Living Room Inspiration

Since I posted yesterday about my soon-to-be house, I got all excited and wanted to keep going. Without further ado, here are my current thoughts on my future living room.

The very first time I saw my new house, I knew that the living room was going to be tricky. (Yes, even from the listing photos, I knew it was a layout challenge. So I took a tape measure with me on my tour!)

The living room is approximately 15’8’x11’8″, with the front door plus a double window and the ‘entry’ tile on one wall, the staircase and coat closet on another wall, a fireplace opposite from the staircase that juts out into the room, and a big opening to the dining area on the fourth wall. Here’s a bird’s-eye view:

living room overhead

Is that clearer? (I’ll have more photos once the house is actually mine. I ran around during the inspection trying to get shots from every angle.)

The obvious problems are the carpet and the tile. Unfortunately, the [ugly purple-brown] carpet is pretty new, so I can’t justify tearing it all out right away. The tile is ugly, too, but I’m thankful for it because it means that visitors won’t step straight onto my [ugly purple-brown] carpet with their wet or dirty shoes. Down the road, I’d love to rip out all the carpet and tile and lay down some hardwood. For now, though, the flooring will stay as-is.

I initially thought that the only possible furniture arrangement was two loveseats: one under the double window and one between the stairs and the closet. Something like this:


But then I realized that the room could hold a small-ish sofa if I floated it in the middle of the room, underneath the pass-through to the kitchen. There’s a 3’7″x8’5″ area where I might just be able to make something work. Like so:

LR_with_sofaSo that’s what I’m currently leaning toward. The cable jack is next to the fireplace, which doesn’t necessarily mean that’s where the TV has to go, but it’s kind of shaping up to work out that way.

With that general plan in mind, I’ve been online shopping for sofas. Here are my current contenders:

Or maybe something that feels more tailored, like this:

Of course, I want to wait until the house is mine and I’ve moved in before I actually pull the trigger on buying anything. I  need to get an actual feel for how much space is available in the spot I’ve mentally bookmarked for a sofa.

I’ve been really studying my Pinterest pins lately to try to see what I love and want to be surrounded by all the time, versus what I just casually like. And maybe it’s just because I’ve become obsessed with Emily Henderson in the past several months, but it turns out that everything I love is much different than I would have thought 6 months ago. I’m finding myself obsessed with white rooms with simple mid-century furniture, no clutter, and a Scandinavian feel. This from the girl whose favorite colors are 1) blue, and 2) rainbow. My childhood/adolescent bedroom was the most gorgeous royal blue — which I had custom-mixed to match my favorite t-shirt — and I’ve missed it (and wanted to recreate it in a more grown-up way) ever since my dad sold his house in 2011. So it’s going to be a challenge to navigate designing my first space. I’ve always thought I wanted color everywhere, but lately I’ve learned to appreciate the power of a white backdrop and even white furniture. Living with two kitties adds another layer of challenge.

Anyway, here’s the vibe I’m currently digging for my living room:

Notice all the white walls and white furniture?! I can’t wait to get started. My current goal is to create a blend of calm, white, and cool with just the right amount of color, warmth, and quirk. I want my house to be the happiest place on earth, made just for me, by me.

I’m beyond excited to finally have a place of my own, where I can go all-out with decorating and finding permanent homes for all the random things I’ve picked up over the years and stashed away for “my someday house.” I can’t believe I’ve finally bought it.


Lunchtime Design: Circa

Yesterday at lunch time, I realized it had been far too long since my last Lunchtime Design outing. It’s been all home buying all the time for the past few weeks around here, and I needed a break! So I headed to Circa, a Charlottesville staple that I’m embarrassed to say I had never visited before. At least now I can’t say that anymore!

I didn’t really know what to expect upon walking in (I was anticipating prices a bit out of my reach), but the mission listed on their website pretty much sums it up. Circa wants “to fill the void between junk stores and pricey antique ‘shoppes.'” And that they do. Here’s what I loved…

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This $95 midcentury chair caught my eye, and I was surprised. I usually prefer furniture that looks like it’s straight out of the 21st century. But I liked the clean lines of the wood, and I actually didn’t mind the original green tweed upholstery. Once I realized that the chair kind of rocks/bounces, I was fully on board.

Initially I didn’t see anything that looked liked it was made in the last 20 years, so I didn’t think I would see anything I liked, and thought my post would be a bust. But apparently I was in a midcentury mood! Next up, I spotted this chest, which I loved.

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I loved the detail on the top two drawers, the pulls on the two bottom drawers, and the simple legs! For $165, I’d say it was priced pretty well. (A little more than I’d normally want to pay, but probably still priced right.)

Next up was another midcentury piece, this time a full dresser.

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Floorspace at Circa is at a premium, what with all the good stuff they’re overflowing with, so it was really hard to get a photo of the entire dresser. This one is a little blown out (also thanks to my phone), but it shows the general idea. Clean, simple lines, and 9 big drawers. I couldn’t find a price tag on this one.

I seemed to have stumbled into what I’d describe as their “large furniture room” first, and then realized that there’s another building attached. The second building I entered had more of a traditional antique store feel (and smell–does anyone else think that antique stores have a distinct “old” smell? I used to refuse to go in antique stores when I was little because I hated the smell so much).

I saw yet another antique piece that I liked!

2013-07-15 12.37.53I normally don’t like antiques, and I normally don’t like green! But I really liked this chair. For $75, it would be a great accent chair. I’m picturing it in a guest room for some reason.

Next up, I stumbled upon an antique globe, which I was tickled to see labeled Russia as the ‘Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.’ I got a kick out of that for some reason. The globe was $30, which I think is probably a good price for a lifetime of geography lessons.

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On the way into and out of the second building, I was greeted by a kind of vestibule that was almost wallpapered with mirrors. I’ve been on an unusual gold gilded mirror kick lately (I say ‘unusual’ because I usually hate gold), so I was excited to see a variety of mirrors with gold frames.

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As always, it’s hard to get a good picture of a mirror, but even harder when it’s a whole collection in a sunny entryway! I didn’t catch the prices of any of them, but I’m sure they were within reason. Everything seemed to be!

Has anyone else been surprised to find themselves drawn to a new style out of the blue? Anyone been to visit Circa here in Charlottesville? Any other awesome finds?

Lunchtime Design: Habitat For Humanity ReStore

Yesterday during my lunch hour, I stopped by the Charlottesville Habitat for Humanity Store. Let’s hope that this will be the inaugural post in a new series called “Lunchtime Design!”

I aim to visit local design/antique/thrift shops in Charlottesville during my lunch break, snap a couple of inspiration photos, and share them!

Yesterday, I saw…

2013-06-12 12.38.54This new Rowe sofa with 4 matching pillows for only $350. It’s got great lines and it’s a nice neutral that I think would work well as a base for any design style. I’d get rid of those coordinating pillows and go with a few of these instead:


Jacqueline Maldonado Water Color Throw Pillow in ‘Kiss of Life’

Next up was this tufted armless chair with an hourglass profile. It was actually a chocolate brown color, but for some reason it’s reading more green-gray in this picture. (I can’t remember the price on this one–sorry!–but I know that if I snapped a picture, it must have been reasonable. I’d say $40 or less. A nearly-identical one is currently on ebay for $130.)

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I think it would be great in a living room as an accent chair/extra seating, but it would be even better (if there were two) as the head-of-the-table chairs for a long dining table. It would also work as an elegant desk chair for a home office! (I didn’t sit in it, so I’m not sure how comfortable it would be as an office chair if you were sitting in it for hours on end.)

Next was this wood pedestal table (for $35?), which I liked because it was simple and not too dinged-up. A lot of the furniture at the Habitat Store has been gently-to-roughly loved, so it’s hard to find a piece there that’s totally pristine. It would work well as a cute little kids’ activity table, since it’s not too tall, and not too big in diameter. For some extra flavor, I’d paint it a bold, glossy color.

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Lastly, I really liked this antique school chair, priced at $20. I think it was marked as a “lecturer’s chair,” but it was probably just one of hundreds of seats in a lecture hall (since the label at the top says “11”). It would have needed a bit of sanding and refinishing to truly restore it, or it could be plopped in a room as-is for a really cool, vintage-y vibe. (I’d also recommend removing the bolts holding the feet of the chair to those 4×4’s, and maybe attaching some felt pads to the bottoms to protect your floors from getting scratched!)

2013-06-12 12.48.57I left the store empty-handed, but now that I’ve got these ideas flowing, I’m really tempted to go back for the sofa and the school chair! I can see putting the chair near a front door to create a sort of “drop-zone” for my purse, scarf, and coat (in the winter), and I think that Elephant and Delilah would enjoy it as a place to perch, as well.

Does anyone else have any awesome Habitat Store finds? Any other ideas for ways to use these pieces in your home?