Makeover: The living room

S o long green carpet, yellow walls and life on beanbags…

As I write this, I feel nostalgic like I should miss that ‘before phase’ just a little and because I’m sentimental I do but then I look at what we’ve achieved and I see something fresh, new and altogether restful and I wouldn’t go back.

If you’ve been following along for the ride that is the ‘first phase’ reno (as in, these changes aren’t forever but they are for right now), you’ll know that the space we live in is a little unconventional and perhaps even a little confusing.

So to give you some perspective, our house is shaped like a V, with rooms on either side of the V. Like any big project with limited funds and unlimited areas for improvement you have to decide what you can live with until you can afford to do more. From the day we moved in we knew that we could conserve power, heat and headaches by living on one side of the V and so that is what we’ve done. Yes we’ve had to split our lounge in half to accommodate a master bedroom but it works and with a huuuge fireplace smack bang in the middle, it always felt like two (open) rooms instead of one!

The point is, this weird but practical configuration works for us right now and we’ve made it work even better by allowing these spaces to look and feel like the spaces we need them to be.

So rambling aside, allow myself to introduce you to the space formerly known as the dining/anything room and now simply known as…

….the living and dining room


The couch was a bargain of a Trade Me find that has been reworked. The artwork is by Samantha Totty. The indonesian mushroom stool (not in shot) that I used as a side table was purchased from Indie Home Collective . The vase to the right was a Trade Me find. The two Akari pendant lights above the living area are by Isamu Noguchi.


I am a fan of mismatched seating. I think it adds personality and a point of difference especially in neutral spaces. These two chairs are sculptural yet surprisingly comfortable and both are secondhand finds. The cane chair was the splurge, a 1960s gem that required some serious groundwork and perseverance to find. The second piece is the ‘C’ chair, an NZ design classic by Forma. It is a little worse for wear right now so I will need to save up to get it reupholstered. The round coffee table is the one piece that has followed us from our old house. Originally purchased from Trademe and we’ve found the round shape to be incredibly easy to live with, with an energetic toddler. I love faded rugs, where the pattern is all but a distant memory and the only thing left is an imperfectly perfect colour. This is a vintage Oushak rug purchased from VinArtStore (speedy shipping, great pricing and he even throws in the sweetest little kilim gifts.) 



Despite the simplicity of this lounge, we are at times partial to a bit of tv-watching. Like most people I’m not a fan of having a tv dominate the room so for this reason and the fact that our tv was too big for the wall we created this sliding plywood wall/cabinet to hide it. The cavity is incredibly narrow but I wanted to use it for storage if possible, so we reworked some Ikea Stall shoe cabinets and now it serves as a handy place to put Costa’s books, remotes, magazines and whatever else. Still need to paint the skirting and put capping over the cords but hey?!


I  have learned that keeping anything precious at a low level is a toddler’s dream and a parent’s nightmare. The sideboard was a nice way to add storage and house a few of my current faves. The sideboard was sourced via Trade Me and the items in order (L to R) are: Ikebana vase from Trade Me, floral arrangement was created for the vase by Here Among The Wild. The framed print was purchased  from Endemic World. It is called the Female Gaze Croquis by Carmel of George Sand Studio . The wooden fruit and large fan were purchased from a lovely IG-er who has since left the platform but thank you for your wonderful wares Along Came Wolf . The vase is via Trade Me.

Before/After – Sofa



Before sofa After

I scored the couch for $10 on Trade Me. It sounds like a good deal but look at the before picture from the listing. Crikey!! We only kept the frame and put time and $$ into completely stripping it back and reupholstering. It still worked out to be really good buying as opposed to buying this style of couch new.

Before/After – Room



Before brick After

And that friends, is the lounge. I’m sure you have guessed by now that I like to mix secondhand finds with new finds in my spaces. Alternatively I like to rework secondhand pieces by having them reupholstered or by sanding them back or in some instances even painting them. I love how much personality and uniqueness they bring to a home and I will always be attracted to the ‘thrill of the find’. I also find myself more and more drawn to soft colour palettes in this home. The imposing wood ceiling in our living area has a little bit to do with it but mostly I just find that I gain a lot more peace and clarity in soft earthy spaces…

Thanks for tuning in and watch this space for more updates on the home front…

Erena Te Paa sig

#Homestyle #homedecor #styletips #makeover #livingroommakeover #DIY