7th House on the Left

Since we’ve been focusing so much on the kitchen over the last few months, the living room has found itself on the back burner. Even so, we’ve managed to make a few changes here and there gearing up for even bigger changes down the road. Here’s what the living room looked like a few months ago…

We took the chair next to the fire place and put it in the guest room and gave the floor lamp to my mom. It looks really good in my parents’ master bedroom! We also filled up the TV unit with more books and accessories. We took out the pillows that came with the sofa and added three new colorful throw pillows. With all of those little changes, here’s what the living room is looking like today…

No, we didn’t paint. This photo was taken with natural light (as it should be!). Everything still looks rather sparse – maybe even more sparse than before. But we really have made some small improvements, and sometimes you’ve got to take some things away before you can move closer to where you’re going.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been trying to think of ways to bring in more white to the living room to tie in with the white kitchen. An easy first step: accessories. I picked up this little gal from Cold Harbor Antique Mall (an awesome place I showed you guys in this post). It reminds me of something my great grandma had at her house in Indiana, so it was an easy buy. Plus, it was only seven bucks. Score! I’ll have to be sure to fill it with some Werther’s Original next time my grandparents come to town. Those are my grandpa’s favorite!

Even though we’re still waiting to get a new sofa and love seat, I was tired of the lack of color and decided to pick up a few throw pillows from Target. My favorite of the three is the red Ikat pillow. I love the coral-ish red color – or what I’ve been calling, “Design Sponge red“. I’m still trying to decide if the brown pillow looks more tribal or mid-century. I think I’m just torn because there’s not much else to tie in with it at the moment. So, in the mean time, I’m going with mid-century. Eventually, I want to have a fun, eclectic collection of pillows that look like they go together but are completely different.

1. We hung this mirror over the fireplace as a temporary solution for hanging something up there. The grand scheme plan is to install a reclaimed wood mantle – which will tie in with #3.
2. Here, we want to find a new accent chair along with some wall art. When it comes to the wall art, we’re thinking about maybe hanging a large, framed vintage movie poster (maybe one from this oldie post). It will make a statement and be a great chance to show some of our personalities. I’m gunning for either the French Bringing Up Baby poster and switching it out for White Christmas around the holidays.
3. I have a big, big crush on reclaimed wood coffee tables. I want to buy one, Greg wants to build one. I’m not sure who’s going to end up winning out on that one, but either way, we’re both hoping one or the other will make its way into the living room some point in the near future.
4. A new sofa and love seat!! Oh my goodness, how I am anxious cross this off the list! The beige fabric sticks out like a sore thumb against the gray walls. These pieces feel like a speed bump on the road to the style we’re hoping for. Luckily, we have a good idea of what we want (more on that here).
5. Since the living room is so open to the dining area and kitchen, a rug would be nice to define the living area. I came across THE rug at Home Good and, stupid me, let it slip through my fingers. Don’t you hate it when that happens? I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it just means there’s something better down the road.
6. More and more pillows. Like I mentioned earlier, once we get the new sofa and love seat, I’m dying to put together a fun, random, anything goes concoction of throw pillows.

Whew… I think that’s about it… for now! Have any of you undergone any recent living room updates? Have a crush on reclaimed coffee tables too?

By the way… As I mentioned yesterday, TONIGHT Greg and I will be hosting Wayfair.com‘s live #HomemakerHappyHr Twitter chat from 8-9PM EST. We’ll be talking about his + her decorating and answering live questions. Plus! Every 10 minutes throughout the hour, they’ll be giving away a $25 Wayfair gift card! He hope you guys will join in on the fun! It will be nice to see some familiar “faces” ; ) See you there!!

Also! Check out our guest post over on the Wayfair blog!  Be sure to weigh in on your co-decorating stories and tips!

We have a love-hate relationship with the couch and loveseat in the living room. They were perfect for our first place, but now, the beige fabric sticks out like a sore thumb against the gray walls and feels like a speed bump on the road to the style we’re hoping to accomplish one day. It’s also starting to look kinda saggy here and there – though that can probably be easily fixed with new cushion inserts. Hmm… I’m putting that on the to-do list as I type! On the love side of the love-hate relationship, the comfy, lounge-like, perfect-for-movie-nights depth is at the top of the list. We also like the height of the back – not too high, not too low – perfect for a sofa table.

Since the living room is open to the kitchen, we want to wait until the kitchen is done before we make any big living room furniture purchases. Btw, speaking of the kitchen… we are overdue for a kitchen update and we promise one will be coming your way asap, but heads up: you haven’t missed much. At this point, we don’t even know if having a loveseat will leave enough of a walk-space between the future kitchen peninsula and the loveseat.

With all of this in mind, we’ve been casually keeping our eyes open for “the one”. So think of this post as kind of like when you aren’t planning on having kids anytime soon, but you’re already thinking of baby names. Please don’t tell me I’m the only one that’s crazy like that… Anyone?

As for the criteria for “the one”, here’s what we’re looking for:

  • A square-ish design (no rounded arms)
  • Available in colors other than beige
  • Pull-out sleeper sofa isn’t a necessity, but a plus
  • Around 34″ to 36″ high
  • Between 42″ and 47″ deep
  • Comfy… yet tailored.
  • Sturdy and will hold it’s shape

We currently have five favorites – which all, for the most part, fit the criteria. As for the fabric choice, we’ll cross the “fabric bridge” when we come to it. Here are the contenders…

First up, we have the Comfort Square Upholstered Sofa from Pottery Barn. It looks similar to what we have now (all of the contenders do, actually) but a little less contemporary and more classic – which we really like! Also, it comes in 80 (Eighty!!) fabric choices and is available in a sleeper sofa version as well. As far as the cons go, I’m slightly concerned about it holding its shape over time. I’ve heard that Pottery Barn sofas start to look “baggy” after some use. I’m not sure if this is actually the case, though. We’ve never purchased any upholstered furniture from PB; only “hard” pieces (which we’ve been more than happy with!). So, if we decide this is “the one”, we’ll definitely look into that before purchasing.

Next up, we have Ethan Allen’s Monterey Sofa. This has been a favorite of mine ever since they came out with it a few years ago (see the full photo here). In case we do have room for a loveseat, and want to go with a matching one, this style is also available in a loveseat version. Though it is an extra cost, I like the button tufting on the back cushions. I’m not sure if the skirt is a little too traditional for our house, but at Ethan Allen, everything is custom, so I’m sure that can be taken away if we didn’t like it.

Ahh, Pottery Barn’s Stewart Sofa. Ever since I noticed this new addition on the Pottery Barn website a few weeks ago, I’ve been kind of obsessed with it. It’s deep, the perfect height, looks comfy, comes in a bunch of fabric options, and has a distinct, tailored look to it. It also has coordinating (but not too matchy-matchy) chairs.

Then we have the Petrie Sofa from Crate and Barrel. Okay, so this one is a little more on the modern side of things but I’m pretty sure we can cozy it up with pillows, a rug, and such. As far as comfort, we’ve sat on it inside the store and surprisingly enough, it was a lot more comfortable than it looks. And it’s called “Petrie”… being huge Dick Van Dyke Show fans, it almost seems destined to be in our house! I’m sure Rob and Laura would approve.

Last, but certainly not least, is one that Greg and I both whole-heartily agree on: Restoration Hardware’s Easton Upholstered Sectional. Okay, so we might not have room for a sectional, but it comes in a sofa version too! It comes in two depths (“Classic” and “Luxe”) and a bazillion fabric choices. You can’t really tell in the photo, but it also has antiqued brass nail head trim. This sofa had us at “hello”.

So that’s where we are at when it comes to living room furniture. Do you “shop” for furniture way in advance? Please tell me I’m not crazy, ha ha…

PS We’re going to be doing a Facebook-only giveaway next week, so if you aren’t a fan already, go “like” us on Facebook!

Oh, and by the way… we just noticed that tomorrow is our 1-year blogiversary! How crazy is that?! Time has FLOWN by!

THEY’RE EVERYWHERE!

posted by Ashley  /  12 Comments

…dog toys, that is. If you’re a dog owner like us, you probably have dog toys strewn around the house. Bentley likes to scatter his toys around the house (most commonly up and down the hallway and hidden in the couch cushions), but he always seems to know where each one is – especially when it comes to his tennis ball, Kraft Ruff Parmesan toy, and Rufus (his BFF). If I say, “Go get Rufus!”, he scampers as fast as he can, slipping and sliding on the hardwood floors as he goes, and promptly returns proudly wagging his tail with Rufus in his mouth.

dog toys

You may remember a few weeks ago I mentioned I was on the hunt for accessories at an antique mall in the area (read that post here). I was also looking out for a vintage crate to use as a toy box for our little ball of energetic, toy-loving fur. I found a lot of crates, but they were all much to large for our 10-pound dog.

Last week, a friend of mine was driving down from northern Virginia and stopped at an antique store on her way back into town. While she was there, she found a small, vintage crate that she thought would be perfect for Bentley. She gave me a call and asked if I wanted her to pick it up for me and I, without hesitation, said, “Yes!” After all, if it ended up being too big (or to small) for Bentley’s toys, I could always find another use for it. As far as I’m concerned, you can never have too many vintage crates around the house.

It was perfect! Exactly what I was looking for and the perfect size for his small toy collection. Dfusefinitely worth the $15.

The side of the crate has a partial label that says “…aum’s Horse and Stock Company”. Some of the label has come off over time, but the rest of it is pretty secure, despite what it looks like in the photos. After doing some investigative Googling, I found that it is actually a vintage advertising veterinary box from Baum’s Castorine Co. of Syracuse, New York and once held 10 pounds of food. What kind of food, I’m not really sure – though I assume it was for some sort of farm livestock. The company was founded in 1879, so there’s no telling how old this thing is!

I love the “rusticness” (Hey… dictionary.com says it’s a word!) of the wood. Even though the crate is small, it makes me even more anxious to find a piece of reclaimed wood for the mantle we have planned for over the fire place (read more about our thoughts on that here) and  that coffee table I wish we would have snapped up!

FYI For some reason the floors look more red than they actually are in person in the above and below photos. I think it’s the light bulbs in the living room. Ugh! Moving on… Bentley is a big fan of the new addition as well. It’s the perfect size for him at 6″ high, 11″ wide, and  7.5″ deep. He can get toys in and out (Yes, he actually puts toys “away” from time to time!) without choking himself in the process.

Speaking of “vintagesness” (That one’s not even on dictionary.com), the other day, I ended up going back to the antique mall to buy the brass bunny I stalked in this post. Our backyard seems to be the local hangout for the neighborhood rabbits, so it’s going to make a fun conversation piece.

Our new little buddy is solid brass and I was able to snatch him up for only $12. (Thanks for not running out and buying him before I got back to the antique mall!) Like all of the accessories in the house, he’ll probably end up a few places before finding the perfect final spot. But for now, he’s hanging out on the table behind the couch.

How about your house? Are the dog toys taking over? Does your dog have a particularly favorite toy like Bentley?

Oh yeah! Tonight’s the night… the season fanalie of HGTV’s Design Star. Have you been watching this season? Who do you think will walk away with their own show? Meg or Karl?