Valley House Tour: The Living Room

Just on the other side of the foyer, through the archway that we're tearing down, is the living room.

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The room is long and sort of makes the furniture placement awkward, especially for TV-watching. But I love the high, beamed ceilings and I think eventually the fireplace will be a really pretty focal point in the room... (more after the jump)

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The way the room's currently set up, the tv (and the cables) to go on a console at the east end of the room. I feel like this set up doesn't really work though. Either a sofa would have to sit right in the middle of the traffic flow (the door to the kitchen is smack dab in the middle of the opposite, west wall), or you'd have to put a sofa against the south wall as the previous owners had it here.

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But this way you're sitting about twenty feet away from the tv and having to majorly turn your head to the right and squint to watch a show.

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So we're going to mount the tv to the fireplace after framing out the faux rock and tearing out the hearth. We've already starting working on that (since the hearth needs to be gone for the new floors) and I'm getting really excited about how this room is going to look. :)

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To the right of the fireplace is this sort of funny nook situation.

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I'm not sure what its purpose was originally, but I like the idea of having a little window seat in the room. We have plans to add shelving in the open space and make it a little reading nook for the girls.

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We might also put a small door in on this side of the opening to house all of the tv components. We'll use a sensor to operate the tv remotely, but it will still be nice to have the components handy.

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Now I just need to round up fireplace inspiration photos. Have you seen anything really cool? We're going to take the firebox all the way to the floor and I want the surround and the mantel to be relatively simple and modern so I can go crazy with the other elements in the room. I have this vision of a concrete mantel that I *think* I could maybe make myself if I could figure out the right mold to use.

So, planned changes to the living room:

New wood floors (working on those now! what an adventure I have to share with you there!)
Walls, ceiling and beams painted
Close in the high cut out about the entry
Raise the entry - adding an arch with chunky trim
Frame out fireplace with wood paneling or just drywall and reconfigure the firebox
Figure out a really special mantel that will also help protect the tv from heat
Add shelving and a cushion to reading nook in window
Long storage piece along east wall for DVDs and VCR tapes (yup- still have and love them) :)
Eventually skim coat the walls to remove the texture (this is one of only a few rooms that the previous owner didn't skim coat)
New ceiling fan and wall sconces

43 comments:

eddielicious said...

I'm confused.... Is the furniture in all these pictures yours? or did the sellers leave all that stuff? I mean princess bed and big TV are one thing but some of the other furniture pieces/wall decor do not look like your style at all.

eddielicious said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pinspot said...

I am enjoying your house tour so much that I actually had a dream that my husband and I were helping you move (along with the rest of the Elders Quorum.). The whole time I was thinking, maybe she'll be my friend and will solve all my decorating dilemmas! Dreaming about a blogger- that was a first for me. Totally weird. And yet, I'm not too proud to admit it!

Elisa @ What the Vita said...

The ceiling and beams is perfect, its a dream of mine to have a ceiling like that! This is one of my favorite fireplaces, done by Emily Henderson: http://pinterest.com/pin/97179304431888467/

Alex said...

Hello Jenny! I love love love your blog and been following for a long time. I actually print out some of the pictures from your previous homes as decorating inspiration.
I have to beg of you, though, PLEASE do not put the TV about the sofa. I don't think there is a design element that I despise more than tv's above a fireplace. It's going to take away everything that's wonderful about the fireplace AND it will be the first thing people see when they walk in the living room. Ok, other than that....you can do no wrong! :-)

Austin Angel said...

I'm loving that window up there. The fireplace stone is dark, and that glass door needs to come off, IMO. A floor level hearth and a big screen in front of the opening would be very cozy.

I don't know about the stone. I like stone, but that is kind of dark. The stone trim around the opening is so architectural. I guess it doesn't matter- you will make it fabulous whatever you do!

I have fond memories of our fireplace as a child. Floor level hearth, brick, a screen, of course, because that's all they had back then.

I have a cast concrete surround and it is nice and bright, weighty, but not too heavy because of the color. So I think you can go light and substantial if you wanted.

~Pam

Rachael said...

I have nothing constructive to say except that I so love the journey you are taking us on with this new house, and appreciate all the thoughtful posts despite what I imagine is a crazy busy and stressful time for you. I'm completely overwhelmed just looking at the photos so I am so happy you have a plan of action and a seemingly endless supply of energy and design acumen!

Hayley said...

I am so excited about all the updates you're making on this house - I am dying to see all your amazing furniture and style happen in these rooms!!!

C a i t l i n said...

I agree with Alex. A TV over a fireplace is just wrong, period. You're so creative....there has got to be another solution.

rachel herring said...

I LOVE the TV over the fireplace plan. I try so hard to get my parents to convert to this idea in our lake house and in my "growing up" house. Most people don't understand that with a fireplace in one spot and a TV in another creates two focal points. It's so unbalanced in my design mind, and I'm so glad you're going to do it! Please share how/if you're going to hide the cords with that stone fireplace! LOVE your direction with the new house!

Jenny at LGN said...

Eddielicious - These photos were taken before the seller moved out her staging furniture. She left behind some of the things (a lot of the plants and wall hangings), but you're right that most of it is not my style. Still waiting for our stuff to arrive from NY! :)

Jenny at LGN said...

Pinspot -Let's hang!! Any time :) xo

Jenny at LGN said...

Alex and Caitlin - I know. I'm pretty bummed about having to put the tv over the fireplace too. There is truly no other solution though. (Really - I've gone over it and over it). My only consolation is that this room's purpose is really just for watching tv and hanging out. It's not a formal room that you see right when you walk in. (I'm hoping the library will act as that special space - not a tv in sight in there!). I think we can make it work. :)

Jenny at LGN said...

Rachel - We're actually going to frame out the stone either in paneled wood or with drywall. I'm not a fan of the faux stone :/ We're going to do a pretty herringbone patterned brick in the firebox though and I think it will be really nice when we're all done. Excited!

kstyle said...

Hi Jenny,
I see the dilemma with this room and the T.V. situation. The only thing is be careful not to hang it too high as some friends did recently. They literally have to carne their necks upwards to watch and it's just not working. Here is a link from houzz. I like the way they have kept the T.V. the same scale as the fireplace and mounted in such away that they really do blend together. It's a pretty contemporary and clean look I think.
http://www.houzz.com/photos/170469/Woodvalley-House---Interiors-contemporary-living-room-baltimore good luck with your remodel. Im sure its going to look fantastic, k

Jenny @ Simcoe Street said...

You must be in heaven in your new house -- so much potential in every room (and nook!). Love it all.

Jaime said...

People are cracking me up with there comments! Geesh! Looks like you are having a blast! Great job and so fun to check up on the progress. I have a brick fireplace and desperately want to help her. I'm sure you'll give inspiration.

jackie jade said...

ahhh i can't wait to see. our living room is much smaller, but a similar setup of a long room with a fireplace in the middle of one of the walls. we mounted our tv too and it works great!
-- jackie @ jade and oak

Andrea said...

What are your plans for the two story wall space. I've always lived in older homes with none of these problems. I am curious to see what you will do!

Amber Wills said...

We are building and are going for the no hearth, modern fireplace look too. I think it's a great decision! Can't wait to see how your fireplace/room transforms! A concrete mantel is pretty genius, so I'm really excited for that!

annie hearts said...

I've been checking in every day since you got the new house. I only recently found you on Apartment Homies.

Love your blog and your style!

Annie XO

Vanessa B. said...

I absolutely love this house. My folks live in the Valley and your house has so much more character than many I have seen there.

I have never commented before but love your blog. I have to say I was slightly annoyed to see someone tell you it was 100% wrong to put your TV over the fireplace. It's decorating, not heart surgery. Nothing is "wrong" or a "mistake" when doing what makes sense and appeals to you in your own home. Sheesh.

thedomesticbarbarian said...

Jenny! I am so EXCITED to see how you tackle the living room - the condo that we purchased in May has so many of the same issues you are dealing with, and I feel like you are machete-chopping a pathway through the jungle for me. So, thanks! I am going to attempt skim coating our textured walls, re-doing our fireplace and mantel, and someday re-doing the floors. Without your expertise, I would be lost and losing the wrestling match with the giant jungle snake of 80's architectural decisions.
Chop on!

Unknown said...

I agree with some of the other comments. The TV really should not be over the fireplace. Your guests will walk in the front door and it will be the first thing anyone sees.
How about putting the TV opposite the fireplace? Will that work?

Ashley said...

Jenny I love your blog and your style so much! We just bought a new house at the same time you did so it is fun to follow the things you're doing. My big dilemma is that The first thing you see when you open the front door is the mantle flanked by big windows. My first thought is there will not be a TV about that mantle! But that is the main living room of the house right next to the kitchen and the area I want to spend a lot of time. There is not another good spot in the room for the TV because of all the windows. I have decided to put a TV there because it is important to me to be able to use my house and have my kids around me using the house as well. I want the room to be pretty but I live there so it has to work for me and my family. It is more important to me to create a space where my kids will be close to me rather than creating a fancy focal point to impress the few visitors that come to my home. However I still want to make it look as classy and pretty as possible! I am trying to figure out creative ways to do this and will be excited to see what you do. If anyone can make it look fantastic it's you!

Ashley said...

Jenny I love your blog and your style so much! We just bought a new house at the same time you did so it is fun to follow the things you're doing. My big dilemma is that The first thing you see when you open the front door is the mantle flanked by big windows. My first thought is there will not be a TV about that mantle! But that is the main living room of the house right next to the kitchen and the area I want to spend a lot of time. There is not another good spot in the room for the TV because of all the windows. I have decided to put a TV there because it is important to me to be able to use my house and have my kids around me using the house as well. I want the room to be pretty but I live there so it has to work for me and my family. It is more important to me to create a space where my kids will be close to me rather than creating a fancy focal point to impress the few visitors that come to my home. However I still want to make it look as classy and pretty as possible! I am trying to figure out creative ways to do this and will be excited to see what you do. If anyone can make it look fantastic it's you!

Melissa.S said...

YoungHouseLove redid the fireplace at their previous home, and I liked the results. not sure if it would work for your inspiration at all, but it popped into mind: http://www.younghouselove.com/2013/03/fireplace-makeover-stick-a-fork-in-it/

colleen said...

Hi,
http://www.designmanifest.com/inspiration/retrofitting-a-fireplace-what-style-is-for-you/

fourth picture down looks so much like the lines of your room to me, fifth picture down is my favorite( symmetry) but probably not so doable in this space.

Love what you are doing... complete agreement re: the reality of placing the television on the fireplace wall- this is a very challenging room! I find this concept brings up very strong feelings.(my hubby is adamantly opposed to doing this wheneve it is suggested in our home!)... not surprised that the comments reflect this!Admire your energy... may i borrow some?

colleen said...

Hi,
http://www.designmanifest.com/inspiration/retrofitting-a-fireplace-what-style-is-for-you/

fourth picture down looks so much like the lines of your room to me, fifth picture down is my favorite( symmetry) but probably not so doable in this space.

Love what you are doing... complete agreement re: the reality of placing the television on the fireplace wall- this is a very challenging room! I find this concept brings up very strong feelings.(my hubby is adamantly opposed to doing this wheneve it is suggested in our home!)... not surprised that the comments reflect this!Admire your energy... may i borrow some?

Hilary Dow Ward said...

My husband and I just bought an new house and moved in 4 weeks ago. The big searching point was a space that could accommodate our 2 grand pianos. Having a den was also a necessity because we have a strict no tv near the pianos sort of rule...and what do you know, the house we bought had a tv built into the wall in the huge room for the pianos...ARGH. TVs are simply taking over...yuck!

Meg said...

I know you said neutral on the fireplace but I just love this fireplace here: http://pinterest.com/pin/190206784233446358/

Also, when you said concrete it make me think of the carved stone mantle in this picture from pinterest here:http://pinterest.com/pin/190206784234053626/

You might be able to make a mold out of that pink foam insulation. Just a thought.

I'm excited to see what you do!

Meagan Claire said...

Oh psh - nothing wrong with a TV over the fireplace. It seems to be a ridiculously debated topic. Like, classical music snobs.

Kackie said...

Love your blog and agree with you that TV must go over the fireplace in some rooms. When done right, they disappear. Know you will pull it off and although I often put form before function, this is one place where I think you have to put function first AND know you will have plenty oG good form

Nicole Michelle Centers said...

LOVE that rug!

Nicole
www.eleganceandclutter.com

D+I+A said...


I'm excited to see how you deal with the challenges of the new house--partly for selfish reasons, as we're looking to buy soon.

Thanks for letting us follow you on your journey!

Austin Angel said...

I've been looking at the family room, and I don't know if you can, or even want to do this, but you could move the doorway. Maybe have access to the family room from the front room instead of straight off the entry, and just put up a wall in that opening while you're putting up the drywall for that big square hole, er, I meant architectural detail (ahem).

I'm used to living with the family room at the back, many homes here have the family room at the back of the house. Can't wait to see whatever you guys do.

Just thought I'd toss that out there!

~Pam

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Natalie A said...

Here is a great, modern looking surround. This immediately came to mind for you, Jenny. We are going to do something similar with out outside fireplace (instead of cast stone, the contractor will have the stucco scored to imitate this with a stone-like faux finish. I wish cast stone was an option for us, but it is too $$$.
http://pinterest.com/pin/34973334578645645/

Natalie A said...

with "our", not out

anna.r.halpern@gmail.com said...

Jenny I love all of your plans for the house! Am so excited to see everything as it comes along. Here are a few of my favorite fire places:

http://nordicbliss.co.uk/blog/2012/02/beautiful-apartment-in-oslo/

http://pinterest.com/pin/313844667751958789/

http://pinterest.com/pin/313844667751886005/

http://pinterest.com/pin/313844667752620605/

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kstyle said...

Was just browsing Desire to Inspire blog and saw this gorgeous surround. Love the glass tile and painted wood combination. Just gorgeous, k
http://www.desiretoinspire.net/blog/2013/7/12/connecting.html

Maria at inredningsvis said...

I LOVE your posts:) and I always leave your blog with a big smile.

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LOVE Maria from inredningsvis.se
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