Ottoman Round Up

As I prepare to get rid of my glass and metal coffee table (aka “The Kiddy Guillotine”) I have been looking for the perfect ottoman to serve as a coffee table. It’s tough! There are many things than one wants in the function of an ottoman, but you also want it to look good!

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Some tips:
If you want to use a large tray on top to corral magazines, remotes and maybe a vase of flowers make sure the top is flat and does not have a curve to it!

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If you keep a lot of stuff on your coffee table, then look for an ottoman with a lower shelf underneath the upholstered part.

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Make sure the dimensions are correct for your other furniture- especially the height.  You don’t want it way higher than your sofa seat.

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If there is going to be high wear and tear to the ottoman, consider leather or a faux leather for maximum durability.

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If you have a narrow room look at upholstered benches instead of ottomans that may eat up too much room.

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Here’s an ottoman we used in a Beacon Hill family’s playroom/den that is easy to move around and flat on the top.  Perfect for what they needed!

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photo by Michael J. Lee

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A Huge Dining Table Roundup!


photos by Michael Partenio for Elements of Style: Designing A Home & A Life

A solid, timeless, functional dining table is such an important purchase for a home- be it a small round four top or a large formal piece that can seat 12.  When a client needs a table for their home, I typically advise them to spend the most they are comfortable with as a dining table can last a lifetime- literally.  For a long time we had a dining table that was handed down to use by Andrew’s grandparents.  I love tables that have a story too- like the client above- we drove hours through the back country of Pennsylvania to a remote table maker’s studio to pick out our favorite raw edge slab for her formal dining table. We met the guys who made every inch of  the table by hand. For the more casual dining area, we had a zinc topped table made to be the perfect size for this built in we designed.  But you don’t have to go custom, there are a lot of great looking tables out there. So here is a roundup of some great tables to consider for homes of every size and budget.

Two Great Etsy Shops!

Etsy is overwhelming to search through, so I always am happy to share great vendors when I find them. I have not worked with either of these, but I love the look of their work!
This first one, Liven Up Designs, creates custom grasscloth and fabric wrapped tables, custom daybeds, x- benches and more! Being in the industry and knowing the cost of producing such goods, these prices are great!

A pair of grasscloth wrapped nightstands and fabric upholstered parson’s table.
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46 Great Coffee Tables

A good coffee table can really make or break your living room- functionally and visually. It has to hold the items you need at hand (remotes, magazines, candles…) but also sometimes serve as a dining table (or if you are me and Andrew, ALL the time) and provide a place for food and drink when entertaining.  So picking the right one for your family is essential. So I decided to round up 45 great choices to help make the process easier!

One of my favorite images from my book shot by Michael J. Lee.  This coffee table by Worlds Away is a perennial favorite because of it’s medium size, simple construction and lower shelf for storage- in fact, it’s the same on I have in my living room!

Classic Obsession: The Rope Chair

I love chairs. I have a tendency to want to buy cool vintage chairs all the time.  Sometimes I have to be physically restrained from just “snapping up” a cool little chair at every turn.  I DO have limited basement storage and no need for any more chairs.  However, chairs are such a great way to convey your style and add some interest into an otherwise bland space. They are little works of art! Especially when they are unique and/ or vintage! I currently am kind of obsessing over vintage Hans Wegner rope chairs.  The texture and modern lines are so appealing. I do need a chair for a corner in my master so maybe…

Victoria Hagan’s Nantucket house has two of them that break up all the upholstery in her living room.