Compared to the kitchen and bathrooms, the living room was in relatively good shape when we bought our home 9 months ago. It felt a little dark with the gray walls, there were popcorn ceilings and lots of wall cracks in need of repair, and one of the windows had water damage underneath, causing it to angle down on one side. Still, it was a decent size, the wood floors were in pretty good shape (with an interesting border detail inlaid into the wood), and there was built in shelving for added charm.
This is what you saw when you first walked into the room from the entry way:
Here is a different view, showing the arched doorway from the entryway:
That is the exterior door we removed, creating an opening into the laundry room/playroom:
This is the damaged window:
This is the built in shelving, and to the left of that is the wall we removed to create an opening into the kitchen:
This is to the right of the built ins- and now we’ve come full circle 🙂
We knew we wanted to make some changes to the space to open it up more to the rest of the house, starting with taking down part of a wall to create a pass through to the kitchen. The space to the left of the built in was the first to come down, and we were elated to discover a brick chimney hiding underneath the plaster as well. This seems like a simple change, but it was actually a ton of work, and I can never thank my Dad enough for all of the time he spent helping us to transform this space!
For one thing, the wall was load bearing, so he had to put a new support beam up, and then find a way to frame out the chimney, with all of the little angles and such making it much more time consuming than we ever imagined it would be.The other major change we made was removing the damaged window and replacing it with french doors (also thanks to my Dad, who not only installed them but also gave them to us for free as they were leftover from another one of his jobs). Fun fact: those french doors lead to no where. There is literally an ancient monstrosity of an ac unit right below them (which shockingly still works, which is why we have yet to replace or relocate it), and no deck to step out onto. What there is, however, is a vision for the future: a large screened in porch with a stone fire place that we will be able to open these doors right up to on cooler days.
We’ve got some dreams, and more big plans for this house still to come, but since the window was damaged and we already had the doors, we figured why not put them in now? And I am so glad that we did, because from the moment that giant double door sized hole was cut into the wall, light instantly flooded this formerly dark room.
And there’s a great view of our ac unit, looking all purty.
From there, it was just a matter of removing the popcorn ceilings, repairing and repainting the walls, and clearing out the construction site that had become our living room. Penny is still bummed that we painted over her masterpiece, and talks frequently of the day when she will be able to have her own walls and paint whatever she wants on them, Rapunzel style. 🙂
Sitting in this room now, I can’t believe how different it feels. It is a happy space full of light, and all of us love spending time in here together. Let’s take a little tour around the room, and I’ll point out details along the way.
Furniture placement required a bit of pondering, because the room was long and narrow, with doors and windows on every wall. We were relieved that our beloved leather sofa just fit on the wall space between the built ins and the arched doorway, but we also wanted to bring in additional seating to make it more of a gathering place for family and friends.We decided to float another sofa in the room to help break up the long space, and were really excited to find this smaller one (sadly no longer in stock at West Elm), because it was a great price but also was low profile enough to not feel like it was blocking off the room too much visually.
I loved how the skinny black legs matched the legs on our leather couch, and that the performance velvet fabric would be easy to clean with all of the animals and kids we have running around here.
Our desk fit perfectly behind the sofa, and Kevin and I both love how we can be working at the desk but still feel like we are part of whatever is going on in the room. (Also it is literally killing me that we never glazed the side of that desk and will most likely never get around to doing it…ugh, just don’t look at it). Moving on!
We also want to find a cool old door and put in on a sliding door track so we have the option to cover up the laundry/playroom, but aren’t in any hurry- I’m sure we will stumble upon the perfect door eventually.
Here is that time consuming but life changing walkway and exposed chimney I’ve been telling you about. Looking at these photos now, I’d say it was worth it!
You know I couldn’t wait to get my hands on these built ins! Any excuse to display some of my favorite books and objects, and I am all over it.
Across from the leather couch is our media credenza and television, and we have a cute little chair in the corner.
I do eventually plan to relocate this chair and replace it with something a little more lounge-worthy, but for now, it’s doing its’ job quite nicely.
I decided to hang a gallery wall above the couch, all in simple white frames, and I look forward to changing prints and photographs out as the mood strikes.
This is definitely the most neutral living room we’ve had yet- lots of browns and creams and whites with just a hint of green for color. For me, the key to keeping this neutral space interesting is having lots of different cozy textures in the room (the braided rug, warm leather, natural wood tones, and soft blankets and pillows).
And then there’s plants. I will never stop saying how much plants can transform a room, because it’s true! They will forever be my favorite decorating accessory.
I think that just about covers it! Thanks for touring our much loved and lived in living room. Let me know what questions and comments you have- I love to hear from you, as always!
*Photographs by Amanda Seifert