So… we’ve been in this house nearly 6 years and we have barely scratched the surface of what needs to be done. That happens when you live in a 90 year old house, both work and daycare costs are bleeding your wallet dry. BUT! My family will be coming here this year to do our family Christmas celebration and I decided we needed to get our butts in gear about the living room.
See, when we moved in the entire first floor was covered in wallpaper, most of it a yellow grass-type paper. I tore it all out of the living room, dining room, stairway, entry and hall before we even moved it. Thinking we might do some electrical work we didn’t do much else and left the plaster bare (which honestly was a step up from the 30+ year old paper). The plaster itself was in good shape but the old paste was still on the walls, giving them a sandpaper-like texture. About 2 years after we moved in the walls were still like that and we hired a neighborhood teenager to scrub the paste off the walls. I think he may still curse us because that was a crazy-hard job. He got about 85-90% of it off and we were able to tackle the dining room shortly after. It took Mark and I at least 3 weekends of work to get the dining room prepped and painted. I’ll talk more about those joys in a later post. What you need to know is that last weekend I took on the living room and we are (slowly, oh so slowly) getting it ready to paint. I just couldn’t think of having the marked-up plaster walls in the background of family Christmas photos.
This has my wheels turning about how to layout the furniture when we eventually get done with the prep and paint. We know we’re getting rid of our couch (it’s a hand me down from my parents and it’s at least 35 years old and it needs to go) but then we have some options. We don’t want to spend a ton given the age of the kids (we figure we have another 5 or so years of prime fabric staining and couch jumping days) so we’re scoping cheap couches like the Ikea Ektorp, as well as things on Wayfair.com and other sites. However, we also have a loveseat in good shape. It’s beige so workable nearly anywhere, and solid. We could put that in the living room and get some new chairs. We really should replace the recliner as well (it’s given all it can give).
Add to all of that the fact that our old house has the worst imaginable layout for furniture placement and I’m stumped at to what do. The all 4 walls are littered with interruptions like windows, doors and archways. The longest stretch of wall is only 4.5 feet. I found a great site to do room layouts and I’ve been playing around all day. This is where you come in! Tell me what to do and suggest what I should buy! I’m so bad at this and I need your help! I need it to all be in place by December 20 when every arrives.
Other than the interrupted walls and long, narrow room other issues are:
1) We use the room mainly for TV watching so the (very big) TV is the focal point.
2) The TV can’t go above the fireplace because of how narrow the room is and how high the mantle is (the angle would be too severe and we’d all have sore necks).
3) With old plaster walls, I worry about hanging something as big and heavy as the TV. So while hanging the TV isn’t totally out, I’d need to hear from people who have done it in old houses.
4) We don’t use the fireplace now but it’s the biggest feature in the room so it’s hard to ignore.
5) We need to keep about 3 feet of space off the wall with the arches for traffic flow
This is how the 13’2″ x 22′ 6″ room is built:
Top wall: left archway goes to stair landing/kitchen pass-through. It’s hard to show on the renderings but about 3 feet of railing is exposed on the left side of the archway. The right archway goes to our entry which is also a pass-through to the dining room. There is a built-in bookshelf between the archways. To the right of the second archway is a radiator. Here’s a photo (we’re mid-prep so the room has a everything pushed around):
The right (front) wall has a giant window in the center. With the trim it’s 4.5 feet wide and 6 feet high. The bottom is only 11 inches off the floor. Crappy iPhoto here (watching the Browns suck, as usual):
The bottom wall has 2 windows flanking the fireplace/mantle. The windows are about 3.5 feet wide and the mantle is 5′ 6″ wide with the hearth jutting out 26 inches into the room. The window on the right has a radiator in front of it.
The back wall has an off-center set of French doors that lead to the patio. The doors swing into the room and we do use them, so the area in front needs to stay clear. Although in the winter we can block them…we usually put the Christmas tree in front of them.
Ok, whew! Now that you’ve seen all that I can’t believe you’re still here. Below is how we’ve had the room set up:
Desk is in the top left. We really do use it and have no where else to put it. The outgoing couch faces the fireplace with a storage ottoman in front of it. A (old, crappy) Mission-style recliner and table with a lamp are by the front window. The TV and stand are angled in the front corner (that sucker is 53″ and we can’t go any smaller with the 52″ TV).
Still here? Here are some ideas I’ve worked up.
1) Swap out the couch for the love seat, and put chairs on either side of the fireplace. Thinking of chairs something like this in grey. Maybe put a bookshelf in the corner to hide some toys and stash kid books.
2) get a couch like this one and position it to the right of the fireplace. Put a slim sofa table behind it and keep the bookshelf from above. Get a chair for across from the fireplace (maybe recover the mod swivel chair I have from my grandma’s house?). Connect the two with a round table. All else says the same.
3) This one flips the whole room so the TV is back between the stairs and the patio doors. Get the new (cheap) couch and add a chair to the side of the fireplace and put the desk in the front corner.
4) This one was suggested by my mom who stalks my twitter then texts me her replies. Split the room into a TV area and sitting area. Angle the rug and furniture towards the TV. This requires us to ditch the desk which will be hard and Mark doesn’t really want to get rid of it. (I don’t know what happened to my archways in this one, you can barely see them). We’d need to get 2 chairs and 2 side tables in this work-up.
Now – go go gadget pocket friends! Tell me what to do and what to by!