ORC Week 7: Styling Our Chatham Double Parlour

We got the photos back from our double parlour and I’m SO excited to share the full room views with you next week for the One Room Challenge reveals!  It’s been a long and challenging process with suppliers shut down and extremely slow shipping I wasn’t sure we could pull it all off, but we did it!

One thing that was completely different for me on this project is that I wasn’t able to get ANY decor accessories aside from toss pillows.  So I had to shop the house and use what I had stored away in the basement and in other rooms to make this come together.

Usually I like to plan out my accessories and decor then go shopping, but we couldn’t get shipments in time and stores like Homesense were closed!  So it’s interesting to see what we could pull together with these constraints (especially since I often use the good stuff in client’s installations when I can’t find something perfect… so my “stash” of home decor is very slim these days).

I thought it would be fun to walk through some of the styling decisions we made and share the rationale with you this week.

One Room Challenge Guest Participant badge
Arched stained glass window in pink and aqua is the focal point for the living room in this Chatham Victorian home

The accent colours for the room came from the arched stained glass window and from the area rugs we already had in the room.

We pulled out aqua, pink, and navy as our decor colours with hits of greenery throughout.

Area Rug selected by interior decorator Heather Prestanski for her Victorian home in Chatham

Photo: Art & Spaces

One thing I was able to order was toss pillows which was great because we had some that worked — a great Velvet pillow made from a Maxwell Fabric and a pair of aqua spots also made locally with Maxwell Fabric.

However the periwinkle blue that we had in here before had to go and be replaced with hits of pink instead as it clashed with our new wallpaper.

This sofa used to have back cushions but we removed those to get a deeper sofa with a tight back that felt less modern and more transitional so better suited to this room.

We purchased this sofa about 7 years ago and is from the line we sell at our Comfortable Dwelling boutique (style now discontinued). It’s done in a down wrapped cushion so it’s extremely comfortable and I’m pleased that the back was fully upholstered despite having back cushions.  Many less expensive brands don’t do this as a cost saving measure and it gives a lot less flexibility with the piece over time.

Although this photo is focused on the throw blanket (just an old one I had in the back room), you can see that I placed 3 toss pillows on one side of the sofa and 2 on the other.  I’ve been really digging this asymmetrical toss pillow look for a while now.

I do a 22″X22″ in the back layered with 20″X20″ in the front.  Sometimes I’ll use a kidney for my third pillow instead of another square like I did in our Fresh Traditional project in Chatham, Ontario.

Photo: Art & Spaces

On the mantle, we usually have our TV because when football season rolls around I like to come into this room to watch something different when Kyle has a 24/7 stream of games on in the back family room.

However, for the photo shoot I thought it would be fun to style the mantle with the mirror we usually have in our front entryway.  I just love how the frame complements the white painted brick on the fireplace and I had a really hard time putting the TV back in here.

These antique books were another thing I was able to order and the only accessory that I brought in new for this project.  I got them off etsy through a local seller.

Before the shoot, Kyle and I went foraging through our garden for some greenery in this space.  Our peonies were the only thing in bloom so we looked at our shrubs and trees to fill in the gaps. 

This is a branch off one of our magnolia trees from the backyard. It had just dropped its blooms and was the perfect shape for above the mantle. 

For everyday use I have some faux olive branches that we use on the mantle that I picked up at Michaels.  But they don’t look as good as the fresh magnolia branches and, because we have so many magnolias on the property I think I’ll use fresh more often. 

When layering up a mantle, I begin placing the largest hero item first.  In this case it was the mirror.

In front of that, I begin building layers on either side starting with the taller items and then layering in front of that with some smaller vignettes. 

A great formula is if you’re using something rigid on one side, to use a more organic shape on the other side. 

For example, I have the candle on the left so we balanced that with the really flowy magnolia branches on the right. 

The medium sized object on the left is an arrangement of peonys so on the right we did a more rigid stack of books. 

And then the small object on the left was a square antique camera so on the right we did a more organic shape with the round porcelain bowl. 

Mixing in clean lines with organic shapes on both sides and throwing it back and forth like that makes a symmetrical arrangement appear more architectural then had we just repeated similar shapes on either side.

When doing a fireplace I also like to consider layers in front of it on the hearth as well.  We usually have a basket on the right to hold extra throw blankets and pillows (because we have to have one for each of us plus a couple for the dogs at all times!).  In this case, I moved the basket under an end table to clean up the view and create more asymmetry because the top of the mantle and the chairs on either side were done with symmetry so I wanted to mix it up so it felt more casual.

I just love this little bench and it’s a perfect little foot stool for whoever sits in the corner.  It adds an unexpected rustic element to the otherwise formal space breaking up the monotony.  I’ve had this stool forever and I’m not sure where I got it anymore but it usually lives in the entryway before finding its new home on the hearth.


Photo: Art & Spaces

Because we used the sofa to break the room up into two distinct conversation areas, I wanted to place a console on the back of the sofa for a place to set drinks when using the four chairs at the back of the room.

I thought this was a great place to put my decorating book and magazine collection.

Along the bottom are the coffee table books arranged by size and colour.

The magazines are stacked on the angled shelf again by size then colour.

I almost always arrange my books this way.  As much as I like the look of a backwards book so the pages show instead of the spine, I think it’s completely impractical if you actually use your books (which I do).  So by arranging them first by size and then by colour, it helps the books look more clean and intentional.

Sometimes I do the opposite way and do colour first and then size.  This creates a colour blocking effect like we did in our Fresh Traditional project, however in this case I don’t have many to display so decided to sort by size first.

This console was one that my parents gave me after they moved and didn’t have room for it anymore.  It’s just an old Pier1 piece that has a good amount of wear especially on the bottom shelves.  The way I stacked the books there helps to hide that wear.

On top of the console I wanted to add a decanter because this is often a room that we share drinks in.

We have a fully stocked bar in the adjacent dining room, but I think it’s nice to add easy access to the things that you want to use the space for.  By adding the decanter and a couple of glasses to this area of the room along with my decorating books it’s the perfect invitation to sit an unwind.

Photo: Art & Spaces

Whenever I’m adding a number of smaller items together for decor, I tend to group them onto a tray or on top of a book as it helps to ground the items and make them look more intentional and less like clutter.

I could have used a bottle or some bar accessories to fill out the tray, but instead filled it with these pretty blooms I picked up at Pizzazz Florals and Balloons.  Again, this is keeping with mixing rigid and organic shapes together to add more interest and softness to the space.

If this room was more of an industrial or sleek modern feeling, then I probably would have opted for the bar accessories instead.

Photo: Art & Spaces

When I’m stying a coffee table, I tend to begin with a square tray on a round table, and a round tray on a rectangular table.  This helps to break up the shape of the table and gives a vessel to hold the decor.  It’s a simple way to decorate your table and, in our case, we often remove our table decor when entertaining so we have a place to set out food when guests are over.  Having everything in a tray makes this very simple and quick.

When layering inside the tray, I usually use a taller floral arrangement like these lilacs that I picked from the garden.  Then I pick something a bit odd like this great dog statue I’ve had out forever. And some sort of smaller vessel like this bowl.

If I had something to put in the bowl at the time like some wood beads or pretty pearls I would have added a few more layers to this tray. But, not having anything that would work in the house I think it turned out pretty anyways!

Photo: Art & Spaces

I kept things pretty simple around the remainder of the room.  The four chairs each got a small pink lumbar pillow.  And we placed some florals throughout the room here and there to spread that life around the room.

I didn’t want to add too many layers to the styling because against the busier wallpaper it would just be too much.

I’m definitely a “maximalist” and I love layering my decor because I feel it creates a really warm and welcoming impact in any room.  But I needed to really reel it in here and ended up removing just as much as I put in to avoid overwhelming the space.

That’s all the peeking I’m going to give you this week because I want to hold the remaining shots for the big reveal next week!

In case you missed any of the other posts in the series, I’ve linked them below so that you can see the entire progression from start to finish.  We’ve talked about a lot in this series!  The rationale behind the colours we chose.  How I pulled together the overall plan for the space.  How we laid out furniture in this long awkward room.  How we layered the lighting throughout.  And even how we chose the perfect window coverings to highlight the architectural features and show off the tall ceilings.