Refreshed Neutral Living Room and Spring Flowers

Doesn't Walnut Creek sound like a charming, 
little suburban town?
Actually, it's a charming BIG town in the East Bay, 
with rolling green hills and beautiful outdoor shopping
(Neiman Marcus, giant Pottery Barn, etc...), 
and some very nice people.

To get there, I have to drive 
through the tangled downtown San Francisco traffic.
But, once I am on the Bay Bridge, going east 
with my I-pod cranked up, it's smooth sailing.

My client, Barbara lives there.  She enjoys decorating
but just needed a fresh eye.  That's where I came in over a year ago 
as an e-design gift from her daughter.
This was inspiration photo she sent.  
She'd been hanging on to it for a while :) 
Neutrals, right?

This is as you are standing in the entry, 
so the fireplace is the focal point.
It needed something and the seating arrangement
needed to be cozier.
The gold mirror came from another room and I suggested
darkening it (every room needs some black).  
Barbara's artist daughter did it for her.

Barbara found various fabrics at Calico Corners and sent samples to me.
 I choose my favorites (easy for me) 
and even got her a better deal on the
Robert Allen Aussie Square linen fabric for the club chairs.  
I also recommended how the pillows should be designed.


When, when I was able to visit in person...
I suggested four bird prints instead of two
(she picked out the prints herself ...I think they are great).
We opened up the secretary...with a little re-arranging.
The back of the shelving will be painted a 
creamy tan to lighten up this corner.

Wait until you see what we are 
doing at her daughter's home!  
Some gorgeous fabrics involved.

The SF Flower Mart is on the 
way home from Walnut Creek
sort of...if I feel like treating myself 
and can find a free parking space
(it's $8 to park and the general public can go after 10 am).

I found a free parking spot!
These orchid stems were $28 for the bunch 
but are supposed to last a month...
I will let you know how they do.
 These branches are in the bay window in our dining room
(they scratched my arms bringing them in the apartment--ouch).

And talk about a fabulous treat...
Debbie gave this Jo Malone Body Creme
as a hostess gift for her daughter's shower.
Perfect after a day of city driving and a nice bath! 


  1. Love all the fabulous neutrals you chose, so pretty. Everything looks amazing. Hugs, Marty

  2. Dear Mary Ann, You are a dream come true for your friend, a wonderful transformation, comfortable, casual, chic!

    The Arts by Karena

  3. Love the pillow fabric...I have that same fabric on duvets and pillows at the lake! Great price point and I have not tired of it! You may have been in my daughter's back yard! Love what you did!

    1. Barbara picked that fabric from Calico. You will have to tell me the name, Cindy.

  4. Beautiful rooms!!! I love Walnut Creek! Used to go shopping there with my mom....although that was about 25 years ago....it's probably grown a little! Have a great day!~~Angela

  5. Orchid stems: oh how wonderful! I don't think I've seen that around here at any flower market. I have yet to buy an orchid plant, so that would work for me! Yes, I know Walnut Creek and like it a lot….

  6. Well, Miss Mary Ann, you did it again! So fresh and inviting? Should I tell you now I have that exact pine Ethan Allen coffee table in my family room and have wondered what to replace it with. Rescue me too! Beautifully done, as always. :)

  7. Beautiful makeover. Your flowers are gorgeous.

  8. Fabulous Mary Anne! Perfection at every turn. Love the flowers- can smell them from here. xo Nancy

  9. you are like magic! just love everything you do.

  10. Beautiful. You have such a good eye.

  11. I did a double take when I saw your opening line: "doesn't Walnut Creek sound like a charming...."! I live in Walnut Creek and it IS charming! I'm so glad you enjoy our little piece of shopping heaven!
    Love your blog!

  12. Mary Ann thanks for sharing this fresh neutral room. I love the pillows, bird print and fireplace mirror -- every element you chose is a stand out!

  13. You nailed her inspiration Mary Ann!!!! I's sure she's very pleased and I truly commend you for another job fabulously done dear! Love anything Jo Malone so this is the perfect giveaway for sure!

  14. The room looks fabulous Mary Ann! Those orchids were a great find and quince is one of my favorites even though it scratches.

  15. The recovered chairs look amazing! I love the new look. Great job!


  16. Mary Ann,
    Wow, that is really pretty. I'm sure your client is thrilled with the new look.
    Walnut Creek is such a fun place to visit when up in the Bay area.

  17. Wow, that's amazing! Really nice update.

    Watch out for those flowering quince. The thorns are killers!

  18. You have exquisite taste! I don't know which photo I like better, all are awesome! I could easily live surrounded by all the beautiful, yet comfortable things you have posted. Great blog!!

  19. Gorgeous makeover...love the after, its so clean and fresh and happy! She must be totally thrilled and your flowers are stunning.....

  20. You really did a wonderful job with this space. I love the furniture arrangement and scale so much better and the 4 prints are so classic.

    I didn't know you could get orchid stems...how pretty!


  21. The room is just beautiful. Mission accomplished I'd say!

  22. Wow is that space gorgeous! Such a lovely living room. I've been debating painting the back of my secretary, or maybe putting wallpaper on the back, and I think you may have me convinced ;-). Those flowers are breathtaking -- I would love orchids like that!!

    1. Another reader suggested fabric. We may have to try that!

  23. Beautiful room! I was wondering if I could ask the source of the sweet litle glass lamp on the Secretary.
    Thank you,

    1. Barbara said Pottery Barn…hope you can still find it.

  24. I love Walnut Creek, we have relatives that live in Orinda, not too far. What a beautiful refresh, I'm sure she's thrilled!

  25. Hi Mary Ann,

    Beautiful before and after! Gorgeous neutrals and I like the bird prints.. they work perfectly with the decor. Your branches and flowers are so pretty!

  26. That was a packed full of fun and productivity kind of day! (My favorite kinds of days!). The room changes look great! Good job :D

  27. Beautiful!! My daughter used to live in Danville, love that entire East Bay Area - so quaint!

  28. What a beautiful room! Would you being willing to share the paint colors?


  29. What a pretty room!! Perfection! Love the square linen fabric, the black mirror and the bird prints! :)

  30. Just lovely. I am always amazed at how even your little changes make such a big impact. I love your style! Best, Beth C.

  31. Gorgeous - and I love Joe Malone too!

  32. Absolutely gorgeous! You make it look so effortless. Your style is perfection. Love the textures and scale of everything.

  33. It turned out great! So fresh and lighten up. I love the neutrals!

    ~Ana Smith | Home Cleaner Twickenham

  34. Hi Mary Ann, what a beautiful room. I'm just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris

  35. Perfect, Mary Ann! I love the fresh new look.

  36. I was actually born in Walnut Creek, but I think it was still a small town at that time! so many memories. Thanks for the post.

  37. Mary Ann,

    You're right Spring forward for a great fresh look and a perfect solution for a much loved home. Looks fantastic!


  38. Thanks to show us new and unique bedroom design Ideas of 2014 and i hope you will continue like this whole year..best of luck.........:

  39. Wow, this transformation is amazing!! I love what you have done to make this such a warm, stylish place to be! Happy weekend, my friend.

  40. I can't get over the transformation - always amazed how you make it seem so effortless. Gorgeous flowers! Hope you have a wonderful weekend!!

  41. I've had a houseguest all week and missed your post! Shame on me!!! As always, I love how you put your touch on this room, it looks so updated and fresh...beautiful job! I've been pining for some pretty blooming branches to my dining room table, but they haven't looked so great at TJ's. Guess I'll have to break down and
    go to the flower mart. Love the orchids too. I have a plant with the same color blossoms and yes....they last forever!!! Ciao....Gail

  42. The transformation looks beautiful and effortless, always love your work, Mary Ann! I adore those gorgeous orchids, too. I had the same orchids for my own wedding! :)


  43. I just discovered your blog! Welcome to San Francisco! I live out in Danville (East Bay) and we love it here. I have small kids so we aren't cut out for the city.. but we love to visit!

  44. The first day of spring is just around the corner, on March 20, so it's an ideal time to start planning how you'll celebrate the launch of the season. site


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