We had a revelation of sorts for how to lay out the basement media room. Originally, we had the TV on the short wall to the left and a sectional facing it and dividing the media room from the game/play area. Our plan looked something like this.
That rectangle to the left of the couch would be our TV stand with all the stereo gear and movies in it and the TV mounted on the wall above it. We liked that you could watch a movie while sitting at the table in the game area but there were a few things we never loved about it. First, the section of the couch at the bottom of the picture isn't ideal for watching a movie... you'd have to sit facing the storage room and crick your neck the whole time. The stereo stuff is hard to get at to plug stuff in and move around, and Katrina has never been a fan of the way my speakers look. I bought them for the way they sound but admittedly they're plain black boxes.
Our new idea?
Rotate the room so the TV is on the wall to the storage room. That way we can fit the full Karlstad sectional, in all it's glory, along with a chase for some extra seating. Because the storage room is open space, we can do some high tech tricks. The stereo stuff can be on shelves where I can easily reach all the wires and connections, the TV can be recessed into the wall so it doesn't stick out into the room, and the speakers can be hidden in the wall. Our idea is for the wall to the storage room to be built to look something like this.
Ignore the peachy color, my drawing program is kind of limited in colors to chose from. The peach area will actually be fabric! Special fabric that's acoustically transparent but is a kind of khaki colored burlap (This is the fabric we want). While the whole wall will look like solid fabric, there will be *secret* cutouts in those three rectangles below the TV where the speakers will hide. All the audio equipment will be hidden in the storage room except the BluRay player and Wii which will be in some shelving next to the couch. We really like the idea of a more natural looking TV area that still has all the techie bells and whistles hidden away - as apposed to a space aged cabinet of speakers and little lights. We'll also add some architectural interest on top of the fabric to fit in with the board and batten in the room.
Unfortunately we'll lose some space in the storage room but we'll build a new shelf and bookcases to the left of the couch. The plan is to make a counter-like surface at the height of the couch for drink and stuff, but we'd leave the space below that counter open. We'd have a big void to store things we only need to access once in a while - like holiday decorations. We'd have to move the couch to get to it, but hey, it's only once a year, right?
The downside is it's not as easy to watch a movie from the game area but we'll solve that by putting the TV on a swivel mount so it can pull out and rotate toward the game area if we want. We also know the entrance will be a little tight, but the hope is that since the room is long and open, the eye will be drawn to the back wall and it won't be so bad that the couch is so close to the doorway.
Does this seem like a good option? Do you see any pros or cons we missed?
After seeing a fun subway art project with foam letters and spray paint on my friend Tammy's blog, I was excited to make one for summer and possibly other seasons. When I went to buy foam letters, however I realized how expensive they are: $8 for each bin of different font! I wanted a fun summer piece of art that was less expensive. I could have printed something, but I wanted a larger piece for the living room. It was then that I noticed this fabulous find chalk board I had gotten at a garage sale for $2. I searched lots of images of summer subway art and decided on this one to fashion my board after.
With some white chalk and a bit of time I played with some fonts and sizes and ended up with a summer statement piece that was completely free! I think this would be fun to do in colored chalk or for a more permanent piece of art, chalk paint.
This was simple enough and definitely inexpensive that I may end up repeating it when autumn comes.
Last year we took our honeymoon in two stages, first a trip to Stillwater (about an hour from home) to relax at a bed and breakfast, then second, a trip to Boston in the fall to explore the city and see a friend get married. We loved the bed and breakfast in Stillwater so much we couldn't wait to get back. We debated taking a winter trip so we could take a romantic walk in the snow and return to warm up by the fireplace but in the end we held out until our one year anniversary. It was great to revisit a lot of the memories from Stillwater and this time we brought our camera which we had forgotten on our honeymoon.
Here's the bed and breakfast we've visited twice now, the Ann Bean Mansion.
They have five guest rooms, both times we've stayed in the E.L. Hersey room but we might try something new next time.
We thought it was really creative how the mini fridge was hidden in this built in. We have a mini fridge for drinks in our basement so we're debating on using this idea when we build our bookshelves!
We were super excited to see this piece of furniture in the corner.
It's a dress boy! We've never seen one in person but it's what inspired us to cut a chair in half in our bedroom. Here's the dress boy without the blanket.
The room also has the coolest built in shutters we've seen. The walls are really deep and there's a shutter folded into each side of the window.
If you pull out the shutters from both sides you can close off the entire window. It's so clever how they built these in.
Down on the main level they have a beautiful dining room. The owners will deliver breakfast to your room or you can eat in the dining room - and it's the best breakfast we've ever had! We really like talking to the owners and other guests so we chose the dining room this time around.
The front of the house has a large porch that we would have spent a lot more time on if it hadn't been so hot and muggy while we were there.
The owners let us check out some of the other rooms that had just been vacated, we definitely need to try staying in some of these rooms! We liked the Tower Room which has a steep staircase that leads to a small sitting room with a great view.
And check out this shower... 4 shower heads!
We're not sure when we'll visit next. We kind of want to stay in the winter sometime. Stillwater has a big Christmas festival in November. Or maybe we'll just wait till our second anniversary. Either way, we can't wait to get back.
If you're in the Minneapolis area and want to get away, check out the Ann Bean Mansion Bed and Breakfast. For the record, we're not being paid or reimbursed to say nice things, we just genuinely like this B&B.
We also put up more pictures of our trip to Stillwater on our facebook page, check them out!