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  • Neyir Urminsky

The living room as it is today...

The living room as it was

If you follow me over on IG or FB then yoI may have seen in stories that I started a painting project in my ‘Library’. The library is the middle part of a long open concept room that is meant to be living & dining. It’s a very loooooooong room and while not super narrow, it feels particularly narrow because of its proportions, it is 12.5x30 feet…..

The library is a little, essentially 9x9, nook that I carved out of the larger room to facilitate space for homework, board games, puzzles and general craftiness. I hung a large light low to make it feel cosy and by pulling the bookcases out from the wall and filling them with, well, books, it feels like a separate space.

I have been wanting to paint the china cabinets and bookcases in the library for a long time. I used to refer to it as a ‘sea of brown’, it drove me crazy! For a long time I considered painting the table but for a lot of reasons that wasn’t the right call and in fact the table is the only piece of furniture in the library that will stay brown. In terms of the colours I chose for the cabinet and bookcases and how I went about choosing them is the subject for a different day but for our purposes the important thing is that I kept staring at the partially painted turquoise-ish cabinet and giving the side eye to the living room.

The partially painted china cabinet

The dining room was starting to have more of the whimsical feel that I wanted and had incorporated into other parts of the house but the living room just felt so flat! Still I did not want to go any further choosing colours for the space without an overall sense of where I was going.

Traditionally I have a clear sense of layout, colour scheme and overall vibe but I didn’t really have any of those. Which is probably why it had sat as a furniture repository/rug display area for so long. Now to give myself some credit, part of my unwillingness to ‘design’ this space was also utility. We moved into this house 3.5 years ago when the twins were themselves 3.5 years. I filled the space with an amalgam of workable items from our previous homes and my parents house, scored a free sofa on FBMP and called it a day. I decided on no coffee table purely for safety and functional reasons, floor play is still such a thing at that age! Now with the twins on the eve of turning 7, what we needed in our living room was dramatically different.

With the curtains switched

I started by switching the curtains in the living room and playroom thinking that would solve the problem. It didn’t. I knew I wanted to edge the now living room curtains with a blue band but exactly which blue I did not know, which led me to start looking at fabrics. The wing chair in the living room needs, well it needs to be reupholstered but what it will receive is a new slipcover. I did not want to go any further choosing colours for the space without an overall sense of where I was going.

I really wanted Thibaut Honsu but nope, just not happening, it is gorgeous but is a very, very expensive fabric and actually none of the colourways were what I was looking for in anycase. So I went on Spoonflower and started hunting chinoiserie, large scale. I ended up ordering samples of these and I cannot wait to see them in the space!

Considering fabric options got me thinking of how to make the space both more playful and functional. Then a friend came to coffee (ok full disclosure she brought her own, I’m a tea girl) and wondered aloud where that amazing $40 coffee table was that I scored about 1.5 years ago. Just a knock off of one of Milo Baughman's tables and like this one likely worth well over $1,000 that I got for $40! Well it was languishing in the basement because at the time it was too big for the living room. But as I was thinking about refreshing the living room anyway…………

It took me about 10 minutes to realise the solution and how to widen the space. I quickly measured to double check my instincts and then spent an hour moving furniture and vacuuming and moving some more. I also incidentally burned out the wireless router in the process by unplugging it which no-one has yet satisfactorily explained. I still have lots to do in this room, not least of all shifting over the entire gallery well. But when I say that as soon as I finalised the location of the last piece of furniture it just felt right it would not be overstating. Every one of the kids truly loves it and just says it ‘feels good’, they don’t really know why (I do but that is another post again) but the real proof is that in the 48 hours since I rearranged the room they are spending so much time in it…most of it low key. Sofa forts are here for another long while - haha.


Possibly my favourite part of the room is the secret ‘bed’ that one of the twins made under the console, behind the trunk. That they want to be in this room is a huge win and that I want to be in it too is equally wonderful. My 10 year old has declared that the room is ‘perfect, absolutely perfect now for Christmas Mom!’, the 15 year old took one look and sarcastically stated ‘Ah mom’s every 5 month routine of re-arranging the living room!’.

The Sleeping Fort

To my credit it was exactly 2 years ago yesterday since I rearranged anything in there (it popped up on IG history)!

We will have to see how long this iteration lasts!

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