Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Our living room

Let's take a look at the evolution of our living room.  After we moved in and got settled, it looked like this.  I don't have any 'Ashfordless' photos, sorry!
Right before we redid the floors, the cleared out room seemed full of potential.  My plan for the living room was to use things that we already had to 'decorate,' while purchasing only the large furniture that we needed.  We needed a sofa so the one in here could go downstairs (we gave our old living room furniture to my brother before we moved) and bookshelves for storage. 
It was always the plan to get a sectional for this room.  Shaun wanted something comfortable (men!), and I wanted something not huge, overstuffed, and ugly.  So, we ended up with the Teddy sectional and storage ottoman from Macys in the stock 'otter' fabric.  It was the least ugly one we could afford that was also comfortable.  When it was delivered, it was huge!  And sort of purple-y, which was disappointing.  It immediately became clear that the brown zebra rug and red print curtains were not going to work anymore, so we swapped in the orange rug and white curtains from our old bedroom. 
And then I went on the search for a paint color that didn't suck.  I tried a few SW colors...Alpaca, Popular Gray, Versatile Gray.  We ended up choosing Popular Gray, which is a very pale shade of warm gray that is almost white.  Wow, it was a breath of fresh air going over that old tan!  I don't have anything against tan, but it just looked oppressive in this dark house. 
We also desperately needed the storage we lost in our old living room, so we took a trip to Ikea and came home with the Hemnes entertainment center.  I had to burn the midnight oil painting the wall behind it so I could put it up asap.  The difference in paint color is incredible!
And after we got this sort of workable for the time being, we had to pull the entire thing out to install baseboard before we attached the bookshelves and bridge unit to the wall.
I have chosen to do white baseboard throughout the house, it is a simple 3.25 inch casing, rather than traditional base.  I have no plans to paint all the door and window casings white, so we will see what that looks like when it's all installed!  If I hate it, I can always paint it out later. 
And here is the (almost) finished room!
It feels so good to have everything mostly done in here.   We still need to paint the inside of the front door, and rip out the casing around it because it is that tacky 'colonial' profile in honey oak.  I'm going to replace it with ranch casing like the rest of the house, stained to match the floors.  The orange front door pretty closely matches the rug, it is blown in the photo from the light streaming in, but it looks great in person!  That was a total accident.  I had no plans to match the front door to this rug, and had painted the door long before we put this rug in here.  Love that!
All the throw pillows we already had.  I'm glad that I had orange and teal things from our old den.  I am not a fan of the enormous pillows that come with sofas these days.   
As with most houses from this time period, our entry is really tight, but we wanted a low-profile coat rack because we are lazy and like to hang our coats on hooks.   This rack with fold up hooks from Umbra is perfect!  It is under 4 inches deep when they are open, perfect for the tiny strip of wall next to our door.  
We did opt to buy the Ikea Format lighting for the bookshelves, it is wonderful to turn those on, it just makes the entire living room so cozy yet doesn't light up the tv screen.
Our old TV stand fits nicely behind the sofa as a 'drop off' point for keys, a place to set a drink while lounging, and also a nice place to store shoes.  I love that I could reuse this piece, the measurements were perfect!
For the little wall dividing our living area from the kitchen, the console table we had in our old entry still works great with the pineapple lamp.  I decided since there was a plethora of ugly items on this wall (smoke detector, carbon monoxide detector, thermostat) that I would aim for distraction rather than try to hide them.  I'm pretty happy with the result!  I do wish you could actually look in the mirror, though....oh well, I can't lower it.  The sea urchin wall art from Target fills in that space on the left and adds more interest. The teal frame on top was formerly hot pink in my dressing room!   
As you might have noticed, the former boob light in the dining room is not hanging around for much longer.  I know, nice and safe to have it dangling by wires.  A new chandelier is going up soon, and then I have to figure out where to put the hook to swag it.  Don't you love when builders put electrical boxes centered in the room, instead of where the table will go?  The ribbon I have hanging there is to visualize where the light should hang.  More on the dining room later. 
With a two year old, obviously we need a lot of places to stash crap.  These bookshelves and drawers have been a lifesaver!  We thought about doing built-ins, but we just didn't want the expense and work when we aren't planning to stay here.  We are most likely going to leave the Ikea stuff when we sell, so it still adds resale value without being such a huge project.  I also thought about 'hacking' the Ikea stuff to look built-in since we needed to install baseboard anyway, but this way we can access cords and outlets easier...and again, less work.  I love that it holds books, baskets and bins for toys, and also gives me a place to display my recent photos. 
I do not 'style' bookshelves, I just put things on there that make me happy.  (Unless you count putting my books in rainbow order, then I do a bit of styling...I love the way it looks, dated or not!)  I don't have a lot of doodads, so picture frames, books, albums, and stuff Ashford plays with is about all you see here. 
The bottom of the Hemnes bookcases have removable bottoms, which is a lifesaver if you need to run cords.  It is also a slightly wider shelf area, so I can fit larger things like the mustache totes and bead maze.   Right after I took these photos that kid took out every toy I had arranged and littered the living room with them! 
We don't really have a lot of wall space in this house.  I suppose it's good because I hate hanging stuff on walls, but it's also sort of sad because I have so many beautiful photos I want to display.  I decided to hang the large gallery frames that used to be in our upstairs hallway above the entertainment center.  It might be too busy for some, but I love it.  The white frame in the middle will probably get replaced with another wood frame.
I love this view, it is so satisfying!   
I know that this room isn't terribly inspired or unique, but it totally fulfilled my goals of using things I already had while purchasing furniture that would work best for our lives.  I am also very happy that I found a home for the orange rugs!  I love how the wood windows interact with all the white while tying in the other wood furniture in the room.  I find wood and white together to be beautiful, so I'm hopeful that my white base and stained casing experiment will work out.  Now, I'm off to hang that dining room chandelier! 


Kelly @ turned UP to ELEVEN! said...

As always, you amaze me! I love seeing all the old items you reuse in DIFFERENT locations. That was my favorite thing to do at our new home, while we purchased a lot, it was fun to find new homes for items I thought might not fit in our new place.

I do like that couch a lot - our new furniture is a gray color and the fabric almost looks like gray denim, sort of odd but works well. I wanted a sectional (I like the center corner) but the hubby veto-ed that idea. I think if he saw yours he might reconsider. I love all the shelves too, well done. I can't wait to see the rest of the home come together.

PS - I love your dining table and chairs!

Cassie @ Primitive & Proper said...

sara, everything looks amazing!!!! i love the bookcases around the tv- they look so perfect!!!

meryl rose said...

That looks awesome. And it's even more awesome because it's practical AND it looks good. Good job!

Steph said...

Looks great! I still love the Pottery Barn rug. I love how it matches the door, happy accident or not.
Glad to see you post, I hope the photography business is starting well for you!

Lisa @ Trapped In North Jersey said...

I think it looks fantastic! Cozy and inviting--a great place for family and friends to hang out.

Why aren't you staying? Where are you going? Didn't you just move in?

Katie said...

nice job - the entertainment area is great, love all of the shelves and storage. we are struggling to find toy storage right now too...

i think my favorite part is that you took the time to hang up photos and just finish a space! we are still so focused on unpacking and painting, that we haven't put anything on the walls.

BJM said...

You are really pulling it together and making it a "home" for your family. Your choices are great and it all fits together well. Great job!

No one says it has to look "designer" all the time!

Love your posts and how you make it all work!!! Also, you tell it like it is...😃


BJM said...

You are really pulling it together and making it a "home" for your family. Your choices are great and it all fits together well. Great job!

No one says it has to look "designer" all the time!

Love your posts and how you make it all work!!! Also, you tell it like it is...😃


E said...

Much better! Keep up the great work!

Sharon@Sharon at Home said...

Sara ... You are really settling in and making this a great home. Love the built in look and your use of things you already have. Fabulous!

Deb said...

Looks great!

Sara @ Russet Street Reno said...

Thanks everyone!

Lisa, yes we just moved in and we aren't leaving anytime soon. But this is not our 'forever' home and Shaun's job is currently very up in the air as far as relocation opportunities. If something opens up back in the North Chicago area, we will definitely move closer to family. That along with one income, means we aren't doing very large or expensive projects in this house.

Pine Tree Home said...

I just love the beautiful entertainment center with bookshelves. I had to scroll back and forth to make sure it was the same room. Looks good!

author said...

Love, love, love it! It looks so comfortable and cozy. That paint color is soooo much better than the tan! What do you do with the windows at night for privacy? Do the curtains shut all the way?

Sara @ Russet Street Reno said...

Yes, the curtains close all the way...but I admit, I never close them! If people want to look at us, they can. We are lazy!

Whitney Kerr said...

It looks wonderful!! I love that you re-purposed so much from your last house.
If it were my own space the only thing I would change is the colour of the curtains. I do like my curtains to pop :)

Erin_D said...

That is a beautiful room! I love the purplish/gray couch and the orange and the white trim and neutral walls all together. It is an interesting color combination I have not seen anywhere else in blogland! And it totally works.

Do not feel bad about not making the Ikea shelves mock built-ins. Bloggers do stuff like that and it seems like it’s going to be so difficult to remove or work around as styles and tastes change, or if you want to rearrange the furniture. I scratch my head when they tie themselves down like that. You kept it very versatile.

I have to say, I had white baseboard trim and wood-tone window casings, and eventually it drove me so crazy that I did end up painting the window casings. So be forewarned, LOL!! But all in good time. It bothered me more than anyone else who visited (or even lived) in the house so I let it go a few years until I was itching for a project.

Jen @ RamblingRenovators said...

I love your living room! It looks so cozy and like you've been there for years.

Kim @ NewlyWoodwards said...

I love this space - not surprising, since I think everything you do is awesome. Love the wall color and the orange rug in here. And i love all the storage in the bookshelves. So handy to have so much storage. And so smart to use the mirror and lamp and such to distract from everything going on on your wall. You don't give yourself enough credit - you are awesome.