Archive for the ‘Living Room’ Category

Things have been very busy lately, and not just because a certain company I cover at my day job just went public to the tune of $12.76 billion. The weekend was a whirlwind of planning, shopping, cleaning and organizing. Here are the highlights:

On Saturday morning, we met with an interior decorator. The consultation was a housewarming gift from our realtor, who works with this designer on getting homes ready for sale. I was SO EXCITED about discussing furniture and colors with a professional. In fact, when she asked me to drop her an e-mail about what kinds of styles I like etc., I may or may not have written her a 520-word manifesto declaring my love for mustard yellow.

In my fantasy world, Sarah Richardson and Tommy Smythe would have dropped by with hot cocoa and some fabric swatches. (Actually, in my fantasy world, my friend Victor and I have our own HGTV show where we go shopping, gossip and do craft projects. But that’s neither here nor there.) Anne, the interior designer who spent two hours with us on Saturday, does not have a show on cable. But she was extremely friendly, knowledgeable and encouraging. And she had some great tips.

For starters, she showed us how to improve the placement of our rugs. I don’t really have before photos, so this is kind of a stupid exercise, but here’s how our guest room rug looks after we rotated it 90 degrees per Anne’s advice. (Also note the new sleeper sofa, which almost did not fit up the stairs. That’s a story for a different day. And that’s the highly recommended Thanksgiving 2011 issue of Cooking Light on the sofa.)

For Alec’s office, Anne recommended a seagrass or other kind of thin rug that his chair could easily roll over. We went to Pier One that afternoon to look at dining room chairs and ended up buying this rug, which was the right thickness (or thinness, in this case) and in the right neutral tones. Plus we had a 20% off coupon!

Anne also helped us with rug placement in the master bedroom, where the furniture configuration is a little trickier. (This rug is from Overstock and seems to pill a little bit, but it’s in a low-traffic area so I think it will be OK.)

And finally, we moved the new living room rug to make a little space between it and the fireplace. (This photo does not illustrate this at all; just use your imagination!) This rug was our first-ever purchase from One King’s Lane, a flash sale site for designer home goods. It took almost a month to get here, and I’m convinced it only got shipped at all because I e-mailed the customer service department. We do love the rug, though, and Anne complimented it too.

Anne’s other big task was suggesting colors for the rooms we want to paint. We haven’t had a chance to pick up chips yet, so I’ll save that discussion for a different post.

After Anne left, we visited Pier One and some other stores for miscellaneous things, then drove down to Joliet to visit a carpenter who makes rustic dining room tables. I had found him on Craigslist and he gets rave reviews on Yelp, so I was convinced we’d be ordering a table from him. We ultimately decided against it, for reasons I’ll explain in a later post after we get our dining room table, but he had beautiful tables and was super nice.

On our way home, we stopped at a newish Oak Park restaurant for dinner. Service got off to an iffy start, but we liked the food and we’ll be back. Alec had a proscuitto and butternut squash flatbread, and I had a flatbread with olives, eggplant and Parmesan. The stand-outs, though, were the butternut squash soup and apple crostata. Look how pretty the soup was!

On Sunday, we did boring but necessary chores like raking the leaves and cleaning the house. We also saw one of Alec’s heroes, Nicholas Meyer, speak at the Chicago Humanities Festival and got sushi at a restaurant where we had a restaurant.com certificate.

I’d like to say life is going to slow down now, but I think it’s just going to get busier as the holidays approach. This week, we’re planning to hit up the paint store and World Market (to look at dining room chairs), see some out-of-town friends who are visiting and drop in on the Vintage Bazaar. More updates to come!


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We moved! To be precise, we moved four days ago, but I was too tired and busy to document the process any sooner than this. The move was super smooth, thanks to the crack team of guys we hired – and my saintly parents, who arrived at the new house shortly after we did with toolbox and cleaning supplies in tow. First we admired the refinished floors:

After a few days of unpacking and organizing, we got a couple rooms in order. First was the kitchen, where my parents helpfully wiped down all the cabinets so we could unpack dishes. Our previous apartment had a massive pantry where we had stored a terrifying amount of stuff (seriously, we looked like a couple of hoarders) and I was worried about fitting everything into a closet-less kitchen. But we even had storage room left over – which means I can fill it up with seasonal dishware. Because I love seasonal dishware! (But that’s another post.)

Elsewhere on the ground floor, we spiffed up the living room. Coincidentally, the previous owners had the same couch in a different color, so we knew ours would fit nicely. I’d like to get some additional seating for this room, maybe an occasional chair to go where that purple nightstand is now, and we’ve ordered a new wooden coffee table to replace the transparent guy you see below. But this is looking good for now:

We also organized the master bedroom so we wouldn’t have to sleep on top of a pile of boxes. This is probably the cleanest it will ever be:

The other rooms need a little more work. Like this one, which will eventually be my office:

But all in good time! After all, settling in slowly is part of the fun.

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