Category Archives: Living Space

Sun Tunnels

Our den, where we spend a lot of time when we are home, stays pretty dark during the day.  It is flanked by the garage on one side, a covered screened porch on the opposite side, and a fireplace wall with no windows.  I have always thought that I would love to add small, high windows on either side of the fireplace and have built-ins installed below them.  I’m sure that will be a pretty good sized budget project, so in the short-term (and as our gift to each other for our 10th anniversary) we decided to add two sun tunnels to the room to add a little natural light.  They go through the attic and roof to let sunlight into the room.  From inside they look like very large recessed light fixtures.

Here is the room with the new sun tunnels installed:
Den 11.11.15

Here is the room before:
Den 10.13.15

Both pictures were taken on sunny afternoons, with the same camera setting and neither were altered in post-processing.  It isn’t a glaring difference, but the extra bit of light really brings the room alive.

Here are the installed sun tunnels.  Each is about 14″ across.Sun Tunnels

The tunnels without the cover:2015-10-29 11.56.21 HDR-2

During installation:2015-10-29 12.06.26

Living Room Updates

Living Room 0615b

I’ve added an oval coffee table that I found on Craigslist.  I didn’t want anyone to knock their shins on the corners of a rectangular table since this room also serves as a pass-through from the foyer to the dining room.

Living Room 0615a

When we bought recliners for the den, the loveseat was relocated to the living room.  It really helped to fill out the room and add much-needed seating for our weekly small group gathering.  The room is still awkward to furnish because of the door and window placements, so I’m sure this will be a room that changes a lot over time.

Before:

Living Room 0714d

Den Updates

Our house receives tweaking on a constant basis.  As I live in a space, I’m able to envision new and better ways of using the space for the way we live.  Last fall, we decided that we would graduate to the status of old people and buy his-and-hers recliners for the den to replace the loveseat/ottoman combination.  Bradley liked the thought of leather, and I liked the thought of the chairs not looking like jet-puffed marshmallows.  We purchased the chairs on Black Friday and have really enjoyed them ever since.

Den 0715 Den 0715b The other big change in the room is the removal of the corner cubby coat rack.  I removed the bench as soon as we moved in, but the coat rack stayed until I finally got a new cabinet to house our shoes.  It is the Oxford 72″ Bookcase with Glass Doors in Chestnut.  The size could not be more perfect.  It just fits between the light switch and the corner, and is 13″ deep – deep enough for Bradley’s shoes, but it doesn’t impede the air vent or outlet on the right side.  The functionality of this piece makes much more sense for us, and the corner bench set went to a nice family that can use it to corral all manner of kid paraphernalia.

Den 0715c

Before:
Den 0714a

From the house listing:

Den Before

Staging the Mantle

One of my least favorite things to do around the house is staging shelves – bookshelves, mantles, kitchen cabinets/counters.  I am drawn to a lot of inspiration for this type of staging, but in my own home it always feels disingenuous or sometimes cluttered to me.  We have one fireplace and the mantle is quite large.  I started by finding some inspiration pictures online and then shopping my stash of decor sitting in the basement.  Some of the inspiration I found can be seen here and here – pairing overlapping frames with glass and natural elements, and here – oversized blue glass jars.

I pulled in a couple of Ribba frames for a layered effect, then added a couple of ‘mercury glass’ items.  The ‘hello’ sign was a GroopDealz find.  Bradley saved some aesthetically pleasing branches during a recent yard cleanup, so I popped a few pieces into the hurricane vase to fill everything out.  It’s much better than it was (meaning I had just set a few things up there as we were moving in), but I still don’t know how I feel about it.

Den Update

As one of our most-used rooms, the den has had a few more changes since the first progress report.  Because the loveseat sits halfway onto the rug, I decided to look for end tables that could slide under the rug instead of sitting half-on/half-off and tilting.  I searched a lot of online stores, but ended up getting the Almada laptop tables from World Market.  The bases do cause the rug to bump up, but I have beds for Buddy under each table to cover it up.

In what can only be described as a miracle, I came upon a matching crystal lamp at Home Goods to the one I bought nearly a year ago.  I would still like to have wall lamps (like these) in this room, but it is an unnecessary expense right now.  I added a floor lamp next to the television, because the room has very little natural light.  Maybe someday we can update the fireplace wall with built-ins on either side and add small windows for more light (like this and this).

One of the biggest changes is that we let Buddy stay out in the den during the day instead of being crated.  I love that he has a little more room to stretch out and that we don’t lose an entire corner to a crate anymore.  And he has been so good (not getting into anything he shouldn’t).  That change made more room to bring in an extra chair to give us comfortable seating for three people if we need it.  I still haven’t done anything with the bookcases or mantle – that is the kind of staging I like the least.