What a beautiful morning it is. The air is crisp, the bright southern light beams through the large windows as I sit cozy by a warm fire. It probably will be the last fire we build in our home this spring, so I’m enjoying it more.
This room, my Living Room, has always been an important room to me. It sits alone, only attached by one corner to the rest of the house. Yet there is nothing isolated about it. It’s character is quite the opposite. During the day it is full of beautiful light and shadows. The room built in 1834 has large double hung windows on three sides. The jambs are extra thick from the eighteen inch solid brick walls. And when the sun flows into this space the light and shadows from the jambs and the window muntins dance on the floor below creating something magical.
Danny calls this room “The Whiskey Room” and I’m fond of that name too. It’s name denotes a special fun room. Danny keeps an assortment of good Scotch whiskey out for temptation. He displays them in glass decanters on top of the antique desk. When his guy friends gather they usually partake in a taste. Taking their glass of whiskey to sit on the adjacent outdoor terrace, smoke a cigar and have lively conversation. I love this about our living room, that it opens itself seamlessly to the side terrace allowing entertaining in our home to move gracefully from one space to another.
With today’s lifestyle my clients want to use their rooms. They want them all to open to each other. And therefore a formal living room is not as popular today. I agree, living spaces should be made to open to each other and be used. Dead-end rooms aren’t conducive to gather easily in. But I also see that wide open homes have their disadvantages too. To always be in the middle of things can be just too much. We all need some time to be by ourselves and that doesn’t necessarily mean hiding out in ones bedroom. That’s why I find semiprivate spaces in a home to have great purpose. They can be used to facilitate larger gatherings. But they also play an important role as a place for a member or two of the family to use as a quite space. A little removed from the rest of the household. For a young family maybe the opposite, where the children can play and make a mess yet still being near their parents but not underfoot.
My living room is not used on a daily bases but it’s used a lot. I love to sit in it in the morning to read and meditate or in the afternoon to have a cocktail with a friend. It holds a permanent game table and chairs, so it’s a natural place to play cards and many times in the winter that same table is used by Danny and I to dine by the fire. It is a room that gives us a reprieve from the stresses of the day. And allows us to leave rejuvenated.
This room was the only room during the renovation that didn’t change its original purpose. It made sense to keep it a living room, with the large cased opening to the grand hall on one side and the French doors with access to the terrace on the other. It is indeed a public space.
New lighting was added and the 1950’s yellow glazed tile fireplace surround was replaced with an appropriate antique Italian marble surround . The room was painted in the perfect off white , Sherwin Williams, Nacre . This off white color is a favorite because it has no creamy undertones. A large antiqued mirror was set to the wall across from the windows to reflect the sun light . In the soft goods, I chose to continue the use of corals and blues that are seen in the other main rooms of the house. And I accented with ocher yellow. Dark walnut stain casegoods anchor the corners of the room. Allowing the off white center table to seem as though it is floating in the space. With the blending of traditional Southern style with modern sensibilities this room feels relaxed, comfortable yet elegant .
During the Christmas season the tree sits predominant in a corner and is the center of our celebration. And of course during a party it gathers people even if only for them to walk through to the outside. Yes for us, our living room has much to offer and is an important room in our lives!
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