From Outdated to Awe-Inspiring: Inside a Modern Living Room with a Classic Spin

Ashley Whiteside shares how it’s done.

From Outdated to Awe-Inspiring: Inside a Modern Living Room with a Classic Spin

When it comes to design, some things are best left in the past. At least, that was the case with stylist and Clare Collective ambassador Ashley Whiteside’s latest project: a renovation in Oklahoma City on a family home that’s been virtually untouched since it was built in the 90s. While it had excellent bones—and especially beautiful millwork—the home had a lot of details that made it feel dated, like pickled glazing and lots of dark wood. Together with her longtime clients, it was time to bring the home into the present.



As one of first spaces you see upon entering the home, the entryway and living room were of utmost importance to get right. Armed with timeless furnishings, a few unexpected accents and our pale gray-green Grayish, Ashley transformed the spaces to create the entry and classic-meets-modern living room of her client’s dreams. Keep reading to see how she pulled it off.

Creating a Warm First Impression

As the entry point into the home, both for the family and guests, it was paramount to create a look that would set the vibe for the rest of the space. The entryway also needed to be versatile, and be a spot where the client’s kids could easily take off shoes and drop bags after walking in. So they landed on spacious storage furniture to tuck away belongings and then selected Grayish as the color for the walls.



Because the entryway opens into the living room and offers glimpses of the dining room and kitchen, Grayish made the perfect versatile choice. Ashley aptly refers to it as one of her favorite pseudo-neutrals. “It feels good to be in it, plays well with just about any color that it could flow into and feels light in a room that isn't flooded with natural light,” she says.

Designing a More Modern Living Room

Ashley continued the color story of the entryway and brought Grayish into the living room, too, using it to freshen up the stunning wood millwork that had been painted over with a pickled finish that felt dated and not in line with her clients’ playful, neo-traditional style. “Before, it felt like visiting Grandma's house when you're an adult, and suddenly realizing nothing has moved for 40 years,” she says. “If it were a person, its shoulders were drooping.”


Ashley chose to totally color drench the space, painting not only the walls and millwork but also the beams and ceiling for a clean, continuous and modern living room look. “It's bold but not overpowering,” she says of the color-drenching job. “It's unexpected in that color, it's a conversation starter and most importantly: it flows well into the other areas. Your eye is not interrupted by changes in color except in doorway trim, which feels natural.”

Getting the flow right was critical since the living room connects to five other spaces within the home. Grayish proves to hit just the right mark, adding a hint of unexpected color and charm while still feeling neutral enough to jive with other shades—including our very bold blue Hyperlink in the neighboring kitchen (which you can tour here). It also added just the right amount of lightness to the space, which receives a medium amount of natural light from the windows.


To wrap it all up, Ashley incorporated a mix of details that bring in personality, including a piece of artwork above the sofa she did for the family years ago for a previous home. And of course, we can’t forget about the centerpiece of the room: the large piano—and the perfect anchoring element for the creative, music-loving clients. “It's a collection and a story of the seasons of their lives,” Ashley says of the modern living room. “In the unseen corner of this room hides a huge cabinet that stores many more instruments. They've literally centered their home around music, creativity and gathering. I love that.”



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