The Ebb and Flow of a Space

We did it. We hosted our first party at the new place. The Mister invited a few friends from work, and Saturday turned out to be the perfect day for a get-together. The sun shone brightly, the mountains were out in their glory, and we enjoyed an evening of food and laughter with friends.

The party always ends up in the kitchen, but I was surprised at just how that worked out.  At our last house, we always put the food on the island, and everyone gathered around the table. We expanded the table, brought in more chairs, put on the festive tablecloth, and one lonely preschooler ate his dinner there.

The table was empty most of the night.

We’ve never had island seating, but a few bar stools make all the difference. Here’s where the party wound up.

At Christmas, when we celebrated with family, we ate dinner at the table and moved on to the couches by the fireplace. You still enjoy the view and have a comfier place to sit.  Saturday a 2-year-old climbed from chair to table to couch over and over, but nobody sat here except for a few moments when a bump on the head needed some attention.

I did force the ladies from church who came for a meeting to sit in the central seating area, and I sit here in the mornings to read my Bible and go through emails. I always wonder how to make a space more appealing. You have soft seating and a place to put food or drink, it’s a lovely view, and no one sits here. Perhaps if it had been a rainy overcast day, this area would have seen more action. We have plans to replace the aging leather chair and loveseats that the former owners left behind.

Another area nobody hung out in–no surprise–was the conversation pit.  This innovation of the 70’s has past its prime.  In the past three months, the only time we’ve sat in it was when the power was out in a snow storm and the Mister had lit a fire for warmth. One of our guests had a great idea, we could turn it into a ball pit just like at McDonald’s.  Hmm… if only the girls were still little. We are thinking of getting rid of the recessed area.  Then we could have a few arm chairs by the fireplace and not worry about a misstep in the dark.

Conversation pit or ball pit? What would you do?

So where do people actually hang out in our house?

For more intimate gatherings we do spend time around the table.  It’s definitely where we eat dinners as a family.

The place the girls and their friends gravitate toward is the TV area.  After school, my kids grab their books and a blanket and cozy up on the couch to finish their homework and catch up on their shows. While there’s no easy place to set drinks, we have a really big footstool (another bonus of the house) to up the comfort factor. To be honest, this is where the whole family gathers in the evenings.

The four of us can fit on the couch, but often we need a little breathing room, so someone will sit on one of the Craig’s List chairs I picked up last summer.

When the Mister gets home from work, we usually enjoy cheese and crackers and a glass of wine and the view in these little chairs strategically place between the dining area and the central seating area.

We have this huge great room with lots of angles that makes furniture placement tricky. Although I call it the TV Zone, or the central seating area, it’s all one space.

We do have a few quiet corners where you can get away from the sun and everything else.  An the backside of the TV Zone is a large chair and plant (more bonuses of the house).

A place to read out of the sun.

For the moment we’re keeping them, but I don’t know how practical it really is.  We also have benches flanking the front door.  They’re very symmetrical, but do we need two of them filled with slippers from the past owners?They are another bonus of the house that may disappear.

Should I get rid of the benches? Should I get rid of the slippers? Replace one with a console table?

We still have a lot things to figure out.  I just need to relax and enjoy the process.

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3 thoughts on “The Ebb and Flow of a Space

  1. How about calling in your friend the decorator? Also, get a really, really big sectional (in something that will not fade, and maybe not have that big coffee table/TV/movie thingy there anymore.Face the sectional toward the fireplace. What would happen if the Mister had his office in the kitchen, or they have these desks that fold up and look like a wardrobe, However, if you moved the TV over the fireplace, got the big, big sectional, then that would free up the place where you watch TV now, and the Mister could have his desk there…………or he could have his desk built in, like offices have, and the keyboard could be shoved in and out of the way. Lots of room for books, paper, shredder, FAX etc.
    Fill in the conversation pit in front of the fireplace, and get rid of one of the shoe cubbies and either leave it in and make it be a low console table with decorations on the top, or take it out all together. Take the copper off the fireplace and invest in a TV that looks like a mirror when it is turned off, and put that over the fireplace. Get some comfy chairs with arms, that swivel for either looking at the view, or can be turned around to look at the TV.

    Oh and one last thing, the sign of a really good party is for the guests to feel comfortable and like to mingle and like the coziness of the kitchen, as that is where you are, and that is where the food is. You could put the bar, or appetizers on top of the built-ins in the dining room, get even more stools and pull out the extra serving space across from the sink and add even more people. Or, you could put all the food on the dining room table.
    I think you had a really good party, and who came and how many came, and what did they all say? Where did they park (or did you have valet? That is not meant to be a joke, and you might want to address that) How about John Wolfer when he saw the house? Oh how fun. Thanks for letting me ramble. MK

    • Wow, you have lots of good ideas. We’ve thought of some of them. The bottom of the mantel is at about 6 feet. There’s kind of an odd bump out area above that, so the bottom of the TV would be 8-10 feet in the air. I think that’s too high for comfortable viewing. Even if we filled in the conversation pit, it’d be pretty high. I can’t imagine having a large piece of furniture with its back to the view… Good things to think about.

      As for parking, no valet, the Mister parked in front of the third bay of the garage. People parked in front of the garage and in the portico. The only snafu was when the oldest realized she’d been blocked in and was looking forward to going out on a date. A little shuffling of cars and all was well.

      We had 4 out of the 5 bar stools filled and I sat in one of the desk chairs, but that made me really short. I moved up into one of the bar stools on request, but a few people stood and it all worked out.

      John has been here twice. Once when only kids were home and once when the Mister was at work and he was dirty from spreading gravel. Next time he’ll get the tour. John said that the Mister has a lot of work to do–and he was just talking about landscaping.

      I’ll email you the party list. I don’t want my friends to think every time they come over, I’ll stick personal stuff online. It’s my adventure. I’m not forcing it on my family and my friends. That’s why I use nicknames. 🙂

  2. Pingback: Looking Back–February & March « bigwhitehouseonthehill

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