Before and After: This Living Room Goes from “Dark Pirate Ship” to Scandi-Boho Dream
It takes skill to look past the cosmetic features of an older home and see the potential that lies beneath. Designer and artist Coby Starck and her husband Leeroy Stagger definitely have that skill. When they walked into their 1950 mid-century post-and-beam home — which they bought sight unseen — they knew it had a strong base. But the vibe wasn’t their style. “The home had a dark pirate ship type of feel, very cabin like,” Coby says. “We could see the amazing bones that this home had but we needed to modify some things and really brighten it up.”
The place had lots going for it: Tall ceilings that vaulted from 8 feet to 12 feet, with cool beams overhead; a tall brick fireplace; and lots of original wood on the floors and the walls. But they wanted something brighter, and with lots more light.
Coby started by sanding the floors, then painting them a stark white; she also painted the beams above to match. “This mid-century home has beautiful wood on the ceiling, and the dark floors before were overwhelming and oppressive, which is why I painted them white,” Coby says. “Painting makes the biggest impact using the least amount of money.”
For the walls and brick, she chose a slightly warmer white. The paint refresh for the whole room cost just $340, including the sealer for the floors.
Another thing that made a huge difference in this living room? Letting in more light. Coby and Leeroy replaced the old solid wood door with a fir-framed glass one; it lets in tons of light but still keeps a hint of natural wood in the mix.
Coby decorated with a mashup of styles that she says range from Scandi to boho. But one common theme is the color scheme, which is a mix of white and other neutrals with pops of pastels.
While Coby chose classic white for the brick on the fireplace, she gave the slate tile in front of the hearth a more whimsical look by hand-painting geometric designs in pastel shades of orange, pink, and blue.
To store their records, the couple turned to tried-and-true IKEA. The long cube shelves take on a bit of a rustic style thanks to cedar 4x4s placed underneath, which add some elevation and the look of legs (with a twist).
Coby finished off the living room with tons of artwork and accessories that make this white space feel anything but sterile. Now, it’s light and bright without sacrificing its coziness.
“The house feels like a sanctuary, since it backs out onto a nature belt with a creek behind,” Coby says. “The windows in the living room look out onto the view, also south facing, and with the new glass door it diffuses so much natural light. Our home now feels bright, warm, and high vibe.”
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