Archive for ‘Living Room’

September 19, 2014

Exciting Things

There’s something very exciting coming up for the House on Penny Lane. Are you excited? No? Not yet? Well, I can be excited for the rest of us.

At the end of this year, we’re getting a new sofa! A sectional to be exact…

Our IKEA sofa has served us well during the last seven years. It was our first big purchase together and, for each of us, our first real grown up sofa. But lately, we have begun to outgrow it. We’re hosting more and more get-togethers at our house while also spending more and more time stretched out/cuddled up just the two of us. And we just need more room.

And lucky for us, our living room can handle it. It’s kind of huge. Check out my sweet rendering. It’s like looking at my house through a Simpson’s episode.


And I never miss a chance for a mood board. This thing makes me giddy. Especially because the majority of the items pictured are ones I already own. This, by the way, is an update to a mood board from way back in 2010. We were just young chicks then, so it’s interesting to see how our tastes have grown in the last few years.



1.     Our wonderful wood floors. I still dig the high contrast between them and our walls.

2.     With the addition of a larger sofa, we will also need a larger area rug. Our current rug is a $170 8’x10′ shag rug we found at Home Depot. Such a steal and hides stains amazingly well. The new rug is actually made up of carpet tiles, so if one gets stained, I can just remove and replace it with a fresh tile. I’ve also heard the tiles are way easier to clean than a regular rug, so let’s hope any stains that do pop up can be taken care of quickly.

3.     My $30 a piece Craigslist chairs. I recovered them just last year, so they’re not going anywhere any time soon.

4.     Our 70s coffee table. Another awesome Craigslist find.

5.     THE SOFA. I am so excited by this. Pretend this picture is of a sectional with a chaise instead of an ‘L’ shaped sofa. I chose a fitted back to avoid the inevitable slouchy back cushions. The fabric will be a microfiber velvet in a very dark, almost black, charcoal.

6.     Our sofa table. It came from CB2, but is unfortunately no longer available.

7.     Our favorite IKEA Besta media cabinet.

8.     Our vintage walnut lamps. I am so glad these are not glass or ceramic. They would have been broken a long time ago. *Cough* cats *cough*

9.    My Valentine’s Day Fiddle Leaf Fig.

10.   Our current accent pillows, throw, and our Franco Albini Ottoman.

11.    With the new sofa, I should be receiving some throw pillows in the fabric of my choosing. So here’s my choosing! Kind of an Ikat print with cream, charcoal, linen, plum, and cranberry colors. It’s super pretty and this pic doesn’t do it justice.

12.   Think I can talk Rob into some light colored faux fur throw pillows? I hope so. We’ve got a lot of sofa to cover.

13.   I think a nicely colored Persian style rug would be beautiful layered over our future area rug. This will take some obsessing, hunting, and deliberation, so don’t expect to see this placeholder filled for some time.


So what’s been a recent exciting addition to your home? Tell me about it in the comments below!

July 19, 2011

Fireplace, Pt. 2… and finished?

Nearly a year ago, I wrote this post about my fireplace conundrum. To sum it up, I hated it and couldn’t decide what to do with it. Paint some of it? Paint all of it? Cover it up? I allowed myself to stew in my obsession and ended up making the best move, which was no move at all.

First, here’s a look back on the desperate lives of my fireplace.

09.2009: The fireplace during our first viewing of the house. Its previous owner didn’t fare much better.

12.2009: Christmas time and I was desperately trying to make this focal wall work. Duct tape is a difficult finish to match.


 11.2010: The wood floor is installed. The fireplace looks better, but still desperate.

12.2010: Christmas time again. The furniture is improving and the first good move was made with the fireplace: relocating the round mirror to another area.


 2.2011: I saw the light and the biggest improvement was made for the fireplace: roller shades were installed on the two adjacent windows. The light balanced out the darkness of the fireplace and its next of kin, the bookcase.

And now the fireplace’s current state. Not desperate. Simple.

The moral of the blog post is that sometimes, oftentimes, less is more.

I will check back once we have used the fireplace, hopefully with no flaming cat stories to tell.

February 1, 2011

Clarity and Before

Having moved the large circular mirror from above the fireplace to our entry, I thought you might like to see the “new” living room without the ubiquitous fireplace emphasis. You see, when most houses have a fireplace wall, most people choose to make that wall the focal point, as they should. Unfortunately for us, we are not a family centered around the warm glow of a lit firplace, but instead the warm glow of a TV. There’s no way around it. Rob is a video guy, a movie guy and an all around tech guy. All that to say, we are excited to present our living room with its appropriate focal point – not the fireplace!

Is it odd that I actually like my fireplace more now that I’m not trying to hide it? It seems to be hiding itself, instead. Also, notice the pair of room darkening wood blinds in the back of the room? Yeah, those are gone. So even though this picture was taken just this morning, consider it a before.

December 29, 2010

Here Comes the Sun

The sun made an appearance and, as promised, I was able to take a slew of pictures showing the progress of our living room.

First, here’s an image of the living room from just a few weeks ago.

And here’s our progress.

The Fresca console table from CB2. I’d like to add a couple of stools underneath for even more seating.

The credenza consists of four 48″ wide and 25″ tall IKEA Besta units. Yes, the entire thing is 16′-0″ wide.

living room of Derek and Michelle Sanders

I’ve been most inspired by the living room of Derek and Michelle Sanders. They also sport a long, low TV unit. I originally wanted to copy their open shelves, but Rob convinced me otherwise. I also really dig their combination of sleek, modern items and primitive objects.

With the doors, were able to hide tons of electronics and cables that can lead to visual clutter. We also gained about a million square feet of storage, for what, I have yet to decide.

One necessary item that got hidden away with the electronics was a clock that could give us the time at a glance. We grabbed this unassuming digital clock while at IKEA. It seems to just disappear into the console table.

We’ve never owned a coffee table and obviously didn’t know what we were missing. A place to casually set a drink or remote that isn’t the arm of the sofa is an attainable luxury.

We feel very much more like grown ups than college students with our Christmas gift to ourselves. What great stuff did you get for the Holidays?

December 27, 2010

Our Little Secret

Want to know about our little secret? It’s a rather silly secret. Silly in why it was a secret, any how. You see, there’s this magical place called IKEA. I’ve been a fan since I was old enough to buy furniture, as is evidenced by the furniture in our house. If it is not vintage, it is IKEA. Lots of people I know like IKEA, too. And if they know I will be going to IKEA, they either ask to go along or beg that I purchase something for them while I’m there. Really, this is only one person I know – my dear mom. Lately it’s been some knives she’s been asking for. But I wanted to gift them to her for Christmas, so she couldn’t know that I was going to IKEA until she had the knives unwrapped and in front of her, or else I would never hear the end of it.

To make a long story short, Rob and I gifted each other an improved living room for Christmas, a good portion of which came from IKEA. We feel all grown up now. With a coffee table and everything.

I don’t have great pictures yet, but following are some of the items we purchased to make our living room that much more liveable.

image courtesy of

The CB2 Fresca console table. To be placed behind our sofa with our walnut lamps at either end. We like it because it is sleek and simple and the perfect height to pony up a couple of barstools next to for any more Super Bowl parties we are forced to host. Kidding on the square.

image courtesy of

One of the many Besta units from IKEA. I’ve had my eye on this for over a year, which is quite a while considering we’ve only been in this house for just about 16 months. We were thinking either 3 or 4 of these units placed side-by-side. I originally wanted the shelves exposed as shown above, but Rob talked me into adding doors and I’m glad he did.

image courtesy of

The Strind coffee table from IKEA. This is the only coffee table that has come close to the style and price I was looking for. We almost didn’t grab this table because I wasn’t completely convinced it was what I wanted. I’m glad I did, though. It makes a huge difference in the way we use our living room.

Check back for pictures of the living room. I’ll be taking them as soon as I get some good daylight going on.

July 27, 2010

Fireplace, Pt. 1

The fireplace has always been a huge question mark at the House on Penny Lane.

(picture from a couple weeks ago while camping in the living room)

The first time I saw the house, I decided I did not like the fireplace. For months after buying the house, I was certain it would be completely painted over and no one could convince me otherwise.

(Image courtesy of Nibs)

Unfortunately, some people did. When it comes to design advice, there are few I look up to more than my dad. When I asked him for his thoughts on the fireplace, I was surprised to hear him say he liked the look of the natural stone. And then I was perplexed. Luckily, I found this image that brought together both painting the fireplace and leaving it natural.

(Image courtesy of

The idea is to paint the grout white while leaving the stone bare, hoping the combination would tie the fireplace to the rest of the room. Here is the above room’s before state.

(Image courtesy of

Now I’m pondering, should I attempt to build a fireplace “case” to get that ugly look out of my before picture? The tricky thing is not only attempting to build the case, but to design it so that we can build it. Ugh. Maybe I’m getting over my head.

In any case, I need to figure out some sort of solution before the cats figure out a 5th way of getting inside the firebox.

Any suggestions? Personal favorite ideas?

January 4, 2010

I Need More Green.

It’s obvious from my previous inspiration posts (here and here) that I have a lot of ideas.  The most challenging thing is keeping those ideas organized. has been great for corralling items or images that I find online.  There, I can create lists that can be divided into sections.  In my ‘Home Reno’ list, for example, I organize my items by room or, more specifically, by item like window treatments or lighting, when too many options become available.  Kaboodle is great when I want to remember ideas, but it doesn’t allow me to visualize my ideas working together.

Over at one of my most frequented blogs,, they have regularly put together a thing called a mood board.  A mood board is a collage of items and furniture for a room or area that allows the viewer to get a better idea for how those items will work together.  I’ve created my own mood board, both to clarify my design intentions to you, the reader, and for my own benefit and amusement.  The mood board has definitely helped me to hone in on what items will best achieve the look I’m going for.  The mood board I’ll be posting today is for the living room, but I hope to compile boards for the rest of the house once my ideas have settled a bit.

One of the most important items for the living room, paint, has gone unnumbered, but that doesn’t mean you can’t see it.  I plan on painting all of the walls in the living room white.  Which white has yet to be decided, but you don’t want to be bored with that, right?

1.  I’d like to replace the current beige carpet with dark wood.  My dad said it best when he described the affect of a dark floor as receading, making the space feel larger and allowing the furnishings to contrast against it.

2.  I haven’t picked out a specific rug, but I know I’d like it to be light, textured and large, to fit my large living room.

3.  The Ikea Kramfors sofa.  One of the two items shown that I actually have.  I’ve debated getting a new sofa, thinking something in a fabric would go best with my dream #5, but I don’t know how I could part with the Kramfors. It’s large enough to seat 3 people, or more if you include the extra wide arms as seating.  The wide arms and back also double as side tables and a console table for drinks (coasters, though, please!), remotes, laptops, books, etc.  It has held up remarkably well to the cats and can be spillt on and wiped up incredibly easy.  I love my Kramfors.

4.  I am most excited about this item.  Pictured is a stool from ikea, but I have gone through several different options for a coffee table/ottoman.  This is one of the most attractive and cheapest options, but at 23″, it could be larger.  I may be able to remedy this by buying a few and scattering or stacking them in front of the sofa.

5.  Ok, so #5 is pretty exciting, too.  I have always wanted an Eames Lounge.  My dad had one when I was growing up and so did Frasier.  Who wouldn’t want one?  I worried that it would be leather overload when paired with the leather sofa, but I think with the tan color and matte (with time) finish, it will work.  Rob and I hope to be able to buy the lounge chair for either our 3rd (leather) or 5th (wood) anniversary.  It’s looking as though it will be our 5th…

6.  This is another item that has been difficult to pin down.  I’m wanting a slipper chair that’s not too boxy, with light, textured, fabric upholstery.

7.  White, sleek, sculptural side tables will contrast well with the low, textured #4 ottoman.

8.  A wood slat bench behind the sofa will bring in a different texture, more seating, and more surfaces for placing lighting, books and the like.

9.  Several of these bookcases placed end to end will create a nice built-in look for the TV, all of its components, and whatever else I feel like storing.

10.  The second of the two items I actually own, this floor lamp has a nice, big drum shade with a light texture, good light output and cute pull-style switch.

11.  A glass, fillable table lamp is a great way to bring in extra texture by filling it with items like pine cones, coffee beans, and starfish.

12.  I find drapes to be surprisingly easier to manage with cats than blinds.  Blinds enevitably get pulled up 18″ to allow the cats to look outside. If they’re not, I’ll be woken up at 3 am to a cat slamming the blinds against a window in attempt to get behind them.  That, or the cats will just chew through them.  We had a Polly shaped hole in the plastic blinds at our old place.  Plus, drapes let in a lot more light when opened, absorb sound and soften the aesthetics in the room.

13 & 14.  It took me a while to decide on an accent color, but I think green is it.  It will go with whatever plants I bring in, be cohesive with whatever season we’re in, and the kitchen accent is already green, so it’s an easy decision.

15.  It looks like a mirror, but it’s actually an aluminum tray for the ottoman.  It will make the surface of the ottoman more stable for setting food and drinks on.

16.  Yes, a big, sculptural floor plant.  I don’t know where it’s going to go, but it will look great and bring some much needed nature into the room.

So there you have it.  My living room mood board.