Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Living Room Update (and more craigslist shopping)

I realized that I've never really focused a post on the status of our living room, except for some little snippets and of course the lovely "before" photos.


Since then, we've been slowly painting, adding furniture, hanging curtains, and all that fun stuff to make the main living space look less like a house that was on the market for a year, and more like our own space.

Our most recent addition is this media center from Crate and Barrel.  Our old media stand, which you can see in the picture from our old apartment below, was too short and chunky and didn't fit the space.

My absolute dream media stand is a custom wall unit like this one that Morgan over at The Brick House designed, but I'm too chicken to drill into the wall and floors like that.  I'm also not sure it would be a great idea since our walls are pretty fragile plaster.

In any event, I had a bunch of the Crate and Barrel Sloane furniture in our old apartment, and I liked it.  Not love, but like.  It's a good blend of form and function, and pretty budget friendly.  Well, if you're like me and buy everything on craigslist anyway.   I also love the Sloane collection because it's ridiculously easy to disassemble and transport in a small car.

When I saw that there was a Sloane media stand available, I thought I'd check it out. 

Photo credit:

My first step was to sell all of our old Sloane furniture on craigslist, since they were all an older model than the media stand and the pieces wouldn't have matched up.  I sold 2 of our leaning bookshelves, plus 2 leaning desks and our old media stand, for a total of about $500 cash money - which left us plenty of money to play around with to assemble our new media stand.

Luckily, I found the media stand and one bookshelf on craiglist (in almost-new condition!) for $225.  That's almost a 60% discount without even factoring in tax and shipping.  Score!  We took a nice trip up to Hollywood to grab the loot, and happily loaded everything in my little Volvo 240 (with room to spare!).

After dealing with a lopsided media center for a few weeks, I couldn't find a matching bookshelf on craigslist - or at least not one in my price range that we could snap up quick enough.  Luckily, we have mad connections, and we were able to purchase the second bookshelf from a friend who works at Crate and Barrel for around $100,

Between craigslist and discounts, our grand total for the media center was about $325 - or more than $300 less than if we'd bought straight from the store. 

My favorite part about craigslist shopping, other than the obvious cheapness, is that I always feel like if I can sick of something I can easily re-sell it and make my money back.  If I tire of this media center and want to try something new, I'm pretty confident I can make my money back by re-selling and move on to the next thing.

So, that's how we got our new media stand.

Mabel approves. 

(I also don't know if I've mentioned that we put down Flor tiles in the living room, which the lovely Mabel is modelling.  I have a love-hate relationship with Flor, so I think I'll keep this topic for another post.)

We were able to hide all of the cables in a spare box from Ikea, because the clutter was driving me crazy. 

Translation: I made Sean do this because the clutter was driving me crazy.  The amount of wires around our media center is insane, we have way too many gadgets.  I worry a little that this may start a fire, but at least there's less clutter.

Another view, couch included.  I literally just threw random things on the shelves after we assembled them, so I'm currently working on making them more aesthetically pleasing.

View of the fireplace area, and an Ernie doozin.  This room is shaped for an awkward setup, so right now I'm envisioning a separate sitting area near the fireplace, and a TV area where the TV is currently set up.  I'm not sure anything else really makes sense but if you have brilliant ideas please share them.

View from the dining area.  That's our old coffee table currently doubling as a behind-the-couch console table. 

There's plans in the works for a DIY console table I'm pretty excited about, but it will have to wait for a weekend when I do something other than sit on my butt and read books and drink beer.

Same view, 100% more doozin. 

Please also notice the light fixture.  When we moved in there was a hole in the wall in that location with wires hanging out, which you can spot in the before photos above.  It wasn't a great look. 

I probably searched for about 100 hours of my life (that I will never get back) for a suitable replacement.  I looked at a million fixtures and couldn't find a single one I liked, or that I thought would look good without a pair - due to the spacing of this one, another light on the other side of the archway would look funny.  I found one I liked from Schoolhouse electric (this one), but it was $169 and Sean didn't like it.

Then, at a lighting outlet on my birthday (I'm cool like that), I found the fixture we ended up buying. 

It's an outdoor fixture. 

It was $30. 

I love it. 

It also ended the constant strain on my marriage from my inability to choose a light fixture which my husband could not understand.  Perfect!  Click on the picture above to zoom in on my lovely new light know you want to!

Another angle, more doozins.  I was going to hang that mirror above the fireplace, then I didn't, so it's just hanging out awkwardly for now waiting for a home.  Ignore the dining area, it needs work.

That's the living room for now!  We definitely need to keep tweaking, but for now it's a comfortable space to hang out and we're not embarrassed to have people over which is a plus.


  1. Hi There:

    How many inches is your TV set? Would a 46" TV be too big for the media stand? Yours looks like a perfect size. That wall where you have the media centre placed looks similar to mine. I was going back and forth about the 18" or the bigger bookcase (since my chair would also be close to the bookshelf like yours) but I now see that I can do it too.

  2. Sorry for the delayed response! I've been neglecting this space. I believe our TV is 42" and I think that's the biggest TV that will actually fit. The Crate & Barrel website ( says the space for a TV is 41" so I think that's the max.

  3. Hi Julie. I bought the same three items, but the right side of the bookshelf and media stand are off (they don't line up properly) and it's driving me bonkers. I tried reversing some of the parts to no avail. Did everything line up properly against the wall for you. I guess so, judging by you pic. And I haven't bought a TV yet, but I'm reading in the reviews that there are holes for the cables but they're in the back - so how does that work if they're supposed to be completely up against the wall?

  4. Oh no! Which way don't they line up? Along the top or where they're supposed to touch (don't know if I'm explaining this well...) Let me check about the holes for the cables when I get home from work, I can't picture off the top of my head how they work but I don't recall any problem with things sticking out.