Adding Life to our Living Room

July 27th, 2008 · 1 Comment

Since moving out of my parents home nearly ten years ago, I’ve lived in many different locations and apartments. From dorm rooms to apartments to the townhome we mistakingly purchased in the middle of suburbian Northern Virginia, one theme has stayed the same: I’ve never made my house a home. Sure, I gave my places character and even attempted cooking every once in a while, but I’ve never lived on my own in a place that I was truly proud of.

After making the decision to downsize and move from the suburbs to the city, we very quickly decided that this trend needed to stop. We found a fantastic apartment, but our move to San Francisco wouldn’t be complete until we’d given it some soul. For the first time, we were going to actually focus on not only how our living space looked, but how it made us feel and what it said to others about its inhabitants. In short, our apartment needed to express who we are and what we value.

While I’ll save some of the stories and inspiration for later, I wanted to report that we’re well on our way to finishing the transformation. Our living room is finally worthy of that name.

It started as a bland big space, intended for use both as a living room and an eating and cooking area. Having no clear partition of space was a problem, as was the severely misdesigned fireplace taking up one of our very precious corners. As a result of our downsizing, we started off with only a few pieces of furniture from the old house.

Yes, for 6 months we had 2 places to sit in the entire apartment: left and right sides of the loveseat. Let’s just say we didn’t eat at home very often. Furthermore, due to poor construction and that famous San Francisco fog, the room stayed cold and uncomfortable, dark furniture not exactly helping.

We decided to spruce it up by adding color, warmth and character. We also knew that we wanted more seating, a dining area, and furniture that doubled as eye candy, if not artwork. Fortunately we were able to complete these goals for far less money than anticipated.

First, we added a Townsend sofa from Room & Board and two cherry Eames LCW chairs, as mentioned in an earlier post. We coupled these with a cheap rug from IKEA and a fantastic one-of-a-kind pillow from a local artist. Next, (also mentioned previously) I was able to score a completely rad Bertoia diamond chair from Craigslist. Put together with two white Expedit shelves from IKEA, the room now has tons of storage and color.

For the dining area, we rarely have guests over so we settled on a small cafĂ© table as a means to conserve precious square feet. Fortunately Room & Board allows for custom table design, so we picked their Axis table and matched it with a natural maple top. Our dining chairs are one of my favorite purchases so far, two lime green Eames molded plastic shell chairs. They’re so bright and ridiculously comfortable!
Faye’s plates from Royal Copenhagen and a poster from Tivoli make this the Danish section of the room. Rightfully so, the Danes certainly inspired our style!
All in all, we came away several hundred dollars under budget and orders of magnitude happier with our apartment. Good design is a process, not a product, so keep in mind that our place will likely always be in some sort of state of flux. However, I think we can finally start calling our house a home.

Stay tuned for pictures of our other rooms and entryway!

Tags: Home

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 The Economous // Aug 14, 2008 at 1:10 am

    I really like the changes in your living room. I am also a minimalist and am always getting rid of things (weekly trips to goodwill to drop stuff off). In fact I’ve been known to try to get rid of Mike’s rescue inhaler (mistake I realize now) But congrats on the redecorating!
    -Gillian

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