Letitia's Livingroom


A while ago I got an e-mail from Letitia who needed help with her livingroom. Here's what she wrote:

My husband and I along with 3 dogs reside in garden level west facing condo in a 10 unit condo building than was converted from a single mansion. We were tearing down some drywall and discovered a fireplace hidden behind our drywall of our 12x15 feet living room. Well, we were expecting to find a fireplace because of the chimney on the roof but never expected such a huge surprise. 


The Fireplace opening is 5 feet by 5.5 feet (H). Currently our couch faces a wall with two huge windows 4 feet by 6 feet (h) that overlook our backyard. The window sills double as a window seat. In the centre wall is a faux fireplace and a TV mounted above it. Our couch faces the TV/Windows. 

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We currently have a Calvin couch, (but need to replace it with a sleeper couch) a wood Mascotti coffee table that rises and opens to our dining table. The folding dining chairs are under a lack shelf behind the couch. We have a Ikea PS metal cabinet which we keep our AV components, a crate and barrel steamer bar for the alcohol. A faux fireplace and a Mounted TV above it.  

So the main questions I have are:   

* How should I place the furniture? (we are open to selling/buying furniture just to get the LR of our dreams. We would have to leave the TV in the LR, - or even can do a projection tv and need  a spot for the AV components    

* What colours should i paint the walls?  

* What should we use the newly discovered space for?   

* And finally most debated... should we paint/lime the brick?

First of all what an awesome space and how cool is that to discover that huge fireplace?!

I thought this was a fun project to take on because I could give Floorplanner a go. I found it via Sherry and John and it's a fun tool but quite fiddly until you (sort of) get the hang of it. I didn't find the tutorials on the Floorplanner site very helpful so please excuse the various wonky walls, crooked windows and please disregards the measurements entirely. The plan is just to give an idea of what the layout of the room could look like.

So to answer Letitia's questions here's what I'd do with the space.


The furniture
I'd leave most furniture for now simply because of the cost of replacing it all at once but as pieces get switched out I suggest sticking to one color wood or paint most pieces the same color to unify the space.

I'd consider getting a second matching Mascotti table so one could be a permanent small dining table and one a permanent coffee table. When Letitia throws a dinner party the coffee table can be placed next to the dining table and make it double the size.

In order to define the dining area from the sitting area I've laid down two rugs. There's also a floor plillow for the doggies.

The one thing I removed from the space is the IKEA PS cabinet. For two reasons; what's inside can go into a new space, see further down and it's very white compared to the rest of the furniture which is mainly dark/er. I'm sure it can be used somewhere else.

The walls
Because this apartment is on the entry level which tends to be darker than higher up in a building I'd paint the walls and ceilings pure white. I know some of you may disagree, but hey, she asked me so what do you expect? I also like the idea of the white because I get a "loft" vibe from the space and to me the best loft look is white. It would be fun to introduce an accent wall though. I painted it a dusty pink in the drawing because I like the lavender-red-pink color scheme to go with the dark furniture but I do realise it's not to everybody's taste and it would also depend on what Letitia decides to do with the fireplace wall.

The newly discovered space
The fireplace isn't a working one apparently so I say move the TV in there! Facing the sofa that direction will help define the two areas I mentioned before, dining and sitting. Since it's such a big opening there's room for some shelves at the bottom for DVD and cable and for boxes holding knick knacks and DVD's.

The brick
Most debated. Yes, I get that. Some people say it's sacriledge to paint brick but I'm all for it if you don't like the look of the red brick and I have to say this looks like a very even red color at least on the fireplace itself. Red brick is a really tricky one to work around especially if you're not into that look. I'd be more inclined to keep it if the bricks were more uneven and industrial looking as they seem to be on the side wall. If this were my wall it would probably be limed white already... Keeping the sandstone lintel in it's original state though.

So what are your opinions on painting the brick in Letitia's case? Any other suggestions for her in terms of furnishing the space or paint color? We are all ears!

Bathroom Three Ways #1

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A reader in Iceland needed help with her bathroom. This is the first of three color and mood themes I have for her.

Above is the plan she sent of the layout of the bathroom she's planned. Opposite the sink, next to the shower cabin there will hopefully be a washing machine she says but it will make for an akward nook in the corner under the sloping ceiling next to the toilet. Kind of unused space.

My suggestion is to place laundry baskets there. I love having three; one for white, one for color and one for dark laundry. That way the nook will be put to good use and it will be convenient right next to the laundry machine.


The three color and mood themes I have put together are "Soft", "Bright" and "Natural".

Here are the components of today's Soft theme. I've chosen mainly sources available on Iceland but also webstores that offer international shipping:

1. I chose a powdery lavender for the walls. The color number is NSC S1020-R50B. NSC is the color system we use here in Sweden. All paint brands use the same although the brands often name their colors too. I chose this straight out of the color fan so I don't have a fancy name for it. I'll name it myself shall I? Please meet Lavender Thoughts!

2. Not really a suggestion for this reader's bathroom because she has chosen rectangular tiles. But for those of you out there who have ugly tile borders in your bathrooms (why do they do that in the first place?!) these pretty standard tile size stickers can cover those less pretty ones.

3. These angel wing hooks are so cute. Imagine a row of them with fluffy towels and bathrobes. Dreamy.

4. Toiletry bags can be used in your own bathroom as practical and pretty storage. Remember the case I showed last week? I never use that for traveling, only as storage. These purple straw beauties can sit on a shelf looking pretty in Malin's bathrrom AND she can put something inside :)

5. I like these white wicker lined laundry baskets. The fact that they're lined means your delicates will be protected in there.

6. Swedish Himla is a favorite brand of mine. Check out these bath mats which also come with matching towels. Perfect for the soft powdery look.

7. Tove Adman is a designer who often uses concrete in her designs; candlesticks, boxes and here a soap dish. I like the combination of the soft solors in this theme with the roughness of the concrete.

8. Another material I like for this theme is galvanized steel. Aside from looking great it also works really well in a bathroom environment because it's rust proof. I can see a row of these little mini flower pots corralling  all sorts of bathroom necessities like toothbrushes, make-up, q-tips, cotton balls etc.

Ok, that was the first of the three themes. Two more to go later on, stay tuned.


Ps. Due  to a new and very fun project I'm involved in I won't be able to take on any more reader projects here on my blog than the ones I already have promised. I wish I could help more of you out but at the moment there's just not enough time.

Craft Closet Before & After

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Remember this craft closet from last week?

Skanna0002 And remember my suggestion for Chrystelle?

Craft room closet after 005

Drumroll, please!

Craft room closet after 001

Tadaa! Can you believe it's the same space? Or even the same person organizing it? All I can say is Wow! Double wow!

Here's what Chrystelle wrote when sending in the afters.

Here, attached, are the after photos of my craft closet. It's so nice to have an orded look come out of that jumble! Bill gave me the white Metro Rack that had held his painting frames in his art studio (purchased at Home Depot), and I'm giving him the same shelf in chrome that I was using in the garage. I thought that the Amy Butler Scrapbook Papers would fit just right to hide any messy appearance in the crates, and they did! I do still need some wood strips with hooks on the inside right and left to hang works in progress such as aprons for Etsy sales or childrens charity quilt tops.

I love the fact that she traded the shelving unit (looooove metro shelving btw) with her husband. I can see them negotiating :)

Awesome job, Chrystelle!!!