A few months ago, after my good friend Melanie saw my house, she asked me to help her with furniture placement in her living room. Since she’s a friend, I volunteered (meaning I begged for the chance) to design her entire living area, for practice of course. She was such a good sport and did an entire walk through with me, telling me about her needs or desires for her home. Her family has lived in her house for a number of years and has had a bit of trouble figuring out furniture placement that suits them now. Melanie has a lovely space with high, wood ceilings, a grand fireplace wall and a generally open floor plan that flows nicely. The main obstacle in space planning for this home is that the living room is large, but long and narrow. I was excited to get started and dropped by for a visit the very next day!
Here are a few pictures I took of Melanie’s home during our walk-through. My boys are always around as my little “helpers”
Through doing this project, I found that I enjoy sharing my vision, giving inspiration and bringing out the natural beauty that’s already in a home. The beauty that matches the people who live there. To express the vision I had for Melanie’s home I really wanted to do a 3D computer rendering. I downloaded a 30 day free trial version of SketchUp Pro and got to work. Honestly, it took me forever and the renderings are very sub-par. There are SO many little details I wish I could have added. Oh, well… for now this will have to do! After the hours it took me to put together the design I couldn’t figure out how to create a PDF file. I wanted to show Melanie what I did, so I took pictures of my computer screen. Totally amature, I know, but it was the only thing I could think to do in saving my work before the trial expired.
Here are the “really cool” photos of the 3D computer rendering of Melanie’s home
I suggested arranging the sofas in a clean, classic L shape on one side of the room. Placing a bartop table and barstools behind the one sofa would add additional seating for their large family. Melanie’s husband is a cabinetmaker. If he’s able to construct a tall built-in shelf and television consol, it would add a bit of drama to their living room. I thought painting the unit a lovely shade of grey would bring some balance to the room with so much existing wood, then adding a unique wallpaper behind the TV would be a fun way to add in complementing colors and patterns. In my opinion, leaving the sidewall empty would make the room feel unbalanced. Being long and narrow, there isn’t space for additional furniture in the walkway. Artwork would be an easy fix, but I thought some shallow, different sized, wood shelves hanging from cables at random heights would be a fun design element and be a good place for candles, family pictures and plants. Bonus points if the youngest kiddos can’t reach them!
The walls were already in the process of being painted a nice shade of white, which I thought was a good call. Melanie and I both like the character that the ceiling and the fireplace bring to the home, so it made sense for those features to stand out instead of a the wall color. Curtains, throw pillows and rugs will be a fun way to add color and character.
Without her really asking me to do so, I decided to re-configure her kitchen in my design. I was just having too much fun with her house! I removed the U shape and changed it to an L shape, then added a full height pantry on the opposite wall. (I couldn’t figure out how to add a 24” deep refrigerator cabinet, so you’ll just have to use your imagination.) I knew two toned cabinets were something Melanie liked, so I went with light grey uppers and navy base cabinets. I added wood elements throughout the kitchen to balance out the existing wood on the floors and the ceiling. Keeping the wood tones medium to light would prevent the room from feeling too heavy. I thought concrete countertops and a stainless apron sink would be the perfect finishing touches for the feminine rustic look Melanie likes. She wanted to incorporate chunky floating shelves somewhere in the house. A cute little coffee station next to the kitchen seemed like an ideal spot, above a repurposed dresser or buffet. An open wood island would add additional countertop space without making the kitchen feel closed off, plus I love how cute the idea is!
The exposed refrigerator at the entry to the home is something Melanie wanted to change. I thought that a decorative stationary door or panel would be really pretty. Even something made from lumber, then sanded and stained a warm color could be an affordable, but interesting conversation piece that serves a purpose.
A play area for her little girls was really important to Melanie. A nice, cozy nook next to the fireplace, with a comfy chair and kids artwork would bring a personal touch to the space that is perfectly charming
In addition to the 3D design inspiration, I also found some furniture and decor items that I thought they might like…. everything I found is from Wayfair of course!
When I presented my design concepts to Melanie and her husband, I got exactly the reaction I had hoped for. They loved it! So much in fact, that they decided to implement (many of) the ideas I shared with them. It will all be a DIY project, so it will take place as they can find the time. They may only take some of what they saw, it may morph into something completely different. Whatever the result, as long as they love their home and are able to create a place where their family can flourish, I’ll be really happy for them. What I wanted going into this, was to ignite a spark. I wanted them to see that the home they’re in now can be the perfect space for them. That it can reflect who they are as a family and that it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. My hope is that they’re able to take what I gave them and build on it. That what I gave them was just a starting point.