Where we started
Almost two years ago my friends Scott and Anna-Lisa moved out of the city onto an acreage. They moved for lots of reasons but one of them was so that Anna-Lisa’s parents, Pat and Brian, could move in with them. The house needed a lot of work for an in-law suite to be added and over a year and a half Scott did that work. Here is where we started and some progress shots.
What was done
As you can see in the before pictures, there was no drywall on the ceilings in this space. There was also 30-year-old carpet that was worn down in major traffic areas. So, it underwent some major renovations! Scott and his brother Kurtis installed pot lights, and Scott finished the drywall, installed new flooring, painted everything, and remodeled the wood burning stove. It was some hardcore DIY.
Finding the right style
Pat and Brian downsized when they moved and had a lifetime collection of items to sort and edit. When it came time to decorate their living room, we sat down together to really figure out the way they wanted their new home to feel. By the end of our meeting we had discovered they have a great English Cottage style. I created a design plan for them based on this style utilizing what they owned to its maximum potential. We added a few new pieces to fill in the gaps because while they downsized in total space, this new living room is much bigger than their old one.
Old and new!
Pat and Brian loved their existing sofa, chair/ottoman, Barrister bookcase, floor lamp, and art. I added in this great rug from Amber Lewis. It pulls in all the colours from the room and and while this rug does mean pattern on pattern, in this room it works because the size and scale are so different and the colours are similar. The new table lamp was a HomeSense score. I also found them the coffee table, end table, and picture frames second hand. The “new” items needed to feel like we had collected them along the way so that they would feel cohesive with their already-owned items. Let’s look at some afters.
Rethinking in a new home
Something that can happen when you move is that you try and fit your old living room into your new living room. For lots of reason that doesn’t really work and then you feel like you are stuck. That is what happened to us with the art in this room. In their old home they had different pieces up in the living room, and weren’t sure about switching things up. But by being flexible their new design is really cohesive and we found other great places to hang the art that used to live in their old living room. The two prints we ended up choosing for the one wall tie in really well with the new Frame TV.
Maximizing storage in a beautiful way
In their old home Pat and Brian had a few different smaller cabinets to store their stereo equipment, papers, TV and CDs, so we combined all of those items into a new IKEA cabinet that went with our English Cottage style. They now have a place for all of those items in one cabinet. The new living room is so large that we needed to add some extra seating. After spending the day shopping together we found this chair from The Brick. There will eventually be another one on the other side of the TV but it is on back order. We added the floor lamp that we found second hand and I styled the cabinet out with some of their treasures.
It is chilly in the basement so to add some extra heat, they had some different options to choose from. They could have put in an electric fireplace, or they could keep the wood burning stove. I mean, can you really have an English cottage without a wood burning stove? It is so incredibly cozy and inviting. This stove came with the house, so there was no expense there. Scott built the concrete slab, spray painted faux stone paneling to go up the wall and trimmed out the area with reclaimed wood he got for free. Pat and Brian have photographs that they love, but they were in frameless glass picture holders. To increase the feeling of collected-over-time, I found picture frames from thrift shops for a bigger statement. When the fire is going on a winter’s day it one of the most welcoming places I have ever had the pleasure of being in.
During the warm months Brian spends his days working in the yard on the acreage, but in the winter he putters around the house and works on puzzles. So I found the perfect folding card table for him to work on his puzzles. I made sure there was a spot where he can sit at the table and look out the window and at the fire too. When they are having company or when Brian is too busy the table folds up and will live under the two pictures.
Feels like home
This cozy, collected, English Cottage living room invites you in and beckons you to stay for as long as you can. I said to Anna-Lisa that these rooms feel like the perfect cup of hot tea after a long walk on a windy moor, and she agreed that was a really good description. By working with what my friends already owned, and finding the perfect new items as needed, this design plan took lots of pieces that didn’t seem to quite fit and made everything feel like home. If you have a tricky spot in your place that just isn’t quite right, Reclaiming Home can make your space feel like the home you have always wanted.