Sunday, June 10, 2012

From Formal to Dressy Casual

Back in the day, when I was growing up, people used to have a "formal" living room.  You know the room I'm talking about.  The one that you could only peak at from the hallway, but were never allowed to enter.  The one that was beautifully decorated and reserved for some "special occasion" that never seemed to come.  It stood as some sort of monument or tribute to a way of life reserved for the fancy and sophisticated, which apparently did not include you or your brothers and sisters.  In fact, the room was rarely used in entertaining, leaving one to wonder "Who is fancy enough for this place?"  These rooms were often furnished with Queen Anne style tables sporting elegant curved legs and a dark cherry finish, often a piano, and the finest of china and nick-knacks.
The "before" tables (that's a layer of primer on top of the coffee table)
The "after"
Many of us grew up to either create our own "tribute to fancy people" using this furniture, or we inherited these pieces from our family.  When I had an opportunity to redo a set of Queen Anne tables recently, I couldn't wait to get my hands on them and "dress them down."  Our lives today are far more informal than years ago.  Formal attire once worn to the office, church and the theater has been replaced with "dressy casual" attire in an effort to make us all feel more comfortable.  And that is the way we choose to live, too.  The formal living room has been replaced by the "family great room," where you are encouraged to relax and get comfortable.  

These once formal tables were transformed into their "dressy casual" counterparts.  I chose to create a look that might have been more characteristic of a farmhouse of yesteryear, but still having the elegant curves of their once formal lives.  The bodies were done in Old White and then slightly distressed to look as though they had been around for years.

I layered the tops in a Coco and Graphite wash that gave them "character" and then distressed them too, to show the cherry wood underneath at the edges.  The hardware, once shiny and gold, was repainted to an oil rubbed bronze.  

I love the way they turned out and I think they would suit most people's lifestyle today.  In fact they might look great in your fun family room, so if you are interested, they are for sale.  Go on, put your feet up and relax!