I’ve never actually placed furniture in a floorplan in the renovation stage before. Usually, it’s either pretty intuitive where things would go, there is a lot of flexibility, or there weren’t really a million options. But this time, with walls moving and a lot of square footage to play with I wanted to make sure that we used every inch of this house with the least amount of compromises possible, later. The living room was the biggest question mark as it is large, faces west (or will), is a pass-through space with a ton of traffic from the entrance, up the stairs, into the sunroom, out to the backyard, into the family room and open to the kitchen. It has multiple focal points – a big fireplace as well as the soon-to-be new scenic doors. So in order to really feel like we were making the best decisions we had to be in the space to feel it, and then even that wasn’t good enough…
But first, here was the first floor when we bought it:
The Living Room – Before
And as a refresher, here’s the layout of the entire first floor when we bought it:
They had the living room shared with the dining room, which worked great. But we were changing the plans. As you might remember here was our “first final” floorplan.
And here it is in a cool, 3D version which is a bit easier to follow:
And then on your prompt, we decided to put the kitchen in the corner where the mudroom and breakfast nook are, to capture the best natural light of the house, which left the great room to have more flexibility. But we lost our cute little breakfast nook and that made us very sad.
While we have a large dining room in the new sunroom (which will double as a work table for me, room for meetings, etc) we needed somewhere for the four of us to each on a daily basis – and no, we don’t want to eat at the island – we like to face each other. So without a real solution, we left the dining table kinda floating almost where it was originally, but it wasn’t ideal. I wanted my nook! This was where we landed before we went up there last time.
The floating table just didn’t feel right but we needed to be in the space to see it. And then once we were in the space I was like, “well, I still can’t tell unless we get some furniture in here”. So much to Brian’s utter delight, we brought in some “stand-in piece” to “play furniture layout”. It’s Brian’s favorite game! If you are wondering if this is normal, I’m happy to report that there is no “normal” in a creative process and where I used to think I was nuts, I’ve realized over the years all creatives must push things to the point of what looks to be a little crazy to get a truly unique home that meets your needs. If you can do it by staring at a rendering then good for you! But I love to be in a space and yes I actually “lay down” on the “bed” (plywood floor) to make sure that this is where I want to sleep, and you bet I’ve been known to tape up the height of the sconces on the exposed framing. There is a massive difference between what works on paper and how you want to actually exist when you are in your home. A lot of it has to do with the views in every direction, natural light, and how you walk through and live in a space – a practice you just can’t predict on paper. So here are some of the furniture layout options we tried out…
The Straight-On Sectional + Floating Dining Table
Sure this “works” but it allows for very little extra seating as the path in front of the fireplace would be a thoroughfare so putting a large chair there would be hard. Besides, we aren’t going to have a TV there and putting your back to the scenic doors, with the huge view to the yard full of trees felt wrong. You WANT to look out, not crane your head to look behind you. And it was just a ton of wasted space.
Where my brother is, is where the big scenic doors to the backyard will be. Where the big window is, is close to where the entrance into the new added sunroom. Again, this CAN work and looks TOTALLY FINE, but when we were there all of us wanted to look outside, not at the fireplace.
The (Pretend) Two-Sofas Facing Each Other
Pretend there is another one facing that sofa. I think it should be noted that the sectional is HUGE – like 10′, which shows you the scale of the room. So two facing sofas could work IF the dining table weren’t floating, because it’s weird to have the back of a sofa so close to the table. It’s like we aren’t in a loft. Surely there had to be a better solution?
The Sofa + Chaise + 2 Chairs
Now, this configuration actually worked with the table floating there. A pretty backed sofa (like 8′ – 9′) with an open-backed chaise facing the fireplace and with 1-2 accent/club chairs. When we all sat in this configuration there was enough pass-through space to create great flow and it was open to the future view to the backyard (which is on the right – that will be totally opened up). All of us liked sitting in all those seats – the view from all of them is pretty and makes us feel part of the rest of the house, open to the view but still provided a t on of seating.
But I still wasn’t psyched about the floating table and it just seemed like there HAD to be a solution to make that table more intentional. It felt like it was in between two doorways, like floating in a nebulous zone. So then I had the thought that we could put a nook in the corner IF we could move the entrance into the family/media room.
So as you can see above that corner could be a perfect area to be built-in, but we have that darn double door to the family room (which were vintage and AWESOME). But what if we just had one door? could we fit a nook in that corner then? Of course, when we were there all the construction supplies were in that corner so we couldn’t move the table to test it out, but it felt pretty darn great.
Brian couldn’t picture it at first but I knew it could work. Then I remember that we actually did just this at the Griffith Park house.
See? Corner nook, right next to a doorway, under a window – it’s exactly our layout. Once Anne confirmed that we could fit it all in I was SO EXCITED. This means we have even more flexibility for the living room furniture – and next time we go up we’ll be able to finalize our furniture needs, see what we already have or what we need to source.
I’m so excited about that corner. Not only will it be where we eat breakfast and dinner, but homework, games, and general hanging out with friends (FRIENDS!). Everyone loves a booth. The one we have here at the mountain house is – ahem – HUGE – so the four of us all end up just sitting in one corner. This nook will sit a roomy four but can go as big as 6 if needed. It’s also a great “kids” table when we have friends and family over, so the grownups can be in the sunroom (which could seat 10) while the kids eat here.
Anyway, things are trucking along – permits are in, floorplan is DONE, windows, plumbing and lighting are being finalized right now and we just found our vintage island that I had totally given up on. More to come. xx