Our Beautiful, Uncomfortable Living Room

One of the first goals in our new house was to create a beautiful, inviting living space for relaxing after work. We largely succeeded in designing a room that comfortably seats no more than two people.  This was perfect for newlyweds, but add two kids (plus visiting grandparents and uncles) and we’re all lined up stiffly on the couch trying not to touch elbows or dragging in hard metal dining chairs from the next room. So, although we love how our living room looks, it’s no longer meeting our needs. In the post that follows, I’ll be describing the elements of this room as they currently are, but we’ll definitely  be updating again soon!10854204_916985741254_3575514399292671596_o

The biggest transformation in our living room was the color palette. Originally, this room was a bright green. We needed a neutral that would become the default color throughout the house (entryway, stairway, upstairs hallway, office, and three walls of our living room). We chose a crisp, clean white called Moonrise (Behr – in the eggshell finish). We also loved the idea of a dark accent wall as a way to camouflage the TV when it’s turned off – this is Behr Sled (a dark navy), also in eggshell. Of course, given the stark contrast of the accent wall with the rest of the room, precision in our painting was necessary; I wish I had pictures of myself, up on a chair, doing the detail work with a child’s watercolor brush. Since this was one of the first rooms we painted, we opted for paint and primer in one (fairly standard). After four coats of white paint to cover the green, I’ll always “splurge” for this paint that is guaranteed to cover in one coat in the future – it’s only like $10 more and totally worth it. Once we had painted the walls, the natural brick of the fireplace didn’t look quite right with our chosen palette. So, we decided to paint the bricks the same color as our accent wall; however, this time we chose a glossy finish to make the fireplace look like it was tiled – you can be the judge of how successful that was.

Next up – furniture! As the old saying goes: “New home, all new stuff” (right?).  Before we closed on our house, we had started a Pinterest board with inspiration for the new space. Based on this research, Jason had his heart set on a hot pink rug, which we felt was the perfect pop of color to compliment to the neutral walls. Here’s the one we bought (if you are budget conscious, check out rugsusa.com – we have four rugs from this site now). Our couch is from Boston Interiors (no longer available); in hindsight, a white couch was probably not the best choice for people that were planning to have children in the near future. Our coffee table is from West Elm – again the sharp edges are not super ideal for young kids (especially since we replaced an ikea table with rounded sides), but we really liked how the black metal base complimented our shelves and console table. When we moved to our new place, I vowed to stop buying Ikea, but there are some things Ikea does really well. In particular, we love the VITTSJÖ line; we have these shelves on either side of the fireplace, as well as the matching “laptop desk” that we use as a console table behind the couch.

There were a few pieces we retained from our previous apartment. First, for auxiliary seating, we have these fake Eames chairs from Overstock. When we first moved to Boston (actually Cambridge), we would visit Design Within Reach and nearly talked ourselves into buying a real one; but, when the time came, we couldn’t pull trigger and ended up snagging a set of two knock-offs for the price of one. We also moved our media storage cabinet into our new house (but first from North Carolina to Cambridge, and then from Cambridge to Somerville). We got it in this great vintage shop in Raleigh, specializing in mid-century modern finds. It was designed to store liquor and has a light inside, but we use to keep Jason’s CDs out of sight (because he won’t throw them away – ever).

Finally, here’s a little bit of reality in the picture below. All of our “nice” books have been moved up to the higher shelves to make room for kid stuff. And, chairs have been pushed aside to make room for those kids.


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