Creating a Happy, Colorful, Handmade Home & life on the shores of lake superior

June 14, 2016

Rearranging the Living Room with Our Modern White Leather Sectional

The sectional sofa we ordered back in March was delivered and the living room looks completely different now!   I rambled on in this post about how we wanted to start capitalizing on our view of Lake Superior.  The furniture placement wasn't thought out for the space because we just moved everything from the townhouse living room and plonked it down.  The sofa faced away from the window and although the setup was nice for watching movies with the fireplace roaring, it wasn't inviting for just sitting around, chatting or reading - and you couldn't see the lake very well from the living room.  One day we'll renovate the fireplace and put the television above it (maybe hidden behind art?), but for now we disassembled our old Besta unit, bought prettier "greyed walnut" Ikea legs, and shoved it in the corner to make room for the combined 20 feet of lounge space our new, modern leather sectional offers.

Ta Da!

Canadian Lake House Living Room Tour
Lakehouse Living Room: Cream Leather Sofa, Black Fireplace, MCM Accents

Even though we added way more seating, somehow the room feels airier and more spacious to me because the windows are now largely unobstructed.  As well, instead of a hodgepodge of furniture (the velvet chair, the mint chair, three teak tables, mismatched sofa and dark ottoman, wall unit, plant stand), we have a more streamlined furniture arrangement: big cream sofa with matching ottoman, accent chair, pair of end tables with matching lamps, and the TV stand.  It's simpler!  We had to move the teal velvet chair to my office, but I kept the Mingo chair and positioned it with one of the teak tables beside the television.  Once again, I'm blocking windows with furniture, but you can still easily see the lake around the delicate frame of the mint chair and it just feels a little more balanced.  With just a naked row of windows, the living room felt lopsided, but my biggest motivator is that I have literally nowhere else to put my favorite chair in this small home.  It has to live there - or someone else's living room (cue the sad trombone). 

Two of our three teak side tables stayed, as did my beloved blue Lotte lamps (I bought a pair of Canadian-made linen pillow covers that are an exact match!).  I'm not convinced that I like the scale of the teak table with the Mingo, so we might be swapping it out, but I don't want to build/buy anything until this layout has gelled a little.  Besides, I'm too busy loading up the sofa with an abundance of throw pillows, wheeeeeeeeee.

Mint Mingo Chair
Blue Lotte Lamp in MCM Inspired Living Room
Tour a Modern Living Room with TV in the Corner
Look at how insanely long this sofa is...
Fireplace Painted Dark Grey with Rock Collection on Display
Yngve Ekstrom Mingo Chair Reupholstered in Mint Fabric

Living Room Before and Afters:

Here's a reminder of the living room when we bought the lakehouse:


Here's a comparison of our old arrangement with how the room looks now:

Lake House Living Room
Before
Lake House on Lake Superior Decorated in Blues and Greens
Now
Wall of Windows
Before
Lake House Living Room with Vaulted Ceiling and Wall of Windows
Now
Triple Bubble Fixture Light from Modernica
Before
MCM Teak Dining Table with Modern Teal Tweed Chairs
Now
Choosing the colour for our sofa was tricky.  I considered many different leather samples, including a beautiful caramel (not pictured), a metallic silver (so expensive), a really worn, bitter chocolate (too rustic), a forest green (what was I thinking?), and a blindingly bright white (not pictured).

Leather Samples

In the end, I really waffled between a couple of grey leather swatches (one matched the fireplace perfectly, the other was a medium grey) and a creamy white.  I kept thinking grey would be practical, but everyone I polled voted white.  My friend Ashley said it best: "in a lakehouse, with no kids, go with the white - it's perfect".

I'm so thrilled with the light leather.  It's what we'd grown accustomed to with our old sofa (although this sofa is a much lighter/brighter shade) and I think that with a sofa this ginormous, a grey or caramel leather would have looked too heavy.

From the sample though, I couldn't tell how creamy the leather would be and I was shocked when it arrived - certain we'd been sold the wrong colour.  It felt too yellow when it was unwrapped on the deck, with the sun beating down on it.  But once we hung the artwork and added the throw pillows, I immediately appreciated its softness.  A white leather as bright as our walls might have looked too stark and cold, especially with my cool color palette.  The creamy white has a natural feel and plays well with Hubby's Grandpa's paintings (I moved the creamy diptych from my office, although it used to hang in the townhouse living room).

Lake House Living Room Decorated in Turquoise and Blue
Marimekko Luminara Pillows with Blue and Aqua
Bright White and Turquoise Living Room

This sofa is manufactured in Canada, which makes me happy.  I love the chunky arms (there was an option for narrower arms, but I think these look more modern).  I sit on the edge when I'm on the phone; it's a peaceful place to perch and take in the view.  The sofa is too comfy for things like that, because I tend to fall asleep, curled up in the corner ("my" spot), within minutes.

We had the choice of "walnut," "espresso," or "chrome" legs and we chose the walnut:

Full Grown Komondor with Short Hair

As an added bonus, we finally replaced our disintegrating ottoman!  We bought the matching storage ottoman, and it's every bit as awesome as I hoped.  I've wanted a new ottoman forever and I'm so happy we kept putting it off. 

White Leather Storage Ottoman

Unfortunately, we think the sofa was dropped during shipping because the arm by the fireplace is really pushed out and wonky.  We're still waiting to hear back on a replacement/repair, but hopefully that doesn't create a headache.

Modern Canadian Lake House Living Room in Blue, Turquoise and Mint Colour Palette
Bright and Modern Lake House Decor

I lowered the exposure a lot so you could see the view outside the living room window.  Having the sofa against the window was a real shame, because this is the view we were obscuring:


I've been watching the sunset from the sofa every night and it's a beautiful way to end the day.


Once I've done a little more tinkering with the room, I'll share a tour of the whole living/dining/kitchen space. You can see I'm still working, because in some photos the McCoy planter on the hearth is empty, but in others it has my new eucalyptus planted.  I'm sure I'll be fussing with things all week.

In between naps.

I've been asked by many readers to create a page where I list everything in the lakehouse - a "shop the look" kind of idea, but that's so tricky because a lot of what I buy is vintage, on clearance, or custom-made.  I am slowly putting together a list, going room by room, searching for alternatives that closely resemble my best finds.   In the meantime, here are some links for the living room, with similar items if I couldn't track down links for the exact pieces.

GET THE LOOK:



SOURCES:
Triple Bubble Light Fixture with Three Saucer Pendants - Modernica
Teak Dining Table - Vintage (this round West Elm table is similar but this rectangular walnut table from West Elm is more spacious)
Blue Tweed Dining Chairs - HomeSense (the "Sabrina," the "Tufted Hourglass," and the "Savafieh" are similar)
TV Stand - Ikea (Besta Cabinet with Grey Walnut Legs)
Case Study Planter - Modernica
Turquoise Velvet Pillows - Ikea (here's a similar aqua velvet pillow, Made in USA)
Blue Tweed Pillows - Sears
Patterned Throw Pillows - Marimekko
Turquoise Planters - Vintage, McCoy (I'm swooning for this turquoise bullet planter, and this aqua ceramic planter on solid wood legs from West Elm is just as stunning!)
Blue Lamps - Vintage Lotte, still produced today (see here for a really affordable aqua lamp with a similar vibe and here for really cool, coastal modern lamp)
Mint Chair - Vintage (see here for a cute MCM-style mint accent chair and here for a gorgeous turquoise MCM arm chair)
Leather Sofa and Ottoman - Barewood Furniture (local furniture store)
Krenit Bowl - Vintage (see here for modern reproduction in turquoise!)
Modern White Ceiling Fan - Kichler Ferron (can't find it in white anymore, but there is a polished nickel)
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31 comments

  1. OMG THAT VIEW!!!!
    What were you thinking putting a sofa against those windows? (And I know perfectly well how that goes, because I lived in my flat for four (4!) years before I realised the furniture in the living room was placed all wrong for me. But that simply was how the movers had put the furniture in when I moved in, and I never actually thought about whether I liked it or not, or whether it even was working for how I used the room (spoiler: it didn't).
    The sectional looks great, as does the whole room, and I hope you'll be able to sort the arm out without much bother.

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    1. I know, right? I clearly wasn't in my right mind! I just blindly put my furniture the same way it had been before, because we planned on getting a vintage sectional I bought reupholstered and rearranging then, but that never happened and months turned into years until one day I snapped out of it, lol.
      Happy to hear your living room situation was sorted out too. Hopefully you're loving your flat even more these days!

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  2. This looks AMAZINGGGGGG!!!

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  3. I love the room even more! So crisp-clean, modern and still cozy!

    Amy in MN

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    1. Thanks Amy! I am so glad you say that it looks modern AND cozy, because that's definitely the vibe I want. I love crisp spaces but also want to keep my home inviting and welcoming. I'm a homebody and love spending time here.

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    2. Me too---such a homebody---ha. I joined a gym recently, so besides getting there for wkouts and running errands. I'm pretty much at home:) Enjoying deck time since it's only warm for so long in Minnesota-ha!

      Amy

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    3. I hear you! Anytime it's nice outside I drop what I'm doing and try to enjoy it. Pretty soon the days will be getting shorter again, blah. I was in Grand Marais and Beaver Bay MN for my birthday on the weekend and it was so HOT, everyone was dashing outside in sleeveless tops and sunscreen. The ice cream stand had a line a mile long, lol.

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  4. Love it! And 'yay' for Canadian-made! The couch looks great and it's wonderful that now you can fully appreciate that AMAZING view! WOW!

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    1. Thanks Elaine! I was so thrilled to be able to find a Canadian-made sofa - I am hoping the quality will be there. It's definitely comfy, that's for sure!

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  5. This looks great! I love that last picture of your view. The couch looks amazing. Have you thought about mounting the TV up in that corner?

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    1. Thanks Haley! My only concern is about where to put the stuff that goes with the TV. Inside the cabinet is a mess of wires and stuff, plus there's the PVR and the DVD player. That cabinet hides a lot! I have, however, been eyeing up some cabinets where the TV is stored inside when it's not in use, which would be a cleaner look, but they're super expensive.

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  6. I love corner sofas although I never had one! I love your new sofa and am glad that you look towards the lake now. What a pity to be missing such view in order to look at TV up to now.AriadnefromGreece!

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    1. I know, right? For the first while we lived here, we were so busy renovating and painting that, to be honest, it was pitch black by the time we finally sat on the sofa to catch our breath. We enjoyed the view from the dining table during dinner, but didn't have enough time to lounge in the living room and watch the lake. These days, we're working on relaxing more, so we're using the living room differently.

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  7. Oh my GOODNESS! I always thought your living room was beautiful...
    but, wow!

    I love, love, love the sectional and I love the detail on the back, facing the dining room. Just looks so inviting and cozy! Yay!

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    1. Thanks so much, Alex! I had planned to put a sofa table and the lamps behind the sofa, but once it was in place I loved looking at it, so I separated the lamps and nixed the sofa table idea. Loved crossing that off my to-do list, lol (#cheating).

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  8. That view is priceless! Are you a "fuss until things look right" type of person like me?

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    1. Definitely! We're the same in that regard, for sure. I will continue fussing with this living room until we move, lol. In 100 years. I'm a very slow person, though, when it comes to changing things, but everything is always in a state of flux.

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  9. Your new sectional looks perfect there, I have a very similar one in chocolate brown leather and it's great for facing both ways for conversation or in your case to face that stunning view! You've done such a great job from the before to the after it looks amazing :)

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    1. Sectional sofas are great, aren't they? My parents briefly had one but it was returned because it started to sag. I think I must have really loved it because since then I've always thought sofas are the epitome of comfort, but I haven't lived in a space big enough for one until now! I've definitely realized my sofa goals now, haha.
      So happy to hear you love yours! Chocolate brown leather is so classic!

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  10. This is gorgeous Tanya! I think the color looks bright and feels light. I can't imagine how good it must feek to lounge on that baby with THAT view.THAT VIEW!!! You have added SO much more seating, yet it feels airy! Can't wait to see more pics. I have to go look at your view now , bye ! :)

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    1. Thank you so much!! I am definitely feeling incredibly chill these days. I love that we can finally capitalize on the view! Too bad you can't stop by for a visit and see it in person :)

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  11. This looks so freaking good! That view is AMAZING. I think I would just live in that room hahaha.

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    1. Thanks Patty! The funny thing is that since we got the sofa, we've been so busy we've barely sat in it! I think it will see a lot more bum time come winter.

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  12. Love the black & white contrast and the pop of colour! It's actually what I'm trying to do with my current redesign project. After seeing that bubble lamp I've also noticed that I have a thing for light fixtures lately ;D It will be a true challenge to choose only one or two

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    1. That is always the challenge: choosing what to spend on, and where to save (or go without). The bubble lamp was a fabulous purchase - I love mine and it makes the room! I am really happy with that decision.

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  13. Wow...Tanja, I like the fabulous lakeview....I wanna come to have an cup of coffee...:-)
    what a change...the color you have picked is perfekt...bright...nice :-)

    Regards from Germany

    Liebe Grüße Astrid

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    1. Thank you! Wouldn't it be fun to do a house swap? Hubby would never go for it, but it would be a great way to see the world.

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  14. Looks great!! I like how the tv blends into the fireplace, I bet there is a lot less glare from the sun in this location too. I also love how you are using your pottery for actual plants now, they really liven up the space.

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    1. The TV definitely has less glare - it was so bad before! We avoided watching any TV before the sun went down. I am loving using my pottery - although it's not always the best for plants because a lot of the bug McCoy pots don't have drainage. Fingers cross it's okay!

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    2. As long as you put some rocks in the bottom or something to drain the water away from the soil and it's not a super sensitive plant to water, like a succulent, or you don't over water, then they should be fine

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