Re-Design Challenge


My living room suddenly turned into a disaster area when I decided to do something about the fact that the space just doesn’t work when I have a houseful. Here’s a photo from several months ago that shows how I’ve had it set up since I moved in here:

This works for me and Morgan, and I mostly liked how it looked, though there were a few problem areas. But when there are more people in the house, there’s not enough seating.

I had a bit more seating in the adjoining “kitchen den” with a loveseat (which folds out to a sleeper).

Another view. This photo is so old, that’s Coco who is inside, not Gwennie.

In the kitchen den, there is also a small kitchen table and chairs.

Despite this extra seating in the adjoining room, it still wasn’t working because everyone couldn’t be together in the same room.

So, on the fly, at about 9 o’clock the other night, I started rearranging furniture and things ended up like this (a few different views, and that’s Casper inside because it was “hunting morning” here):

(You can see that Weston spent hunting morning on the couch.)

I fussed around and fussed around, and am still not completely satisfied, but will keep working on it. Part of the problem in arranging it to my satisfaction is that there is a lot of extra stuff in the room right now due to the extra people in the house. (That is not a bad problem, but a good one.) I’ll fuss some more with it at a later point.

Morwen-the-rat is living in my living room right now, too, by the way.

I didn’t realize the rat was just a baby last summer. It’s MUCH BIGGER now!

And this skull thing only makes the rat creepier.


Having moved the loveseat into the living room, this does open up a space in the “kitchen den” where I might put a freestanding wood stove. The coat tree, which I shoved in there where the loveseat used to be, was a cheap one and is starting to fall apart, so it’s going to go.)

Casper and Gwennie howling at the sound of gunfire outside.

Update on the Buck Stove–I figured out how to make the blower work! It wasn’t a matter of getting the fire hot enough. There was a knob. It was a kind of hidden knob. Turn it, and the blower works. (Duh, Suzanne!) I was so glad I found that for myself before someone else (particularly a man) showed it to me.

The remaining problem with the Buck Stove, now that I can make it throw heat, is that the insert is so tiny. Very little wood can be put in there. I’ll be having my “wood stove man” out here next week, I hope, and will discuss the Buck Stove and possible replacement for it with something larger (since the actual fireplace opening is actually quite a bit bigger) and about the feasibility of a freestanding wood stove (that is also a cook stove) in the “kitchen den” room.

Morgan objected to the entire rearrangement because she thinks the living room is too crowded now. I told her it was cozy, inviting, and conversational. It is a small living room (hence the problem with enough seating). I don’t think the rectangular ottoman works now, so I might have to switch that out, but otherwise, the new design was free, using existing pieces. It’s an interesting challenge, and a purposeful one in redesigning the space into what will better suit my needs.

Hard to believe that as of this week, I’ve been in this house for a year–long enough to be time for a change!


  1. enjay says:

    I think it looks great. Perhaps Morgan might be more comfortable if you removed the big ottoman from the center?

  2. Old Geezer says:

    I kept pet rats for years. Very low maintenance and they get the errant crumbs off the floor. But I never thought of a skull for a house. Great idea, Weston!

    I second enjay. Keep the sitting arrangement, lose the ottoman.

  3. MrsB says:

    I feel your pain. The kids used to say that if they came home late and tried to sneak in, it would be on the night I got a yen to rearrange the furniture.

    My momma always said – rearrange when you cannot buy new – and that works.

    I have a strange living room right now – I thought I had it just right – in fact had an electrician come in an put a receptacle in the wood floor. Still too crowded for two chairs, a sofa and a huge tv armoire. Thinking it has to go – but you cannot give them away anymore.

  4. fowlers says:

    Very cozy! snug as a bug in a rug:::lol,,,,,I agree knock out the wall! make it one big room:::oh and we heat our house (about as big as yours) w/ a wood burning stove,,best $$ savor ever! we went thru about 8 cords last year,,,the only thing I wish we did have was duct work upstairs,,,we still have to use a space heater up there:: so when your stove person comes out::ask about turning your existing duct work to the stove,,we can only heat the basement and first floor::it was 80* in the house when I got up this morning:::very very toasty! Have a great Holiday!!!!

  5. fowlers says:

    Suzanne,,,,,I realy do know how to spell,,,lol::: but a spell check would be a GREAT add on,,,,,I think I need more coffee! can I blame my typo’s on that ???? hee hee,,,,geeze people all over the place can now see that I spell like an idiot??? lol,,,,,,

  6. fowlers says:

    Well bathrooms are important,,,,,guess you better keep that wall up then,,,

  7. lesliedgray says:

    Move the ottoman and put in a small coffee table

  8. BuckeyeGirl says:

    Or get a chunk of plywood and cover it with fabric and put it on the ottoman. Now you have a table to do puzzles on or to play games on or to put cups and bowls etc. When you want the ottoman back, you slip it behind something to hide it. When you get tired of the fabric or it gets too dirty or whatever, you just re-cover it. Just a thought.

  9. brookdale says:

    Move the ottoman to another room…pull the trunk over and use it for a coffee table. Just a suggestion!
    Be sure and leave room for your Christmas tree. 😀

  10. bonita says:

    Most likely Morgan can’t see the forest for the trees! As soon as the number of people decreases, and their stuff (and Morwen) clear out, the room will look much less crowded.
    Great job on finding the blower knob BEFORE getting the tsk tsk treatment from a man! A year, A YEAR? really? Oh yes, I remember you moved during a Nov wet spell while keeping your farm investment a secret. Congratulations, Suzanne, on a year well-lived. Have a great Thanksgiving.

  11. beforethedawn says:

    Wow a year already. Seems like you found this farm just yesterday.

    I have issues with our living room. It’s small and an awkward space. We’re currently discussing rearranging so we’ll have a place for the Christmas tree. Last year we put it in our dining area. I guess that wasn’t a great place since the kids want it back in the living room!

  12. MousE says:

    I bet a smaller two-level coffee table would work better than the ottoman… and if money grew on trees, the way it should LOL, a sectional with a sofabed would be perfect. But of course who can afford that? I think it’s looking great, Suzanne!. I have a question re: TV placement over fireplaces, I’ve seen it a lot lately and I wonder, wouldn’t the heat affect the TV? But then again where else would one put it? Hmm.

    I like your house. It’s way bigger than my tiny apartment! My place feels crowded with TWO people in it. Does the den open onto the kitchen then?

  13. dmcfarland says:

    Since it hasn’t been mentioned. You can have both arrangements, the more spacious setting after the holidays when you and Morgan are back to normal and the present setting when you have all the family home. It will keep the look changing occasionally. I like the small den setup and it provides a sitting area if someone isn’t interested in watching TV.

  14. robinswoods says:

    I don’t know much about Buck stoves per se, but it doesn’t appear to be any smaller than the average insert. They don’t need to hold much wood because they are designed to work efficiently on just a few pieces. Too much in there at once and it will just overfire. FYI, ditch that log grate I think I saw in there. Grates are for open fireplaces, not wood stoves. WIth it gone, your stove will hold the proper amount of wood easily and function properly, not to mention it will be much easier to regulate the temperature it burns at.

  15. jeandf says:

    That arrangement looks more conducive to conversation.

  16. Sue, a Florida Farm Girl says:

    Oh, I’m glad you’ve got everyone home for the holidays. You’ll figure out whether the new arrangement will work long term or not. Everybody has their own tolerances for “cozy”. And, I’m glad the stove is working just fine.

  17. yvonnem says:

    You could put a huge Christmas tree in the kitchen den this year, even if only for this year. It wouldn’t be crowding the comfy living room, and you could still see it from there…..OR, expand the living area to where you now have your dining table and put the dining table in the kitchen den. Just thoughts, I have a hard time situating my own furniture!

  18. AspenFlower says:

    Awwww…You don’t need a change. Your house looks beautiful just the way it is- decorated and all. As for the couch from the den that you added to your living room for the time being, it looks good in there. The living room looks nice, cozy and comfortable! I love the holidays, they bring family together. Just as it should be. Enjoy your time, your family, and the season!

  19. Cousin Mark says:

    Remember big stove in little room makes for boiler room – you will roast. Lots of old houses had summer kitchens seperate from the main house. Cooking temperatures in a wood cook stove will have you out on the front porch waiting for the cake to come out of oven. My city cousins at deer camp smoked everyone out when they got cold and built a fire in the wood cook stove OVEN! Well it had a door and a rack ?

  20. twiggityNDgoats says:

    L and D have a small buck stove insert at their new place (probably 1000 square feet on one level)for their primary heat source. Heats the house pretty well. I agree with robinswoods…if there is a grate in there, remove it. Hard to get much better than a buck stove IMO.

  21. Katharina says:

    I have a room that could be a twin to yours. Same sq. ft. (I am guessing by your furniture) window placement and fireplace. I have tried different pieces, moved them around, and have wanted a nice square coffee table, but no luck. We have to approach the F/P with armloads of wood and squeezing around a table is difficult. I have lived here for 25 years and have not found the right feel. One problem I have is that I am lacking the wall on the left of the picture. There is an open walkway and door to outside which leaves the room feeling, well, incomplete or even not secure somehow. I am thinking of hanging a quilt or building a wall (where your readers are suggesting taking out a wall!) to get the cozy feeling. I have come to grips with the limits of the space, but need the wall! Your room looks cozy and inviting. Maybe you’ve got it just right after all.

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