Tag Archive | fireplace

Shutdown Fail

We are in desperate need of some cheer around here. The shutdown and the rain together make for a gloomy environment. Early this morning, I braved the elements and dragged back a load of dry firewood from the shed. The goal was simple: to warm up and drive the rain out.

In the process, I caused billows of smoke to pour out of the chimney, set off every smoke detector in the house, and made a desperate phone call to my neighbor: “How do you open this darn flue again?” Funny, I don’t have any pictures of this part.

And it was only 8 o’clock in the morning.

We hung in there as I listened to my niece chant, “Firetruck!” over and over again, which caused me to glance shiftily around thinking they were going to pull up at any moment. I was making up random excuses to tell the firemen as to why I was wearing pajamas and a raincoat, still bra-less and playing with matches all at the same time.

Yet, I still managed to find joy in this first fire of the season.

First fire of the season.

First fire of the season.

For most people, having a fire in the fireplace requires only the flick of a switch, but I ask you, “where is the adventure in that?” This fire did just the trick, and it was awesome.

© copyright 2013 Mariam d’Eustachio at Simply Turquoise.

The Evolution of a Living Room

After only eight months, the living room is now in its fourth configuration. The most recent arrangement looks so natural and feels just right, that I cannot believe it took so long to get it this way.

The floors were sanded and redone and a fresh coat of paint spruced up the bricks, ceiling and walls.

In configuration #1, the sofas were placed across from one another, adding to the symmetry of the room. The glass coffee table felt spacious and open, but was quickly replaced, to reduce the risk of concussion to the baby’s head. It also hides away a ton of toys, doing double-duty.

Configuration #1

Configuration #1.Configuration #1.

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Then, I threw in the blue found chairs.

Configuration #2.

Found chairs.

Found chairs.

Configuration #3.

As winter settled in, I wanted to draw up to the fireplace, so I changed the arrangement again. The sofas were in an L-shape, with the blue chairs under the windows. This felt cozy and friendly for fires and conversation. However, it cut off the room and made it feel small.

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Our living room is a “working room.” There is no family room nearby that gets all of the actual use. We use this living room for conversation, fires, fort-building, wine-drinking, reading and games. It gets a hard work-out.

Configuration #4.

Configuration #4.

In configuration #4, I have put the sofas back across from one another. Still keeping them close to the fireplace, I have placed the blue chairs directly across from it. This arrangement opens up the room, keeps the conversation area intact, and allows extra space for the traffic to flow easily through the room. The ottoman, which seemed overly large before, now fits perfectly, and is turned 90 degrees. It still holds a ton of toys.

Configuration #4.

Configuration #4.

A simple change like this can freshen a room. My room now feels summery and new; not just because I had to face-down all of the dog hair that was gathering life under the sofa. Rearranging the furniture is a quick pick-me-up for a tired room.

Better traffic flow.

Better traffic flow.

Give it a try! Push the sofas around, hang some art, and then send me pictures! Or better yet, invite me for coffee or wine, to admire the changes in person. Or, just let me know what you did in the comments section of this post. You will be surprised with the results, and you will not have to spend a dime.

© copyright Mariam d’Eustachio 2013.

“itty bitty living space”

The living room in this house is a challenge. It was one of the reasons I hesitated about buying the house. It has an awesome amount of character packed into a room that only measures 13 x 13. To quote Genie from Disney’s Aladdin, “PHENOMINAL COSMIC POWERS! …itty bitty living space”. That pretty much sums up how I feel about this living room.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfTfXLLJlzM

Living Room: before.

Living Room: Before.

However, there are advantages. Think cozy and cottage and curled up with a book by the fire. Considering I grew up in a house with about 900 square feet in all, I can hardly complain. There is plenty of room for chatting and coffee and I have a few tricks up my sleeve as well. Maybe not cosmic powers like Genie, but still pretty good.

Living Room: After.

Living Room: After.

I painted the fireplace wall and bricks white for a punch of contrast and to help unify that wall. I also painted the brass around the fireplace surround black, to make it look less busy. The color on the walls is in the cool family, a trick to help them recede and not seem too close.

The coffee table is glass. This is important. It does not occupy any visual space, which helps the room seem less cluttered. I played around with some other options, but the glass table was perfect.

Living Room.

Living Room.

My crazy sis came and helped me unpack and when I realized she had reorganized the books by color, I suggested that perhaps subject might be a better way to organize the books. But she was right. The colors looked great. We had only minimal grumbling and eye-rolling from Stuart over this one and a suggested debate: Form or Function?

Stuart and I are too tired chasing the baby and unpacking to debate at all, so I win.

Extra seating tucked away.

Extra seating tucked away.

I have two ottomans tucked away next to the sofa for emergency extra seating. Very handy!

I hung my black and white photographs going up the stairwell to accent the farthest wall in the room. This helps create the illusion that the stairwell is just inside my living room, and helps it seem bigger. It also draws attention to the beauty of the staircase, which is a nice feature.

Staircase.

Staircase.

Staircase Wall with Black and White Photographs.

Staircase Wall with Black and White Photographs.

The room is not entirely done yet. I still need to hang curtains or wooden shutters over the windows that face the street. I want to install a runner going up the stairs and I am sure that the room will continue to evolve over time. But right now, it seems perfect. Mostly because it isn’t full of boxes.

 © copyright 2012 Mariam d’Eustachio.