Living in Harmony

How to define living and playing space in a long but narrow room

When my clients came to me, they were unsure as to how they could use their long but narrow Victorian living room for both them and their young family.

Both adults worked in the wine industry and craved a space where they could entertain friends in the evening. Their wish was to have a drinks area which blended in with the rest of the room during the day but performed its bar duties at night.

Their daughter needed a play area that would fit in with the overall scheme however feel magical with its own personality.

So I set about creating a space for this wonderful family working with bespoke carpentry and considered furnishings.

Bespoke carpentry allowed precision with the depth of units, ensuring the room design flowed without feeling obtrusive
— Fiona

Although the room was long and narrow, it had beautifully tall Victorian ceilings.

I began to view this room in terms of its vertical merit as much as its horizontal design.
— Fiona

I subtly divided a play area for their daughter, using Farrow and Ball's Peignoir on the lower half of one wall where her toys and drawing table would go. This colour was high enough to distinguish the area as a play space at a child’s height but low enough not to intrude on the main family space.

The two-tone wall in the play area was tall enough for their little girl to enjoy but low enough that it didn’t impact the entire room design.
— Fiona

Tall shelves in this corner helped define the space further and give much needed storage space for toys and books. A metal trolley was used for all the extra colourful toys and gently covered with a soft blanket.

For the bar area, I designed bespoke shelving and doors, adding an expanse of glass to help bounce light around the room and create the illusion of a larger space. It added to the dramatic feel of this room in the evenings.

The mirror added a touch of glamour in the evening light and impact when entertaining guests
— Fiona

This unit was built shallow but as tall as the ceiling, again playing with the dimensions of the room.

Tall but narrow furniture was sourced for the area to give lots of seating and extra storage. The walls were painted in Pale French Grey by The Little Greene Paint Company, which gave a touch of warmth to this north facing room.

Using a warm grey paint tone helped keep this room cosy and inviting
— Fiona

A slender ledge was built behind the sofa to allow for soft lighting, artwork and a place to leave a cup of tea when relaxing in this room.

Finally, deep pile rugs in varying sizes but similar tones were used to further define the functions of this space.