Tuesday, January 22, 2013

House Tour Series: Living Room

I've been meaning to do this for a while and before we put up Christmas decorations I took a bunch of photos of the living room to start off the house tour.

We moved into the blue house in October of 2011 but we have owned this house for much longer than that, 2007?  We bought the blue and the yellow house to renovate and resell and we were early sufferers of the housing debacle licking our wounds while everyone else was in free fall.  We had to sell our "big house" because it had equity and move into these houses.  Originally we lived in the yellow house but when Brian's parents moved down for health reasons they moved into the yellow house and I mini-renovated the blue house (again!) and we moved over here.  The main thing we did to the house was remove the wall that separated the kitchen and dining room to have a very large open floor plan.  I also painted every room and scrubbed the rental nightmare out of the place.  If you are ever going to rent a place and the folks are overly telling you how clean they are, they are not clean.  I think clean people never say they are clean, I suspect, or there's some other generalization to be made here.  Lets just say people f-ed up this house, big time.

My pallet became more subdued, I think.  I'm really becoming a huge fan of just painting a room a light slightly warmish gray and letting everything else speak for itself.  I painted 3 rooms in this house gray, that's huge for me.  The living room is the first of the gray rooms.

This room has 4 windows and when the curtains are down it's like being in a fishbowl.  We're steps from a well used sidewalk and the house next door is probably 5 feet away.  In a perfect world I'd love to get plantation shutters or semi-sheer roman curtains and leave the curtains open but curtain will eat a house budget and I had to get all new curtains for this house (except our bedroom and the bathroom).  These curtains are discontinued from Ikea and I actually bought mine on ebay.  I'd love to get 4 more but I don't see them on ebay anymore.

My sofa is from potterybarn.  This is my second slipcover that I truly lucked out on finding on ebay.  A new slipcover is practically the cost of a new sofa (I really don't understand this).  My 2-3 year old slipcover was fine except it shrunk.  I am very careful to wash it in cold water and dry with as low a temperature as possible and remove before it's completely dry but by accident one of these things fell through and it shrunk.  This one shrunk a tiny bit and I've been perfect about washing and drying it, it's just impossible.  I wish they made them super loose, I actually like the look and they can be as floppy as they want to be and I don't have to struggle trying to get it on the sofa.  It's white too and it gets dirty.  It's bound to get a small stain within 24 hours of washing it and then it does okay for the next month or six weeks and then I'll wash it again.  The tops of the arms slowly get a little dirty.  I think it's because I live with a boy.  I was going to buy a gray slipcover but a white one popped up on ebay for a ridiculously affordable price and I like the way the white looks anyway.

I got the little slipper chair from target.com.  I had mad coupons and bought it.  The white is a different white than the curtains which is unfortunate and bugs me to no end.  I might slipcover it myself one day.  It also gets stains but I recently kind of spot cleaned it and it looks pretty good.

In the window is a cat perch one of the best things in our house.  I know it's ugly but the cats love it!  There's one in the front bedroom too.  There's usually a cat in both spots looking out watching people and feral cats.  The coffee table was a lucky find at a local consignment store.  I had to replace a large round coffee table from the big house because it was too large for our new living room (the yellow house is an almost perfect mirror image of this house).  Brian took me to this store and I was certain it would be a waste of time and we found this table, it was blue at the time and perfect.  When I got the tv dresser it was aqua and the blue clashed with it so I painted the table white and distressed it a little.  I wish I could remember what paint I used because nothing bothers it.  I don't even use coasters half the time and it does great.

The rug is a hand me down from my mom.

The other side of the room has our television.  Brian found this dresser on craigslist and knew I would love it.  I never look on craigslist because I never think I'm going to find anything but this was perfect. I modified it so the top drawer on the left side tilts down and all our tv components are in there. 

The television is large.  We had a 52" television that my husband really wanted for movies and it was great.  Our house was broken into last year and they stole and subsequently dropped and broke the television.  Brian replaced it with a 46" the size I originally was going for.  It's still pretty big but movies are awesome this way.

I bought the chair from my mom after coveting it for years.  Every time I wash that slipcover it has another rip that I have to mend.  I think I got a pretty crappy deal but I love it anyway.  I made the pillow cushion.  Go me.

I've had this side table forever.  I bought it when I was still in my twenties!  I got the lamp from Home Goods, the floor lamp on the other side is from Home Goods too.  I painted this one aqua and replaced the shade with a shade from Pottery Barn.  About a year ago I hot glued an aqua grosgrain ribbon around the top and bottom of the shade, it's hard to see in this photo.  It gives it great dimension.  The cube in front is from Ballard Designs.  Once a year they have a pretty great upholstery sale and I picked out this one.  I was hoping it would be a foot rest but it's actually taller than the sofa seat.  But it's great for parties and when folks are over.

Also from Home Goods this floor lamp was a must purchase.  Brian was not happy because I really didn't need this lamp (I have an extra floor lamp currently in our bedroom).  I used a gift card to buy the Anthropologie lamp shade.  I wish I had turned that seam around.  Also this lamp shade looks better when the light is off, that's unfortunate but it has peacocks on it and is awesome.

The art is from Rebekka Seale, whom I adore. I have another print of hers in the bathroom.

I'm a big fan of quirky and love anything woodland related so when I saw these owl light switch plates I had to have them, I have one in the hallway too.  The plate was from a local favorite store of mine that carries vintage things.  I added the black ribbon.  There's a lot of light things in this room (besides the tv) and it needs some black to balance it.  Little pops here and there really help that.

Full length shot.  I bought the ceiling fixture from Rejuvenation.com for the original remodel.  It ended up being bigger than I thought it would.  I'd like to move this one to the kitchen and replace this with some sort of pretty fixture.  We only use the overhead light for emergencies: bugs, drink spills, lost keys, so it doesn't have to be very traditional like this one.

Also notice how high my curtains are.  I like to hang curtains as high as possible, I think it elongates the room.  The downsize is you have to order longer curtains, which is an added expense but worth it I think.  If you are curious the front door would be just right of the slipper chair.  If I could add anything to this room I'd want to fix the curtain issue, hopefully with roman shades and always open curtains.  But with 4 windows that's a big expense, so we'll see, maybe one day.

Well, that's the first room down, more to come.

PS - the paint color is Benjamin Moore Moonshine.


  1. Yay! I love that you are featuring your design skills again. I originally found your blog when I was looking for design ideas (back in '05). I've been on the diet journey too, so I liked that too, but I just eat up (no pun intended) your design posts!

  2. So different from your style when you were originally doing the big house and these smaller ones (I don't really remember what you were doing in the apartment). When we moved to Florida from NC, the first thing we did was paint all the rooms (except kitchen and bathrooms) a very pale shade of grey. It goes with the tile floors that are throught most of the house as well as the marble window sills. It feels so cool & clean to me. Funnily enough we also used aqua as a primary accent color!

    1. Yeah my style is always changing. I used to want everything saturated in jewel tones but now that doesn't interest me right now. I do think in the big house I had to work with the grandeur of the house. I don't know if the look of this house would work in a giant Italianate house. I like the cottage look so much more, that's for sure.

  3. Love the room tour, and seeing all the different colours working together. I'd love a pale/white room with white covers too, but with 3 labradors it is a hopeless wish!

    1. Yeah, you are probably right about that ;-)

  4. Glad to see you back "home!" Love the living room!

  5. Thanks Craftsandcrap. Love your name! Awesome.

  6. Love love love your cottage and its style. And I'm so glad you're writing again. You were missed in the blogosphere.

  7. You know what's wonderful? I can totally picture your living room, and you and Shauna and I all chatting away in there. Of courses, it's even better in person because YOU are in it!