in a Houzz ideabook, along with comments about what they liked in each space. The ideabook revealed that their style leaned more transitional than traditional, that they loved blues and grays, and that they were drawn to sectionals with a chaise. Then, based on what she saw in the ideabook, she presented them with mood boards. 

Check out a copy of the Houzz ideabook they made (their ideabook is private, so this one is an exact copy).

Find a local interior designer on Houzz
Living Room - Sabrina Alfin
Before Photo
Before: “Their house is a classic old San Francisco Victorian-era row house, and their furniture was a mishmash of different styles. Some of it leaned more midcentury modern, and we wanted to come up with a style that fit their home’s architecture better,” Alfin says. One major issue was the bulk of the TV, which they wanted to be able to watch from all over the room.
8th AvenueSabrina Alfin Interiors
One of the clients’ most important must-haves was a comfy chair for the husband, who was losing his well-worn modern black leather model. “While this wasn’t a universal design retrofit, I did consider aging in place when designing. Getting out of an armchair can become more difficult as we get older,” Alfin says. 

She took him to showrooms to test chairs that were large enough for his 6-foot-plus frame yet appropriately sized for the scale of the room. This comfortable upholstered armchair with an overstuffed ottoman checked off all his comfy-chair boxes. A well-placed apothecary floor lamp makes it a great spot to read when the Giants aren’t playing.

“I also helped them find a rug that was more flat than one I’d typically recommend so that it wouldn’t be a trip hazard,” she says. 

Pask pharmacy floor lamp: Visual Comfort
Living Room - Sabrina Alfin
Before Photo
Before: The transitional kitchen is mostly white with simple Shaker lines. A granite counter in shades of gray provides color and pattern. “The jumping-off points were the simplicity of the white Shaker style and the gray tones,” Alfin says. The lines inspired tailored yet comfortable furniture, and the countertops provided a color palette. The original mood boards she created also reflected the global influences of the diverse city.

“A room needs three elements: color, texture and shine,” the designer says. “The colors and tailored style in this room could have skewed cold, so warmer textures were important to keep it from going cold and flat.”
8th AvenueSabrina Alfin Interiors
For the walls, the designer used Benjamin Moore’s Marylin’s Dress, a paint color she describes as “a heavenly, soothing blue-gray.” From there she added more grays, shades of blue from light sky to indigo and a few punches of black and white to the color palette. “We opted for a clean, tailored and classic transitional look,” she says. Chinoiserie inspired the fabric and accent pieces. “Chinoiserie was a great way to bring in pattern play on the accents. It’s classic and also went along with the global influence idea they liked,” she says. 

She looked to Lo Forti Fine Prints, across the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin County, for just the right artwork to match the color scheme and feeling of the room. “This company has a large collection of antique printing plates, and you can specify the colors you want them to use,” she says. She chose ferns in blue, gray and silver tones. They have silver leaf on the mats and a silver edge on the frames for a bit of shine. This plays off other silver and pewter finishes in the room, seen on the hammered Thai drum side table, the floor lamp and the base of the coffee table legs. 

Browse gray sectional sofas in the Houzz Shop
8th AvenueSabrina Alfin Interiors
These clients also love throw pillows, so Alfin splurged by designing them in special fabrics. The Greek key motif on this one was crafted using a fabric trim tape — check out the way the corners of the tape are mitered.

The coffee table also brings in texture and shine. It is covered in lacquered linen, and the bottoms of the legs have a mirrored finish. The wool rug’s transitional pattern reflects the global influence inspiration.
8th AvenueSabrina Alfin Interiors
The top of the Thai drum side table has an intricate medallion-like top.
8th AvenueSabrina Alfin Interiors
A rattan table and chairs bring in a big dollop of warm texture. And the hairpin chair legs nod to the midcentury modern style the homeowners like. The granite-topped bar cabinet to the right was part of the prior kitchen renovation. Alfin flanked the other side of the table with a white TV console that balances it nicely. 

Now they can watch the Giants while having game-day food at the table, relaxing in the sitting area or prepping snacks in the kitchen, thanks to a full-motion swivel TV mount. When they are done watching, they can place the TV flush with the wall — it’s no longer a bulky behemoth hogging the corner of the room. 

Shop for bistro tables
8th AvenueSabrina Alfin Interiors
At the peninsula, two new counter stools and their chair pads match the bistro chairs.
8th AvenueSabrina Alfin Interiors
In addition to the glints of silver on the side table, lamp, artwork and coffee table, Alfin added a mirror over the existing bar, which faces the end of the peninsula, for more shine. It’s a great transitional blend of modern (simple geometric shape) and traditional (pieces of antiqued mirror between the bevel and the beaded edge).
Living Room - Sabrina Alfin
Floor plan: Alfin presented her clients with three floor plans to choose from, and they selected one similar to the setup they already had. Finding a good solution for the TV was the most effective layout change. The doors lead to a deck that goes to the yard. 

Takeaways
  • One room’s renovation can lead to redecorating other rooms. (Now you’ve been warned!)
  • It pays to take your time testing chairs — not only how comfortable they are, but also how easy it is to get in and out of them.
  • Rooms need three things: color, texture and shine.
  • Throw pillows are a great place to splurge on special fabrics because you won’t need to buy a lot.
  • A TV needn’t dominate a room. Invest in mounting it to free up floor space and lessen its impact on the overall design.

Michael B. Swinney
Lic# 270689
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REQUEST MORE INFO

LOOKING FOR INSULATION?
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