Group 6 4 minutes Read

finishing the living room

Lauren Zerbey

It’s been just over two years since we completed the big overhaul to the main floor of our house. The living room (which used to be the dining area) had a slow start with furnishings but over time we added a new sectional, a coffee table, this rug, a transforming side table and a much-coveted LCW chair.

And now we’re changing things again and attempting to truly finish this space. It started a few months ago when we moved the coffee table downstairs. At first it was a temporary move to accommodate my PEPs group (10 moms and their babies in our living room, definitely a record!), but Avery was also at the age where floor time was becoming more fun so we decided not to bring it back up. (We knew we’d have to relocate it eventually when she became more mobile.) The downside to moving the table was that it now exposed the pretty uneven wear of the shag rug. I’d been secretly looking for a replacement rug for this area for a few months, but couldn’t find anything that was the right price, size and material. And then we finally had a stroke of luck during an impromptu weekday lunch last week (the excuse, the sun was out!). We stopped in our local Crate&Barrel where I saw this sisal rug, but at $399 it was more than I wanted to spend. On our way out, we passed a stack of floor models on sale and what do you know, there sat the same exact rug, on sale from $399 down to $219. Kyle negotiated the price down to $199 and with that we rolled it up and took it home. It has been a long time since we had a moment of karma like this and it felt good.


I’ve always liked the practicality of a natural fiber rug but Kyle has been reluctant because of its coarseness. It took him a few days to warm up to this one, but we’re feeling good about our (non-returnable) purchase. We’ve owned IKEA fiber rugs and this one really is quite a bit “smoother” underfoot, which I’m guessing is related to the quality of the weave. We were also pleasantly surprised how much a light-colored rug brightened up the space (these photos were taken on a typical overcast day).


The rug is 6’x9′ (our previous one was 5’x8′) and it’s a much better fit for the space. Our layout can be challenging because you clip the corner of the living area coming from the front door, but with a thinner rug it’s not awkward at all. We still put down a blanket for Avery, but more so to protect the rug from spit-up. (The great thing about having a stack of homemade quilts is that you just keep layering one on top of the next until you run out. Then I just throw them all into the wash and repeat the cycle.)


She looks pretty bald in these photos, but her hair really has gotten longer – by millimeters at least!


The new rug definitely puts us one step closer to the space feeling truly complete. Now we just have to deal with that shameful secret next to the front door:


I know! We still have this ridiculous TV stand that Kyle bought in college from…I don’t know, Target? (Let’s hope it was Target!) We’ve been working on the design for a media console of sorts for over two years now (first seen in this post) and it just keeps getting back-burnered.


Despite the mismatched nature of everything, we keep putting it off because what we have is functional and more or less gets the job done. Plus, the previous design we came up with was very custom and a bit fussy and made us tired just thinking about it. (Paralyzed by design, you know how that goes.) But now that we have baby-proofing on the brain, we knew it was time to come up with something – preferably something that was inexpensive and easy to execute.


So this is what we’re thinking – we’ll purchase an IKEA Besta unit to house all the “equipment” (with frosted glass doors so the remotes will still work), then make a bench element out of two fir 2×10’s that will bear on the Besta unit on one end and a pair of metal legs on the other. The subwoofer and records will go under the bench. The turntable will go on top of the bench (for now), but will also be able to move to the Besta unit once Avery tries to play her Sesame Street records herself. (We have some ideas for the records themselves if that becomes an issue.)

media console2

The cushion is a new idea. There have been a few times where we could have used extra seating in this space and I like the idea of Avery reading a book up there, Moonrise Kingdom style. Of course, we’re having a hard time finding an inexpensive cushion option…anyone have some good sources? I know it would probably be easy to make, but we just want to get this done. (P.S. – Kyle wants leather and I’m leaning towards a color/pattern.) Finally, the speakers and TV will be secured to the wall or bench to keep from being accidentally pulled over. I know our friends give us a hard time about baby-proofing our house, but I think we have it easier than most. Besides the obvious (stair and loft ladder) we have very few potentially unsafe items at her level and most of what we have is along this wall.

(Side note: that Artemide floor lamp keeps showing up in our renderings yet it is not in our lives yet. Why?)

So there’s our living room, in its current and forecasted glory. We can do this! (But really, if it’s April and we have yet to post about our finished living room someone please call us out.) After all, blogs are all about being held accountable, right?