I have news that I couldn’t wait to share with you, but first – a warning: I’m about to make the lakehouse living room a little less attractive, in the name of actually living in it more enjoyably.
Hubby and I have always tried to find that perfect balance (for us) between form and function when it comes to decorating our home. We’ve picked a cushy sofa over a better looking, firmer model (is it just me, or do some of the best looking sofas look hard as rocks?). We’ve found ourselves eschewing the modern wood dining chairs I love, in favor of something incredibly derriere-friendly. Even our most polarizing choice – open shelving in the kitchen – was made in pursuit of eking out more storage. Of course, “function” is highly subjective and what feels practical for one family might be an absolute nightmare for another (I always wonder about the inconvenient television placement in design magazines: the homes where no chair in any room actually faces the TV)!
Hubby and I spend a lot of time thinking about how we live in our spaces and what we want from our home. This slows down our decorating process a lot but we really want to maximize every space. This small house stumps us sometimes because every room needs to work double or triple duty.
But we have finally committed to some big changes in the living room and they’re directed by our new life by the lake.
When we bought the lakehouse, I immediately envisioned the fireplace painted charcoal grey (check!) with the television mounted above it and a mid-century modern sectional facing the new TV/fireplace and the lake. I wanted to be able to see the fireplace during our TV binge watching sessions (read: winter hibernation), but also be able to sit, chill and just look at the lake. I pictured us reading and sipping tea, watching the otters skitter across the ice in the winter and using the binoculars to people bird watch in the summer. I’m making us sound like the laziest people on the planet, but I’m not shamed of loving downtime. There’s something about living lakeside that makes people really chill…
Despite this vision for our new lake life, after the house became ours we moved in all of our old furniture from the townhouse – our secondhand sofa, our splitting at the seams tufted ottoman, our beloved Ikea Besta wall unit, plus my pretties: the minty chair and velvet chair I had recovered – and faced all of the furniture away from the lake, toward the television. With these pieces, we also moved a mid-century modern sectional I bought on impulse the day before we moved (this one – it’s since been recovered!). Although I love it and it fit the plan, we hesitated getting it recovered and so it languished in the garage. Although Hubby initially like it, he eventually longed for something a little more cushy.
We were really lucky that our old furniture fit quite nicely in the living room of our new home because we didn’t need to spend any money right away, plus I liked how it looked. I stole some tables and lamps from my Mom and then it came together really well. But it bothered me that the sofa obscured our beautiful view. I couldn’t really figure out another floor plan though, without completely tearing down the fireplace wall, rebuilding it with room for a television, and then putting into place my dream living room layout.
This winter I decided that I couldn’t wait for the “someday” when we’ll re-do the fireplace to take advantage of our view. I started sketching floor plan options and thinking seriously about how to re-work the living room. Actually, no room was safe from a potential re-design! I even wondered if it might not be a good idea to ditch the fauxdenza, put banquette seating and the dining table in that nook, and then a pair of cushy reading chairs where the dining room table is now, but that seemed kind of awkward.
Ultimately we realized that the television above the fireplace is the best layout for the living room but we don’t want to rush into that project so we crafted a transitional plan: buy the huge sectional sofa we want so that we can face the lake and then move the television into the corner (to the left of the fireplace) for now, while we plan and save for a fireplace re-do. It’s kind of what the former owners did, although we won’t be shoving the TV quite so far into the corner. Along the way, Hubby definitively vetoed the mid-century sofa, which I think was the right decision because we ended up going with something larger:
The part against the wall (where the TV is now) will be almost 12 feet so we can totally relax and see the lake – with nothing block the view. The other part of the sectional, nearly 8 feet in length, will face the fireplace. We will have tons of seating space to chill and hang out (or nap…), with most of the seating facing either the lake or fireplace – but we can still see the television perfectly!
I cannot wait.
We rearranged our existing furniture one night to create a mock up and it was amazing how much brighter and bigger the living rooms felt when there wasn’t a hulking sofa in front of the window! I figured that with so many windows, it wouldn’t really make much of a difference, but it does.
This new layout means that, for now, the living room has lost some of its “show quality”: the fireplace symmetry will be obscured, the television will no longer hide out in our stylish Besta unit (I am going to miss that beachy glass background), and one of my pretties (the velvet chair) is getting the boot and moving into a reading nook I’m carving out in the office. My McCoy pottery collection will soon be displaced as well, but these are small sacrifices.
So that’s my incredibly long-winded, meandering explanation for why we’ve ditched the plans to recover the MCM sectional I lugged 1600km, ordered the largest sectional I’ve ever seen, and are shoving the television into the corner: the living room is now all about the lake view…
And, to counteract our slothfulness, we’ve decided to move forward with plans for the office, too, but now they involve a treadmill so we can keep moving, even in the dead of winter when all we want to do is burrito under some blankets and binge watch The Walking Dead.
We have to wait 8-10 weeks for our new sofa to arrive so that’s giving us some time to sell our cream leather sofa and the mid-century beauty I’ve hoarded for two years (UPDATE: see the before/after of the mcm sofa in its new home here). We’re going to take apart and hack the Besta for a budget-friendly stand-in for now while we figure out plans for building custom TV stand. We’re also dreaming up ideas for a sofa table for the Lotte lamps (the local lumber yard keeps tempting me with solid walnut).