Tuesday, July 22, 2014

LIVING ROOM BUILT INS PART 1: THE INSPIRATION

When I first laid eyes on 231 through an online real estate posting, I immediately gravitated toward this large, craftsman style window in the front of the house. I knew it would be the perfect spot for a window seat, a spot to sit and sip coffee and watch the world go by. It was one of the many reasons I knew the house had to be ours, despite it's many flaws.


In a seemingly unrelated note (I'll get there I promise), I have always dreamed of a wall of books, organized by color. I saved this photo below, via flickr, to my desktop inspiration file long before the birth of Pinterest, and to this day it still gives me chills. In the age of kindles and iPads where no one actually buys physical books anymore, I still browse bookstores looking for interesting reads with colorful spines to add to my collection. It's a sickness I tell you.




When we moved in to 231, I looked at every single wall as a possible contender to make this inspiration a reality, and there just wasn't one. There just wasn't a wall unencumbered by a window, fireplace or staircase that would work for my wall-o-books. (I know, boo-hoo, too much architectural detail, call the waa-mublance.)

So, in the early months of life in the new home, between paint and baseboards and thrifting for furniture, a plan began to form to create a window seat in the living room surrounded by books. Something like this image below via bhg.com.


I could just imagine sitting in that space above with a good book and a cup of coffee. You know, because I have so much free time to just sit around and read these days... but a girl can dream.

Fast forward a couple years to this spring, and the living room had made a little progress.


We added furniture and curtains, along with a gallery wall and my trophy mounted staghorn fern.


What, you don't see a staghorn in this pic? Well that's because I promptly killed it. I placed a white ceramic Labrador head in it's place, which walks the fine line between adorable and totally creepy.

I decided it was time to make my built in idea a reality, and started working on getting Ryan on board. I mentioned my birthday was coming up and instead of a gift or a trip all I wanted was to spend a weekend with him working on a fun, hands on project.

I showed him images like this one below, found via Pinterest, but photographed from a Better Homes & Gardens magazine.


And this one, also from bhg.com.


We did some research, started to sketch out plans, and eventually decided on building cabinets with storage to flank the windows, with bookshelves above, sort of like this image from a NorCal Custom Home Builder.


I was slightly disappointed that I would be losing the feeling of being surrounded by my precious books, but a girl's gotta be realistic, and all that storage will definitely come in handy some day. The area is right next to the front door, and would be a perfect "drop zone" for backpacks and devices for future kiddos. The cabinets would also be a great place to store games, toys and art supplies down the line.

So, it was decided. The perfect compromise between my wall of books and a functional window seat/drop zone. The next step was to sketch plans and get started.

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