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Where to go from here?
gwnorth
January 22, 2013 in Design Dilemma
Hi!

We've been working on refreshing our family room which adjoins an eat in kitchen. The room is not large - 17'6" x 10'4" but has a corner fireplace, a large window, and a large entrance to the kitchen, limiting the useable space. So far we have replaced a loveseat with an armchair/ottoman combination, gotten a new rug and lamps. The sofa is being replaced with a new more streamlined one which is longer (see attached photo) in a dark green velvet. In addition we have a large screen tv on a media cabinet, and a corner computer workstation.

I need advice on where to go from here.

1)I need a new coffee table, preferably something long and narrow to anchor the couch, but I'm not sure about the style. I like the one we have, though it needs refinishing, but it won't work with the new couch.

2) I need some type of table/chest/console for next to the armchair that won't block too much of the window.

3) I need storage to accommodate the kids' (and hubby's) assorted paraphanalia.

4) I'd ideally like to get rid of the computer but that's not feasible. I would like to find some way of minimizing it's presence in the room though.

5) I'd like to have some means for displaying some decorative items. I could remove the photos from the fireplace mantel and use that space as I've been thinking of doing a photo gallery in the upstairs hallway.

6) I'm thinking about adding stationary side panels to the window to dress it up a bit but I'm not sure about fabric.

7) I'd like to replace the ceiling light fixture. I'd love pot lights but that would require ripping out the ceiling which I'm not prepared to do. The ceiling is the regular 8' height so I can't put anything that will hang too low.

Any suggestions would be greatfully appreciated!
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movethisnotthat
tight room lovely new couch! here are a few idea
can the TV go where the tree artwork is?, can the new couch float in the room facing the other direction? the back wall could then be it's own space for the computer work station, add shelves for more storage and display. Tables with storage either in a shelf or drawers are excellent to keep clutter down too. the chair and ottoman you have in the corner might then fit nicely in the other end of the room. Can't see the light fixture. Sounds like you know what you want so just start moving things around. OR use an online furniture placement site. What fun !! good luck with your new space.
0 Likes   January 22, 2013 at 9:45AM
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collettec
Some ideas - I would get drapery panels that had a pattern you like perhaps including the couch and wall color. Would consider some type of a basket or dark wicker type box or shelving for under the window. For the coffee table, perhaps something interesting like a trunk or some type of coffee table that is more like a box and lidded for extra storage. For the area around the television and computer, would change out the chair to something more in the color of the wall, perhaps cover the existing chair, so blends in and doesn't stand out as much or perhaps a print in the wall color or the color of the tv stand.
0 Likes   January 22, 2013 at 9:58AM
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PRO
Arranged To Sell, LLC
Houndstooth Residence
Family room and kitchen
Modern Sofas N' Modern Spaces


I think drapes would be nice on the window. I would suggest moving the TV to above the fireplace and also possibly getting a low back small sectional for the right side back corner. Where the chair is now put a small desk. Across the the sectional you could add a sofa table or buffet for storage. On either side of the buffet you could add small chairs for extra seating. For a coffee table, I would get a rectangular ottoman.
0 Likes   January 22, 2013 at 10:20AM
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gwnorth
Thanks for your responses.

movethisnotthat - it is a tight room and with the window and corner fireplace it makes furniture placement tough. The house is 20 years old, before the time of widespread home computers and wide screen tvs. I had thought about putting the tv above the fireplace but I think it would be too high and I would have to replace the mantel with something lower. While I was prepared to do that, unfortunately moving the tv causes wiring issues. We have hd satellite but the house is not wired for it. Currently the wires enter the house in back of the computer station and run along the floor to the tv. The only other place I was thinking of moving the tv would be to the short wall across from the couch. The wall there is just long enough before the opening to the kitchen. It would mean running the tv wires even further along the floor though. The only other alternative would be to rip out portions of the wall to be able to bury the wires in the wall (where they rightfully belong). As for the couch, the wall opposite has the opening to the kitchen and moving the couch there would partially block the entrance. I've attached another photo that shows the entry.

emzc - the chair by the computer station is actually one of my dinning chairs and belongs in the dinning room. I'm just using it because it's better than the leather executive chair that was there before. I could definitely get something else and move the chair back into the dinning room. In terms of the coffee table, it would be ideal for storage, but the new couch is 94" long so I would need something fairly long.
0 Likes   January 22, 2013 at 10:30AM
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gwnorth
Arranged To Sell - agreed that would probably have been the best layout had I been able to move the TV, which unfortunately would require some major remodeling. In any case the new sofa has already been custom ordered. If I did move the TV across from where the couch is now however, I could then as you suggest swap the computer and the arm chair. The window sill is only 22" from the ground with 8" on one side and 14" on the other. Any desk I put there for the computer would partially block the window. What would be the best way to manage that? BTW, the computer is a desk top not a lap top, so I have a CPU and a printer to hide as well.
0 Likes   January 22, 2013 at 10:42AM
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collettec
Given the length of the sofa, you could do two box type coffee tables or ottomans with storage in an interesting fabric or texture - either rectangular or if large enough, perhaps even more a square or cube shape. Good luck!
1 Like   January 22, 2013 at 10:46AM
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
The problem with adding storage pieces to a small space is that they take up more visual space, being more or less solid in configuration. So I would opt instead for an open coffee table and side table

Then, along the wall where the TV and your computer desk are located, I'd visit Ikea and get a system that will hold both TV and your computer, and maybe some bookshelves and closed cabinets also. That keeps all the storage on that wall.

For the table to go beside the chair, I would select a small one such as you see below. If you could consider a glass coffee table, it too would offer a more open feel.

Regarding draperies, I would not want to have a drapery panel so close to the fireplace, nor would I want to cover even part of the window with drapery panels when it's the only window in the room. A roman shade mounted at ceiling height could work.
Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID

Butler Round Accent Table 24H in. - Plantation Cherry. Clairemont Coffee Table
1 Like   January 22, 2013 at 10:58AM
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gwnorth
emzc - you're right, two would probably give me the length I need. Do you think that since I already have a leather ottoman to go with the arm chair that it would be too much fabric if I went for upholstered pieces for in front of the couch as well?
1 Like   January 22, 2013 at 11:00AM
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PRO
Arranged To Sell, LLC
Coastal Den
San Carlos Residence Two
Contemporary Renovation Norwich VT
Tailor Made


My other idea was where the TV is now. If you had a way or someone handy could build a built-in for the TV, with shelves and maybe on one end could be a desk area. The space below the desk could hide the hardware and maybe have a pull out keyboard. It would give you storage also for books and decorative accents.
0 Likes   January 22, 2013 at 11:13AM
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carole
it really is a lot to put in the room!!would it be possible to move the desktopcomputer to the kitchen in the place where the breakfasttable now is??the breakfasttable could be put on the halfwall of the kitchen,this space is not to far removed from the livingroom and that way you could put the tv in its place?
0 Likes   January 22, 2013 at 11:16AM
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gwnorth
Carolyn, thank-you for your thoughtful reply. I too was thinking that any tables I used I wouldn't want to be too solid so as to block as you said the visual space. I'm kind of on the fence about glass. My kids are a bit older (9 and 11) but I'm not sure how I feel about kids and glass. Something to consider for sure.

A question about the draperies. The stack back is narrow, that's why I was just thinking about stationary panels maybe 24" wide, just to soften the window but not block the light. The fireplace is gas but it is used frequently.
0 Likes   January 22, 2013 at 11:17AM
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kathy
what about putting tv console/desk solution on wall where sofa currently is? Then sofa goes on back wall with view to outside, fire place and tv. Wiring should be only the same issue as now, but not worse. And you could then see tv from kitchen/dinette (is that good or bad?!)
0 Likes   January 22, 2013 at 11:17AM
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
gwnorth, I think that 24" panels will cover part of your window. But if there's more than enough daylight coming in and you don't think the fireplace is a problem, then go for it!

I agree with you about kids and glass. You're right to worry about thin glass. I don't worry as much about 1/2" glass which you'll find on some tables. But getting a non-glass table will eliminate some worry in a world that has presented parents with too much to worry about already.
0 Likes   January 22, 2013 at 11:25AM
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sstarr
Your current furniture arrangement is ok, considering the space you have. I think you should replace your very large TV/game unit and computer desk with a storage unit (possibly IKEA) to go across the entire end wall. Have a computer desk (closable) as part of the unit. Same for the TV. There should be quite a bit of additional storage space in the unit.
I think the chair at the computer desk should go in a bedroom; get a more modern chair. And, I think the ottoman should be removed from the room.
p.s. I like your lamps!
0 Likes   January 22, 2013 at 11:27AM
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gwnorth
Thank-you everyone for your input. It's been quite a design challenge as this room is the hub of our house and needs to accommodate a variety of needs. With 2 pre-teen boys who love their video games and a husband who loves his big screen TV, it's hard to balance style with all the technology and still be comfortable. It is a lot to cram into such a small space.

carolesch - I believe that the half wall you are referring to in the kitchen as a suggestion for moving the kitchen table, is intended as a breakfast bar and as such the counter actually overhangs it. In addition, moving the table there would block access to my back yard via the sliding glass doors. I would love to move the computer elsewhere but still have it within the general vicinity of the family room. My goal is to be able to have everyone nearby but still able to pursue their own activities. I have even seriously thought about re-purposing my kitchen pantry as a built in work station. I love the new kitchens that have built-in desks but revamping the kitchen is a project for sometime way down the line.

I like the idea of a shelving unit running across the back wall to house the computer and TV and provide storage. I'm not a big fan of Ikea but I'm sure if I look around I can find something to suit my taste. A built in arrangement would be ideal (and maybe I can sell the cost to hubby as having re-sale value).

If I replace the computer chair (which belongs in the dinning room anyway), should I look for something to blend in or use it as an opportunity to tie in more of my accent colours?
0 Likes   January 22, 2013 at 1:06PM
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
I'd go tetchy with a simple armless office chair on casters.
0 Likes   January 22, 2013 at 1:12PM
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gwnorth
Also, if I go with a prebuilt shelving unit, what colour should I go for - black, white, wood tone?
0 Likes   January 22, 2013 at 1:48PM
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
I would select white if it is to be painted to match your trim. If you cannot match the trim, then I would choose black .
0 Likes   January 22, 2013 at 1:54PM
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gwnorth
I think you've all hit the nail on the head and don't know why I didn't think of a wall unit before. Probably because I was just trying to re-purpose everything we already had. I'll talk to hubby about it tonight and see what he thinks. He's been surprisingly involved in this whole redecorating project.

I was thinking white for the unit to match the trim and fireplace and keep the room looking light, but black would make a nice statement against the camel walls too and give it a bit more of a modern feel.

Thank-you all so much. Now I'm off to browse Houzz to get ideas for what I'd like the shelves to look like lol.
0 Likes   January 22, 2013 at 2:45PM
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sstarr
I suggested the wall unit because I think they solve just the kind of problems that you described! I didn't think you'd really want an IKEA one, but it does give you a mental picture... I think I'd go for a light-to-medium tone for the unit, keeping a modern theme.
0 Likes   January 22, 2013 at 3:24PM
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
A cabinetmaker can create a custom built-in for you.
0 Likes   January 22, 2013 at 3:31PM
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Leanne Lovie
Functionally I thing that small upholstered automanns would be great in the space. You could get the little cubes that double as storage crates and they may get used for video game and extra movie night seating, especially if you boys like any old games with chorded controllers or wii style gaming that requires some floor space. I also really like the idea of a roman shade for the window. You've got beautiful wall decor.
0 Likes   January 22, 2013 at 3:31PM
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collettec
Clearly, part of the problem is that the area is small for what you would like to have here for multiple uses including storage. There isn't much space, but if you do want more storage, I agree with sstar93 about moving the existing ottoman out, which has no storage, to instead use ottomans that have storage. You would lose storage but visually would be less crowded if you used the glass table that Carolyn Albert-Kincl recommended but even if you went with that I think I would move out the other ottoman given how crowded it would be. Really like the idea of a unit on the end for shelving and other functions. Even if you went with a preexisting unit, if you could find one that fit, eg: something like Ikea, you could add molding to customize it.
0 Likes   January 22, 2013 at 4:10PM
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
emzc is right that Ikea's wall units can be customized with added mouldings. The Billy series of bookcases and cabinets might work well for you and comes in a black/brown finish that would look great. If you consider the Billy series, be sure to get the "added height" units that make the system look quite grand.
0 Likes   January 22, 2013 at 6:03PM
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gwnorth
Was just looking at what Ikea had to offer and was pleasantly surprised. They actually aren't bad and have lots of customization. I'd be able to configure for computer, TV, storage, and display at a price that won't break the bank. Unfortunately I don't think a custom built in is in the budget.

My inclination then would to not go with a dedicated chair for the computer and just pull one in when needed. That would reduce the "clutter" factor. I could then find a small side table for next to the arm chair and a open style coffee table, maybe a long bench would could be used as a table and seating. As for the window I'm now thinking about replacing the blinds with a bamboo shade. I'd still like some decorative side panels but will see. Once the couch is in place I'll have to see what to do about the table lamps.

Thank-you everyone once again.
0 Likes   January 22, 2013 at 6:19PM
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
This chair would fit nicely somewhere near the storage/TV wall unit and could be pulled up for use at the desk part of the system.
0 Likes   January 22, 2013 at 6:28PM
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0 Likes   January 23, 2013 at 6:45AM
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gwnorth
Carolyn - love the chair as I'm fond of the Asian aesthetic. I've been trying to give a bit of a nod to it with the choice of tree/nature motif in my accessories and wood tones and with my Chinese lantern lamp, with out being too blatant about it. Where is this chair in particular from?
0 Likes   January 23, 2013 at 7:10AM
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
gwnorth, the Chinese Chippendale chair above is from Wisteria for about $250. The one below is called the "Macau" chair and is from Ballard Design and costs $269. I, too, am fond of Asian pieces, having lived in Hawaii for 7 years before moving to Texas. I loved incorporating a few Asian antiques into the homes I designed in Hawaii.
0 Likes   January 23, 2013 at 9:40AM
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gwnorth
Thanks Carolyn. You're lucky to have been able to live in Hawaii. I'd love to go sometime, but I did live in Puerto Rico for a couple of years as a kid.

I'm in Canada now and neither of those retailers are here so I'll have to look around to find something similar. I have been noticing a definite trend in Chinese style accent furniture lately, though mostly in brightly coloured lacquers like orange, yellow, and turquoise.

Thank-you once again for all your wonderful input.
0 Likes   January 23, 2013 at 2:00PM
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
I'll bet PR was great fun for a kid! To find your chair, I suggest you just Google "Chinese Chippendale Chairs" and see what you find. Best of luck, and let us know if we can help you again. You've been a very kind and responsive "client", letting us know what you like and what will and won't work for you. Plus you provided good photos. Thanks for making it easy and fun for everyone! We'd love to see photos when you finish your project.
0 Likes   January 23, 2013 at 2:12PM
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TVCoverUps
I like the idea of placing the TV above the mantel. If you use TVCoverUps, you could hang the TV above the mantel and cover it with either artwork, panel or both. The TVCoverUp is a simple and elegant way to conceal your flat screen television. Using it in conjunction with "down and out" mount from dynamicmounting.com allows for your TV to come down to more a comfortable viewing. It comes manual or automatically via remote control. Due to the custom nature of this installation, feel free to give us a call so we can address any other issues.
0 Likes   January 28, 2013 at 3:30PM
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gwnorth
I don't have an issue with having the TV seen above the fireplace, so no cover up would be required. The issue is that to be able to do that would require a large section of wall to be removed in order to accommodate the wiring, so unfortunately, that's not an option.
0 Likes   January 28, 2013 at 4:31PM
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TVCoverUps
That's not necessarily true, TVCoverUp can be mounted directly onto the wall without cutting into or removing parts of it. There are ways of running wires over the surface of the wall as well. If you would like to know your options that do not require cutting into the wall - give us a call at 800.706.4653.
0 Likes   January 28, 2013 at 6:06PM
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