A ROOM WITH A VIEW. MY FINISHED FOYER.

foyer-karen-bertelsen-2

 

I think I like it.

 

saddle-2

I definitely like my saddle.  I was going to make a stand for it out of antique barn wood but why make a stand when you have a chair you can throw it on.

 

foyer-buffet

And after 10 years I still love my white lacquer buffet from EQ3.  Which is why when I moved it from the dining room I was hoping it would fit in the foyer.

That monstrosity fits a LOT of stuff.  Plus it balances all the old in my house.  My chandelier, my floors, my doors, my skin.

foyer-picasso-print

The one thing I wanted to do was to make the foyer a bit more useful somehow.  I mean, it’s fine for the elite of this world to have an entire room dedicated to the lost art of accepting calling cards but those people probably also have an entire rooms just for their car. And maybe even a second bathroom.

The answer was to just drag a couple of chairs into the room.  I can actually sit at the front hall table now and do stuff.  A puzzle was on it for a while but I wasn’t getting anything done because every time I walked through the foyer I sat down and stared at the puzzle.  I didn’t actually *do* the puzzle you understand, I just stared at it. But still.  It was a time suck.

corner-vignette

When I mentioned to a few people that I was half thinking of getting rid of the buffet (I wasn’t sold on it in the foyer to begin with) they all said NOOOOOO.  They said it like they meant it. They said it like it was a crypt holding the remains of any and every person they’d ever loved.

Clearly I had to ask Why such a strong reaction, weirdo?

Everyone said I had to keep the buffet because I love displaying things. And I love to change those displays.  A lot.

The current vignette configuration consists of my favourite Picasso print (given to me by my Uncle because I always loved it as a kid even though it totally creeped me out), a modern vase with white tulips, a lamp from Homesense I painted white, a slightly beat up dessert tray I got at a flea market, a carved wood bowl and a little potted fern.

Next week it might be two huge midcentury modern lamps, a hunk of petrified elephant poop and a crystal vase.  You never know.  The point is I can change it all the time and it’ll completely change the look of the room. Which for someone like me is a very, very good thing.

foyer

This is the room I look at every night when I’m in my living room playing Monopoly by myself.  So I’m staring at it for a good 9-10 hours a day.  I’m really enthusiastic about solitary Monopoly.  Because I spend so much time viewing this room I really wanted it to be something I didn’t hate.  Something I maybe even loved.  And it is.

I’d like a slightly bigger table in the centre.  Maybe something antique.  Wood.  My number one choice as any of my old time readers know is the marble topped tulip table, but with the white buffet against the wall that would be a bit too same/same.

74 Comments

  1. Tina says:

    It’s beautiful. The only thing I dislike, my complete pet peeve (maybe because I have 3 pets) is draperies or tableclothes that puddle on the floor. All I can do is stare at it for any random cat hair.

    • KATHLEEN H says:

      I was told by a very wise designer once to put my drapery rods close to the ceiling and let the drapes puddle a little bit. But I worry that people will get tangled in puddling tablecloths!!!

      I think the puddles on my drapes hide the cat hair!!!!! Hahaha

    • mbaker says:

      I do agree with you, Tina. The drapery is a little too similar in colour to the skin underneath it. Plus the effect is for hiding things, like the shape of a table or what that table is made from. Right now it’s really just creating a big beige blob in the center of the room.

    • nancy says:

      The tablecloth is so gorgeous it doesn’t bother me – as much. But I would step in the puddle and jerk all those little bottles all over the place. Probably in the middle of the night.

  2. LuAnn says:

    My question is kinda about the unmentioned “elephant in the center of the room”.
    What’s in the little glass bottles on the table? Enquiring minds… ya know?

  3. Carolyn says:

    Did I miss something? I want to know what the little bottles are for because they are calling out “Mine!”.

    • Linda in Illinois says:

      I know they are laboratory bottles but what is in them is another question, and the mason jar of what looks like indian corn seeds is interesting as well. I’m going to guess at cross pollinating something for Karen’s garden??

  4. Jennifer Lee says:

    I like it, too. I really like your see-through chair. I think it’s quite a feat, to have an ornate crystal chandelier, and still have the room look minimalist. Your white tulips make me ask if you ever watched a TV series called “Fringe”—? There is a connection between “Fringe” and white tulips. I’m half-way through the third season of five, so no spoilers, please. Also, I thought you’d like to know that petrified poop is called a coprolite. Honest.

    • Karen says:

      Nope, I’ve never seen Fringe. Just a fan of white flowers, tulips in particular because they have a mind of their own. Coprolite. Got it! LOL. I shall use the proper word next time. 🙂 ~ karen!

    • Alice says:

      We loved Fringe!

      • ronda says:

        all the good shows get cancelled much too soon! ahh … Fringe …

        • Robert says:

          You actually liked the last 2 and a half seasons? It has took me almost 2 years to go through them even when I did catch the first season and a half on it’s original run on TV and I decided that it was time to actually watch the whole thing around Easter 2 years ago when I binned until season 3 in like 3 weeks and then I just couldn’t be bothered and I’m only in episode 7 of the 5th season

          • ronda says:

            but isn’t being far-fetched the name of the game for science fiction?

            • Robert says:

              Oh ! It is, but that’s not why it’s been so hard for me to finish the whole thing. I just don’t seem to actually care about the second half of the series and I’m not entirely sure why.
              It’s the same with the Walking dead, I could not been bothered to watch after the first episodes of the second season.
              But yes, all the good shows get canceled much to soon! RIP Pushing daisies and Hannibal, you’ll live forever in our hearts and digital media

  5. judy says:

    I don’t like the drapey look of the cloth on the table and the rug? beneath the table. It insults my sense of neat and tidy. I also find the solid chair juxtaposed with the clear chair jarring. On my laptop I had to look twice to see that the form on the right is indeed a chair. I am no decorator as you probably noted as soon as you began reading-just you are so candidly honest in everything you do that to just say oh it’s beautiful seems …not right….phoney? typical ADD…the reason why nobody consults me about nothin? AnyHoo the rest of it is as usual lovely.

    • Karen says:

      Ha! Well I can assure you it’s “clear” that it’s a chair in real life. And I’m the exact opposite in terms of “perfect”. I do not, in any way, like things to look neat, tidy, and perfect. 🙂 It actually insults my sense of … well, my sense of me. ~ karen!

      • judy says:

        Dearest Karen…this is the reason I follow you,you are truly the most talented,industrious Woman on the Planet and the wit and humor is beyond compare. I’m going to be more of a critic in the future-even if I have to make stuff up- This reply had me falling out of my recliner. My idea of Decor…..

    • Lisa K says:

      I had a feeling about both chairs and I really like both chairs but my gut told me they need to switch places.

      • Ellen in Illinois says:

        I agree…the white chair covers up the saddle..and it looks a little heavy. A switch of the chairs would solve that. And if you saw my house you would think “well look who’s talking”!!

  6. Mark says:

    I don’t know how you do all this stuff, Karen. Do you ever sleep? Or do you have a team of people in the background doing it all?

  7. Laura says:

    I love how you’ve created strong bones on which to hang anything that is striking your fancy. It strikes me as a beautiful still life.

  8. Audrey S says:

    Your mix of styles is, as always, impeccable. Well done!

  9. My daughter’s cat would have a field day with those little bottles. She loves testing the effects of gravity on objects.

  10. The saddle looks beautiful! I have two saddles in my “tv” room but they are on a tall saddle rack. I used to have one more, a hand-crafted child’s saddle perched on a small wooden sawhorse ( I just realised how funny that is) but I gave that one away to someone who had both a child and a pony. Mine are really just there because it is too hard to keep them in good shape down at the barn. So as design elements they have no flair or style. The only one that did at all was the child’s one. So, this is getting weird because you have chandeliers and wanted monkeys – I just had monkeys and a stack of saddles. If my table cloth puddles it is because I accidentally put the giant one on and was too lazy to take it off. It’s almost like I’m a scary twilight zone version of you. Clearly, good taste depends on the cook more than the ingredients. See what I did there?

  11. Sherry in Alaska says:

    Just my opinion but I don’t think it’s really YOU just yet. Okay but not WOW. But then you only show us one of the sides…………
    And I was starting to enumerate what I like and what I don’t and I deleted all that. It’s your house. Have it your way! I suspect it’ll change as you figure out what you really want from the space. “Ain’t set in concrete” as they say.

  12. TucsonPatty says:

    As always, I love seeing what you have been up to instead of sleeping. I love the chandelier. I want one and have nowhere to put it. Perhaps just outside, on the patio, over the table and I won’t hook it up, just let it shine in the sun. (Tucson, remember?) and get a short, small one. And put a damn puddling tablecloth over the table out there. I love puddling and I wish I had tall windows with white sheers puddling until the gentle breeze sends then gently wafting. Oh my. I now have the vapors, I think. : )

  13. Melissa says:

    It totally suits you, a little of this, a little of that, a wonderful mix of old and new. It’s you my dear, totally you.

    I live for puddles, it’s all very chic, so puddle on! It’s like you’re saying, I don’t care to cat hair, or dog hair, or human hair, to which I say, to each his own. I love the puddles, can’t wait to have puddles in my new home. So, there.

    The buffet is perfect and looks great there! I love a place to display pretties, whatnots, and thingies. And it gets your creative juices going to change it up all the time. Same is boring, and you my dear, are far from boring.

  14. Shelly says:

    White tulips are my absolute favorite flower. You’re not going all “Breaking Bad” I hope.

  15. Red says:

    I think it’s time to dance some furniture around. Maybe do a tulip table with wooden chairs, or a wooden table with your modern chairs…I feel like there is just something not yet settled. Thinking ya need a touch more wood. Also the table covering, there’s puddling and then there’s a cloth that’s just too darn big not matter what. Can’t wait to see about those little bottles…

  16. maggie van sickle says:

    It is u. That about sums it up. Just artfully u. Clean and pure .

  17. Amber says:

    On the bottles–if you like little bottles like that, make friends with a diabetic who uses a syringe and vial for insulin. I used to have hundreds of teeny little bottles a friend gave me for crafts–just had to buy corks.

    (I used up a lot making Christmas ornament gifts, then moved 800 miles and have no idea where the rest went)

  18. Melissa says:

    I feel like you should have your riding boots somewhere in there so it looks like you could dash off to go fox hunting at a moments notice. Otherwise I love it.

  19. Susan Whelan says:

    I like the overall look too, but the puddling tablecloth fills me with dread. Being the graceful put-together person I am, the minute I sat at that table I’d push my chair back, catch in the puddles and pull all those glass bottles off, along with everything else.
    It’s handy to have a saddle available in case you break your tail bone. A saddle is the only thing you can sit on comfortably. Have a lovely day!

  20. Kimi says:

    What I noticed was the large blank piece of ‘art’ behind the Picasso. Very unexpected. But so is the saddle. Interesting touches.

  21. Marilyn says:

    That chandelier……sigh

  22. Kitty McCarty says:

    OOOh, to have such a place to display “things”! Also, love the way your curtains are tightly pulled back at top and flair out as they hang down; so much better than just being perfectly straight.

  23. Ev Wilcox says:

    All those little bottles are for your potions, right? I had a horse years ago. So wish I had her saddle, but I prob would miss her even more than I do now. Puddling does not “do it” for me-never has. But if you like it-good for you and well done! The lacquer buffet is amazing!

  24. Mary W says:

    The clear chair is awesome. The sun will tend to dry out and eventually crack your beautiful leather saddle. I’m NOT into puddly because my grandkids would be forever playing fort and disturbing the elephant. BUT the first thing I thought was how cool, the puddly tablecloth flows into the white fur on the floor and looks so cool. Just like looking at a frozen waterfall. The elephant is causing me to guess, which of course is not going to be anywhere near truth. Are you concocting your own perfume? Are you providing testing services for animal fertilization? Maybe a vodka tasting? Maybe seed germination tests from your own plants? I love a good mystery! But I love a great wooden box full of tiny glass jars even more. I’d keep it on the table just to make people wonder.

  25. Elissa Burda says:

    For a wonderful desk or other cool pieces: contact Analia Pastori (analian@analiapastori.com) – she has a studio in San Diego. She salvages furniture and refinishes it – does an amazing job! I got an old farm table for my office. Had it shipped to Michigan for about $200 and it’s a showpiece.

    On another note: love all the little bottles!

  26. Amy says:

    Hmmmmm. You lost me a little on this one. Although I get eclectic, this is a stretch for me. Seems downright incongruent. But, if it makes you feel good, hey.

    One idea leads to another though, and you just gave me another one with the saddle. I have one of those adjustable saddle stools that roll around. I use it at my easel when I paint. My hairdresser has one she rolls around her clients’ chairs when she works. Wouldn’t it be great to attach your saddle to the base of one of those so that you could actually USE it wherever you want? Of course if you are using your saddle for real, you’d want to find a spare somewhere for the project.

  27. Cathy says:

    I just am wondering about the little bottles and boxes that they’re in. Are the cloth or wold?
    I have scads of little medicine bottles that I have saved from work and I used to paint them but now they’re just a cluttery mess and I’m thinking of dumping them. Anybody want them for the cost of shipping ?

  28. Cathy says:

    I know we Ohioans have some strange kind of accent but honestly I do know how to spell “wood”. My iPad not so much.

  29. Jan says:

    I’m glad you kept the buffet! Storage is always needed, but the ability to change up the top display on a whim is really great. The saddle on that particular chair is definitely as good or better than a saddle rack, although I used to have a very cool antique one that would have worked. The only thing that doesn’t work for me are the 2 plastic chairs. I know I shouldn’t call them plastic, but they just are. But it’s my own quirk that plastic and most acrylic offends me for some reason. I love the rough linen cloth and the cowhide rug. See what you mean about a slightly larger table. Could you cut a larger top for it and place it over the existing one?
    All in all, a very pleasing redo!

  30. Lois Baron says:

    Love the chandelier. I want a crystal chandelier in my powder room, but to manage that, I’d have to raise the ceiling and that would be really awkward for the room above it. lol.

  31. Madeline says:

    It’s lovely to have a foyer, especially as a ceremonial space into which to welcome guests and a threshold between the inner and outer worlds. I like the way you use your home as a plaything and a laboratory for discovering and expressing your inner life, and your generosity in sharing. Whenever I see an email from you, it feels like a little treat. Thanks.

  32. Amanda says:

    I have to know what is in the bottles… I’m guessing seeds to start sewing indoors for this year’s gardening? The suspense – I’m dying over here : ) LOL

  33. Jody says:

    I love it–the mix of old and new. I’m confused about your house though. Your foyer seems more like a full on room. If the house is close to 200 years old what was the purpose of the foyer originally since the house has a living room, dining room and kitchen. Perhaps it was the ballroom in the mid-1800s.

  34. Kim from Milwaukee says:

    I think…it’s missing a black item….the room needs grounding. 🙂

    • SusanR says:

      That was my sense, also. Replace the wrinkled linen one that’s too large, anyway, with a soft black one. Or even a cloth with a black skirt and some other color top.

      • Karen says:

        Nope. Sorry. A black tablecloth in the middle of the room would be be a big gaping hole and way too high contrast. A black bowl or black vase is one thing. A black tablecloth throws the entire balance off. ~ karen!

        • SusanR says:

          Your house, your rules, but in my view, it would depend on the black. A very dark black, yes. There are many, many shades of black, and depending on the fabric texture, also, a lighter black wouldn’t look like a big black hole.

  35. Ei Conklin says:

    Please, if you haven’t done it already, could you provide a quick sketch of the floor plan/layout of your first floor? I always get confused about which room flows into the others and my imagination has trouble filling in the blanks. Nothing fancy, mind you, just a photo of something scribbled on a paper towel would do. Hash marks for window and door placement perhaps?

  36. Andrea says:

    Hi Karen…Love the tulips…the saddle…the old tier dish displayed and the chandlier make me drool…and the little bottles I love love….plastic chairs nope…I just find them too modern and take from the cozy welcoming effect you got going on with the saddle and wood floors….table cloth nope…..colour is too subtle… and just me hate pooIing of fabric…it collects dust and gets sucked in the vacuum… think the table should be your dramatic focus…sharper lines…so slashed edged lace table cloth in black or dark gray for contrast?? Its mostly the chairs…they are…ummmm cold looking…if they were cloth same shape not so bad….I want you to know I love 99% of your designs and decorating…so it could be just me…….maybe a cow skin on on the clear plastic chair or a feathery pillow to warm it up. Totally love the white buffet too. But the switch up idea to display stuff is awesome! Especially seasonal stuff!

    • Karen says:

      Well, as it turns out I don’t like your ideas, lol. So. Good thing I am living here and you are not. Conversely … good thing I’m not living in your foyer either. 🙂 ~ karen!

  37. Andrea says:

    Perfect answerand …very true! Still can’t wait to see what you do next!

  38. cbblue says:

    Love the chandelier and the little bottles. You are a seed saver are you not?

  39. Janelle says:

    I like so many things about this space. I love the mix of warm metallics and textured surfaces against cooler, shinier surfaces and light fabrics. I like the pops of colour that don’t scream “WE ARE POPS OF COLOUR”! If that makes sense…. I like how the sculptured furniture shapes play off of the living, organic pieces like the leather, the hide and the plant. I like that it’s mostly light, but with enough darkness to ground the space. I could see someone strumming a guitar in there, or sketching or anything that doesn’t involve wires and connection and screens. I agree with you about the scale of the table being a bit small, but the amount of space around the current set up is nice and airy, too. Mostly I like how you can’t really nail down a theme in the room, which is encouraging. I’m building a house and in a lot of design blogs and magazines, it’s “here is mid-century modern” and
    here is modern farmhouse” and “here is industrial”….blech. Anyhow…well done!

  40. Gigi says:

    Totally had to search to find the tulips!!! My eye just kept passing over it to the Picasso. What is the large white shape behind said Picasso?
    Lovin the tarnished silver server,
    (No time for stinkin polish!) and that he is bare. Not stuffed and over propped. Drum sticks hiding in the corner sure are interesting. I’m a new convert to black lampshades. Can’t explain it; like noticing strangers teeth, or their shoes or whether they tuck their hair behind their ears; I always check out the lampshades in rooms. Couldn’t describe the lamp or it’s color but know the shade is not black. Surprised, as you’re such a lover of the always chic and cool, ebony.

  41. Linn says:

    and is that a painting of a polar bear in a snowstorm leaning against your white “monstrosity”?
    Just wondering……..

  42. jessness says:

    Is that a big blank canvas? Might I recommend some bold black strokes with a six inch brush (vintage brush of course) and one little blue circle. To play with the picasso.

  43. Kate says:

    What about… a tulip table with a wood base and a white top? http://www.truck-furniture.co.jp/shop/products_low0012.html

  44. It’s lovely Karen. It says “Come sit awhile” ……. and be happy. 🙂

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