Sleeper Sofas For the Multipurpose Living Room

Sleeper Sofas For the Multipurpose Living Room

Modern houses pile on the bedrooms, one for each kid, a guest suite, and a glorious and generously sized master bedroom. Old houses — like mine — do not. Although one day I might no longer have roommates and gain a guest bedroom, until then, guests are sleeping on my hand-me-down sofa. It’s not ideal. What might make it better though, is a nice new sleeper sofa! It would be so great to be able to just pull out a bed when I need it and tuck it away when I don’t. Since I’ve been hunting for a sofa anyways, I might as well make the leap to the sleeper, right?

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How to Hem Curtains and Why It’s Better Than Iron-On Tape

How to Hem Curtains and Why It’s Better Than Iron-On Tape

You may have recently seen in my Instastories, I’ve been trying to wrap up a lot of half-completed projects around the house. One of those projects was finally, finally hemming my living room curtains!

My absolute favorite budget curtains are the IKEA Ritva curtains. They’re 100% cotton — a natural fiber — which makes me happy and they have a great subtle weave to them. The best part? For 118″ long curtains it’s only $39 for a pair! So many curtains are sold as single panels for over $100, so this deal feels amazing.

Continue reading “How to Hem Curtains and Why It’s Better Than Iron-On Tape”

“Whitewashing” A Stone Fireplace with Grey Paint

“Whitewashing” A Stone Fireplace with Grey Paint

When I first moved into Berrybrier I knew something would need to change on the Living Room fireplace. It was a stacked stone fireplace and clearly added onto the house in the 60s or 70s. The center was slightly blackened with soot and the stones were wildly different color tones, varying from yellow to red to brown. I did not like it at all and it felt like a jarring mid-century accent in the midst of the turn of the century house.

Continue reading ““Whitewashing” A Stone Fireplace with Grey Paint”

Rug Terminology 101:Uncovering What’s Underfoot

Rug Terminology 101:Uncovering What’s Underfoot

So recently I’ve become obsessed with rugs. I think I’ve always had a bit of a thing for area rugs, but now it’s becoming a full blown crush. I’ve saved pretty rugs as my desktop background, I’ve been caught petting them in local stores. Is that the bell ringing? Because  I’m gushing like a pre-teen in middle school. They say love’s a disease, so how did this recent affliction start? Well, a few months ago I designed a stair runner at work, a beautiful, custom, wool and silk stair runner. And that was it. I was in love. I designed another custom rug and fell a little harder. I started looking for inspiration for rugs for other projects and that’s when I knew I wasn’t going to recover any time soon.

I bought the rug for the bonus room that then moved into the living room. Boy do I love that rug. It’s this one from West Elm and it’s very popular. I bought it on sale and it looks like they’re continuing to mark it down, so perhaps it’s being phased out. Why did I pick this rug though? What should people look for in a rug? What types of rugs hold up the longest? Well, you can hire a designer to help you with that or I can give you a few of my own thoughts. Rugs aren’t complicated to understand and well made ones can last many lifetimes. Good area rugs are heirloom pieces. Not that every rug needs to be an heirloom piece, but in a world where so much of our everyday items end up in the landfill for centuries after only a few minutes of use, I like the idea of something that will last multiple lifetimes in our homes.

First, why I picked the particular rug I have in my living room. Aesthetically I liked the way this rug looked. I thought the simple two tone color palette would easily transition from this home to my next one. In fact, I bought this rug with the thought that it would eventually end up in my bedroom down the line! A rug paired with my colorful bedding needs to be neutral and take on the role of second fiddle, which this calm rug does. Not only that, but this particular rug is a shag! The extra long fibers make it oh so soft and cozy underfoot. I love it in the living room, but I can’t wait to sink my feet into this when I first get out of bed. This is the kind of rug you just want to lay down on and rub your face on it. But seriously, multiple people have come over and done that. It’s just so plush you want to feel it with something other than your feet!

The rug I bought is a 100% wool rug and that was important to me. Silk rugs are way out of my budget and I wanted a natural fiber rug. Natural fibers tend to hold up longer over time and they decompose more easily after their usefulness runs out. Natural fibers also have inherent anti-stain properties. Wool doesn’t stain unless something is worked into its fibers or sits on it for a long period of time. Which means I only minorly panic when anyone is near my rug with red wine!

Living Room | Land of Laurel

This rug is also a Fair Trade Certified product which means I know those who worked hard to create it were paid a living wage in a decent work environment and that matters. I feel better knowing that’s the case. West Elm lists this rug only as “handmade” but having it in my home I can look and feel and touch it. Upon examination it’s not only handmade, but hand-tufted with a cotton backing. In terms of manufacture, there are lot’s of terms associated with rugs: handwoven, hand-tufted, machine made, etc etc. What does that even mean and what are the differences?

Types of Rug Manufacture

Hand-Knotted Rugs

Hand-knotted rugs are the highest in quality. Each fiber of a hand-knotted rug is – quite literally – hand knotted. Thousands and thousands of filaments are knotted by the maker forming the design of the rug. This leaves room for one of the delights of high quality rugs: small variations, or mistakes, in the pattern. These unique differences are one of my favorite things about rugs. After the knots of the rug are all tied, hand-knotted must be cut down to the particular pile height as the knotted fibers are all in different lengths. Hand-knotted rugs have a pattern that you can easily see from the back, in fact the backs look nearly as good as the fronts and feel nice too! On rugs with fringe, the fringe is integrated into the fibers of the rest of the hand-knotted rug and not a separate made piece. Hand-knotted rugs take months to complete and are made of thousands to millions of knotted fibers! That is why they can last for several life times.

Hand-Tufted Rugs

Hand-tufted rugs are still of good quality, but less so than hand-knotted. These rugs are formed on a backing – frequently latex covered with cotton – and the fibers are attached with a type of gun. Although there is a person attaching individual fibers, they’re able to work more quickly using the tool and the design of the rug is usually printed on the backing so there is less “user error.” You can easily tell if a rug is hand-tufted because cotton backings will frequently be a different color (the one on my living room rug is a dark grey-black). They still have a pile and have varying degrees of plushness. Because the fibers are attached more loosely to the backing, the rug cannot be washed as thoroughly as a hand-knotted rug can be and thus they shed. A higher quality hand-tufted rug will shed for only a few months, a lower quality one may shed throughout its lifetime. The fringe on hand tufted rugs is usually an entirely separate entity from the rest of the rug and is sewn on. Liquids can severely damage hand-tufted rugs as it destroys the latex and results in a dusting of powder on the floor. These rugs can last between 3-15 years.

Hand-Woven Rugs

Hand-Woven rugs are of great quality, but are difficult to compare to the two above, as they are mostly flat weave rugs with no pile. These rugs are made on looms by individuals using long fibers. Many hand-woven rugs are made of plant fibers such as sisal and or jute, but there are also wool and cotton hand-woven rugs. Some handwoven rugs have a pile, but the flat-woven rugs are common too. Flat-woven rugs – like kilims – are reversible!

Machine-Made Rugs

Machine-made rugs range wildly in quality and are the most common today. They are frequently made with synthetic fibers. They are mass produced all over the world. Most machine-made rugs have a harsh, hard, plastic-like backing which can damage your floors if a proper rug pad is not protecting them. These rugs always have an edge binding as well. There are many high quality machine made rugs (some made in the USA), but the vast majority are cheaply made and last only a few years at best.

Types of Rug Fibers

The manufacture of your rug is not the only factor in quality. The type of fiber is also important!

Wool

Wool is the most durable, long lasting fiber. It can be very very soft or more scratchy depending on the way it is processed. Wool is naturally stain resistant and can be cleaned. It holds up well over time and in high traffic areas.

Silk

Silk is also very durable, but less so than wool. It can be stain resistant as well. Silk is shiny and also slippery! Silk is durable, but probably not best suited for high traffic areas.

Viscose, Bamboo Fiber, and Faux Silk

Viscose, Bamboo Fiber, and Faux Silk are all synonym for the same or very similar product. They are man made fibers designed to look and feel like silk, but they tend to be less durable than silk or wool and shouldn’t be used in high traffic areas.

Synthetic Fibers

Synthetic Fibers are man made fibers and this term covers a whole manner of them. They range in durability, but generally are less durable than wool. They are frequently treated with a special coating to keep them stain resistant and this coating often off-gases.

Jute, Sisal, and Seagrass

Jute, Sisal, and Seagrass are natural fibers with a very different feel from wool or cotton or silk. They tend to be a bit rougher and less “cozy,” but are inexpensive fibers. Although they will wear down with time, these fibers are made from rapidly renewable resources. They have a beachy, coastal flair, but can totally work in more in-land settings as well.

There are ten million more things to be said about rugs, but it’s getting late and I need to get to bed. Hopefully, something in this post helps you pick out your next rug! I leave you with my latest inspiration picture: this amazing pictorial Khotan rug featured in Traditional Home Magazine. I AM OBSESSED.

Pictorial Khotan | Land of Laurel

Don’t mind me, since I’ll never be able to afford an antique version, I’ll just be saving up over the next few years to custom make a rug like this (but in green of course) through one of my favorite local rug companies, Kush Handmade Rugs. Now until I can get around to that, I’ll simply have to keep daydreaming about my latest love interest: rugs.

Bringing the Living Room To Life

Bringing the Living Room To Life

Happy Monday! I cannot believe it’s December! How did this happen? It’s insane. December means I’ve officially lived in Portland for four months. It definitely feels like I moved yesterday! However, four months seems to be about the amount of time it takes me to bring a room together because the living room is finally in a good place. It’s been all over the place since we moved here, but has always seemed un-finished slightly sad, now things are beginning to look more permanent!

Do you remember when I moved in and it looked like this? A pile of boxes, some old IKEA furniture, and my plants scattered over every surface. It was right as we were moving in and the space was in the midst of being cleaned, cleaned, cleaned!

The Duplex Moving In Tour | Land of Laurel

Eventually it began to slowly transform as we settled into the Duplex and started to get more organized. The room became a place holder for mix-matched furniture  and art we already owned.

Living Room | Land of Laurel

But it still didn’t feel quite right. Things needed adjustments. We didn’t have a sofa (because I couldn’t quite find the perfect one at the perfect price), the faux cowhide rug wasn’t very cozy, and the furniture arrangement needed tweaking to create a more conversation oriented layout. Still, it wasn’t bad, just temporary. Things were looking so much better than when we first moved in!

Living Room | Land of Laurel

Well things have continued to move around and now this space actually feels like a comfortable place to hang out! The biggest change, however, came from another room in the house! Remember the rug I bought right after ripping out the carpet and painting the subfloor in the bonus room? It’s a great Moroccan Inspired white and charcoal 8’x10′ rug that’s oh so soft and cozy! We loved it in here, but it was a tad large for the space (which I knew when I bought it) and it seemed sad to waste such a lovely rug on a space we hardly used.

Furniture in the Bonus Room | Land of Laurel

It lived up there for about a week and a half until I decided we needed to really rearrange. The next Saturday I rolled up the rug and dragged it downstairs (literally). That day I also finally decided I wasn’t going to buy a sofa for the Duplex. This place is a transitionary home and I’d rather buy a sofa for the Portland home I decide to live in more permanently when my lease here is up in June. Since I am not going to buy a sofa, it made sense for my roommate’s futon to take on that roll downstairs. So that needed to change locations as well! Down the stairs it went (I moved this by myself and nearly died when it decided to try to take me with it when I was sliding it down the staircase). I continued moving furniture around. The bench that served as primary seating before? Poof! Up into the bonus room it went. I tried the rug a couple of ways before sliding it into it’s final position and plopping the furniture back down. I also grabbed a canvas drop cloth I had in the garage and draped it over the purple futon to brighten it up. The black mud cloth stayed and popped more against it’s new white backdrop! The rest of the furniture in the room stayed and just got moved around a little bit. The entire space feels so much brighter and cleaner now! Don’t get me wrong, there’s still plenty to do, but this finally feels like a good space!

Living Room | Land of Laurel

Moving the rug and the futon downstairs was a huge change for the better! The room feels so much cozier and put together and a million other things. The only thing I really want to switch out now is the TV console, which I’d love to replace with an old dresser. Other than that, everything is here to stay! Luckily, even though I bought the rug for upstairs, it fits perfectly down in here! I laid it about 10″ from the window wall (to clear space for the heater vent that’s behind the sofa) and it ends with just enough room for the stools to slide out when you’re sitting at the counter. Jackson has taken over the old cherry-crate-turned-cat-bed I made Malary back in Berkeley. I placed it over in this corner to help fill in the space by the snake plant and pantry cabinet and it has become his new favorite place to sleep.

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I promise he’s not as crosseyed as this photo makes him look. He’s quickly become part of our home and absolutely dotes on Malary – following her around constantly – which annoys her to no end!

Most everything in the room is repurposed from before, but I did buy a few things in the last few weeks. The fiddle leaf fig tree came home after my last Home Depot trip. It’s hanging out in front of the fixed panel on the slider door for now and I’m hoping to give it a nice long life. We only have eastern and northern light in this house, which I’m hoping is enough for it to thrive. I’ve decided it’s large enough to deserve a name, so I’m calling her Finley. This spot is bright in the morning through early afternoon, but doesn’t get any of the hot evening sun. In fact after 2pm or so this room is a little dim. Anyone else have a fiddle leaf fig? Let me know your tricks for keeping it alive! I’ve wanted one for ages and when I stumbled upon this nice tall one, I jumped on her! The deer head is also new – an impulse buy from Cost Plus World Market. I kind of love it! It’s green and red and gold; my favorite colors!

Living Room | Land of Laurel

This room feels so much nicer these days and we’re using it so much more. Before it was definitely a transitionary space both in look and use. We mostly passed through here on the way to our bedrooms. We’d rarely hang out down here since there was no where cozy to lounge. Now with the futon and the comfy rug, it’s just as likely you’ll find us laying on one as the other! I swear this rug is so fluffy underfoot you just want to stick your face on it!

Living Room | Land of Laurel

It’s a far cry from where we started right?

The Duplex Moving In Tour | Land of Laurel

The space is transformed and now it’s perfect for board game nights and curling up with popcorn to watch a movie. It’s cozy for winter and winters last a long time in Portland! Plus I just can’t get enough of that deer head.

Living Room | Land of Laurel

Have you switched up a room with the simple addition of a new rug lately? It’s such a quick change and yet it can make the whole space feel completely different! I’ve been designing lots of custom rugs lately and they’ve been on my mind! I want to get around to writing a “what to look for in a rug” post soon. For now, you’ll find me curled up with a blanket and two sleepy cats on the futon (as I am right now). 🙂

 

 

 

Wooden Crates are So Great!

Happy Tuesday! Happy March 1st!  Did you have a good weekend? Enjoy the Oscars? Outraged by the winners or happily agreed with the votes? I didn’t watch! Just read about it and enjoyed the dresses online. I went with my family to eat at Gather here in Berkeley instead. So yummy! I had a very chill weekend overall and got many things done, so I got to prep some blog posts for y’all! Yay!

 

Remember my living room? Those glass coffee and side tables always make me cringe. As I am among the World’s Clumsiest People, glass in places I can easily fall/trip over makes me… nervous, to say least. Because the tables are pretty perfectly sized for the space and I don’t have the budget to invest in new ones (plus, where would I put my roommates if I did?), I wanted to make them a bit more visually prominent in hopes I wouldn’t break them and time soon. Or, ever, really. Yes, let’s concentrate on not breaking them ever; that sounds much better, really. My attempts to make the table more prominent involved holiday displays, trays, and plants. It helped, but it didn’t quite add the visual weight I hoped for…

 

Living Spaces | Land of Laurel

 

A while ago, while driving down Highway 101 on the way home from a job site, my co-worker and I stopped for sustenance at a fruit stand. We were so hungry! Among the piles of various fruits and nuts they had piled old wooden cherry crates and were selling them for only $5! I see crates like these all the time at the Alameda Flea Market but always priced more than $30! I could have played it safe and bought one or two, but do I ever play it safe? Hell no! I hopped on that deal like a monkey on a banana! I bought eight cherry boxes for a total of $40. Worth it! Then I stuffed them into our already full (of chair samples!) van and called it a #colddeadfingers find worthy of Mandi! Here’s the pic from the overly excited text I sent to my two best friends, my mom, my sister, my aunt, my next-door-neighbor, and my next-door-neighbor’s dog. Let’s just say, I was pretty freakin’ excited about this!

 

Great Crate! | Land of Laurel

 

They were a little dirty, but I knew they’d clean up quick! At first, I had no idea what I’d do with them, but I knew I’d figure it out quickly. Produce crates aren’t hard to come by, but at that price, I felt so overly joyed. I was ready to celebrate! When I got them home, I wiped them down with a sponge and some Honest Multi-Purpose Spray. They were pretty clean by the time I was done, but I think in the future I’d like to try some furniture wax or polish to bring out the wood tones even more. For now, they’re just fine!

 

Because we had two side tables and the coffee table, I went and stuck four of the crates in the living room. The X-support under the glass of the coffee table ended up being absolutely perfect for the crates! They fit perfectly and we nice and stably balanced. More importantly? The coffee table went from barely there to having actual visual weight! Here it is before; see how your eye just glances over it? Not great for someone who needs many visual queues in order to not trip into things!

 

Glass Coffee Table | Land of Laurel

 

Then, look with the cherry crates stacked neatly on the bars! Boom! You can actually see the thing!

 

Cherry Crates Under Coffee Table | Land of Laurel

 

Not only were the crates very stable on the X-support, they actually extended the perfect amount, just a couple inches less than the width of the table. That meant, your eye could distinguish the edges of the glass and my brain could tell my body to avoid falling into it. Yay!

 

At first I just stacked the boxes under the glass of the tables, but then, as you can see above, I got a better idea! I filled the boxes with the design magazine I have lying around all over my house. Not only does this clear out the stacks I had lined up against the wall in my bedroom, but it provides reading material for any guests. Many of our visitors glance through them while we’re in the kitchen or chatting around. It’s nice to see the magazines in use and not gathering dust!

 

Magazine Storage | Land of Laurel

 

And there, my friends, is a ten minute fix to a small problem that will hopefully prevent me from dying a glassy death. I’ve definitely noticed that I bump into the table far less frequently now! Plus, I have four more cherry crates sitting in the attic waiting for another project to come by. Hmmm… any ideas for how I should repurpose them? Do you like glass tables inside? Do you notice the visual weight of items in your home?

Livin’ It Up In the Living Room

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

 

Front Door | Land of Laurel

 

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

 

Living Room Before | Land of Laurel

 

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?

 

HBF Pillow | Land of Laurel

 

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.

 

Living Room Pillows | Land of Laurel

 

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!

 

Living Spaces | Land of Laurel

 

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!

 

The Dining Area Before | Land of Laurel

 

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!

 

Kitchen Chair | Land of Laurel

 

 

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!