Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Room Tour: The Living Room


I thought I'd show you some photos of our living room. I have been holding back, waiting for it to be "done", but it will never be finished and I wouldn't want it to be either, as homes are evolving things.

I've shown you lots of photos of this room before but none since we added the new rug and coffee table to the room. (Previously we had a heavy dark oak table here and a sheepskin rug - photos here.) I can't begin to tell you how much I adore the joyful burst of colour and light these two items of furniture bring to the room. 


The beautiful rug* (spotted by John!) is full of colours that already exist in corners of this room and just draws them all together. It was an investment, the cost offset by the free coffee table, gift from a colleague who had no use for it. Sanded and varnished it looks quite lovely, and I love the spare elegance of the tapered legs and the way the light flows around it. I believe it may be an Ercol piece although I don't know that for certain. I don't really care to be honest, I just like it for what it is. 



Our living room is large, measuring about six metres wide and about the same deep, and has very high ceilings which you can see below. (The wood paneled ceiling is original from when the house was built in 1968 and was an absolute swine to paint, but I do love it.) At first, the size of this room sounds wonderful but actually it was quite hard to find a way to furnish and decorate this room and also make it feel cosy. Previous owners extended out the front of the house, creating the area you see below with the bookshelves on the left. Perhaps they put a dining table here, I don't know. I tend to use this room in the evenings though, and think that on balance a smaller living room and larger kitchen/dining room suits the way we live better, but I am not moaning. I like a challenge. (Thinking about it, I don't know why I call this the living room, when I spend most of my day in the kitchen and dining room. This is an evening room, a relaxing room. A sitting room perhaps, or front room, although that one does sound a bit formal, a bit "for best". A lounge maybe? What do you call yours?)


To encourage cosiness (and not be sitting six metres away from the tv and stove) we moved the sofa into the middle of the room and created a seating area in front of the fire place. This also deliberately stops us walking across the middle of the room and it feeling like a corridor, and you walk around the back of the seating area instead. This felt strange at first because in every house I have ever lived in the sofa has been pushed up against a wall. Thank goodness I have a lot of throws and blankets to break up the expanse of grey on the back of the sofa.



This corner below is where I sit if I want to sew in the evenings. The kids are also fond of this spot during the day and often choose to sit here with their legs dangling over the sides of the chair. 


This is the other wall, with the door to the dining room on the left. I think it would look fantastic covered with wall paper with perhaps quite a large repeating design. It is opposite the door to the entrance hall and the first thing you see when you open the door and enter the living room. 


I've mentioned the unusual, asymmetrical fire place design many times before. It's shape makes it tricky to style as you can't do the usual thing of picture/mirror/clock in the middle with something placed either side. 



It's not perfect and it's not "done" but I enjoy rearranging it constantly, propping up smaller pictures and changing the vases, candle sticks and bits and bobs with the seasons, and I have grown to love the design as part of what makes this 1968 house unique and wonderful to live in. 




The window is framed by IKEA Billy bookshelves either side which add some warmth to the space. 


It currently holds an old blanket chest full of board games and the rocking horse, and is mainly used as a play area. The train track or car mat are often brought in here and left up for days at a time. 


In December it held the Christmas tree. I do feel like this space could be better used, could have more purpose, but I'm not really sure how or what that would be. Perhaps play space for Bella and Angus is actually the best possible use for any space.


I've mentioned before that I don't much like the overly shiny laminate floor, although it is good quality and there is nothing wrong with it bar the odd chip here and there, so there are no plans to replace it for now. In the future, we will move the ceiling light that currently hangs in the dining room into this room.


I think the high ceiling could take it and it would look wonderful over the rug, echoing the shape of the circular coffee table below. That's a job for another day, along with painting the copper piping under the radiators and lots of other annoying fiddly jobs.

It's a funny room though, all bright light or dark corners, an effect created by the extended front section with it's long, wide window and the sharp late afternoon light it catches, but that is what you get when you buy a 1960's style chalet house - interesting features and funny angles.





* It is this one, in the smaller of the two sizes, for anyone who might be interested. 

42 comments:

gillyflower said...

It looks amazing!I love the layout, and that rug is just perfect. You have done a brilliant job and it looks like something out of a magazine....just love the mid century feel with the coffee table and all your accessories - I have room envy!
I also totally agree that a room, a house evolves, and ours changes constantly.
Thanks for sharing your beautiful home Gillian.
Gill xx

Christina said...

I am feeling very inspired by your post Gillian. I like to see how other families live, and how I could maybe capture some of their ideas and incorporate them into my house. What I really like in your house is the eclectic mix of furniture, pictures and furnishings. It is wonderful and gives your living space so much character. I am not fond of what I call 'M&S all inclusive coordinated living spaces', where tea towels are coordinated with bath towels.... We have a major extension planned for later this year, giving us a large living space with kitchen and cosy corner. We'll still have the current living room, which I like cosy and small for a relaxing retreat. Maybe a good name for your living room would be relaxing room? Have a wonderful week. x

FAST SOS said...

always love to see a Orla Kiely jar design being put to good use, a fantastic vase that compliments the flowers perfectly, at the moment our yellow one is storing dried lemon slices!

Mac n' Janet said...

I like the way you've set things up. We have a couch in the middle of the room too, dividing the space. I was tired of it pushed up against the wall and the rest of the room just open space.

Amanda Graham said...

I absolutely love what you have done to the room, the colours, the mid century feel, the decor, love it! I really like how you have arranged your mantle piece too. It all looks fab.

Anonymous said...

You've done a really great job decorating that room ! It's inspiring. I would love reading or crocheting by that huge window
Irune

Jo said...

Your room is totally wonderful. I admire style. I haven't really got one, I just like and make stuff so I can never really identify my own. However, when I choose a vintage dress pattern and turn it over for the date it is nearly always 1967, 1968 or 1969 so I think I should dress up and loaf around in your house!

Jennifer said...

Your house is so different from any that I've lived in, though most have been from roughly the same era. I really like that yours has a defined style and character to it, and I think you've done well to extend that with Scandinavian-style touches here and there. For what it's worth, I call the front room, the more formal one (though it's really not formal at all and most of the furniture is second-hand), the living room. I call the one we spend most of time in, and which is open to the kitchen and therefore used like one big eating/playing area the family room.

Jo@awholeplotoflove said...

I just love the room you have by the window surrounded by bookcases, what a wonderful place to while away the hours xx

Susan Smith said...

I love your decorating ideas and could do with your help at the moment for our place. We too have dark corners which annoy me somewhat. Anyway, I think your home is great and enjoy seeing it come together and grow with the family. Enjoy and take care.

Lulu walkingonsunshine said...

Hi Gillian :)
I really loved what you did with this house ,it is so beatifull ,you are trully an inspiration .
Home is the best place in the world you can be ,i do believe
Have a greta week
xoxo
Lulu

CJ said...

Oh Gillian, what a beautiful job you've made of it, you have such a good eye and you're very talented at creating a warm and pretty space. I particularly like quirky room shapes, they always make for an interesting look. The rug is fantastic, great spot by John. It really pulls the room together. I imagine it's always a pleasure to sit in there, especially when there's a fire or a spot of sunshine. You can come and do mine now. CJ xx

Sharon - creativity and family said...

Such a beautiful space but also cosy and lived in feeling. x

VeggieMummy said...

Such a lovely room and your gifted coffee table looks great and definitely like an Ercol. Could I ask what size the shade is on the light near your sewing chair - I've recently bought a second hand standard lamp and can't seem to find a suitable size shade; yours looks perfect. Love the rug too - well done John. xx

Kate-Em said...

Your room is lovely, it looks comfy and stylish but also like real people live in it, use it and love it. I like all the pops of colour, your handmade goodies and all the interesting bits and pieces to look at.

Librarian said...

It's a lovely room, and you have been very creative and sensible in making use of its unique features. The coffee table and rug are great additions, and I agree that the circular ceiling lamp would match it perfectly!
Not sure about papering the one wall, though. There is already plenty of colour and pattern in the room, and it could be a little overwhelming.
As for that space you are not sure about, it is great the way it is, isn't it? Easy access to the shelves and the window - not too much "stuff" around :-)

Julie said...

Your living room is so stylish but so homely too. I love the 2nd photo with all the gorgeous colours - the new rug is a real beauty and will look great with the ceiling light. X

Emm.A said...

I love your living room it's so beautiful! I can't wait for us to finally move into our own HOUSE so I can decorate a nice room as well! :)
I'm really getting inspired when I look at your wonderful interior pictures!

Swissrose said...

What a nice cheerful living room! I am presently staying at my granny's where she's lived for nearly 80 years, a 30s terraced house, such pretty stained glass in the front but the decor a mix of stuff from the 40s to the 80s with a few MCM bits that my mum loathes! She doesn't understand why anyone would like "that old stuff", which amuses me... I keep stopping her throwing it out, though I admit it could do with a bit of tlc! I'd get rid of the tacky 70s/80s stuff and old gas fires lol but I'd keep the MCM and the cottage-y old pieces (matching his/hers wardrobes!).
One special thing that Granny has from the 60s is what she calls the "monopoly" - no idea why! - which she had made in the MCM/Ercol style; it's a cupboard arrangement on the typically slim legs that incorporates a tall sewing cupboard, two drop down secretary-type desktops (one is used for glasses and stuff), drawers and a cupboard below and then all glass-fronted sliding doors on the top, surrounding the proudly displayed stuffed pike my grandad caught in 1950!! It was actually made to accommodate the pike... and wouldn't fit through the door once the carpenter had made it, so they had to chop it apart and reassemble it in the room.
Which brings me to the naming of rooms - in this house it's the front and back room, dining at the front (under the pike's stare!) and living at the back. I noticed that my Yorkshire auntie, who only has a dining kitchen at the back and then a front living room just calls hers "the room"!

Vintage Sheet Addict said...

Love the eclectic mix here Gillian, much, much better than off the peg interiors! :) xxx

Elizabeth said...

Thank you for sharing the lovely pictures.

Tracey said...

it looks great you have done a grand job x

Col | Hello Olive Designs said...

It looks fantastic! Love the coffee table and the rug. x

Sol said...

you really have an eye for interior design. i love the library nook in the lounge. we call ours the lounge

Jay said...

Nice style! This my be great suggestion for my to renew my room. Thanks.

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Jacqueline said...

Your lounge, we call it that too, is lovely and you are absolutely right, a home is evolving. We never can seem to finish anything here so there is always something nice to look forward to.

Marion Ogden said...

It's really lovely, Gillian. I love all the colours, the mix of old and new. It feels cosy even though it's quite a big room and all the items you've made make add a homey, welcoming touch. Oh and we call ours the lib by room. x

galant said...

Your room is really attractive just as it is! It's Very 1968-ish, Gillian! The primary colours and clean edges and the brightly colours rug are so clean looking. Homely, yes, but smart, too.
Margaret P

galant said...

PS ... No, Gillian, please don't call it a "lounge". That is very declasse. Lounges are for airports, pubs and some hotels. Homes have living rooms, drawing rooms, sitting rooms, front rooms, but never lounges.
Margaret P

mrsrobinson said...

I'm a sitting room girl - funny isn't it, all the names we have for a similar space. Oh so stylish, in a cosy homely sort of way. And so much to look at and think oh yes! I do like the nook in front of the windows, lined with books and just the place for a train track or cars all lined up...

Gina said...

It looks lovely and the coffee table definitely looks like Ercol... It matches my dining room chairs!

Penelope P. said...

Just wanted to say I love your sitting room! This post has given me so much pleasure. Thank you.

Katie said...

a great post, thanks so much for sharing this room. I tend to use much more neutral colours at home, but always love seeing your colours and designs!! It looks really great, and seems an excellent way of using the space. x

Sandra (Cherry Heart) said...

That's it, you need to change career and become an interior designer. Specifically, my interior designer and come and sort my house out! It's beautiful Gillian, you have the eye you really do and you've made a lovely space. I love the sofa in the middle, it's always been I wish of mine to have a sofa away from a wall. I also like the extra window space and I think you are probably right, a play space is as good as uny use I think!

S x

sandra gilbert said...

Your house is charming, I love the coffee table what a great "gift" from your colleague. Is the pot on top of your stove decorative or do you use it to heat up water?

Caroline South said...

Its such a gorgeous room, you've done a great job! I love the colours you've used in the accessories and that rug is fab. xx

Cyndy R said...

Positively stunning! Your place looks inviting and so eye appealing.nyou have a keen eye for detail. Inspires me! Thanks so much for sharing!!

Gillian Roe said...

Hello - it's 40 cm diameter on the bottom and 30 cm high. I think it was from habitat. I hope that helps!

Gillian Roe said...

It's purely decorative. The kettle is enamel so it probably would work, although it doesn't have a whistle. But I just love the shape and colour of it.

Crafty Kestrel said...

I love reading your blog and you have done a great job with your decorating.xx

Penny said...

What a beautiful room. Your choice of colours and decor is soooo nice. I could move in tomorrow. I have sitting room envy! Our sitting room is currently in desperate need of redecoration; flooring, furniture, curtains, everything! Enjoy your beautiful room. As you use it in the evenings you could call it the evening room, evening sitting room, or, as you use it after dinner you could go all grand and call it your Drawing Room x