We’re starting this little house tour in the living room…. which makes sense since the living room is the first room you see coming in the front door. It also works because the living room is one of the more ‘done’ rooms in our house. Don’t get me wrong… I’ve got a list a mile long for the living room, but it’s all phase 2 items. The list includes things that I’d love to do in the room, but aren’t a priority like some other items on our list.
One of the things that attracted me to our house when we were looking six years ago was the fact that it had formal living areas. We’re a family that uses every room in the house and while I believe that every room should be functional, I loved having the separated space that formal living spaces allow for. I’d rather have several smaller rooms that can each function in different ways versus one huge open living space… quite different than the ways most homes today are built. I guess that’s part of the reason why I’ve always been drawn to older homes…and have always been drawn to a project.
Our living room has great bones… oak hardwood floors, full length windows and classic molding. But when we were looking at the house, we had to look past the mauve paint, the heavy window treatments and the furniture that wasn’t really ‘us’ to see all of that.
Today, our living room functions as quiet space…. no TV and no toys allowed. The boys are welcome to use the room for quiet activities like reading and puzzles, but remote controlled cars, video games and anything that spins or makes noise is banned.
By day, the living room also functions as my work space. It’s where I meet with clients to discuss furniture projects and it’s where I blog. One of my favorite pieces in the room is the farmhouse style table that Mike built. It’s perfect for my desk and can double as extra seating for large family events or parties.
I love that the living room holds so many family memories. Everything in the room has a story. A tarnished silver tea pot once belonged to Mike’s grandmother. The art on the wall includes framed letters from my grandmother and great-aunt and several prints of our beloved New Bern. They were given to us as wedding gifts 11 years ago this Saturday. The lamp and the mantel clock on my desk were passed down from my great-uncle.
The room isn’t without its imperfections… there are many of them. Look carefully and you’ll find glitter glue atop the antique pine chest, left over from its days in the playroom (not a great room choice on my part). The silver that I have in the room is never polished unless my mom is in town and just can’t take the tarnish anymore. The settee and slipper chairs were my grandmother’s while I love them, they definitely don’t invite you to sit down, sink in and put your feet up for hours.
Our goal is to eventually turn the living room into a true reading room. A place that flows from the dining room for extra dining space when needed, but that’s comfortable and functional every day. So, what do I feel like we still need to do in order to get there? Well… sit back because the list is quite long! I guess when you get to round 2 of decorating in a room, you start dreaming (and creating bullet lists).
- I’ve thought about adding a french door to the doorframe into the hall… something to buffer the noise from the rest of the house and allow Mike and me to truly use the space as an office when necessary.
- I want to gradually add trim around the house… bulk up the look of the crown molding and the chair rail. I want to add some detailing below the chair rail in the living room and add some molding up top to make the crown look larger.
- Plantation shutters for the front windows. While I love the bamboo blinds, I adore plantation shutters. They allow light to stream in but give you total privacy when needed. I’d love to do the single shutters on the long narrow windows with large slats to maximize the light coming in.
- As much as I love having my grandmother’s settee and slipper chairs in the room, I’d like to eventually replace them with 2 comfy club chairs and some type of ottoman. Every reading room needs a cozy chair to sink into.
- I’d love to put some kind of overhead lighting in the room… something to flood the room with light when we needed to and break up the white ceiling.
- Mike… if you’re reading this post, stop now. This little item on my living room list stresses him out… and I’ve been talking about it for years. If you know me at all, you know that I have a bit of an obsession with fireplaces. I really, really want to put a fireplace with gas logs in the living room, right on the wall that currently houses my desk. I’d also love to do built in bookcases on either side of it. It’s an exterior wall, so it seems totally doable to me! I keep trying to talk Mike into DIY’ing it (he has some mad woodworking skills) and he keeps looking at me like I’ve lost my mind. I just love cozy and nothing says cozy like a fireplace.
- My goal is to eventually get the buffet into the dining room where it belongs (and that’s a post for another day), but when I do, I want to move my desk to the wall that the buffet is currently sitting against. Doing so would clear the wall the desk currently sits against for previously stated bookcases and fireplace (just sayin’).
So, there you have it. Our living room… in its current state and where I want it to go. What’s your thought on formal living rooms spaces? What do you think of mine? And most importantly, what do you think of my ‘little’ to do list for the room?!