Creating a Fresh, Classic Neutral Living Room in A Two Story Space

We had some great trips visiting Lisa and Jim in England.  
I sort of had a mental inventory of their furnishings there (like they had a great antique map collection displayed in various rooms--mostly in the dining room).  
So, when they bought their large, lake view home in Central Florida 
and decided to move there permanently, I had some ideas! 

 The goal was to make their Florida home "casual, fresh and calm in neutral shades" (I thought "classy like Lisa").  Where you can walk barefoot everywhere (like to the lake outside) and nothing is off limits for their darling, ex-pat dog, Nelson.

This is the Florida living room before their shipping container arrived.
 Yes, a bit cavernous.  It was pretty "glammed up" with gilt and faux finishes. 
 First, we painted the walls Benjamin Moore White Dove.
We made the space more human scale with a free standing book case
that used to be in their family room in Surrey.
I wanted to show off Jim's antique maps "en masse."
And finally, before leaving England, they bought a
gorgeous inlaid wood game table by David Linley.  

Lisa loves neutrals.
We started with a muted Persian rug from Aga John 
and had these Hickory Chair updated wing chairs made in a soft beige leather.
The petrified wood drinks table is by Palecek. 

 These classic tufted chairs don't feel too hot for Florida 
in a light colored velvet and antique white wood.
They can be used as extra seating for the game table.
This was team work... Lisa measured all the maps and told me which she wanted to stay together (like the ones of the British isles).
I numbered them and sketched them out to scale on paper to determine the layout.
Then, Lisa cut the painter's tape to size and I put them up on the wall.
So, yeah, I was ready for a glass of Chard after this.

And the next day...

Here's a close up of the chairs (on casters to swivel to the game or conversation area) and the Circa Lighting iron floor lamps.
This game table will be a family heirloom.  

(Hey, Lisa, I have an idea of what to place on either side on top of the bookcase).
 You can't tell, but I styled up the book case shelves.  Also, grabbed that Venetian bowl from the dining room so that we could keep the collection (they have three) together in here.

The sofa table is also in a lighter painted finish to balance the darker wood furniture.
 I was feeling pretty good about this while I was there but guess what was missing?

Above the mantel?  We needed something not too ornate and had to wait for the back order.

Lisa  just sent me this...
The well-priced, French paneled mirror is from Wisteria.

 "Nelson The Wonder Dog" misses England but is happy with his new life in Florida.
(the lizards are terrorized, however).

Happy Mother's Day!!!


  1. Holy cow, I wouldn't even know where to start with a room that size. It looks magnificent. Not too grand, but it fits the architecture.

  2. This is absolutely gorgeous! Like you said--a bit cavernous at first but now--livable, cozy and inviting!! What a transformation using their beautiful furnishings and accessories with some new goodies sprinkled in! Lovely!

  3. So beautiful - and I am obsessed with that wall of maps! Happy Mother's Day to you!

  4. Mary Ann you did a fabulous job, perfect proportions and silhouettes for the room. It looks like home sweet home!!

  5. I also love love love the maps. I never get tired of examining maps. Great idea and a real treasure. You have given them the best possible attention.
    Those bowls are pretty fabulous.
    I love everything you did here. Just the right touch. So many places like this would remain a little too cold and unfriendly. This has turned into a real home--the personality comes through.

    1. Thanks! We DID sit in there and talked to break the room in!

  6. What a great room and I love the map gallery wall!

  7. love the look you created here, the room has a British vibe!

    1. The pillow fabrics are all British, too!

  8. love the look you created here, the room has a British vibe!

  9. I think this is a lovely, light-filled home. Love the maps. My husband loves them more. If we are in an antique store and there are maps/globes, I'll know he'll be happy studying! Love the idea of an ex-pat dog. BTW, kudos to the "mapping" of the wall. I'm lazy about this and just trace the pieces I want to hang on kraft paper and tape that into place. I can't imagine doing that over, over and over with the tape. I'm thinking more than one glass of wine would have been needed. I did not than the actual "hanging" took place the next day, so I'm assuming sufficient rewards were consumed!

  10. that could not have not been easy to cozy up a room so grand, and you succeeded brilliantly! I love it and would feel so at home with all the white and neutrals! xox

  11. My first thought was how will she ever tame that room.
    But you did, beautifully. Splendid job.

  12. Mary Ann,
    This is spectacular. It's elegant and inviting and wonderful! I love it. I'm sure your friends are beyond happy in their new home...what a view.
    Thank you for sharing this.

  13. What a beautiful home and the location isn't too bad either!! With your wonderful touch and impeccable style, it is truly stunning! You have made that huge space so warm and inviting, it could be a designer show house! Great job!

  14. just beautiful. you do no wrong in my book. hope you have a lovely and Happy Mother's Day!!!


  15. Comfortable, yet elegant. Great choice, over the fireplace! If I could handle the humidity, Florida would be a great place to come home to!

    1. We had the most amazing weather when I was there...but it was April.

  16. Love it, Mary Ann! You did an amazing job. Painting the room white was the best start ever!

  17. I absolutely adore what you did here. You took a dated space, made it fresh and current without losing it's character. Fabulous! You are amazing!!

  18. Thanks, Carla and Cindy. Means a lot coming from you two!

  19. Absolutely jaw dropping! Wow, they must be thrilled!!

  20. Mary Ann: I absolutely love this! The mixture of neutral textures is wonderfully liveable! Love it!

  21. Oh Lord....what a difference! When I saw the before I was thinking...."how is she going to fix this"! But you nailed it. The maps are so so good and all the neutrals are so calming! Love it!


It's SO nice to hear from you!