Living room tour pt.1
It’s been a year since we moved from East to North London and started settling into our new home. In that time there has been a lot of change for us as a family; learning what it means to be parents (the joys and the heartache), Graham got a new job whilst I quit my job altogether (to be a full time mum) and we settled into a new church family.
Amongst all of the change one thing that’s been really fun was starting to make our new home really ours. We’ve both got quite strong ideas and opinions on what we’d like to do with the place but the cost and time are big constraints. Having said that we decided that for 2017 we would focus on the living room since this is where we spend most of our time during the day and in the evening. For this post I’m going to focus on the ‘adult’ side of the living room as this is probably a little more finished that the other side which is more Quentin focussed (I’ll do a separate post on that later).
Having had the whole house rewired (an experience I never want to relive) we could confidently start decorating the living room knowing that all of the important but boring stuff had been done. We re-plastered the walls as we hadn’t been able to hang anything up due to the old plaster crumbling away the minute you tried to drill into it. We then painted the walls in Farrow and Ball’s Ammonite, with the coving and ceiling in a standard bright white. The difference it made to the room was immense (see below for a before and after photo). Suddenly the ceilings seemed much higher and the whole room felt fresh and modern.
Pulling together the look and feel of the room has been fairly organic over a period of time. A lot of stuff was from our old flat and so it was about working out where best in the house these old pieces could fit (one of my favourite things is finding new places/uses for old pieces of furniture). Some things however were bought specifically for this room. I was fortunate to work at John Lewis for a number of years and so it was our go to place for all things (furniture and non-furniture) because we could trust the quality and I also got a partner discount! It does mean however that some of the things we bought for the living room we wouldn’t have had it not been for the discount as they would have been out of our budget.
The fireplace and mantelpiece are original to the house although there was a gas fire in here which we got switched over to wood burning. It was a surprisingly quick and cheap job to do, I think due to the fact the chimney was in good condition. As you can see we still need to re-tile the fireplace, as it’s a bit of a hazard for a small child but we haven’t agreed on tiles yet and are waiting to save up to do a few other things around the house. As soon as we got the fire properly working again I went to Homebase to pick up a fireguard (very important when there are little people about) and other general fire accessories. They have a surprisingly good range, all fairly classic.
The mirror is from John Lewis and the angel candleholders are from Ebay. I seem to be constantly buying candle holders on eBay as you can find beautiful brass ones for just a couple of pounds!
The red armchair is from Ikea and we had it in our old flat. It’s the comfiest armchair to curl up in although unfortunately they don’t do it in this colour anymore. And the cool art print is by a talented friend of mine Amy Currell, I got it a number of years ago for my husband as a birthday present.
Whilst we were painting the living room we also got some built in cabinets and shelving made so we could hide all the stuff we don’t want to see on a daily basis (mainly all the DVDs we never seem to watch)
The chair with the sheepskin rug was from my Great Aunt’s house. We got it reupholstered a few years ago and it now provides a very comfy spot to people watch by the window. We decided to swap our our old glass ikea coffee table for this footstool from Swoon Editions. Partly because it was more baby friendly (Quentin kept banging things against the glass and I was worried it was going to break) but it also provides somewhere to put our feet up at the end of the day when we’re watching TV. The tray from Of Special Interest means we can also pop drinks and other bits on it.
The rug is from West Elm but purchased at John Lewis (no surprise there) and adds a bit of a contemporary feel, which is a nice contrast to some of our more traditional pieces. The rug has been shedding quite a bit but we keep hoovering and hoping it will finish doing its thing soon…
Our sofa is from Sofa.com who have a lovely showroom in Angel where they offer you free drinks and biscuits and have a child’s play area. We actually visited far more times than we needed to because it was a nice afternoon out with a baby. I highly recommend it, sofa shopping or not. We originally chose a much more traditional sofa but at the last minute switched it to this. I’m so happy we did as it doesn’t take up quite as much space and helps provide a good balance of modern vs. traditional which we like.
The curtains are also John Lewis (spot the theme), the fabric print is by Celia Birtwell and is called beasties. It’s not available online but I found it in the Oxford Street branch. Because of the size of our windows we had to get made to measure curtains, it was a big expense but we’ve agreed they’ll be up for at least the next 15 years or until a child destroys them.
The painting was done by my grandmother Maria Sax Ledger, she was a brilliant painter and we love having some of her stuff around the house to brighten it up.
We’re still working on getting the lighting right in the living room as I love not using the ceiling lights when you’re having a cosy evening. So far we’ve got this lovely lamp in the corner but I’m on the look out for more. The table was from a shop on Blackstock Road called After Noah and again another candle holder from Ebay!
We’ve still got a few bits to finish in the room but I hope you enjoyed taking a look at where we’ve got to so far. I’ll be doing part 2 of the living room tour in a few weeks.