Good morning my friends!
I’m excited to share a new blogging series I will be participating in with an amazing group of bloggers!
I mean, I am just so excited and honored to be included in this group of talented ladies! Over the next six weeks, each of us will be tackling a room in our home that could use a little love, culminating in a week of 18 awesome room reveals starting November 3rd!
So since we’re talking about “falling in love”, let me introduce you to the room in my house that I’ve never quite hit it off with…
My living room.
Are you surprised?
For a while, it was looking a little more like this, because a new coffee table necessitated an entire furniture rearrangement.
Which was terrible for watching TV, which, let’s be honest, is what we use our living room for 99.9% of the time. Let’s keep it real: the TV is extremely important to us.
Then Craigslist practically threw this coffee table into my lap and I was questioning everything once more…
So here’s why I’ve never loved this room and why I’ve experienced so much furniture [read: sofa] drama. (You may laugh, but the struggle is real.)
Yeah, that’s my Photoshopped masterpiece. Since I’ve never done a house tour, you might be justifiably confused about the floor plan. Here’s a little walk through.
Open the front the door:
Step into the living room:
Stairs immediately to your right. Living room immediately around you, mostly to your left. (Note: I’m using A LOT of old old photos in this post to give you the best idea of the space. Please pardon the sudden time shifts & pretend we are cool time travelers. Okay?)
That wide doorway leads to what I call the “old dining room” which is now sitting vacant since we moved the dining room to the second living room space back behind the kitchen (not pictured in the floor plan.) The plan is to turn it into a really cool bar/lounge area that is semi-incorporated into the living room.
Here is another very old photo to give you a sense of how these two rooms connect.
Does that make sense? Here’s the floor plan one more time:
So why has this room been a major source of irritation for me?
1) Low light
2) Furniture placement.
As much as I would love to live in one of those light-filled, tall-ceilinged, midcentury inspired spaces that lend themselves so well to bright white walls, I’ve had to accept the fact that our house has short ceilings and is dark. It’s especially dark because we have solar shades on all the windows that seem to filter out 50% of natural light but also are a life-saver for our air conditioning bill here in the Texas summers.
When we first moved in, the living room felt very small and cave-like with its popcorn ceilings and one extremely dark accent wall…
I must also mention that the living room room has no overhead lighting except for that small stained glass fixture over the front door.
So my first instinct was to paint everything white and give myself a blank, bright slate. We had just come from apartment living where everything was fleshy beige, so I wanted the neutral beige walls in the house gone STAT.
And on a sunny day, the white looked really good.
As long as I upped the exposure on my camera a whole lot. *Gulp* #confessiontime
On overcast or low light days, the walls turned into this greyish color that I affectionately refer to as “dirty snow”:
So. Challenge #1 that will be addressed in this room makeover: choose a wall color that works in my low-light living room & address the lighting situation.
Challenge #2: Furniture placement.
What you can’t tell in this photo, or any photo I’ve shared from this angle, is that my beloved dragon couch is, unfortunately, much too long for the room in either furniture configuration:
And furniture placement is extremely restricted due the television placement. Which must go on that one wall.
I know this. I’ve tried every other possible placement. Multiple times. I vaguely recall some saying about doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result, but I didn’t listen because I was too busy moving furniture around.
On my birthday. It ended in tears. With the TV back where we started.
And I faced the reality that trying to make my old living room’s furniture work in this space was driving me… oh, that’s right… insane.
So I took stock.
Dragon couch: kickass vintage print, super long, pretty comfy, but the fabric is old, faded, and stained and the woven bottom of the couch is starting to fall out from beneath it. For a $50 Craigslist sofa, it served its time well and sparked much love and much controversy. (One Pinterest user suggested I burn it.) And it is just too long for our living room no matter how I maneuver it.
Curved chesterfield: A cornerstone of my blog. Drop dead gorgeous. Vintage. Sexy. So freaking uncomfortable. Neither one of us would ever choose to sit in it. It was like this enormous, impractical yet fantastic sculpture that was camping out in 1/4 of our living room.
Tufted leather high back sofa: The dark horse entry. Brynne’s List subscribers were actually introduced to this sofa a little while back, since I bought it with the intention of selling it. It’s huge and comfortable and stunning thick tufted leather… I had it on Craigslist for a few weeks with tons of interest, a few visitors, and a hate email or two.
And then, in a fit of logic, pragmatism, and resolve (and with tears, hand wringing, and a few panic attacks), I actually sold the curved vintage chesterfield and kept this one instead.
This massive beast is going to be amazing with some new turned legs (we think the old ones as well as part of its base were removed at some point so it could squeeze through a standard sized door) and it may be the first time ever I’ve settled on a piece of furniture where form and function unite. Spoiler alert: I usually go for “form” any day of the year.
And I’ll be looking for a good home for the dragon couch as well where it can live out its remaining years in peace or undergo loving restoration by someone who can afford it.
So Challenge #2 will be moving out some old furniture pieces and bringing in some new ones (thank heaven for Craigslist!) so I can finally make peace with our furniture configuration.
This quotation from Fight Club seemed only fitting at the moment:
I spent approximately half an hour trying to track down a YouTube clip of that scene, but the only one I could find looked like it had been filmed underwater with a phone camera, so I made a pretty graphic instead. Feel free to print this out and frame it – who knows, it may end up figuring prominently in my living room makeover as art.
If you’re familiar with the movie Fight Club at all, then you know that the scene I’m referencing is actually an argument against consumerism (and here I quote hot-young-Brad-Pitt: “The things you own end up owning you”), so please understand that throughout this post when I reference my “sofa drama” or overdramatically complain about room layout woes, I’m also totally making fun of myself just a little bit too.
I mean, this is what I hear in my head and it’s kind of silly… Ugh. If only my living room weren’t SO BIG and awkward to furnish. Gosh, whatever am I going to do with so many vintage sofas to choose from? #killmenow. Crap, I found something awesome on Craigslist for super cheap and it is WRECKING my floor plan.
So please, bear with me. I promise not to take myself too seriously if you won’t either.
My living room has been causing me undue and admittedly ridiculous angst, and I’m just so excited to throw caution to the wind and tackle it in a bolder, funner, more tongue-in-cheek and Brynner way than I’ve ever had the guts to do before. I hope you’ll enjoy the journey over the next few weeks!
And whatever else happens, at least I’ve got that sofa problem handled!
Read Part 2 Here; Read Part 3 Here; Read Part 4 Here.
But hey – I’m not the only one with rooms to paint and plans to make!