Saras House: Her Awkward-Yet-Soon-to-Be Downton Abbey TV Room

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Welcome to the post all about our future TV room. Its not much now. BUT ONE DAY SOON it will be a cozy, intimate, moody room where we cuddle to watch TV and take afternoon naps. Because this room is so small, we decided it was a fun place to take a few risks, and trust me when I say were getting RISKY. But first, let me walk you through the rooms history

Sara Moto Listing8

This is what the room looked like when we bought the house, back in October 2018. There was a single bed in one corner, and it felt a little depressing. But those two big windows were pretty awesome and I knew this could be turned into something cool.

Sara Moto Listing9

This room was added as a strange little addition either shortly after the original house was completed or sometime in the 50s. Weve gotten differing answers from different people and havent really done the research to find out the truth. Regardless, it was done in a baffling way that created a deep, sharp angle in one corner of the already long and narrow space which had be turned into a closet (below).

Sara Moto Before18

When we decided to reconfigure the layout of the house a bit, we had to make a big decision about this area. Technically, it did count as a bedroom. It had storage and two forms of exit (a window and a door). Apparently the bar is pretty low these days. But the only entrance to our master bedroom and bathroom was through the kitchen, which was not only weird but used up a decent amount of kitchen space in an already small and narrow kitchen (can you sense the theme of our house?). So we made a decision that I know not everyone will agree with, but was the right one for us: We closed up the entrance to the master areas from the kitchen, turned that space into a master closet, and opened up an entrance to the master from this small addition room, turning this room into a pass-through space. Already the layout feels so much more functional for actual life, resale decisions aside.

House Renovation History

The truth is, having that third bedroom on the listing when we sell the place would definitely make it more attractive on paper. But once you saw the space in person, you would be BUMMED. On the other hand, all the renovations were doing (central heating and AC, new hardwood floors, renovated bathrooms, updated electrical and plumbing) will be FAR more attractive than one weird third room. Thats our thought process anyways. It also provided a great solution to our TV problem. This house was built in an era when TV was not everyones nightly ritual, so the living room really lacks a good piece of real estate for it. We were going back and forth about where to put that huge thing until we realized we could justput it in another room. Sure, moving the TV into a smaller room means were not going to be hosting any huge movie parties anytime soon, but 99% of the time its just Mac, me, and the cats. Now we can have our living room laid out for entertaining and hanging out with friends, and our TV room as a cozy space to cuddle and binge Outlander.

Tv Room Timeline

Its also going to serve as a bit of a library. Ive always wanted a library, just like in Downton Abbey. A room where, on a rainy day, I can go lounge on a lush couch reading my regency romance novels until I fall asleep to the sound of the pattering rain outside all afternoon (not that there are many rainy days in LA, let alone ones on weekends when I have nothing else to do). This room is going to be my mini Downton Abbey, done Craftsman style. Its not a big space, but were going to shove as much moody old library into it as possible.

The first issue we needed to address was that sharp corner now that it was no longer a closet, and I came up with what I think is a pretty genius solution (if I do say so myselfwhich I do). Were going to build a cabinet and bookshelf in that space. The cabinets on the bottom will use the depth of the space so its not wasted but keep it all hidden behind cabinet doors, while the shelves on top will give the room that library vibe. It will also serve as a method to flatten that area out without putting all that wasted space behind drywall. I did the first rendering on InstaStories, and Im proud to say its the version I showed Velinda to help her understand my idea:

Bookcase First Design

You can totally understand what Im explaining and would know exactly how to build this, right? HIRE ME FOR YOUR RENDERINGS. Sadly, this is not what we passed along to the cabinet builder. Velinda took this idea and ran with it, making it her own and bringing in a lot of nice details along the way. As well as adding things like measurements to the rendering *eye roll*. But youll have to tune into the post shes writing about it to get the juicy design details. All I can tell you is that its going to be amazing, and there may be a hidden whiskey bar in the works (if we can swing itliterally. UGH, youll get this joke later if we can pull it off). Then Im going to fill those shelves with my vintage oil paintings, vintage books, and vintage objects.

Itll look something like this

Sara Moto Progress32

The next thing were doing to make this old library-inspired space feel cozy and moody is going for a monochrome look. Its very much a trend right now, but one that Im fully behind and excited to explore myself. And this room feels like the space to do it. We once wrote a post over here about why you shouldnt paint your small rooms white, so Im using that as my hard evidence to go dark and moody in this small area.

Bookcase Inspor Grid
Image sources from left to right: Livingetc Magazine | Design: Emily Henderson, Photo: Tessa Nuestadt | Craftberry Bush | Mia Ahlskog

This means the shelves, molding, cabinet doors, walls, window and door frames, baseboards, and back door will all be painted the same color. EXCITING! We havent yet decided if the door between the master bedroom and the TV room will be painted this same color on the TV room side yet, and heres why. If we DO paint it the same color, it would create a very seamless monochrome look in the TV room when closed. But because the door will swing into the bedroom, when we have it open instead of having a pretty stained wood door swinging inwards toward our bed we would have a dark green rectangle sitting inside our roombut not painting it on the TV room side and instead just staining the door does rather disrupt our monochrome lewk on the TV room side. Happily taking opinions in the comments below.

We also havent yet decided on what color to do, but there are some strong contenders (all from Sherwin Williams, because looking at more than one paint deck is emotionally exhausting for me):

1. Foxhall Green | 2. Olympic Range | 3. Rookwood Dark Green | 4. Rookwood Shutter Green | 5. Jasper | 6. Roycroft Bottle Green

Paint caterpillar at the bottom so you can really see how all the greens differ

Paint is one of those tricky things that you really have to try in a room, and stare at over the changing light of the day to make a decision about. Our walls dont have plaster on them yet, but I already have all my paint samples. So as soon as those bad boys/walls are plastered up, Im going to be painting big swatches of each above color and then spending an entire day sitting on the floor of that room just staring. I want something deep, rich, and green but not swampy and not so dark that it appears black. It also has to compliment our couch, which is a slightly teal velvet. Its going to be a tricky tight rope to balance on, but thats what makes it fun.

And now, so youre all on the same page as me and my brain (aka Velinda), here is the current TV room mood board:


Sofa from Article Modern | Rug from Neon Dove (Vintage) | Leather Pouf from Lulu & Georgia | Table Lamp From Target | Roman Shade from Decor View (Custom) | Ceiling Light from Schoolhouse Electric | Side Table from Chairish (Vintage) | Paint from Sherwin-Williams in Rookwood Shutter Green

This isnt 100% complete because we are trying to source a lot of vintage for this room, and that takes time. But the vibe is there. Right now I have Rookwood Shutter Green as the wall color and I love it, but the computer screen can vary greatly from a real wall. We do have that couch (from Article Modern in Pacific Blue) already sitting in the back of the house awaiting its new home. Will we have TWO velvet couches in our home? Yes. Is this a good idea? YES. I have no evidence that disputes this, and it turns out performance velvet is actually a very pet-friendly fabric. You wont be able to see both couches at the same time, so we decided that it wouldnt be an issue (and by we I mean me). The vintage rug is from Neon Dove, and was a gut reaction order several months ago when I didnt even know where it was going to go yet. Well be installing custom blackout Roman shades from Decorview in a dark charcoal fabric on both the window and back door (for optimal TV watching ability). And I just made my first ever Chairish purchase by way of that little side table. Its a vintage French piece, currently painted a gray-blue. But were going to paint it black and polish up the hardware to bring in a lot of old-world charm in a cool way. Plus, the drawer will provide remote storage in this no-coffee-table room.

Why no coffee table? Because this room is too narrow for both a couch AND coffee table. Were opting against a coffee table and instead bringing in our leather pouf for feet resting, and our vintage side table for drink resting. Speaking of TV and narrowness, what is our plan for the TV? This single photo really sums it up:

Design: Shanti Crawford | Photo: Heidis Bridge

Its going to take some behind the wall electrical cord configuring and running, but we want to keep that wall as minimal as possible. Just the TV, wall-mounted, and a small custom-built shelf for a candle and some tchotchkes. We have one of those smart TVs that already has all the Netflix/Hulu options built in without requiring an AppleTV or Roku. But there are three things well have to run to the TV: the power, the internet, and our PlayStation (which is how I play all my Harry Potter DVDs). The hope is to run all those wires behind the wall and either over to the side of couch or into our new cabinet. Its still a work in process, but well get there.

Were going to be installing recess lighting on dimmers throughout the back part of the house, just like Em did up at the mountain house. But well also have a ceiling light and fan, sconces on the bookshelf wall, and a table lamp in the corner so there will be lots of options for soft, cozy lighting. And well be getting rid of the door between the dining room and the TV room, so its just a clean pass through. Youll be able to see the living room and dining room from the back of the TV room and vice versa, so it was really important to Velinda and I that all three of these spaces feel like they can relate to one another. Even though this room is going to be dark and moody, the living room is going to pick up its green vibes through the couch and rug. And were bringing some dark hits into the dining room to help transition from a bright white space to a moodier one.

Sara Moto Progress40

And thats where were at! Theres going to be a LOT of work going into the room over Christmas break but hopefully, by February of 2020, Im in this room living my moody romantic Downton Abbey dreams.

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