When moving into our new home last December, I was lucky enough to have a blank canvas to work with. Originally designed as a lounge diner with a separate downstairs study room, I was clear in my vision to keep the main living area as spacious and open plan as possible, to accommodate us as a family. With three growing children, things can quickly feel crowded, so I wanted to maximise the downstairs space, creating a contemporary yet welcoming and cosy environment for us all to enjoy while converting the downstairs study into a boutique dining room.
My previous home had been a beautiful Edwardian double fronted detached property that had great potential but needed a lot of work to make it into the dream house. Although my attraction had always been for this style of character property in the past, the appeal of having a new house in a prime location, that I could put my stamp on and that came with a NHBC 10 year guarantee, turned out to be too good an opportunity to turn down. With bags of curb appeal and close to my children’s school, it turned out to be the perfect house choice for us and after an arduous selling and buying process, it was with great relief to receive the keys!
BEFORE AND AFTER
(Slide Handles To See!)
Some of the furniture in my old house just wasn’t right for the new one as much of it reflected the period property I was in. So rather than try and make it fit, I chose to sell or leave behind what the buyer wanted to take and worked on creating a whole new contemporary style that complimented the new house instead. I chose low maintenance click flooring throughout the downstairs in a rich colour to contrast with the white walls and bring warmth to the space. My white leather 3 seater Karlstad sofa from IKEA got a makeover with new chrome legs to replace the rather battered wooden ones and having sold my dark brown leather sofa, I bought another larger white IKEA sofa to match the other but this time with a chaise for extra seating space.
Lighting and Home Automation
Having managed to get the radiator moved from the centre of the room to underneath the window before moving in, we were then able to place the TV in the centre of the feature wall. We wanted to create some cosy mood lighting in the room so added a colour changing Philips Hue LED strip under the floating TV unit, adding a string of Moroccan ball lights to sit on top and some colour changing Philips Hue lightbulbs for the wall lights. All of the lighting in the room has been programmed to be controlled by our Amazon Echo (Alexa) too so with one command we can have the lighting set exactly as we like. You can even set up routines such as ‘Watch a movie’. Alexa will then turn on the TV and set the Sky box to movie channels, turn on the sound bar and setting it to cinema mode, whilst at the same time setting the mood lighting in the room ready for you to watch the film of your choice! This is all possible thanks to connecting the Amazon Echo to a Logitec Harmony Hub which controls connected lights, locks and thermostats as well as replacing most home entertainment remotes. As we have a sound bar Alexa can connect to, we chose the Amazon Echo dot for the living room as don’t need to rely on the larger Echo speaker for sound quality when playing music from our Spotify account. In order to create a tidy look to the living room, all of the cabling was concealed in the TV unit and wall.
I bought a cosy cream shaggy Calvin Klein rug from The Rug Warehouse to add softness and comfort to the floor. Although many of you may be screaming out about the practicality of a rug this colour with children, the good news is it is surprisingly practical, due to its non-shedding quality and stain resistant finish, making it easy to live!
We have been lucky enough to travel to some amazing places over the last couple of years, meaning as photographers, we have been able to capture some memorable photographs to turn into wall art. Our trip to New York this year led to this documentary image of Times Square at night, taken from the back seat of a yellow taxi! I love the colour and detail that for me really captures the essence of our experience there. We chose a wall product from our pro lab Loxley Colour’s, acrylic gallery range. This is a metallic gloss print with a 4mm acrylic face mount which makes for razor sharp image display.
I decided on yellow as my accent colour for the cushions complimented with grey velvet and cream faux fur to add a touch of luxury to the soft furnishings. The yellow 45 cm Topsy and Evelyn cushions and the Regency grey velvet 60 cm cushions were all purchased from Habitat. The 60 cm cream faux fur cushions were from The Sofa Throw Company.
I wanted to create a relaxing reading area that filled the space on this side of the room so opted for a large bean bag that matched the colour of the sofas, while bringing the room together with the cushions. I actually bought this beanbag a few years ago for newborn posing but as I no longer do this style of photography it made the perfect accessory for our living room instead! Made of faux leather, it is really easy to look after too and measures 40 inches in diameter. The small side table was bought a few years ago from Home Sense, the mirror is from The Range and the lamp is still currently available online at BHS.
I have always loved the look of the studio lighting from the golden era of Hollywood so chose a tripod floor lamp from Made.com as wanted a statement piece with an iconic feel to give the room a creative look. I completed the look with a dimmable filament bulb.
While I love having fresh flowers in the house, I also love having all year round artificial floral displays that bring a feminine touch to any room without the hassle and upkeep of weekly change overs to deal with. Before I added these two vases of flowers to the living room, it felt like it was missing a touch of elegance, so I chose a mixed selection of white flowers from my local garden centre and placed in a tall glass vase finished with glass pebbles. I also added another vase to the window ledge and a jug to sit on the floor next to the floating TV unit to balance out the candle lantern.
One of the things I love most about our main living space is that that it is flooded with natural light thanks to the large window and bi-fold patio doors that can be drawn back during the warmer months to really bring the outside in. In order to maximise the light and space we chose white ‘Perfect Fit’ Venetian blinds that fit neatly onto the door glass and window and again maximising the contemporary feel of the room….
Join me next week when I will be showing how we turned a small space into a modern boutique dining room!