The New Hearth



The air is crisp, football season has begun, the leaves will begin to change, the fireplace is… nonexistent. Where will you and friends gather in a semicircle to regale each other with feats of strength and achievement? Welcome to another installment of the Apartment Series. Part VI to be exact…

Full shot of the "New Hearth".

Click Image for Slideshow

Let’s begin by stating I’ve read a lot of design advice that advocates hiding the TV. Foolish. You’re a man and you love your TV. That’s not to say you dislike looking directly at present company or you don’t pay attention to the people around you (you do). But this isn’t 1750 and your living room isn’t a sitting room. Whatever the hell a sitting room is.

What your living room should do is

  • Give beautiful people a place to sit
  • Be comfortable
  • Be stylish
  • Be entertaining

After all, you may only have one room total. This room will have to be multifaceted. And you can do that, but you’ll have to stick pretty closely to the design principles we’ve already established. You’re going to want clean lines and the illusion of minimalism. I say illusion because, let’s be honest, you don’t have enough open space for actual minimalism. Clutter is only acceptable if it adds a lot of personality to the area, and you’re likely not going to be able to afford much here. You’re trying to fill that space with beautiful people, remember?

The starting point is what I like to call the New Hearth. Think of where you put your TV like positioning a fireplace. Since it’s likely the biggest (buy the biggest one you can afford, you won’t regret it) thing in the space, visualizing it this way will help frame the rest of the area and position the seating.

Again, if you live in a tiny apartment, utilizing the wall space will be key. It can be executed with a design scheme I stole from Bo Concept’s Volani system and recreated it with the much cheaper IKEA BESTA. The BESTA provides some much needed storage above and below the TV. If you want to get really fancy you can mount the TV in between the two shelving units, mostly for visual impact but it’ll also free up a few feet of counter space below. Hide the wires if you do.

Leaving the legs off of the bottom BESTA unit allows you to keep a low, minimal profile, which helps make your apartment seem bigger. And in keeping with another key principle; the wireless router, Apple’s Time Capsule, is left out in the open, simply because it looks good enough to be there. And we already discussed Marilyn.

Now the seating. A couch is a must, no matter how small your space is. A Love Seat will probably be your best bet, along with a set of chairs. My love seat pulls out to a twin sized bed in case someone gets too drunk to go home wants to spend the night. But I’d readily replace the chairs with leather butterfly versions…

Finishing the space are side tables reinforcing the curvy furniture theme and providing a place for coasters (respect the wood). They also function as an iPad stand for Googling and other emergency fact checking. However you’ll notice I went without a traditional coffee table, but by all means have one if your place is big enough, here it would just get in the way.

Lastly, a few questions I get asked a lot about are room dividers, rugs, and sconces, I’ll go into more details on those soon…

Now go call some beautiful people, you’ve got a living room to fill.

5 thoughts on “The New Hearth

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