Archive for the 'Living Room' Category
This is what our landing strip in the front entryway used to look like:
And from the other angle:
And this is how she rolls today:
I change the photos in the frames whenever I feel the whim, and I add new postcards and bits and pieces as I collect them
Some things are hung properly, with picture hooks. Others are just stuck to the wall with washi tape (Japanese masking tape, bought from places like this).
I love walking past the wall, seeing pictures of the people I love, mementos from places we’ve visited.
I also have my calendar there: it’s central to everything in the house, so it’s easy enough to jot things down or check where I’m supposed to be. Also a clipboard to keep receipts or things that I need to grab as I’m on my way out.
And it’s a nice little welcome when we walk in the door after being out.
When we were doing the renovations to the Box, polished concrete floors weren’t that common (our builders had never done them before, and it took some research to find someone relatively local who could make it work).
Most polished concrete floors are actually a thin layer of concrete poured over the existing floor (often with colour, dye or other effects mixed into it). But ours is quite unique (we’re so special).
Our concrete floors are the actual original slab of the house, complete with faults, chips and oil stains (you can see where the previous owners used to park their cars). New sections were added where it was necessary to reinforce the structure, or to cut into the slab to insert plumbing and pipes and the kitchen island bench.
The guy who did the actual polishing commented on the aggregate (the little tiny stones embedded in the cement to make it stronger), saying that it was rare these days to get aggregate that looked like that (we think it was poured in the 1950′s).
But how does it wear as a floor? Well, we love it. It’s easy to keep clean (just vaccuum, mop with warm soapy water, occasionally it needs a coat of protecting sealant). I never worry about spilling anything on it, since it doesn’t stain and everything just wipes off. It’s especially awesome with kids. We have the concrete floors across the whole bottom storey of the Box – kitchen, dining and living areas.
In summer, it’s cool to walk on, and keeps the temperature of the house just lovely. We rarely have to use the air conditioner in summer (upstairs where we have carpeted it’s a different story). But we truly believe the concrete keeps the overall temperature of the Box down.
In winter, it’s quite cold. We do need to put the heaters on, and it takes a while to heat up the concrete (I would say a few days). Once the concrete has warmed up a bit, and as long as you don’t let it get too cold again, you’re pretty right. But we have needed to buy a few rugs to cover as much of the floor area as possible (we take these rugs up in summer).
It also doesn’t help that one whole wall of the downstairs living area is floor to ceiling glass bi-fold doors. Well, again, it’s great in summer when we can open up the whole house to let the beautiful cool breezes flow through the whole Box. But it sucks in winter (as the warm air escapes straight through the glass). So we have curtains to pull across in winter to add some insulation.
If we had the funds, there are things we could easily do to increase the heat-efficiency of the Box (like double glazed windows). But overall, we love our polished concrete floors, and we would definitely have them in any future house.
(See what we wrote about our concrete flooring during the actual reno process here).1 comment
We have a new chair! Well, it’s an old chair, but it’s new to us. Our lovely friends, the Fox’s, were cleaning out some furniture that they no longer needed and graciously gave us this beauty.
I had joked to them previously that if they were ever thinking of getting rid of it, I would be more than thrilled to take it off their hands. I didn’t actually think they were going to do it.
At first I assumed I would want to recover it in a fabric that more closely matches our current home decor. But several people have commented that they quite like it’s current state. I think we will live with it for a while and see how we feel.
It’s in amazing condition, and very comfortable to sit in. And I think it’s very pretty. Still working out where it’s going to live, but we think it will go where the big black and white rocker currently is (the rocker might go upstairs).1 comment
I am notorious for having stacks of magazines piled around the house.
I love to pull out a stack every now and then, and flip through them to get a regular dose of inspiration. It’s really just an excuse to look at pretty things.
So far the Widg has been pretty good with “no touching” the ones within his reach. Considering he quite enjoys tearing paper.
However, a lot of my inspiration these days is online. I follow a lot of blogs – everything from interiors and decorating, photography and typography, to sewing and crafts. But how do you “store” the images you find online, so that you can peruse them again and again when the mood strikes? I have gone through various phases of bookmarking, even saving the links onto a google doc. Now, finally, some interwebby genius has come up with the answer. Pinterest. And it’s not just for fancy-pants home decorating ideas. You can pin anything to your boards, whatever you are interested in. For example, if you were interested in collecting rare and unique spoons, well, you could pin pictures of them to your boards. You could have different boards for different types of spoons. A board for wooden spoons, one for ladles, one for teaspoons.
I’m finding it very useful. There’s more information about it here (and they explain it better than me).
When the Widg was just a wee fella (ok, so he’s still wee, but slightly chubbier wee. I’ll stop talking about wee.) When the Widg was younger, he didn’t really require much stuff, in terms of entertainment. Pretty much the ceiling was incredibly entertaining for him for days on end. So his collection of toys and related objects was as you see below – an activity playmat, a rocker and a small basket of toys. Since there wasn’t much to it, it was pretty easy to keep it all neat and tidy and out of the way.
Now that he’s much more advanced (ok, so he can sit up by himself) he is able to play with a lot more stuff. Below is what his little play area looks like now: 3 baskets of toys, plus the overflow. He also has a few small boxes of toys in his bedroom, but lots of them are too old for him yet, and I try to rotate the toys every few weeks, so he isn’t playing with the same things over and over. And also so that he doesn’t have 400 toys that he plays with all at once.
I find that giving him just 3 or 4 at a time is plenty to keep him entertained and interested, without getting too overstimulated or frustrated. I find he is better able to focus for longer periods of time with a smaller amount of toys, and isn’t bouncing his attention all over the place every 5 seconds. Some of these toys are a little bit old for him yet, but he enjoys chewing on them, or banging them. He likes the different textures and sounds. He actually went for a whole week where his favourite toy was a mixing bowl.
This is his basket of books (below) that I also rotate a few books in and out of every few weeks – he has quite the library upstairs. It’s a bit difficult reading to him at the moment, as he much prefers chewing the books than sitting quietly and listening to me reading or looking at the pictures. I have even tried giving him one book to chew on while I read him another book. But no, the one I am holding always seems tastier.
I assume he’ll get better at reading as he gets older. Otherwise school could be difficult.1 comment
We have 2 Lack shelves at the Box, and we have made very good use of them over the years. We started out with one above the TV in the old lounge room upstairs (before the reno) that housed our small-but-rapidly-growing DVD collection. When said DVD collection grew bigger than the shelf, we bought another one and mounted it above the first one. It was a great look, and I had the DVD’s alphabetised and everything. Very cool.
Then we renovated the house and relocated the lounge room downstairs. We again mounted the 2 Lack’s above the TV on the new wall with their accompanying DVD’s. It worked fine until the DVD’s outgrew the 2 shelves. We thought it would be a bit ridiculous to buy a 3rd shelf (and mounting it above the top one would mean they would be too high for me to reach). So we brainstormed storage ideas. I measured up the Malm 6 drawer chest and worked out that it would easily house our burgeoning DVD collection and allow room for plenty of growth (see more about that tale here). DVD storage problem solved.
Then I decided I wanted a landing strip (see more about that fascinating tale here). And I realised that a Lack shelf would be the perfect solution. So the lovely husband made it happen. We moved one of the Lack’s around the corner to the front entryway, and left the other one above the TV to be a display shelf.
So now I have a lovely spot for bits and pieces like vases, pretty books and my ever-present stack of magazines (not sure where this came from, but I have them all over the house).
And because it’s above the TV, it’s in the perfect spot for sitting on the couch and staring at my pretties during ad breaks of Gilmore Girls.
There used to be 2 Lack shelves above our TV, and these were a home for our extensive DVD collection. However, our DVD collection outgrew the Lack shelves, so we needed to find them a new home.
For a while, the DVD’s lived in the Billy’s, but this was very messy and drove me slightly bonkers. I was also, at this time, thinking of ideas for the landing strip. So my solution was this: find a chest of drawers or sideboard of some kind to house the DVD’s, move one of the Lack’s to the front entrance hall to become the landing strip, and leave the other Lack above the TV for decorative items and such. Genius, I know.
So I put the trusty husband to work, and a short time later, voila! I give you… Single Lack Above The TV:
And presenting her friend, Malm 6 Drawer Chest, otherwise known as Sideboard:
Within the mysterious depths of Sideboard live our DVD’s. If we are very quiet, we may be able to have a peek…
Don’t they look pretty? In all seriousness, I did actually do my research before deciding on the Malm 6 drawer for this space (have I ever made a decision without doing extensive research first? Probably not). You know we are already fans of the clean lines and unapologetic simplicity of the Malm, so it was already top of my list. I measured up the space to make sure it would fit, and I also worked out how many DVD’s it would comfortably house (picture me taking piles of DVD’s up to our Malm’s in the bedroom, sorting them in various configurations into a drawer, then doing the maths to calculate how many would fit into 6 drawers). I figured out we could fit all of our DVD’s, plus have 2 drawers spare to allow for more in the future. And I knew it would look great in the space. It was a no brainer.
Plus, it gives me another surface to “merchandise” my pretty things, like various vases, bowls, ornaments and stacks of magazines.
And yes, the DVD’s are alphabetised. I have a sickness, I know.5 comments
Any fan of Ikea knows who Billy is. It’s their standard, inexpensive bookcase.
And we have many Billy’s at the Box. They are a great size for storage as they are quite shallow and don’t take up a lot of valuable floor space. They also have handy height extenders so that you can make the bookshelves go all the way up to the ceiling (depending on your ceiling height of course).
We have 2 Billy’s in the lounge room. They house books, odds and ends, vases and magazines.
We have a wall of Billy’s in the office/study/spare bedroom. They house books, stationery, art supplies, work equipment and random odds and ends. For example, all of those white Kassett boxes are full of things like extension cords and power boards, small tools and craft supplies.
The contents of our Billy’s are regularly rearranged depending on what we need to store, what we are using on a regular basis, and how bored I am. Rearranging bookshelves is actually a great way to scratch your “need to redecorate” itch without actually buying new stuff. Plus it means you go through your belongings every now and then and assess whether you need to get rid of or replace anything.5 comments