Design quandary

img_0056

This gives you some vague idea of what my living room looks like and also what I’m up against in terms of storage, or the lack thereof.

The room is pretty square, about 5 meters by 5 meters, maybe 6×6, I’m not sure. The ceiling height is up there, more than 3 meters. So you walk in through a door placed in the center of the wall. To the right is a window in the center of that wall. Straight ahead and to the left are blank walls. As is befitting a proper reception room, it is axial and formal. So I have a couple of concerns about how to deal with this room, how respect its character while also respecting mine.

ikea-bookshelf-easy-living-29aug13_pr_bt_639x426

You see, this is how I live. Nice stuff but books everywhere and what a mess. I even use duvets, so I don’t really have to make the bed. Not that there will be a bed in the front room but you get the idea. Super-casual, a cleaning lady’s nightmare.

I have to figure out how to furnish this room and where to put all that stuff, especially all those books. Do I even want books and DVDs and all — yes, I still like DVDs — in what passes for a public room? Would I rather have them upstairs, where I am more likely to actually use them?

oliver-pilcher-house-3oct14_pr_b_426x639

One option is to say, yes, bookshelves everywhere. I like the way these shelves turn the corner. Stuff display can be a little difficult and having these corner shelves is a nice way to handle it. The furniture would have to be away from the shelves but it’s a big room; that’s not really a problem. I love the fixed positioning of these shelves but for me, that could be a problem.

credit-to-daniel-farmer_el_5oct12_pr_bt_190x190 My original plan was to make this a media room: thus the darkish walls. I don’t do the kind of entertaining that requires a formal living room. Even at my housewarming, at which I think I was the only non-French person, everyone crammed into the kitchen, around the kitchen island. They had a great time, that being where all the food and drink were to be found. So there is no social pressure; I can do what I like with the room.  But I like watching TV upstairs. Do I need two TV setups? When did need come into it?

Anyway, if I do that, and if I do shelves, I’ll need a niche. How many niches? What size? TVs are only getting bigger and they never seem too big. Should I go for something more flexible?

real-homes-6-easy-living-19dec13-paul-massey_bt_426x639_1 I had been thinking I would put shelves on the blank walls, ahead and to the left. But what if I put them on the wall with the doors? My floor plan is actually quite similar to this. With the doors open you look into the kitchen, which has a stove directly ahead and openings to either side. Great minds…

This idea is a real contender. The books have a home without dominating the room. The furniture can be placed such that no one has their back to the door and the circulation is not blocked. The TV can go on the wall opposite the door with pictures, mirrors, who knows what, all around it. I’m not sure how I’ll work the wiring but overall it’s not a bad plan.

2805830-house-15jan16_sharyncairns_b_639x426

Maybe I should put books on all the walls, with generous openings for paintings, the TV, etc. Nah, probably not.

2873374-house-21jun16-simon-upton_bt_190x190 Maybe I should forget about built-ins, give myself the flexibility of furniture. The room needs a formal treatment, though. I can’t just run to Habitat or see if one of my local sources has reclaimed shop shelving or something. That works for me but not for the house. Furniture or built-in, I may be stuck with something made to measure.

I am used to living in small spaces, as tightly organized as a sailboat. This large space thing is great, no complaints, but it does have its own challenges. In a small house, those shelves would go on the wall with the door, no question. That space to either side of the doors is effectively lost; what better way to make use of it? But I don’t know. I’ll have to kick it around.