Monday, 7 March 2011

Inspiration for the built-ins in the living room

High on my list of "dislikes" for interiors is built-in cabinetry for storage.  I don't have a problem with seating or sleeping nooks, or with bookcases that are used to house books.  I just find that built-in cabinets look boring and generic 99.9% of the time. (Hence my horror of a kitchen-y looking kitchen.)

Nevertheless, we are on a quest to design some built-in storage around the living room fireplace.  It's pretty much a necessity given our open floor plan and two walls with a total of 12 windows on them.  Add that to my insistence that there be plenty of wall space to display art and you end up with nowhere to store anything while keeping it easily accessible.

Our two biggest worries are the T.V. (which we use to watch Mad Men once a week for the 13 weeks it's on and the occasional football game during football season - we watch most of our sports at restaurant bars) and the printer/scanner/fax.  We considered trying to hide the printer away in the closet in the exercise room/guest bedroom, but my boyfriend understandably wants it near where he'll be working and doesn't want to have to go upstairs to retrieve printed pages.  For some reason, the idea that in an alternate and completely counterfactual universe to the one we actually live in, we might invite people over to watch T.V. (the Superbowl!) suggests that the T.V. should be in a common space rather than a bedroom.  That pretty much leaves the living room.  (The headhouse has virtually no wall space 'cause of all its windows.)

I ransacked my files in search of possible styles for built-ins on either side of the fireplace.  Here are the results.

I love the height of the cabinets above: higher than a table but not so tall that you can't have art above them. (I also like the idea of resting it on them, as above, rather than nailing it into the wall.  That way it can be rotated more frequently.)  Glass doors won't work, though, because we need to hide our ugly electronics.

I like the idea of have a drawer above a cabinet door, as on the sideboard above.  I think it's a bit less predictable than what you usually see.  Or, for that matter, the idea of multiple drawers of wonky shapes and sizes, as in the image below.

Yes, yes, I know that the picture above is of a sideboard again, not a built-in (noticing a theme here?).  But I like the way it's on legs rather than going all the way down to the floor.  Might be a good way to make the space feel more expansive but give it greater structural strength than just hanging the cupboards off the wall.

Finally, here's my most traditional pick.  It's full height and maybe I only like it because it's styled with firewood.  I still worry that a row of doors like that would get old fast.

For now, it look like I'll be exploring options of a sideboard-like height or somewhat taller, with unusually-sized doors/drawers and perhaps with legs.

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