House Tour: Living Room Nook

Dear Readers,

I have decided to share pictures of our home with you. What better way indeed to get an insight of what I love most and how I use color. I hope these will inspire you to try new things out. One thing you might notice right away is the color of the walls. Yes I know, I know: I am the one preaching the use of colors everywhere and yet my walls are boring off-white (RAL 9001 to be exact). Well we do rent and if you have read my bio you know that we tend to be on the move quite often. I did paint the walls of every rented apartment I/we have ever had. We had to have all the carefully chosen colors of our previous flat painted over in white before leaving for Brussels. Our actual flat we moved in a little over a year ago had been completely renovated, and when I first started dreaming about painting the walls, my darling half reminded me gently about the repainting in Berlin and the seemingly picky management we have now. So I had to settle… well for the time being.

I am starting this house tour with our living room nook. We do have a very nice open living/dining/kitchen area under the roof and flooded with light, which was one of the reasons I fell in love with it. I installed a little seating nook across the kitchen. It’s a great place to have a cup of tea, to have a quick lunch, or to chat once our little one is in bed. Here is a general view of my mostly art deco nook:

Over the years I have collected vintage or antic furniture, I’ve bought mainly on flea markets or on Ebay. It has actually been a huge source for me. There simply isn’t something you can’t find on Ebay.The Art Deco buffet I purchased on Ebay for our first flat dining room in Paris about 8 years ago. I have always loved Art Deco and the geometric pattern on the doors as well as the beautiful handles did it for me. A few years latter I was able to replace the original brownish red marble top with a more classic black one.

The Art Deco trumeau was also an Ebay find for our Paris dining room to sit above a chimney. When I got my hands on it, I realized it had actually been spray painted in gold (some things you just don’t see on pictures). I spent weeks transforming it to aged silver, first scrapping the gold off, then applying dark blue paint as undercoat instead of the red used for gold. I ordered aluminum gilding leafs (cheaper than silver) and spent hours applying and reapplying them until I was happy while they were flying around my work table. My work table was actually our dining table in our 14 m2 dining room, so you can imagine how thrilled my husband was during all this time of my monopolizing it for DIY projects involving dust and chemicals. I ended up aging it with a various mix of pigments applied more or less randomly until I was satisfied with the result and applied a coat of varnish to protect the aluminum from tarnishing.

It has followed us since with every move and I certainly don’t plan getting rid of it anytime soon. I do love the that that over the years and before my purchasing it, the humidity corroded the mirror and created this grid outline. It adds so much to the mirror in terms of personality.

The frame sitting on the buffet is a small Art Deco (again!) frame puchased on Ebay (again!) which holds a simple postcard of a painting by Marc Chagall. I chose it for it’s colors which echo the overall color scheme of this little corner.

The two bridge armchairs we purchased almost 10 years ago on a flea market in Paris. They were upholstered in an ugly brown fabric. We had to wait a year or two to have them reupholstered but had it finally done with “Cabine Rouge” by Les Toiles du Soleil. Isn’t it amazing what some bright colors and stripes can do!

I am quite proud of the bistrot table which is a recent acquisition. I spotted this gorgeous Art Deco (notice there is a theme going on here?) pedestal foot at Les Petits Riens, a charity in Brussels which sells used things from houses they empty or donations people make. It had an ugly beige plastic square table top straight from the 70’s.  The guys from the store were kind enough to unscrew and to dump it for me. The real treasure was this massively heavy table foot.

It was rusted and dirty so I tried to no avail to get rid of the rust with a bunch of chemicals. After three or four treatments it was clear that it would need something more. So I decided to simply hide the rust with spray paint. I went on the search for the perfect dark gray mat spray paint and bought this heat resistant one because it was the only one that was charcoal AND mat. My (lucky) choice could not have been a better one: the paint had actually a slight metallic sheen to it and it looks now as if the table foot had been manufactured just recently. I certainly wasn’t expecting such a great result!

I had a simple pine wooden top cut in a shop near the Sablons in Brussels. I wasn’t really convinced about it when I saw it in it’s raw wood condition. But the defaults actually made the top interesting after staining it and  applying a clear gloss varnish.

The table and armchairs sit on one of three rugs we purchased while backpacking in Syria. We spent about 3 hours drinking tea and bargaining with the owners of a carpet shop in the Aleppo souk. It is one of those beautiful memories of an otherwise fantastic trip. This carpet is actually a Bukhara, a typical carpet from the city of Bukhara in Ouzbekistan. And yes we did bring back 3 carpets in our backpacks! Aleppo was actually our last stop before flying to Jordan and ending our vacations with a few days or non backpacking, which made this possible.

On the buffet sits otherwise my darling Wi-Fi radio which allows me to listen to the French, American or German radio stations I used to listen while living in those countries. It is really great, well at least when your internet connection is working. The two wooden candle holders are from Habitat and were a gift from my siblings for my first housewarming party and flat after returning from the US. The marble lamp is a consignment store find with a purple shade from Habitat.

Isn’t the geometric paneling on the buffet doors just amazing? I am definitely still in love with it after all those years owning it. Next to it you can see a close-up of one of our framed pears engravings. I spotted those engravings on a cold autumn Sunday afternoon in the town of Auxerre where we had stopped on our way back from a weekend getaway in Burgundy. The town is charming but on Sunday afternoons everything is closed and it can be outright depressing. We walked by this old bookstore where they had about 6 different prints hanging in the window.

Since it was closed I took pictures of them and called them a few days latter. The owner told me that he had about two dozens more in the shop but since we were back in Paris, I simply selected 4 of the ones I had photographed, wired the money and received them latter in the mail. They had all the color mats already. The framing was done a little latter and ended up being a Christmas gift from my mom. The lady who framed them told my mom latter that she wasn’t really convinced about my instructions to frame them with a silver frame but that she ended up really loving the result.

Well this is it. I didn’t think I would write quite as much about our little nook but I realized how much fun I was having sharing the memories attached to all those objects with you. I hope you loved reading it as much as I loved writing it. Please share your thoughts, questions or remarks with me. I am currently working on the next rooms but it does take a little time as I have to make them look pretty and because I take about 200 pictures before finding the ones I will use.

Have a lovely day.


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  • loads of natural light for the space, how lucky are you? tell me what do you call the kind of mirror glass in the frame. I’m looking for exactly that type of glass but possibly without the squares.ReplyCancel

    • Dear Lynne,
      we do have lots of natural light but those pictures were actually taken while it was pouring outside. The manual mode of my camera with a tripod and a long exposure time did help to achieve this feeling you get when looking at the pictures. A long exposure time is 100 times than any flash and actually respects the actual colors.
      As for the mirror and the aged effect I don’t really know if there is a name to it. In French they say of such a mirror that is is “piqué”. This wasn’t done on purpose. It is really the effect of the years and humidity on a probably not very good quality glass.I know that some new mirrors that are sold nowadays, in particular replicas of antic venetian mirrors are aged with acid, but unfortunately I can’t help you further than this.
      Thank you for your kind comments 🙂ReplyCancel

  • stunning!! can’t wait to see the rest of your home~ReplyCancel

  • lovely, love the light the reds everything

  • Dear Corinne:

    thank you for sharing how you bought and arranged all these items in your home. The corner is so charming and sure you enjoyed choosing everything! It feels really like Home 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Thanks so much for sharing some of your home! I love having a sticky beak into people’s homes and from what I can see, yours is stunning. It’s so nice to hear stories attached, I think it’s this that makes a home. Can’t wait to see more. Mel xReplyCancel

  • Beautiful! I love the pops of color and the fun furniture! It’s just lovely, and I’m sure your living room nook is a wonderful place for a cup of coffee!ReplyCancel

  • Hi Corinne, I’ve just come over from the byw page. Our shared love of colour has me hooked and I’m following you now! Your living room is stunning also : )ReplyCancel

  • I really love your space, especially the floors and art deco buffet – it is just gorgeous!

    p.s. I really like simple white walls!ReplyCancel

  • Hi Corinne I love this post – it gives me a real feeling of immediacy to you. It’s such an insight into your character which is delightful! It’s a beautiful vignette. Thanks so much for linking up with the POTMC. J xReplyCancel

  • a lovely space, thanks for sharing. I’m particularly fascinated by the story behind each piece of furniture 🙂 bywReplyCancel

  • Hi Corinne,
    Found your blog through BYW. I love the combination of vintage and modern furniture in your home and actually like the RAL 9001 😉
    Have a nice weekend!
    Bye, Marianne.ReplyCancel

  • What a lovely and extraordinary nook!
    I would love to sip coffee there and read poetry and right blog posts. 🙂
    Your photos of your nook are wonderful!

    Wishing you all the best,
    Mary (from BYW Bootcamp)ReplyCancel

  • Thank you for sharing your home. It’s really lovely! I really do love that sitting area and makes me wish I had just a spot like that .

    Annetta Bosakova

  • Hello Corinne,
    The living room (and the whole blog) is very inspiring and inviting, I’m glad I found you
    Amalia from BYWReplyCancel

  • Your home is gorgeous, I do love antique furniture as well, and I do like to collect some vintage pieces. I also live in a rental, and as much I would love to paint the walls, I didn’t do it, since I didn’t want to go trough the whole repainting process when I will move out. I loved your bio, you traveled so much, i found it very inspiring. Visiting from BYW.ReplyCancel

  • You did a lovely job. Well done!

    BYW FriendReplyCancel

  • I love this space and your blog! Saying hello from Blog Boss.
    Vintage RenewalReplyCancel

  • […] for our camera ans started experimenting with it which led to my first House Tour post about our reading nook in the living room. It was a bit of work because before starting to shoot I had to clean up […]ReplyCancel

  • Hi Corinne, I’m coming from Byw forum. I love the colors in your home and the stories behind furnitures. Lovely post! See you in class! x AgaReplyCancel

  • […] my beautiful living room nook is empty again. I will miss this beautiful apartment, it’s oak floors and the light that came […]ReplyCancel

  • […] vase I found in a consignment store and used the top of my art deco buffet, which you can see here, to take the pictures. As you know I love thrift shopping. One of the reasons behind it, is that I […]ReplyCancel