The living room for us is a place we spend much of our free time. It's somewhere for sitting with a laptop and planning our latest project, making music, doing crafty things and whipping up a blog post, and when all that's done it's also the place to relax and pop on the TV. The design of the house also means that this is the main thoroughfare - the only way of getting from the front door to the kitchen, conservatory and upstairs.
And it was a struggle. The furniture we'd brought with us from our previous house just didn't fit. Well, it fitted physically - but that was about it. The room isn't tiny (though by no means large), yet it felt cramped, crowded and messy. You had to zigzag your way around it all to get through the room, and more than a couple of extra people was a squish. After much debate we decided to go all out in getting this room sorted and that meant a couple of new bits of furniture.
(As we weren't thinking of blogging this we failed to take any "before" shots and as it turns out we've taken hardly any photos in this room over the years. To give you a small idea of what it was like here's the best of the bunch; a christmas photo of our decorated tree sitting in front of the piano, and a shot of us playing a card game on the floor with all the furniture pushed to the edges. Sorry if that's not much help!)
Changing our large three seater for a corner sofa, along with passing on our acoustic piano for a much more compact digital version allowed us to rethink how the room works with startling results. There's now a clear path from one side of the room to the other, space to pack in a few extra friends, and even some clear floor space for laying out that tangle of yarn that needs unpicking. The new piano is a marked improvement on the old one, inspiring much more regular playing even if we do still both have a definite fondness for the mechanics of a traditional instrument. More than anything, the room feels like it has doubled in size despite having almost as much stuff in it and that's all down to the change in layout.
|Much much smaller piano, plus a clear path from the front door on the right to the kitchen on the left.|
The understairs cupboard is more accessable and a new chair that can be both tucked
into a corner and pulled out into the main seating space.
But all of the above is a complete tangent - I was going to tell you about the floor!
There was one major flaw with the living room when we moved in (in our opinion anyway), and that was the cream carpet. I'm not adverse to using pale coloured carpets in the right place - but the highest traffic room of the house is definitely not that place. It constantly needed hoovering, and even then was never quite clean. We were also starting to have problems with the chipboard underfloor having rather a lot of bounce to it. It either needed replacing or reinforcing before we found ourselves with a hole in the floor.
Our solution was to install an engineered oak floor, something solid that would wear well over many years as well as taking the pressure off the ageing chipboard. However, as we were fitting the planks into place we noticed that the finish on them was very uneven. There had been foam strips between the planks to stop them being damaged in transit and where the foam had been was much paler than the edges of the planks. After a few months of back and forward with the flooring company they agreed to send us enough of the hard wax oil they had used so that we could refinish the floor.
|Uneven colouration can be seen around the edges of the central plank.|
And so we found ourselves, just a short while after finishing the decoration of the room, emptying all of the furniture out again so that we could put a fresh layer of oil down. Fortunately, it has been completely worth the effort. The finish is much more even and the wood has a much warmer feel to it.