Right at the start of the year, we decided this would be the year we worked on our lounge. I say, ‘we’, but it was entirely my husband’s idea because he is much better at seeing what is wrong with things and working out how to put them right.
My husband removed my bookshelf to make way for the Christmas tree last year and told me it wasn’t going back. I felt a bit sad about this. I love reading and having books around me is almost comforting. My husband knows I love reading and doesn’t mind all the money I spend on books, but he doesn’t understand why I would want an untidy bookshelf in the lounge. After a month or so, I had to admit the lounge did look better without the bookshelf.
Our window had dark brown curtains. I was never really sure why we got dark brown curtains. It was no doubt because we had one dark coloured settee and one beige one when we moved in. Plus it was winter when we moved in, and I think winter makes you more attracted to dark colours.
We liked the idea of those white shutters that look a bit like venetian blinds, but they’re not cheap. In the end, we just went for off-white (slightly grey) venetian blinds on both our bay-window-that-isn’t-a-bay-window and our little side window. We also got a blind for the side window in the dining room because it’s open plan and the window is very close to the lounge side window.
My husband removed the curtain pole and spent a lot of time filling in the holes and sanding it all down and repainting. In fact, he spent a lot of time on that full stop. Previously, our painting had been done in a bit of a rush. It looked OK if you didn’t look at it too closely, but there were some messy bits, including where holes hadn’t been filled properly. He spent time sorting out the ceiling, where we hadn’t tidied up properly after having new lighting a few years ago.
Earlier this year, we got someone in to remove our old gas fireplace. It was something my husband had wanted to do since we’d moved in. But, like the bookshelf and the brown curtains, it had never really bothered me. Apart from when our boiler broke last year, we’d never used the fire. But it was a good place for Pumba and the birthday presents five times a year!
With the fireplace gone, the large picture which had hung above it looked all wrong. The picture is special to us, as we’d bought it with money from our wedding. It is a limited edition print by an artist called Govinder of two rabbits. Even though I’m a big guinea pig fan now, rabbits were my first love. The rabbit picture was in a sort of painted gold frame that was looking rather dated. It went OK with the brown lounge, but the new lounge was going to be grey.
My husband decided to paint the frame black and move the picture into the dining room. There was a large photo in there from when my husband and son climbed Ben Nevis. I know they were proud of climbing Ben Nevis, but the photo was a bit crap and they weren’t even in it. The rabbits look so much better than the photo.
That left a large space of lounge wall without any pictures. So we moved two more of our limited edition prints from the stairs to the lounge. After buying the big rabbit picture, we went through a phase for a couple of years of buying this collectable art. These two are by the artist Mackenzie Thorpe – one is called With Child and was bought when I was pregnant with my eldest. The other, Bee Boy was bought when he was a few months old. Once we had two kids (and then three) we couldn’t afford to buy collectable art any more! These two pictures had silver frames already, so we didn’t need to do anything with them. We’ve now got a big gap on our stairs, but there are a couple more Govinder rabbits waiting under the spare bed. (Strangely, even though our old house was much smaller than this one, it had more wall space as the rooms were quite big and box-like. The rooms in this house are uneven shapes and sizes, so we don’t have as much space for large pictures.)
My husband and daughter painted the wooden TV cabinet a dull white. It was another thing which I didn’t realise needed doing and would never have thought needed doing, but looks just right.
A new carpet was never in the plan, but at the last minute my husband decided to order one. My eldest has a very nice staff discount, meaning we can consider things which are more expensive than we could usually afford. Getting the new carpet was definitely the right thing to do, because it’s grey rather than beige. It feels lovely to stand on, but the pile drives us a bit mad as there’s a very light side and a very dark side. It is starting to settle down now.
The big thing was always going to be the new settee. Shortly after we’d moved in, my husband had bought a brown corner sofa from Next outlet for a good price, on a whim. It was very comfy. But it was brown. We liked having a corner sofa, but we wanted a bigger one. My husband chose a modular corner sofa. So you basically piece together different sized pieces to create your perfect sofa. Again, we used the staff discount. My husband did consult me on the style and the fabric and show me his drawings (he’d measured it all out very carefully), but I’ll admit I never really understood what it was going to look like. It’s a good job I trust him completely on this sort of thing.
I’m pleased to say, it looks amazing and it is very comfortable. It is the biggest settee I’ve ever seen, with plenty of room for five people, even when some of use are stretched out.
The last thing in the lounge was the one thing I chose. I wanted a chair called a ‘snuggler’. It’s a large arm chair/ small sofa (it basically seats one and half people, hence the name ‘snuggler’) and it rotates. It is very comfortable. Like the carpet and the big settee, it was bought with the lovely staff discount (we’re going to miss that when it’s gone). The old dark leather sofa from that corner has moved to the landing to replace an armchair that was falling apart.
It’s taken a few months, but we are all so pleased with our new lounge. And I really don’t miss my bookshelf.