Fashion is everywhere

Chez Larsson

Letitia’s Livingroom

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A while ago I got an e-mail from Letitia who needed help with her livingroom. Here's what she wrote:

husband and I along with 3 dogs reside in garden level west facing
condo in a 10 unit condo building than was converted from a single mansion. We
were tearing down some drywall and discovered a fireplace hidden behind our
drywall of our 12×15 feet living room. Well, we were expecting to find a
fireplace because of the chimney on the roof but never expected such a huge


The Fireplace opening is 5 feet by 5.5 feet (H). Currently
our couch faces a wall with two huge windows 4 feet by 6 feet (h) that overlook
our backyard. The window sills double as a window seat. In the centre wall is a
faux fireplace and a TV mounted above it. Our couch faces the

4325956876_15d58a1cff_b kopiera

We currently have a Calvin couch, (but need to replace it with
a sleeper couch) a wood Mascotti coffee table that rises and opens to our
dining table. The folding dining chairs are under a lack shelf behind the
couch. We have a Ikea PS metal cabinet which we keep our AV components, a crate
and barrel steamer bar for the alcohol. A faux fireplace and a Mounted TV above


the main questions I have are:


* How should I place the furniture? (we are open to selling/buying furniture
just to get the LR of our dreams. We would have to leave the TV in the LR, – or
even can do a projection tv and need  a spot for the AV components 


What colours should i paint the walls?


* What should we use the
newly discovered space for?


* And finally most debated… should we paint/lime the brick?

First of all what an awesome space and how cool is that to discover that huge fireplace?!

I thought this was a fun project to take on because I could give Floorplanner a go. I found it via Sherry and John and it's a fun tool but quite fiddly until you (sort of) get the hang of it. I didn't find the tutorials on the Floorplanner site very helpful so please excuse the various wonky walls, crooked windows and please disregards the measurements entirely. The plan is just to give an idea of what the layout of the room could look like.

So to answer Letitia's questions here's what I'd do with the space.


The furniture
I'd leave
most furniture for now simply because of the cost of replacing it all at
once but as pieces get switched out I suggest sticking to one color
wood or paint most pieces the same color to unify the space.

I'd consider getting a second matching Mascotti table so one could be a permanent small dining table and one a permanent coffee table. When Letitia throws a dinner party the coffee table can be placed next to the dining table and make it double the size.

In order to define the dining area from the sitting area I've laid down two rugs. There's also a floor plillow for the doggies.

The one thing I removed from the space is the IKEA PS cabinet. For two reasons; what's inside can go into a new space, see further down and it's very white compared to the rest of the furniture which is mainly dark/er. I'm sure it can be used somewhere else.

The walls
Because this apartment is on the entry level which tends to be darker than higher up in a building I'd paint the walls and ceilings pure white. I know some of you may disagree, but hey, she asked me so what do you expect? I also like the idea of the white because I get a "loft" vibe from the space and to me the best loft look is white. It would be fun to introduce an accent wall though. I painted it a dusty pink in the drawing because I like the lavender-red-pink color scheme to go with the dark furniture but I do realise it's not to everybody's taste and it would also depend on what Letitia decides to do with the fireplace wall.

The newly discovered space
The fireplace isn't a working one apparently so I say move the TV in there! Facing the sofa that direction will help define the two areas I mentioned before, dining and sitting. Since it's such a big opening there's room for some shelves at the bottom for DVD and cable and for boxes holding knick knacks and DVD's.

The brick
Most debated. Yes, I get that. Some people say it's sacriledge to paint brick but I'm all for it if you don't like the look of the red brick and I have to say this looks like a very even red color at least on the fireplace itself. Red brick is a really tricky one to work around especially if you're not into that look. I'd be more inclined to keep it if the bricks were more uneven and industrial looking as they seem to be on the side wall. If this were my wall it would probably be limed white already… Keeping the sandstone lintel in it's original state though.

So what are your opinions on painting the brick in Letitia's case? Any other suggestions for her in terms of furnishing the space or paint color? We are all ears!


  • These ideas look great. I would love a fire place like that.
    I just wanted to let you know I’ve linked to your blog today. I give fare warning though, the post has very frightening pictures of horrific clutter. Visit at your own risk.
    Take care,

  • London Mummy says:

    Well, if it were my space I would get rid of the faux fireplace and the wall mounted tv above it and go down the projecter route – the windows provide enough of a focal point, assuming the view out to the backyard is/will be lovely 🙂
    The newly discovered fireplace I would have skimmed and painted in with the rest of the room, white is good for me too 🙂 I would have chunky shelves built into it for books and display, incorporating recessed lighting strips into the underside of the shelves.
    The new sofabed would be in it’s original position facing the windows at a right angle to the newly built in chunky shelves. The wall between the windows where the faux fireplace was could be used to project the tv when required. I would place the chair to the left of the newly discovered fireplace.
    Finally, for a dining table I would use a split console table along the left hand wall with another Eames chair (if the budget will allow) to the side of it, when not in use it’s a console/display table but when required the hinged flap lifts up to turn it into a dining table, easy to do even when it is just Letitia and her husband, they wouldn’t need to clear the display at the back of the console and they would utilise the two Eames chairs. A lovely big mirror above it would reflect even more light into the room.
    Assuming the window seats have storage beneath, I would store away the folding chairs inside until required.
    I too would get rid of the Ikea cabinet.
    Well that’s my two pence worth, looking forward to seeing everyone’s suggestions.

  • cass says:

    i love the dogs in the floor plan haha

  • Decofabulous says:

    I like the proposed layout, however, I think the room definitely needs an accent wall. Cole & Son have a beautiful turquoise, white and gold pattern called Istambul which would look amazing on that wall. I would keep the remaining walls as pure white as well.

  • I say paint the brick. If it were all the brown brick to the left it might look nice but the red brick, not so much. Not a great color to work with. I lvoe the idea of putting the TV there.

  • Lin says:

    Paint the brick! And the idea for a second matching table is genius=)

  • Vicki K. says:

    Love the doggy-planners! I’d paint the fireplace because of the Clean Factor. Someone who has a brick fireplace mentioned to me that it is a dust generator and keeper.
    I like the TV in the fireplace. When you didn’t want it to show you could use a solid type screen or even hang fabric with a tension rod to conceal it.

  • erica says:

    hej hej=)
    Åh, det kommer bli GRYMT!
    Jag skriver ju också om inredning, ikväll börjar jag med en kategori som heter inspirerande bostäder och först ut är VÄRLDENS coolaste lyxyacht!! Åh, när jag såg den önskade jag verkligen att jag vore miljardär, hehe…
    Kramar från mig!

  • Ems says:

    I’d definitely paint the bricks! As Vicki K has already stated – it just ‘creates’ dust – and, I don’t know if I’m the only one who feels this way, but the way bricks feel when you touch them gives me goosebumps and paint definitely sorts that out too… weird, huh?

  • I wanted to comment on your blog but wasn’t able to for some reason. So far it seems you’ve accomplished a lot! Good job on weeding all that out!

  • I know, cute huh?! Too bad there weren’t any kitties…

  • I hear there’s a clear matte sealant that can be used to eliminate the “dusty” feel.
    Love the idea of screening the TV!

  • Chrystelle says:

    Brilliant ideas, Benita! I love the idea of painting the brick. We have a similar color red brick fireplace (UGH!) that is monopolizing a living room wall and darkening the mood of the room so we are going to paint it and the walls white. I suppose we will have to prime a lot so that the clay of the brick does not bleed through in the painting process.
    I very much like the idea of putting the TV in the newly revealed spot and facing the couch toward it. Letitia says the couch currently faces west? Wouldn’t that make the sun setting shine directly into their eyes while watching TV?
    If the fireplace were more tall and they needed room for overnight guests I would have designed a disguised “Murphy bed”!

  • Donna says:

    I would definitely paint the brick the same color as the walls, but I wouldn’t put the TV in there. I agree with London Mummy about putting shelves in the empty space. Personally I would try to make it look like something other than a former fireplace.

  • Thanks Benita. Now if only I had your organizational gene. Thankfully you write a blog and have given me a some great ideas. So I’ll keep working at it.

  • Caroline says:

    I agree. Paint the brick. I’d also remove the faux fireplace & substitute a bookshelf/storage/desk situation there.

  • If you have plans to build a new home, you’ll need to consider many factors. Early in the process, one of the most important things to address is the actual lot on which your new house will be built.
    Love this floor plan.
    Deirdre G

  • Letitia says:

    Thank you so much for featuring my dilemma and for all your creative suggestions. I will keep you posted on how things work out for us and will send pictures once we are done.

  • Interesting read. I will have to bookmark it for later.