As Far As I Got With Our Last Loft Living Room

I never finished our old living room off the way I wanted to, but I did rather like the direction it was going in.

When we moved in, there was a rather dominant red wall, complete with huge mismatched patches where the landlord had tried to cover damage left over from the previous tenants.

Luckily, we got the go-ahead to paint neutral stripes. I was seriously missing the stripes we had in our previous master bedroom, so it was a no-brainer really. It was quite a process (mainly because of the newborn and the two-year-old), but it made a huge difference.

The stripes helped balance that side of the room, too, because there was a lot going on everywhere else – we had one gorgeous brick wall, an industrial concrete ceiling, exposed duct work and floor to ceiling windows. (Oh how I miss it!)

I scored the rug on major discount at a Black Friday sale. I’m only about four years too late for the chevron trend but whatever, I dig it. The rug turned out not to be a fantastic buy in the end – more on that here.

The coffee table was a beast, but man I loved that beast. Our previous coffee table – my little Ikea hack – was too small for this space and honestly hadn’t held up that well to toddlers. Our little man whacked it with metal cars a couple of times and dented the wallpaper surface, then he ripped a bit of it off too (darling boy). So when I saw a Restoration Hardware steamer trunk on Craigslist for $500 (they’re $1950 new), I sent J off to pick it up. Didn’t bank on it being quite so big, though.

The scale definitely took a bit of getting used to, but in the end we loved it. J said it was his favourite thing in the house, and it might have been mine too. It was amazingly practical (it had two huge storage drawers that we filled with blankets and board games) and it was virtually indestructible. It helped with the masculine/feminine balance in the room. I’m sad we had to sell it but it wouldn’t have fit in many English houses.

Styling in a house with toddlers just isn’t really practical, so I just kept a few bits on a tray that we could easily move whenever the kids were around.

I found the wicker tray at the Crate & Barrel outlet – I wanted something big and natural to counteract the coffee table. Much as I would like there to have been pretty decorating books adorning it, Walking Dead comics are more how we roll in this house. The vase and bowl were from Target, and the paper roses were from West Elm. I planned to cover some books in pretty paper but never got that far.

We used an Ikea Malm console table behind the sofa, although apparently I didn’t get a decent photo. It was a long Parsons-style table that spanned the width of the sofa. It gave us somewhere to rest things out of the way of little hands, and stopped the sofa looking squished up against the windows.
Our little office area was off to the left of the telly, and it looked pretty much the same as it did in our first loft. The only real difference was that the frames held family photos instead of pretty paper.

There is one major project in this room that you can’t even see. Which is the whole point. We started with a major tangle of wires everywhere, linking the desk to the media area. J did an awesome job hiding them by running them through covers like these, and I finished it off by running cord clips like these along the back of the desk to keep them out of view there too.

The desk concealed all of the computer-related stuff nicely and, although I never found a decent media cabinet (the limited dimensions of the space there made it tricky), this Ikea cabinet was a neat little stand-in for the rest of our gadgety things (that’s a technical term).

I had plans to finish the room if we’d lived there longer – I wanted to add navy accents, do something about the generic bookcase, update the lighting and the cushions, and find something vintage to replace the cheapy media stand. Still, it came a long way in the short time we were there, didn’t it?


  1. May 18, 2014 / 12:56 am

    Lovely! I can't believe you did stripes with a newborn and a 2 year old. You are my hero! 🙂

  2. May 20, 2014 / 1:47 am

    Hi, Lizzie!!! It is awesome to "meet" you!! Thank you soooo much for taking the time to comment on the post about my sister's new house in London:) It is such a beautiful country, sounds exciting for you to be back there:) (Except for the no Target part, lol!) Seriously, thank you for all those UK sources/stores, etc….I'm totally going to be checking them out and forwarding them along to my sis if she hasn't already read it on the blog. I didn't know you had a WE and Anthro, sweet!! You can get some nice home stuff at Tescos? That is a happy surprise! I remember going in to a couple when I was visiting for a few groceries and some cider after I realized how delicious it was;)

    Your old loft is beautiful!! Totally love your style! That RH steamer trunk was a great find. And I still love me some chevron too:) So, it looks like I'm a few months behind you in the kid dept. My daughter will be 4 in September, and our little guy turns one in June. Cracking up at the its pointless to style things with toddlers running around. True that. I'm really enjoying reading your glad you stopped by! Thanks again!!!

  3. May 29, 2014 / 8:56 am

    Hey Sarah – so happy to help! I've been a quiet follower of yours for a few years so it's lovely to "meet" you too. 🙂 Would love to see more of your sister's house as they furnish it more – so far I've only found one other English decor/DIY blog so I'm always on the hunt for more UK inspiration!

  4. June 9, 2014 / 1:32 pm

    Absolutely gorgeous! I love that steamer got a great deal on it.

  5. January 26, 2015 / 7:31 pm

    Wow. WOW. Absolutely fantastic renovation. I'm here from Better After and glad I came to visit. 🙂

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