Window Seat Planning: Step 2

In every plan we create for a new project or built-in, there are many options, with changes, tweaks, and revisions along the way.  It’s fun to think and/or draw up different ideas and other possibilities, even if they aren’t used in the end.  Planning the living room window seat is no different; I’ve drawn up several designs of seat and shelf combos, all with variations on measurements.  I’ll share more about the evolution later, including my drawings to show the process.

Depending on the window seat plan and dimensions, the furniture arrangement needs change, too.  Initially, I was torn between a 24 inch and 30 inch seat depth.  Twenty four inches isn’t a tiny seat, but it also isn’t the wide, curl up and relax oversized area a 30 inch deep seat would be.  Adding another 6 inches would cramp a furniture plan with the couch directly in front of the tv, fortunately, we have other options.


Sometimes, a simple furniture reconfiguring can open a world of possibilities.  To leave adequate walking room between the furniture and soon to be built-in, I placed the leather sofa and the smaller linen couch parallel to each other, but perpendicular to the window and tv.


This allows for the deeper built-in, while adding emphasis to the window wall and the views beyond.  The chair is our stand in for a window seat, but at 36 inches, we know a built-in that deep won’t work.  A thirty inch depth seems to be the Goldilocks of the seat, not too narrow or too wide.


Way back when we first looked at this house and considered buying it, the views were one of the top selling points.  Creating a beautiful, but still comfortable, livable, room to play up the views is priority for this built-in.  Up until now, with the sofa squarely in front of the tv, the views haven’t been the focus, rather the tv.


We’ve lived with this arrangement since Monday, and sure, the old sofa placement was more comfortable for tv/movie watching.  With basement plans in the works and a remodel nearing, we’ll have room to create a designated theater space in the darker basement.  At that point, I think this living area would be a secondary tv space, in which case, the tv doesn’t have to be the main functional focal point.


Now, the layout pulls double duty, with focal points on either end of the room, with furniture allowing viewing in either direction.



As plans are discussed and elements change, the window seat evolves, getting more functional and beautiful with each revision.

Window Seat Planning: Step 1

Most recently, our living room received an update in the form of a camel leather sofa.  Total game changer for the space, per usual, that doesn’t make the room complete.  Nope, it seems there’s always something.  Since we’ve moved in, I’ve imagined a beautiful window seat with shelving on either side of the large front window.


With more pressing projects and complete rooms to finish, it has never been on the priority list, but now it’s nearing the top.  To get a better idea of the space it would require and how the furniture arrangement would change, I did a little switcheroo.  Pulling the sofa a foot away from the window left ample space behind for a two foot deep seat, plus two and a half feet of walking space.


Masking tape currently marks where the built ins would go.


But, pulling the couch forward left no room for the longer linen sofa.  Instead, the club chair with a stump side table fill that side, while still defining the living from dining room.


Opposite the club chair, I pulled the metal and leather chairs (that were temporarily in our bedroom) to round out the seating group without adding bulk.



Living with the closer furniture arrangement hasn’t felt confined or tight 99% of the time. Our only sort of problem is the entertainment center to coffee table spacing, but only when drawers are open.  Closed, the walk area is over three feet wide.  Even with the drawer completely extended, there’s still a foot and a half of room to maneuver.  I’m not sure it’s cause for a slimmer coffee table, but I’m not opposed to it.


A fringe benefit is the tighter grouping makes the 8 by 11 rug more appropriately sized for the space.  Turns out, finding a plush enough wool rug, in the right colors and style in sizes over 8 by 10 aren’t easy to come by.


Knowing the rest of the room works well, I need to finalize my bookcase and seat plan before pulling the trigger on building.  I’ve got the main idea, just tweaking elements until I have a plan I love.  Oddly enough, much of the plan is hinging on a suitable curtain/window covering situation.  I love that the green curtains match the dining sets, but a top down system might make better sense.  Stay tuned for more info on that front.

Camel Leather Dreams

Long ago, I had dreams of a beautiful leather sofa to star in our living room scene.  Living in a relatively small town, seemingly devoid of clean lined, quality furniture without large rolled arms or overstuffed cushions put a serious damper on those dreams.  For months, I’ve considered the Hamilton leather sofa from West Elm, scrolling through images and scheming a way to get it home from a store several hundred miles away.

It’s beautiful, with classic, clean lines and that gorgeous camel leather I adore.  Here it is, with some of my favorite pieces in what I imagine my grown up living room looking like.


I’ve substituted the green rug for grassy colored curtains, added leaf art in wood frames, with a stump side table for a rustic touch.  A pair of arm chairs would be fantastic, but I have yet to find a pair that wows me.  Back on task-this weekend, I scrolled through Craigslist, casually browsing when I hit the mother lode.  A straight armed, camel leather seven-foot long sofa.  Right away I sent a text, asking if it was still available and when I could take a look.  The following morning we loaded into the truck to make sure it fit the bill, paid the nice guy, and hauled the handsome and comfy couch home.  After a little sofa switcheroo, the new addition looks riiiight at home in the living room.



I love the richness and warmth of the leather, but the coffee table will need a new top because it’s too similar and close to the sofa.



Look at those straight arms with piping detail.

Leather-Sofa-Left Side-Arm-Detail



Much like the Hamilton, this leather is unprotected and ages.  The previous owners had dogs, leaving hair and scratches behind, but no punctures through, giving it a patina.



It’s so soft and enveloping, just sink in cozy.  I’m happy that the cushions are removable, allowing easy cleaning (and Lego digging out), but also swapping the seat cushions for even wear.  Want to know the best part?  I only paid $225 for a real leather sofa in near perfect condition.  I almost feel as though I stole it, but that was the listed price, so I’m assuming everyone involved is happy.


To prevent the back from fading in the sun, I’d like to find a cute blanket to drape between the cushions and back.


With the new addition, our previous couch is in the family room.  This is a better fit both in looks and length than the tired old micro suede couch before.  At 6 inches shorter, it leaves more walking room, while the taller back helps divide the kitchen and family room.


Sometimes (always) it’s fun to see how pieces look in a different room, to bring new life in without getting new everything.


Finally, I had enough patience (and a whole lot of luck) to get exactly what I wanted, without giving up an arm, leg, or my first born to get it.  Any great deals or steals you’ve gotten recently?

Freeze Frame!

Near the beginning of the year, I ordered a lovely 18 by 24 inch leaf print from Minted, with intentions of immediately hanging it in our living room.  After coming up short on the perfect frame, I planned to make a 24 by 30 inch frame to protect and display the print.  At that time, we were just beginning our kitchen remodel (which is still nearly finished, with one more cabinet to build and hang-hence the lack of reveal) and time was limited to pertinent projects only.  Until recently, the frames were on the back burner, but after seeing the art sitting in my closet, begging to be seen by others, I jumped in and got it done.

Before building, I bought two pieces of plexiglass from Ace Hardware because these frames are in the living room and could get bumped or hit with a ball.  Shattered glass is always a concern with two boys in the house, so this seemed like a safer choice.  You certainly don’t need to buy glass first, but if you’re making a big frame, make sure your size is available before building.

For my project, I wanted a square edge thin frame, so I bought four 1 by 2 sticks and had the store cut each one into 3 and 5 foot lengths.  To create the channel for the glass, mat, and backing to rest in, I had to router out a groove.  Pine is a soft wood, so I found it easiest to clamp a few boards down to create a guide to run the router against.


I set the router depth to 7/8 inches deep and slowly let it cut the channel, slowing at knots or weak points to prevent splitting.  Then I smoothed everything out with a thorough sanding.  Below, the top board shows the wide side, and the bottom the narrow face after cutting.


After grooved, I cut my pieces to length, mitering the corners but leaving an extra 1/8 for a little wiggle room.  Cutting after left perfectly square inside corners that a router can’t create after assembly, and with such a small face, I didn’t have much space to lose.


With tight corners, I pulled the glass out and held the pieces tight before nailing.


I found it easiest to set the two sides on a flat surface, letting just the corner over hang the counter while nailing.  This way, I didn’t angle the nailer funny to shoot it out somewhere and with narrow margins, it was important.  Two little nails are visible on each side, but not noticeable after staining.


To darken the pine, I applied a quick coat of Special Walnut stain.  I love the richness it adds to the cheap wood, and it brings out the character of each board.  Normally, I’d staple the glass, mat, and backing in place, but I didn’t want to weaken the thin sides.  Instead, I tapped small nails in.


And there’s the King now, matted in grass-green to bring a little splash of the curtain color across the room.



To balance out that print, I dried a maple leaf, photographed it, edited it, and printed a black and white engineer print.


Finally, we have art flanking the entertainment center, even more importantly, out of my closet!  Another to do list project is just staring at me in that last photo-move or create a cover for the ugly subwoofer.  With a cover, I could make it look kind of like a plant stand, right?  Let’s be honest though, who knows when that’ll happen; we’ve waited on entertainment center doors for years.  Perhaps that should happen next.  It wouldn’t be much different from making picture frames, but these would hide the ugly junk.

Grown Up Living Room Plans

Over the weekend, Ben installed the kitchen backsplash!  Unfortunately, the pre-mixed mastic is still not completely dry.  Until then, we wait to pull out spacers and grout the gaps.


As we’ve progressed with the kitchen remodel, it’s made me think about the changes I’d like to make in the adjoining rooms.  Our living and family rooms are okay, but a hodge podge of thrifted furniture and DIY projects.  Some pieces I really like, others I’m itching to replace.

I just ordered an 8 by 10 Jute Chenille Herringbone rug from West Elm for the family room.  On sale for $279, I couldn’t pass it up.  I’m going to unroll it as soon as it arrives.

My mind tends to have a snowball effect.  Once I see how great one room can look, the surrounding unfinished spaces look worse.  Which prompted me to come up with a mood board full of the furniture I’m yearning to have.  Grown up furniture.


Seriously, how gorgeous is the Hamilton leather sofa?  Clean lines, no overstuffing, and it doesn’t sit too close to the floor.  Not too modern or traditional and the perfect camel hue.  If only there was a West Elm close enough to allow real life touching and lounging.  I’ve made a vow to myself to get a real sofa within the next year.  Commencing saving now.

Our living room is a rug challenge as we need at least a 9 by 12 foot to allow all furniture to sit on.  Ideally, we’d layer a larger plain rug under a softer, patterned rug.  The Maui Chunky Loop rug gets great reviews, but I’m worried it isn’t soft enough.  Or may shed a lot.  Any experience with this rug you can share?  Currently at $313, with free shipping after a 70% discount, I’m more likely to take the chance on it.  Now to convince Ben…  Muhahaha.

If I didn’t already have green curtains, this bold rug from Chairish (or something similar) would liven the space.  Chairish is one of my favorite sites to browse because it’s like a high end virtual thrift store.  Vintage furniture heaven!


As I read in a recent Better Homes and Gardens, green is nature’s neutral.  I couldn’t agree more.  I adore the way green makes any room feel.

I already have a few of the smaller items to get me started.  The faux cowhide pillow and art prints – that I still need to frame and hang.  A similar home-made stump side table, that I’m planning to sand smooth and just clear coat.  A few years ago I bought similar green pillows, also from World Market, but the color is slightly more green.  A yellow stripe throw blanket, close to this style.  My fiddle leaf fig is smaller, but if I can keep it alive, it can become a big, beautiful tree.

I’ve run through the ways I can make a tripod lamp, similar to this one.  Maybe I can get that done soon.  The table lamp is from Schoolhouse Electric, but I used a thrifted base to create a knock off version.


A pair of modern wingback chairs with navy stripe pillows could balance out the petite linen sofa I refinished.  Acrylic coffee tables are always pretty, but I’m not sure it’d work with our little guys.  Doesn’t stop me from dreaming.

So really, all I need is a gorgeous sofa, modern wingback chairs, beautiful rugs, and several thousand dollars to buy it all.  Only the expensive things.  Furniture that sets the real adults apart from the imposters.  Someday, I’ll become a real adult with nice furniture.  It may happen once my kids are grown and moved out, but hey, it’ll happen.  Getting all of my ideas into a group really helps me with my plan.  A course I can stay on and use to judge anything I may consider in the future.

If you have any experience with the items listed above (or similar pieces), feel free to share your thoughts.  Reviews really help me make decisions on bigger purchases.