Vision for the Living Room {My New House}

Vision for the Living Room {My New House}
Mark D Sikes – House Beautiful – built-ins inspiration

When we first saw the living room in our new house, we were quite pleased that it had several things going for it!

Vision for the Living Room {My New House}
This is the living room on the main floor. It is bigger than any of the rooms at our old house, so it will have plenty of breathing room and space for furniture! That was a big plus for me since I love furniture :). More space gives me a bit more freedom. Yet at the same time, the room isn’t so big that it won’t ever feel cozy. I plan to have one main conversation area and a few other small “zones” around the room for conversation, relaxing or function.

Vision for the Living Room {My New House}

It has a bank of giant windows across the back side of the room and around a corner. The windows allow glorious light to flood the space! It’s so bright and inviting that I am always drawn to sit in this room. The windows also connect the room to the outdoors, with views of trees, the Puget Sound, mountains and Bainbridge Island in the distance, spectacular sunsets in the evening and beautiful expanses of sky during the day.

The room also has a stone fireplace with built-in bookshelves, and hardwood floors.

Vision for the Living Room {My New House}

This room is open to the dining room and kitchen beyond, so it feels open to other living areas while remaining a separate space.

Vision for the Living Room {My New House}

The room is currently painted a warm white, which will serve us well at least for the time being. There is also a hint of swine paint on the ceiling. Of course there is. :)

It has limited moldings and trim work, so that is an area we can improve!

It has no wired in lighting, but we only really need lamps for light at night and for charm and ambience.

The living room currently has no window coverings, which it really doesn’t need for privacy and is awesome for letting in light. But it gets extra bright for a short period of time on a super sunny day, so adding some window coverings would help control glare as needed. It would also be nice for adding a layer of warmth and softness to the room.

Vision for the Living Room {My New House}

You can see in the image above how the living room relates to the entry hallway, be sure to see the post I shared about our entry vision last week!

While we have lots of ideas for this room, we are still dreaming up exactly what this room might look like style-wise.

Here’s what we know we want in the room:

  • We want a window seat to snuggle up on to watch the sunsets. We may create a small corner window bench, or one that goes the full length of the window flanked with built in bookcases. See below for window seat inspiration!
  • We want to add lighting, built-ins and millwork to increase character.
  • We want to do some updating around the fireplace, but haven’t nailed down exactly what we want to do yet.
  • For now, we are using several of the same furniture pieces from our old family room, with a few additions and changes. We still intend to use a mix of neutrals and colors and continue with our same style.
  • We want to add a rug to this space for another layer of warmth and coziness.

Vision for the Living Room {My New House}

Vision for the Living Room {My New House}
New England Home – corner window seat

Vision for the Living Room {My New House}
Lauren Liess – window seat and built in

Vision for the Living Room {My New House}
Vision for the Living Room {My New House}
Carpenter & MacNeille – window seat
Vision for the Living Room {My New House}

Vision for the Living Room {My New House}
House Beautiful – window seat

Vision for the Living Room {My New House}Jessica Helgerson Interior Design – window seat

Vision for the Living Room {My New House}
Carpenter & MacNeille

We don’t yet have the full vision for the fireplace wall, and we may just work with it. But if we do decide to change it at all or add any trim work or cabinetry, isn’t this the coziest (above)? It’s so charming!

I cannot wait to work on this room! For now, I just really love being in it. The view has been such an unexpected gift, it almost doesn’t matter what the inside looks like when you are so drawn to the view outside! But layer by layer, we’ll enjoy making the inside cozier and more charming!

If you missed the other posts about this house (including our house tour video), check them all out here!


  1. Love these ideas. We’ll be transforming our loft area into a window seat and bookshelves. That wrap around seat in the first 2 picture examples is gorgeous. I hadn’t considered the idea that we could do something like that.

  2. This is so fun, dreaming along with you! I love the window seat idea – a dream of mine too! The bones of this room are wonderful, so a bit of paint, a bit of millwork, a rug and some curtains and it’ll be just perfect!


  3. Such a lovely room! I’d love to hear more about how the MCM house will influence your plans.

  4. We just moved into our new home, Melissa, and there’s little room for the bookshelves that are so badly needed … and those boxes filled with cherished volumes are patiently awaiting their new landing place somewhere under this roof!

    So I love that first picture with the shelves up the walls and right over the windows. This just might actually work!

  5. Oh, what fun you have before you! I love the idea of drawers below the window seats. So practical – as you can change out pillows, throws, etc., and have them stored conveniently underneath. My husband built some window seats and did not add drawers – be sure to plan to include them as I am always asking him to go back and add some (he does NOT like to return to old jobs for revisions!). Enjoy the process!

  6. I love window seats and built ins. All the examples are wonderful.

    I’m not sure if I like the offset stonework on the fireplace – at times I like the quirkiness but I also like symmetry. The built-ins that wrap around the fireplace are lovely and would flow into a corner seat, like one of the examples above. I like the idea of under the seat storage for holding blankets, pillows, etc.

    Looking forward to seeing the progress. BTW, are you going to update the house tour page to have a “new, new house”?

  7. Rebecca Turner says

    You have some great ideas for your new home and I can’t wait to see them implemented! Obviously the view is the thing. Enjoy!

  8. I love the first living ro. The book shelves over the window are such a great use of space to help me corral my ever-growing book collection. Your site is always an inspiration to me and as a former military wife, I know the ‘agonies and ecstasies” of frequent moves. Presently I am renovating a 1940s house in northwest Florida and at 65yo doing mot of the work my self. The lemon-lemonade theory at work here. keep up the good work. I look forward to every one of your posts.

  9. I cannot get over that view, Melissa! The room is beautiful on its own, but those windows and that view take it to the next level. Love where your vision is headed – can’t wait to see as it starts to come together! :)

  10. karen on bainbridge island says

    Will your new living room have that adorable little Frenchie in it?? So cute. Love all your ideas. It will be great, and quite the adventure.

  11. I am so excited to see what you do with this space! The window seats sounds simply dreamy – what a fantastic spot to watch the sunset or a rainy day.

    With a good book.

    And a cup of tea. Or a glass of wine.

  12. Sheran Steading says

    Love that room and those windows! I really like the modern feel to them and would do very little in the way of treatment. The room says “serene” to me.

  13. One of the first things my husband did when we moved into our Poulsbo house 12 years ago, was to build built-in bookcases and window seats in our den. We love it so much. There’s nothing quite so cozy as a window seat!

  14. Ms. Maggie the Elder says

    Again it is weird to see that view again that we saw when looking at the house; you may still get us as neighbors since we are looking north of you by a few blocks…

    Boy lots could happen with the fireplace; removal of brick in the future and just maybe painting it right now. I like doing items over time due to mess and expense. I am finally getting to many items at the island home after 5 years…people sometimes laugh at the wait but that is always a good way to roll since you can make the right decision after getting to know the lay of the land. Patience is a virtue~

    And there are a ton of curtains on sale right now at JCP, but at my city home with its giant windows, we have very few of them except in the bedrooms since we do not regularly travel nude around the place.

    PS And no worries about the telephone pole in your view since most communities are putting it all underground like our second island home at Hartstene Pointe, mainly due to it not only being telephone but cable, etc. down there so there is no tree problems with outages and it can be updated at less cost. The costs above are higher in maintenance and many communities are looking ahead at future costs nowadays. And if it can happen out here in the boonies, it will happen everywhere! Patience continues to be the best virtue…

    • Well wouldn’t that be something to be neighbors! It is a wonderful area. I agree on the telephone poles, I just look right past them now. If they are removed in the near future, that will be a pleasant new development! The view is spectacular so I am happy as a clam to get to enjoy it every day.

  15. swine paint?? i am not familiar … but i am sure not liking the sound of it?!
    best about your window seat pictures is the seats have some depth to them ~ so as they can actually be sat on! (and geez-o, how about that wood chair in the Carpenter-McNeille pic? swoon.)

  16. Melissa, it is such a beautiful room and home with a great flow. I am all about light so seeing all of those windows makes my heart jump!! It will be so fun to follow along on your journey. We start ours in about 3 weeks!!
    xo Kathysue

  17. Linda Grubbs says

    Love the window seat idea! This is gonna be good. And I’ll bet Jack will like being able to keep his watchful eye on the backyard from said window seat.(You know….just in case there’s any funny business going on out there!).

  18. When we lived on Long Island, my husband created beautiful bookcases that surrounded a nook with a sofa. They went up to the ceiling and surrounded a window. Seeing these pictures made me homesick for my old house? But, with that said, I am learning to love Seattle and our condo. I’m so enjoying being part of your adventure, if even a very small part.

  19. Melissa, love your house! Love your living room as is! Love your inspiration pix! And going to love your LR even more shortly!

    Sitting at my desk looking across the room at my 8′-wide picture window with sliders, I had to laugh. I do have a window seat (a small trunk). Unfortunately, it only seats 1 of 3 cats at a time (they’re territorial). However, I could do a wider bench – seating for 3 cats and 3x the storage – Hmm? Back to your inspiration pix.

  20. I can hardly wait! We will have several “window seats” in our new home….and I need inspiration! So, hurry up please and create yours…(wink)
    and oh my what a wonderful view.
    Happy Day

  21. Love the last picture from Carpenter & MacNeille. I like what they did to the fireplace. Doors at one end of the fireplace painted white. And the fireplace is framed in a surround painted white. Very classy. The windows and views are just lovely.

  22. Maria Newell says

    Hi Melissa! I love the idea of the wrap around window seat in the first 2 photos. I can definitely envision that look in your room! If you decide to design your room that way, I don’t think I would go the whole length of the windows. Then it might give the impression of a doctor’s waiting room. I love how that pillar with the wood work gives it a grand look at the end of the bench seat. I can’t wait to see if you go in that direction. I also love the color of your stone fireplace. I hope you decide to keep that and can incorporate the stone with the mill work. I’m looking forward to see what becomes of this already inspiring room! :)

    • I agree, I definitely need to think carefully about the design of the window seat to make sure that it fits properly to the room and makes the right statement! Same with the fireplace, so much to think about! Thank you!

      • I definitely think extending the fireplace into a window seat, will work well & look great. As much as I love MCM style, this fireplace is just a bit too asymmetrical for my taste & adding a built-in window seat just might do the trick. Like Maria, Liz & Christie I love MCM style & find myself a bit worried at how things will change. since I think your new house is dreamy. However, I can appreciate your desire to make it your own & I’m sure you will do a lovely job blending the character of the home with your own style (you just scared me when you started talking about adding crown molding to a mid-century living room). Oh well, it’s not my home, after all, it’s your’s & I’m happy to see you loving it! :)

  23. Your midcentury stone fireplace is gorgeous and a huge original feature in your house. I could certainly see you adding to it or covering part of it with some wood pieces, but be true to your home’s roots and don’t damage the original fireplace. It will never go out of style as it will always match the age of your home!

    • I agree, and came back to this thread to see if Melissa replied to my other comment about MCM influences. When I look at the photos of the living room with its asymmetrical fireplace balanced by the lovely bank of windows and offset by the off-centered doorways to the dining room and then into the kitchen, I see lovely layers of beautiful lines of balanced asymmetry. I think it would “un-do” the house to start forcing symmetry; well, it could be done but would then require doorways to be centered to match new symmetrical features. I do think a window seat can be added to the living room a keep true to MCM lines, but please keep your original fireplace and MCM lines.

    • So much to think about with this home and the design details, to honor its era and yet let its style evolve to the modern age while reflecting the surroundings of the sea and the unique beauty of the Pacific NW. I will be leaving the home’s 1950’s structure and much of the architecture and layout as is, but am very excited to enjoy tastefully making this house our home in creative and unique ways! I look forward to the process.

  24. Melissa…I LOVE your idea of a window seat. That is really using the room’s potential. I can’t wait to see you transform this home! !

  25. Oh my! It is going to look great if your inspiration pictures are anything to go by. I can’t wait to see you work your magic again.

  26. Those windows are amazing! I also love all your inspiration photos – I’ll be looking at all of them when it’s time for me to give our living room a bit of an update. I’m about to start on my kitchen so for now I’m going to live vicariously through you – okay? Can’t wait to see it all come together :)

  27. I’m so excited to see you transform and beautify a whole new space!

  28. I love your ideas – I have a room similar and starting to pull together. I love the idea of a window seat too and have that on my wish list. One thing I am struggling with is whether to take a good chunk of the budget and rests in the floors or leave as is. Mine appear to be the same color as yours which,now I see in pictures, looks lovely. A lot of the designer blogs push for a medium brown stain for hardwood but all the blog pictures seem to have much warmer lighter looking hardwood (dare I say orangey tones) like yours and mine. Help? Spend the money to retain to med brown or work with what I have?

  29. Oh My!!! I love your vision! You have picked such awesome inspiration ideas! Can’t wait until you get started. Enjoy!

  30. Built in window seating running the length of the living room wall, including the corner would not only look fabulous, it will also give you the opportunity for hidden storage for just about anything (blankets, books, mini bar items, seasonal decor, extra dishes and linens, etc)! We had our window seats built with covered doors so that we could take advantage of all that extra space and it has kept all of the above mentioned items, including board games and toys when the children were younger, all neatly tucked away. Definitely one of our best investments. By the way, I had the cushion seating made with two fabric patterns, one for each side, so I could turn them over to change the mood for either a warmer or cooler season and they have also worked well for years. I know you will have fun decorating your new home and I wish you many wonderful treasured memories there.

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