living room design

Progress on the living room is well underway, but this is the current state of our space.

I know, yawn.

In June, we picked your brains about audio systems and setups. Ultimately, we decided that because our house is so small we could get away with one pair of good quality tower speakers in the living room and nothing else. A few months later we found these beauties that you see above, on sale because of small imperfections that I have yet to find.  We also invested in an all-in-one sound system that is a fantastic solution for small spaces. Basically, it streams music from wherever you have it stored (ours is on our laptop now, but eventually we’ll move it to a dedicated external hard drive), it has internet radio (we’ve been listening to some Swiss and French stations lately), and a USB port for easy ipod/iphone access. Oh, and there’s an app for it too…meaning we can turn on NPR in the morning without actually having to get out of bed. I have to say, I’m really not an audiophile but I love this thing! And the system has plenty of oomph to rock the whole house. The only sad part is that it is living on our little IKEA side table that I have had for ten years (it was the first thing I ever ordered from IKEA). But keep reading, we have plans.

But first – we ordered our new couch and coffee table! They’re similar to what you see below (minus the floor to ceiling glass and scenic view), but the couch is a little different and the coffee table is white lacquer and gray glass instead of the walnut and gray glass. They’re from BoConcept and will be delivered in December via Denmark(!). This is our first time to order something from them, so we’ll report on how it goes (so far, so good).


I admit, I was resistant to the coffee table. It was more than I wanted to spend and I had been envisioning a piece of reclaimed wood on hairpin steel legs. But Kyle was in love. LOVE! He gave me the sad puppy dog eyes and everything. Needless to say, I caved.

I do love the colors (imagine white lacquer instead of the walnut) and the hidden storage. Remote controls, you are hereby banished!

This past week, Kyle’s been finalizing the design for the media unit. We’d been envisioning a low slung, fir plywood cabinet that would house the audio system. We’re also hoping to acquire a turntable in the near future. That’s right, we’re going low-tech/high-tech at chezerbey –  records and digital files but not a compact disc in sight. So here’s what we’re thinking – the size of the unit is bound by the speaker locations and window. The unit will be floating (i.e. – attached to the wall), with a recessed area for the record player (which will be mounted to the wall for optimal sound isolation qualities). And yes, the turntable is centered on the window mullion above. (I knew you’d notice.) The cubby to the left will have a series of notches for record storage (we have approximately 5 records now, but are planning for 75 or so).


Behind the sliding doors on the right, we’ll store all the less than stylish tech stuff (and more records). Even though I am still a strong supporter of not having the TV in our living room, it’s going to be a while before we do the media haven in the basement. We also played around with doing an L-shaped piece that came up the right side of the  cabinet and over the TV so you wouldn’t see the backside when you come in the front door. But it looked too fussy. Delete.

The cabinet box under the record player will serve as additional storage for even more tech stuff.

So, now we just have to build it!  

Sadly, the Artemide floor lamp that we have in the model is too big for the space (and really, too expensive). We’re going to stick with our IKEA version that we’ve had for years but is actually really well-designed. And then there’s the Eames LCW. It wants to live in our home, it really does. We’re going to wait until we have the rest of the pieces in place and then see what kind of space we have. Our living room layout is a little awkward in that the main circulation path clips off one corner, making it hard to layout furniture.

We’re also in the market for a rug (more to define the space and bring in some layers and texture). So dear Anthropologie, if you’re reading this, could you please add this rug in yellow back to your website? Thanks!

I know the space will evolve slowly over time, but we feel like we’re starting with some good solid pieces that will last a long time and be adaptable to different decorating whims. But for now, we’re minimalists.


17 Responses to “living room design”

  1. troy. says:

    Love the media unit design, esp. w/ the turntable and record storage.

  2. Jared says:

    I love the sofa and am planning on ordering one in blue in the near future. I visited their store while living in Chicago and the Terni is so comfortable!

  3. Robyn says:

    Once the couch arrives, I want to see a similiar picture of you and Kyle lounging in your PJs reading the paper.

  4. Robin says:

    Oh my that media unit looks awesome! I love that you’re dedicating the center space to a turntable and a lot of the storage space to records. A perfect mix of new and old!

  5. Bob says:

    We just got Flor carpet squares as a living room rug. We got the all the same color squares but alternated the grain direction when laying them down so it’s a really subtle grey checkerboard pattern. We looked at getting rugs and the Flor squares were less. still looked good and are better for when a baby pukes on them.

  6. jeannette says:

    can you name your all in one system?
    thanks in advance.

  7. runtymom says:

    This may be in an older post and I missed it, my apologies if I that is the case. Please share what brand the all in one sound system is as it sounds exactly like what I have been searching for.
    Your kitchen looks great and the living room is coming along nicely too!

  8. Isabelle says:

    Swiss radio stations ??? Let me know which ones – and in which language as we have 4 official languages here 😉

  9. I am with you on not having the tele in the living room and I have not read through all the posts, but have you tried mounting it on the wall?

    • chezerbey says:

      We could, probably want to keep our options flexible at this point. We actually don’t watch much TV so it’s working well in the flex room for now.


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  2. […] of audio equipment behind is also on the to-do list for this fall/winter. Last year we came up with this design for a media cabinet. While we’re still envisioning a long, low-slung piece, we’re […]

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