Thursday, September 17, 2015

Top favorite Reno's - #3 Lakehouse Living Room

Living rooms - some would argue this space is the heart of the home. For Tommy Thompson and I the heart of our home is the dining room. We don't have cable, we rarely have time to sit on a couch - and we love our large dining room with space to entertain. Nevertheless one of my biggest gripes after moving into the Lakehouse was the lack of a living room upstairs.

When you walk through the front door you're greeted by a beautiful picture window looking out at the lake, a rustic fireplace to the right and a large dining room space that most likely people before us used as the living room. To the left of all this was a funky little 'bar' with seating for two. I say 'bar' loosely as this space lacked some major elements to function properly:

1. The bar top overhang was only 6", not sufficient for sitting at and dining
2. It lacked electricity and water
3. While sitting at the bar you faced the hallway to the left of the kitchen therefore not making it a viable part of the kitchen

Before picture literally moments before the demo began. 
When I moved in, Tommy Thompson's four person table was swapped for my 10 persons set - it fit the space better and suited our frequent dinner parties. When the kitchen re-model planning began we tossed around a few ideas on how to make this a more functional eating area until one night it dawned on me... The one thing in the room we were missing was a living room area - the one thing we had going was ample dining space - why not close off the 'bar'? It seemed crazy at first to close in a wall but the more we played with the idea we couldn't come up with a single reason not to. 

I drew Tommy Thompson a sketch of what I wanted and within hours he had framed in the wall to close it off. What baby wants bay gets. (Have I mentioned how much I love living with a man who is handy AND would do anything for me???)

We removed the old tile counters and did come wiring to add a counter top outlet and under mount lighting. 

On the living room side, closing off the bar gave me a small corner to add a couch and some wall art. The wall art was easy but finding a couch was a challenge. I decided on a sectional to maximize the space - as is with most things - I have a great idea that is impossible to find. Luckily Pier 1 sells a 'build your own sectional', and surprisingly it was affordable! To define the space I dropped a cowhide rug I'd bought years before on Etsy, threw the four-piece Alton sectional in and added a Target clearance coffee table that also serves as a bench since it's cushioned. I enlarged some favorite family photos, threw them in some clearance Target frames (are you seeing a pattern? I have a Target clearance problem...) and the space was complete. As odd as it sounds closing in that wall made the space feel so much bigger and it truly feels like a cozy living room area now. 'Fixed the newel post!' (bonus if you know that movie!)

The added bonus was the new butler pantry/bar on the back side of the living room.  Having been so focused on the living room I hadn't expected to DOUBLE our storage space on the back side. Once the wall was up we flanked the upper area with IKEA wine racks and added 3 open shelves in the middle (more on these later). The shelves allowed me to move all the specialty bar ware to this space, thus freeing up precious cabinet space in the kitchen. It also gave me a space to display some of my ginormous China collection. A sacrifice I made moving in to the Lakehouse was not putting the hutch on top of my buffet. Neither of the two walls where the buffet could go had space above to accommodate it, one wall has a large picture window facing Longs Peak and the second houses Tommy Thompson's 'trophies'. 

Kitchen re-model in FULL effect here. Fridge n the living room, stove on the front porch.
To finish off the butlers pantry/bar we installed a new flush mount chandelier, added an outlet, under mount lighting and carried the same backslash/cabinet/paint/counter top/flooring finishes over from the kitchen. Both sides now function to their full potential and get used daily.

After - Living Room
After - Bar Area

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