Second Hand Living Room

Ever since the baby bumper post, I have had questions about my living room, specifically the totally awesome orange chairs. So I thought I would tell their story, because, yes, they are as awesome as they look. And then I realized that pretty much every single thing in my living room is second hand – mainly from family – with the exception of the throw pillows which are new from Target and TJ Maxx. 
My parents bought that couch around 1983 and it used to be dark green. (It ebbed really well into the early 90’s forest green era.)  The couch lasted in my parents’ living room for about 25 years, when my mom decided she was officially done with dark green and it was time to replace it.  But the couch had great structure so she held onto it. When we moved last fall, we had it recovered in dark chocolate brown.  The best part was (and I didn’t even plan this) was the upholsterer left off the flap that went to the floor covering the couch legs.  Now the legs are exposed and I love that it changes the whole look of the sofa – making it much more modern.
The chairs are my favorite. The pair belonged to my grandparents.  My mom remembers them in her house as a little girl in Berkeley, California in the 1950’s.  They were covered in rose velvet. Sometime in the 70’s my Grandma had them recovered in the nubby orange stuff. All through the 90’s I loved those chairs, but thought if they were ever mine I would totally recover them. (Orange wasn’t so hot in the 90’s. Think mauve and forest green.)  When my grandparents downsized for the last time, my grandma gave me the chairs. I was so excited, but didn’t have the budget to recover them properly at the time. I felt a little avant garde with orange chairs in my living room until a Crate & Barrel catalog arrived at my house with a similar orange chair on the cover.  And then I knew I was totally hip. (I guess I needed some external confirmation.) And thus began my love affair with orange.
I love those chairs. Not just because they are so dang fun to look at – and sit in = they’re totally comfortable – but especially because of the sentimental value. I am also totally lucky to have my grandparents’ piano in that room. I value it all even more now that my grandparents are gone. My grandparents always took good care of what they had, plus they were always generous and happy to share, so I think they’re happy knowing how much I enjoy having parts of their home in my home.
Second-hand thing #4. This lovely brass lamp. The shape and size are beautiful, but the shade was broken and the brass looked pretty dated.
So last week I bought myself my first ever can of spray paint. (Some of you are wondering what took me so long.) And here are the results. Oh my gosh, I still can’t get over how easy it was and how well it worked. I am officially hooked.  I’m not totally sure about the nickel color though. It matches the light fixture in the next room, but it’s a little too light next to the mirror. I may go darker. But it’s still a huge improvement.  The lamp shade came from Target.  Repainting stuff is fun! (Remember the china cabinet?)
The lamp table was also from my Grandparents home.  The quilt is this basket quilt.
Finally – here is the color inspiration for this room – besides the orange chairs.  I made this quilt last year from Moda’s Arcadia collection. 
You can read more about the Arcadia quit here. Gosh, I loved that collection. I think, next to anything American Jane, that is my favorite Moda line over the past couple of years.
So I was recently thrilled when I found a few Arcadia pieces at different online retailers. First I found the honeybun at Burgundy Buttons for really cheap!  Then I randomly found a little bit of yardage at Crafty Girls Workhshop.  They have honeybuns as well.  I have a blank wall over by the piano, so I’m thinking I’ll make a wall hanging, but I haven’t decided what I want to do yet. And frankly, I have so much on my To Do list right now, I probably won’t even get to it until winter. But, oh the possibilities.
And, there you go. More that you ever really wanted to know about my living room.  
PS Someone asked how I keep it clean with kids:
a) we have another room where we keep the TV, toys and other junk. Most of the time. 
b) I picked-up a lot of stuff before I shot pictures


  1. says

    Lovely post Amy! It must be nice having family furniture passed down! I got my 'I-Spy' charm pack today and love it!! Thanks, Justine xx

  2. says

    I love your orange chairs too! How fabulous that they are the original fabric your grandmother selected. I have been adding a lot of orange around my house too, which fits in well with Southern Utah.<br />Your quilt really ties all the colors of the room in together.<br />Thanks for the tour.

  3. says

    Really liked this post…we also have some vintage furniture that coordinates really well with some Moda fabrics…the entire Fig Tree collection coordinates really well with our 70&#39;s bedroom set and formal living room chairs. A wall hanging with the Arcadia will be great in your living room too!

  4. says

    i love the stories behind your furniture. everything looks brand new and beautiful. gorgeous quilt. i really love those orange chairs.

  5. says

    I love that your furniture have stories! And I remember the forest green era… my parents&#39; room was forest green all through the 90s and up till a few years ago. And my mum saw fit to extend the green to the bathroom. And her car. It&#39;s a sickness.

  6. says

    Thanks for more info on your furniture. I was drooling over the orange chairs the first time you posted them. I want to get rid of an oversized chair in our family room and recover another one. Orange nubby would be great. And I think your lamp turned out really well. Redoing/repurposing–the only way to go!

  7. says

    Your room looks straight out of a magazine, I am totally on love with it. But the emotional connections are what make it most special and thats what make a house a home.

  8. says

    Thanks for this post! I agree, your room looks like it came out of a magazine! I have lots of my grandparents stuff in my living room too but it has &quot;yet to be recovered&quot; so it looks like it belongs in a grandma&#39;s house 😀 <br />We try to keep the kids stuff out of the living room but somehow it trickles back in. :)

  9. says

    I love this! My whole living room is also lovely handmedowns and I LOVE it! <br /><br />Your orange chairs are brilliant and I adore them! Thanks for sharing!

  10. says

    That quilt is divine, Amy! I&#39;ve just looked back through the post on it and am feeling very inspired – love the idea of using a jelly roll, layer cake and charm pack that way…(never having used any of them before!) What are the final measurements of the quilt?

  11. says

    I agree…those orange chairs are totally awesome! Don&#39;t changs a thing, thet are perfect just the way they are.<br />Your quilt is perfect in there as well as the fabric line.<br />Okay…I will say it…&quot;what took you so long to buy spray paint?&quot;<br />you&#39;ve opened up a whole new world of ideas with it right?<br />can&#39;t wait to see what you do next!<br />x<br />lori

  12. says

    The Arcadia quilt is about 65 x 88. It was so much fun to make – I just went really random. I would maybe do things a little different now – but I sure love it.

  13. says

    Have you ever watched Sarah&#39;s House on HGTV? If not, you should see if someone can DVR it for you or look for it. She picks fabric to design a room around and it is wonderful. She rarely ever buys furniture from a store. She repurposes everything. It is so inspiring. You&#39;re doing just what she does. I love your room!

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