Keatra & Levi’s Design Dilemma

When we got Keatra and her hubby Levi’s plea for help with their living room we couldn’t wait to spring into action. Here’s their letter:

I’d been debating taking the plunge and asking for help until I saw CJ and Amy’s Design Dilemma and House Crashing: A Brilliant Bungalow. They pushed us over the edge and here we are! As far as our style goes we are not fond of anything too “matchy” and thus I immediately fell in love with the variety of design elements that filled Matt and Kristin’s house. I would say that our preferred style is somewhere in between modern and funky flea market. We find ourselves shopping at places like Ikea, Cost Plus World Market, and Urban Outfitters. We like the current green wall color (Behr’s Grass Cloth), red book case (Ikea), and dining room table (although we are up for new chair suggestions if the current ones don’t work).  A new front door is on its way, it has 6 small windows at the top that we’ll want to add a curtain to for privacy.  The TV stand can go, but if we can paint it, it might save our budget a bit. I am sad to say that the couch should probably stay for now as we have a new four-legged addition that is still learning his manners, but a suggestion would be great for when the time comes to make the purchase, we’d prefer leather as we have two cats and two dogs! Thank You!  -Keatra and Levi

We love Keatra and Levi’s wall color, and that red piece from Ikea is amazing! We can definitely work in a lot of their existing pieces to create something modern, mix & matched, and anything but expected. So without further ado, our handy dandy mood board:

And now for the mood board breakdown.

1. Our color palette is cheerful and unexpected… just like a chic-flea-market-mix-&-match room would demand. Some rich eggplant tones (introduced sparingly in the accessories and in a pretty fun TV stand makeover) will work together with the fresh warm green walls and some punchy red accent colors (tied in from that fabulous Ikea cabinet) to create something current and creative. And we’ll be sure to bring in some neutral wood tones like chocolate and taupe to keep things from looking too busy in the small multi-functioning space.

2. We couldn’t love that red Ikea cabinet more (in fact, we’ve even lusted after it for our own home). And because the devil’s in the details, we think adding a few storage baskets (for just $5.99 a pop) to break up all the books & DVDs will conceal some of the less attractive items while breaking up all the busyness behind the clear glass doors. We love all the colored spines going on in there, so by cutting down on some of the clutter with the neutral baskets, there might even be room to add some cute decorative accessories too, like a big wooden letter (the first initial of K&L’s last name?) or a few vintage vases snagged at the thrift store or flea market.

3. Keatra and Levi mentioned that they had a new door on order with six small windows at the top which they’d like to cover with a curtain of some sort. Well we searched high and low for a playful pattern to work with our color scheme and dug up this one at none other than Urban Outfitters. Since it’s definitely too long for the window, we thought they could hem it (or use iron-on hem tape) to create a custom curtain that’s the perfect size for the door. And the extra fabric could be used to create a simple little table runner to add some interest to the nearby dining area as well.

4. We also dug up this great little modern bentwood chair with metal legs which will tie in perfectly with the retro table while adding a bit of crisp and sleek style (for a mere $49 a pop). Since these have a much smaller footprint than the previous dining room chairs, we think Keatra and Levi could fit four at their dining room table, but we actually only think they should snag three because we have another idea for seating under the window, just to keep things interesting. Stay tuned…

5. Since Keatra and Levi were so inspired by Matt and Kristin’s home, we couldn’t resist the urge to add some colorful art to their mood board, for that punch of color and that special “I’m a collector” feel. This great canvas watercolor-esque piece is ready to hang (and only $50). It definitely feels special enough for their space, and it even seems to subtly complement the color and the pattern of our door curtain and runner fabric- not in a matchy matchy way, but in a I-just-collect-things-over-time-and-they-work-perfectly way. And we thought it would look great hanging on the wall to the right of the dining table when you’re facing the front door.

6. One thing we thought would definitely add to the sophisticated, layered style of Keatra and Levi’s space would be a cozy rug by the seating area. It doesn’t get much more affordable than this 5×7 chenille rug from Urban, and we think it’ll really make the existing wood coffee table pop and add a fresh and inviting feeling to the entire room. By breaking up the wood tones of the coffee table and the floor along with the similarly toned leather sofa, Keatra and Levi will be surprised by how much punch and dimension a neutral toned item can add to a seating area.

7. Now this is just an added option, but we noticed that Keatra and Levi appear to have a pretty chunky old TV (which might not even work after February of next year when cable goes completely digital) so we thought we’d suggest a great looking 26″ flat screen that could completely make over their TV viewing area while adding some updated and modern style for a less top-heavy look. And speaking of the TV area, we love Keatra’s idea to remix her existing TV stand into something more current and crisp on the cheap, so we think that she and the hubs should use a custom cut piece of plywood to create a “back” to  block the messy view of all the wires and create a super streamlined appearance. They could just nail/glue the wood in place from behind and then paint the newly attached plywood back a rich eggplant color (which will really work with the existing wood tone on the side, front and top of the piece). For the perfect deep eggplant color, try RSVP by Glidden. Oh and if pattern is more their style, Keatra and Levi can add the remnant of fabric from the Urban Outfitters curtain above to the back of the TV stand instead of using it to create a runner. Gotta love a little pop of pattern in unexpected places.

8. Here’s the piece that we teased you about earlier when we mentioned the new chairs. Instead of having four predictable dining chairs, we thought adding a clean-lined bench seat below the window while bringing in three of those great wood & metal chairs around the rest of the table would add tons of mix & match style and added function to boot (now they can seat 5 people in a pinch). Oh and have we mentioned these benches get rave reviews on and they sell for only 79 clams? Amazing!

9. To balance all the color and pattern that we’ll be mixing and matching in the space, we’ll also have to pepper in some warm, textural neutrals (like the chairs, the bench, the new sofa, etc) to keep things balanced and cohesive (as opposed to crazy overwhelming). Even a few of the accessories, like the rug and this great fur pillow were intentionally selected for their soft cozy textures and warm and subtle coloring to keep things clean and cohesive in the space.

10. Now Keatra and Levi said that unfortunately their couch had to stay for now. But we for one don’t think it’s very unfortunate! At least from the pictures it appears to have that great beaten-up lived-in feeling… which is exactly how we like our leather couches. It’s so European and cozy to have a big broken in leather sofa to sink into (not to mention very vintage & flea-market-esque. But we do understand if up close it’s not as wonderful (or doesn’t smell as wonderful) as it appears in the pictures, so we dug up this great new leather sofa for an almost unbeatable price in case Keatra and Levi need a replacement sometime down the line.

11. And last but not least, we adore these rich eggplant vases and think they’d look just fab placed on top of the red Ikea cabinet. We love the unexpected eggplant pop that we suggested for the back of the new TV stand, and by bringing the tone into another area of the room in an oh-so-subtle way, it’ll add interest and draw the eye up for some added height in the space as well.

So there it is. Keatra and Levi’s modern flea market chic mood board makeover. We can’t wait to hear what you guys think!

Update: We sadly can no longer find the time to take on client commissioned mood boards (we now whip up general inspiration boards instead) but if we ever reinstate them we’ll make a big announcement!


  1. Kyle says

    I think this might be one of your more succesful moodboard makeovers…but probably just because I like the colors. I think that if there is one step they definately SHOULD NOT SKIP, it is the new chairs for the dining area.

  2. Alysia says

    There is only one Keatra & Levi (and Ms Frankie)! Yay for makeovers! The youngsters did a fabulous job in styling a space to live in, rather than just a pretty space. My only suggestion would be to change the neutral chenile rug to a dark colored one or with a material that can handle some heff (sisal or jute). With the weather coming on and the paws of the furry critters may be to much to handle on such a light colored rug. I can’t wait to see the complete makeover.

  3. says

    Although the the new flat screen tvs do open up a space since they’re so much smaller, I hope you all realize that (especially if you have cable/satellite) the old tvs will still work just fine. Even in you don’t have cable the tv will still work, you just need the converter box for $40.

    On the other hand, when they put the room back together, I hope they use some of that storage space below on the tv stand and put those bulky speakers and dvd player down below. It will make the television seem less massive.

  4. says

    Hey guys. I love the space and the ideas to make it even better. The only thing I’m confused about is the description of the old, worn couch as looking “European”. I live in Germany, and I’m not sure I would describe the couch that way. Please won’t you elaborate for me?

  5. YoungHouseLove says

    Hey everyone,

    Glad you’re diggin’ the latest mood board. We can’t wait for the after pics! And Katie, we’re sorry to use such a general term like “European” which clearly is of no help when you’re trying to pin down exactly how that couch relates to that extremely wiiiide term so we’ll elaborate. I think it reminded us of an old piece you might find at a Parisian flea market- all beat up and loved and worn in and chic with just the right warm throw strewn haphazardly over one arm. Of course we’ve never actually been to a Parisian flea market, but we’ve heard many a tale about fabulous gently worn items that add character and that lived-in feeling to someone’s home (like an old wooden farm house table or a cool antique metal stool). Hope that helps!

    Oh and Ryan, good point about the TV, although I wonder if putting $40 into an old one would be better served towards a new one with a much smaller footprint (they even make energy star TVs now with sleep modes and powersave settings!). It’s totally Keatra and Levi’s call though- and either way they’ll have a great place to watch TV, be it a new one or their old faithful.

    Oh and Alysia, great idea to mention a darker rug. We definitely wanted to break up the brown of the coffee table, the floor and the sofa with something lighter, but perhaps something sand colored or tan might be more forgiving when it comes to puppy traffic (our sand slipcovered sofa seems to hide more dirt than our chocolate rug- seriously, it’s magic). And jute is always a great option- love it!


  6. Jamie says

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE this design and color palette. I tried something similar in my home. I have a question for Keatra and Levi. Is your flooring real wood or fake. I just love the way it looks. Is it new?

  7. Keatra says

    Thanks Sherry and John! The ideas are fabulous. We were surprised to see that the existing coffee table and end tables still tied in, I thought those were going to go for sure. I am excited to get started with the transformation. Thank you for the inspiration, I am so indecisive that this is just what we needed!

    Jamie: The floors are original to the house which is about 55 years old. Once the carpet (maroon shag!) was pulled out we removed sections of old warped boards and replaced them, then sanded, and stained them ourselves. The new boards blended in nicely which was a huge relief. It was very labor intensive (and dusty!) but we saved a ton of money and enjoy the character that comes with worn wood. It is good to hear that they look nice! Thanks :)

  8. says

    Looks great! I, too, like the sofa just as it is. One thing though — instead of buying a ‘watercolour-esque’ piece for $50 to try and emulate the look of art collecting… why not save for a few months, get $200 together, and buy a real piece of original art? It’s not that much more money (especially when compared to a flat-screen tv or $1,000 sofa) and actually makes them art collectors, instead of art-collector-esque! You can often buy art from local galleries, talented students at art colleges and coffee houses for relatively inexpensive.

  9. YoungHouseLove says

    Hey Keatra,

    So glad you’re lovin’ our design- and of course we can’t wait to see those after pics. Happy shopping! That’s such a great story about the wood floor too. You lucky dogs…

    And Lorien, great idea about the art! We’d love to see Keatra and Levi start up a bonafide collection, although we can’t specifically link to originals in our mood board (for fear of ’em selling to a random reader as opposed to our home owner), which is why anything one-of-a-kind never makes it’s way onto our concept boards (so that great canvas from Urban Outfitters sure came in handy). We can’t wait to see how the whole room comes together for Keatra and Levi!


  10. says

    Great job. This one seemed very different than the usual calmer/ lighter colored rooms you guys usually do, that I love, but I loved this one as well. Way to keep impressing us!

    • says

      Not yet, but hopefully we’ll get them someday! Whenever we receive afters we post them (and add a link to them at the bottom of the original posts, like this). Hope it helps!


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