Happy Holidays everyone! Hope you all had a lovely end of December and are looking forward to Thursday’s New Year’s Eve! I had an absolutely lovely Christmas this year. I spent Christmas Eve with my mother’s side and Christmas Day with my father’s side of the family. I truly couldn’t have enjoyed the holidays more than I did. Everything went pretty much perfectly! Hope everyone else was as pleased as I am! And if not, just drown yourself in eggnog and cookies to destress! That’s what the holiday’s are for anyways right? In celebration of the upcoming New Year, I thought I’d share some pictures of the living areas! Today I’m focusing on the befores and the challenges of the living-dining area; I’ll share the kitchen soon I promise!
We have a home with an open floor plan so the living room, dining room, and kitchen are all integrated into one L-shaped space. The kitchen is tucked into the shorter part of the L which designates it’s zone as more independent than other open floor plans might. I really like that when I’m in the kitchen there aren’t a ton of people circulating through the space. There are definite challenges to an open floor plan, but the longer I live here, the more I really enjoy it. Yes, when I have a party everyone is everywhere and I can’t hide a single mess (unless it fits into my closet!), but this means if I’m cooking or coordinating with stuff in the oven, I’m not completely isolated from my friends! In fact, today so many more people tend to gather in kitchens. The kitchen is the parlor of today. Everyone hangs out in the kitchen. They’re the new multi-purpose room! If your kitchen is more closed off from the living and dining spaces you can make a complete mess and no one will notice, but you also tend to not be able to socialize while you cook. There are positives and negatives to both for sure.
In our house the whole living/dining/kitchen space is a nice white color that is pretty perfect. It’s definitely not a cool white, but it’s not a yellow-y cream either. Our landlords should probably be professional paint color pickers. They always pick the cream of the crop (so pun-y!)! I walked into our house for the first time and didn’t want to paint a single room, which is pretty crazy considering how much I LOVE to paint. Seriously not kidding either. I love painting. I put on some good music and rock out. I get my clothing pretty covered in paint, but I am an expert at painting without using a drop cloth or anything. It’s a handy talent I put to use by basically forcing good friends to let me paint their interiors for them in exchange for tea and pizza. It’s a pretty good trade if you ask me! But anyways, the main areas of our home are white! Now, let’s get to more details, shall we?
First, you enter our home through the front door. Look at that gorgeous door! I love that I can see who’s outside without opening the whole thing. It’s such a hunk of a door too. That’s the kind of door all the lady doors inside want to have door babies with. They’re all standing in the hall gossiping about our hottie front door like, “Hey, come in here often?” But the front door isn’t so open to a relationship with all these interior doors. They’re just a bit hard to lock down, you know? I mean literally, though, very few of our interior doors have locks… Maybe I should apologize for subjecting you all to my brain just there. My brain thinks the doors are hitting on each other. It makes total sense in my head, I swear!
Wow, I am distracted. Who cares about the scandalous and secret lives of the doors when there are windows?! Next to the front door is a little window. Why? I have no idea, but it does let in a little more light! I’d love to stick a little table for keys, mail, shoes, and purses underneath that window. Right now all that gets dumped on the island. Which means it’s hard to find somewhere to prep food and eat. Minor tasks! Because all of our furniture is ridiculously large, it would need to be the perfect size table, probably custom. Luckily, for Christmas, I got a nice chop saw! So maybe I’ll work on this in the new year. It would be a fun little project and I can already imagine what it would look like… #dreamer
Next to the front door is the living area. We’ve squeezed an oversize couch, lounge chair, and love seat into the space. It’s crazy town, but it’s the furniture the three of us had! Most of it isn’t mine, but the large black loveseat does belong to me. It’s a hand-me-down from my Aunt Chrisy who used to keep it in her downstairs television room. Unfortunately the couch is a faux leather that is starting to disintegrate for some reason! Maybe the direct sunlight from these south facing windows is too much for it? Regardless, the loveseat needs some help.
This corner of the room is also in desperate need of some art! I have a ton of things I want to frame and last time I was at IKEA I picked up a few of their Ribba frames on sale. So hopefully I’ll get on this soon! Other than that, this area is pretty dang bland looking. It needs some flair, some fun, some cute throw pillows! Right now the pillows are just a chaotic mess of what we three already had and it makes me want to karate chop something. Like a pillow.
You can see Malary also has a favorite perch in this room too! She is there in the window literally every. single. time. I get home. It’s pretty adorable. I think it’s perfect for sunbathing during the day. This room gets a crazy amount of light! It’s so wonderful. During the morning the whole space glows and in the afternoon the light just pours in through the windows. It makes you want to curl up in the sun and take a nap. Or go outside and explore. It’s so lovely. Because we have a tall fence , the windows are very private too. You can’t see into the living room from the street or our neighbors’ houses. So, when the boys are gone, I can dance around in my underwear as much as I want. Which is always. #priorities
This particular pillow was a gift from one of the manufacturers I use frequently at work — HBF– after I interfaced with them about their new website design. It’s really cute, but the colors do not work for me and my home. Dreaming about how I can switch it up somehow. I wonder if using fabric dye would work…? The light gray color has to dye more quickly than the orange, right? Literally any other color would work. I think this would be the perfect winter project! It’s a contract fabric though, so it might dye weird. Still, worth a try, don’t you think?
On the sofa we have three black and white pillows that belong to my roommate. They are kind of old. I’m thinking about donating them back to his room. The black leatherette ones that came with the loveseat are always slipping down on it, so I think I may stick them here on the sofa and try to pair them with some other new ones with more pops of color. Green or rust would work well in the space! I also am totally obsessed with the fuzzy sheep skin ones at IKEA. The last pillow on the sofa is one I bought when I was traveling in Turkey in 2013. I actually bought it for and gifted it to my Oma and then inherited it when she passed away. I have a similar blue and white one somewhere, but it needs a fill. Also, I’m not sure it would work in the space… I may donate it to my parent’s newly renovated family room.
Here you can also see the dining area tucked ducked in the back of the room behind the loveseat. It barely fits. It’s kind of an awkward squeeze, but honestly, we almost never use the table! We all eat at the island. I use it to type at occasionally and for dinners when I have people over, but it’s definitely not used each day.
The fact that all our furniture is oversized and we still managed to squeeze it into the room without it looking too ridiculous is a amazing feat. Where is Ripley’s Believe It or Not? They need to put this in their next book. Because I am astounded! We have two bookcases, one oversized sofa, one oversized loveseat, one oversized lounge chair, two 30″ square side tables, a 30″x 48″ coffee table, a full dining room table, and six dining room chairs. I mean, the arms of the living room furniture are all overlapping, but still! Isn’t that crazy?!
It definitely seems a tad stuffed in here, but it’s not too bad. There is plenty of room when we have lots of people over! On Christmas Eve my sister, Uncle Scott, and five out of six cousins on my mother’s side came over! It was easy to have us all in the living room around the coffee table. We played some board games, because we’re hella cool like that. And yes, I am from NorCal! And yes, I reserve the right to say hella!
Our dining area functions as an extension of my library as well… Sorry boys! One of the bookcases is mine and is stuffed to the brim with my books. There is a huge assortment of genres, but I did reserve the top shelf for all of our cookbooks. The other bookcase is filled with my plants, but I actually don’t know which of the boys owns it. It was mostly empty when I moved in. The bookshelves could both use a little extra styling, but they’re not bad. The one on the left in the picture below needs to be tweaked a bit, but the one beneath the TV has color-blocked books which actually looks pretty nice. I want to switch the places of the bookcases, but I’d have to move the TV first. Not that that’s an issue. I really, really, really want to move that TV. It’s the first thing you see when you walk into the house and I hate that!! Who wants to walk into someone’s house and see a huge black box first thing? NO ONE. The TV really should go on the wall opposite. It makes zero sense to have it hovering over the dining room table. I am trying to a) convince the boys of this, b) summon the stamina to move the TV myself, and c) artfully patch and paint the holes it leaves behind. So much for something simple, right? Plus hanging TVs can be dreadfully annoying!
Just to the right of the dining room table, next to our full-height, kitchen pantry cabinet, I have a stool with a plant on it. I may have a plant problem, but shut up, who cares? I love them! This stool is very special to me though. For most of my life, it sat in my Oma’s kitchen just to the left of the double swing door that led into her dining room. I used to sit on this chair while she cooked dinner. Or perch on it to help her bake. I remember her sitting on the stool while teaching me how to beat spätzle batter. It’s a memory of her, this little stool. It’s not particularly nice looking or valuable. In fact, it’s kind of broken. I don’t care at all. I love this stool. It reminds me of my Oma and her kitchen and all the warmth and love she provided in my life.
On top of the stool I have a plant in a basket planter from IKEA. This spider plant is one happy girl. It loves having this much room. It’s growing like CrAzY! This plant is also something from my Oma’s house. It used to sit in a much smaller pot hanging in her kitchen window, above her sink. I became obsessed with spider plants when I was little because of this plant. I just love the idea that the regenerate themselves and make a bunch of other little spider plants. I love baby spider plants! They’re adorable. You can see this guy has a whole bunch of them, ready to be plucked off and planted!
That’s the living spaces! Function has beat out form and style here, but hopefully with a few tweaks, we’ll get the space looking a bit better. And then with a few more furniture changes and TV moves this space will look pretty dang great! With bones like these, this house can’t really look bad anyways. It’s magical what some architectural details can do, right?
What do I have planned for this space? See below. 🙂
Living Room To Do List:
- Get rid of all our furniture and buy all new adorable furnishings. Hahhaha, yeah, right! A girl can dream though…
- Make/find a small mail/keys table for next to the front door.
- Cover the black loveseat to hide disintegrating faux leather.
- Get a handle on all the throws and blankets lying around.
- Frame and hang art.
- Dye HBF pillow a fun color? I did find some green fabric dye in my art supplies the other day…
- Buy new, fun pillows!
- Return black and white pillows to their owner’s bedroom.
- Move TV to opposite wall. Will need to coordinate with the boys on this one… I’ll need another set of hands at least!
- Switch places of bookshelves.
- Style bookshelves.
- Do something with the glass coffee and side tables so they look like they belong in here and less like outdoor furniture. I have something cool I picked up on the side of the road for this!
So much to do, but I love a good list! What’s your living room like? Pristine and styled? In need of major work? Ready for a few tweaks, but really pretty good? Let me know if you have any ideas for my space!