Contains gifted items
It’s here! I’ve been so excited to show you our living room reveal and, let’s be honest, it’s taken a while to get to this point. Much longer than I thought it would but we’re here nonetheless. This renovation business is a frustrating one to say the least but one that I feel like we’ve really hit our stride with this year.
I’ve thrown myself into mood boarding, Pinteresting and fabric swatching for the last few months and I’ve been loving every minute of it. The living room was a big focus for me. It’s the room we spend the most time in and is the first impression visitors get of the house so while there was minimal building work to be done, getting it right has taken me a while.
So grab a cuppa, get comfy and I’ll show you around!
Compared to the rest fo the house, there was nothing wrong with this room but it was lacking, well, everything because it was empty when we moved in! It’s a good sized room with beautiful original features but I was conscious that it lacked the contemporary feel it so desperately needed. As a walk-through room, I wanted it to feel more complete in itself rather than just a glorified pathway to other rooms. Every wall is wonky and the ceiling beams curve making fixtures and fittings…tricky! But that’s the joy of having a Grade 2 listed house!
OK, let’s just get this out of the way from the off – having a front door that opens into the living room isn’t ideal. When we bought the house I loved it so much I overlooked the lack of hallway or porch. But it has been problematic and will be a deal-breaker if and when we move. Not only has it been impractical (yes those are white carpets!), it’s created a walk-through culture for the room.
I felt like this divided the room into three sections – the entrance, the middle and the second doorway, therefore styling it as one so it flows, has tested every last nerve! But, the starting point for this room was too create somewhere calming. It’s the first room you see when you walk through the front door so I wanted it to provoke a feeling. A sense of leaving the day on the doorstep and instantly feeling relaxed and at home.
The living room also only has one window as we blocked up a doorway that led to the backdoor so we effectively limited the daylight to this room. This meant that we had to keep it as light and airy as possible with neutral tones, bright whites and this large floor lamp from Cult Furniture has made all the difference in warming up darkened corners. Yes, white isn’t the most practical but I have a good stain remover (!) and think you should have what you want and not be constrained by ‘what if’s’ when it comes to interiors.
As tempting as it was to go all-out contemporary for this space, I wanted to be really mindful of the age of the house and what was already there so natural materials and a sense of bringing the outside in were really important to us.
Apart from blocking the doorway (to allow for a bigger kitchen), a new fuse box and replacing skirting boards, there hasn’t been a need for much building work to be done in this room. We made the doorway into shelves using leftover beams to give an otherwise mundane space a bit of character and tie it into the rest of the room. With an exposed brick wall and beamed ceilings, there’s a lot going on in the room making it even more important to keep everything else clean and minimal so it doesn’t overcrowd the room.
We painted the walls in Farrow & Ball’s Slipper Satin, repainted the windows in All White and replaced a cheap white blind with long linen curtains from Ikea complete with black iron pole from Wayfair which adds a live-in luxury feel while keeping with those natural elements. It’s made the biggest difference to the room – brightening it up while maintaining a sense of warmth and cosiness. It wasn’t long before an accidental colour scheme of whites and beiges with brown and black accents became apparent. And if you’ve been on my Pinterest boards you won’t be surprised!
I found the layout of the living room the most difficult to navigate and it’s what has held me back from finishing the room sooner. The conundrum of creating adequate and comfortable seating areas combined with the functionality of a walk-through space dictated every decision and purchase I made. After adding in a radiator cover to hide our 80’s-style rads, it was obvious that the grey Made.com loveseat had become too bulky and impractical for what we needed.
I knew exactly what I wanted instead. Two small armchairs crafted from a rattan or woven material with a chic white cushion and wooden arms. Rustic but luxe, small but comfortable, homey but attention-grabbing. And I found beautiful options in their droves. In America. And Australia. But not a single one in the UK under £5000! After a lot of Pinterest and several reclaim yards later, I decided that perhaps a more modern and minimal shape would give the room a more contemporary finish.
There’s no worse feeling than realising you’ve made a massive mistake when a piece of furniture arrives. But that’s exactly how I felt when my beautiful Maison Du Monde armchairs arrived. The chairs I’d stalked for 3 months. The chairs I’d sent pictures of to friends to get their opinion and the chairs I’d pinned 7 times subconsciously! They arrived a completely different colour to the beautiful off-white hue I’d pawed over online. They were beige. Almost coffee coloured. I could’ve cried.
But, after tweaking the room, adding cushions and staring at them for an unnatural amount of time I resided to the fact that they were actually what the room needed. Something tonal that didn’t necessarily match the other seats but gave a depth and warmth that perhaps it was missing all along.
SHOP THE ROOM
With a few personal touches, minimal accessories and a teak Cox & Cox bench that filled a nook as well as providing more seating options, the room was finally coming together. I fell more in love with Farrow & Ball’s Slipper Satin paint on the walls and felt relieved that I persuaded Toff to ditch that darker grey I spent a fortune on in favour of the lighter hue! It feels fresh against the light wooden beams and I love how it looks cool and warm all at the same time depending on the light.
When I walk in the front door, tired and frazzled after a day of meetings and events I feel exactly how I wanted this room to make me feel…
Although wood took precedent in the living room, bringing more modern details to the space was so important to keep it contemporary and stop it looking like a cabin! My love of metal took on a while new life the more confident I became in breaking the interior ‘rules’ and before I knew it I was teaming my rose gold light fitting with a brass lamp and antique gold ornaments.
After a little research I came to love the contrast of mixing lighter woods with darker grains and keeping with warmer metal tones but different colours – it didn’t look too ‘done’ and kept it a bit more thrown together. With lots of bare walls, I spent an age trying to find personal, chic yet affordable art that were the perfect finishing touch to the space. I felt completely out of my depth but was so relieved to find Minted. An American-based company (don’t worry, shipping was totally quick and seamless) that’s more unique and art-y than sites like Desenio, with a huge selection by independent artists at a fraction of the price of RRP.
SHOP THE ROOM
I wanted something modern yet calm that doesn’t pull attention away from the room but compliments the surroundings. These two canvas’s were perfect – a little out there with the geometric shapes but in the right colour scheme, they make the room look more sophisticated and pulled together.
Despite searching for a large-scale line drawing illustration for the biggest too in the house, I opted for this beautifully simple Picasso print from John Lewis. I’m obsessed with its clean, minimal yet poetic feel and can’t stop looking at it when I walk through the door.
THE FINISHED LOOK
I say ‘finished’ but we’re not quite there yet (sorry Toff!). I’d like to re-brick parts of the fireplace, replace the mantle and, eventually, whitewash the ceiling beams, get a new sofa and replace our struggling white carpet with a beautiful parquet wooden floor. But, for now, the living room is finished and I couldn’t be happier with how it’s come together.
Sure, we’ve made some mistakes along the way and it’s been a learning curve but when I walk in the front door, tired and frazzled after a day of meetings and events I feel exactly how I wanted this room to make me feel. Calm, centred and settled. It’s the room that’s the biggest extension of my style and where I’m at right now in terms of what I want from a home and the life we’re building for ourselves. I know it will look beautifully cosy in the winter and a light oasis in the summer.