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Furniture placement came naturally, with our tufted sofa facing the fireplace and two glam black wing chairs from Structube on either side.

The dream

In our Ottawa bungalow, the living and dining room opened onto each other and always felt cramped. There wasn't enough room to sit six chairs around the table without bumping into a wall, and the cozy living room had become overrun by our daughter's toys.

My husband, Dan, and I wanted a few specific things from our post-renovation living room: a fireplace, an area to display favourite objects, hidden storage and play space. Also on the list were a nice view and, hopefully, access to outside.

The snag

In designing the renovation, planning the main floor was a challenge. Because we were adding new levels to an existing base, we had to work within a fixed floor plan, especially since we didn't want to move the kitchen or bathroom. We also had to figure out where it made sense to install a staircase leading to the new second floor.

A long, narrow living room at the back of the house would have eliminated the possibility of a main floor office. In the end, we decided to position a smaller living room in the back corner, leaving space for a kids' play zone, an office and a dining area.

The result

Our clever contractor, Andrew Evans, brought to life my drawings for built-in shelving around a natural gas fireplace. Our tiler, Carlos Provost, installed ledgestone and a marble hearth. A large patio door brings the outdoors in: budget-friendly white sliding doors won out over the black accordion door on my wish list, but I made up for it by painting the trim a matte black, which plays nicely with the fireplace, television and dark-grey wall behind the built-ins.

Furniture placement came naturally, with our tufted sofa facing the fireplace and two glamourous, black wing chairs from Structube on either side. Bringing it all together are the warm wood coffee table with brass accents and a plush Moroccan rug underneath.

The living room has a grown-up, eclectic vibe that makes an evening glass of wine pretty much mandatory after our daughter goes to bed. And I'm not complaining!

This is the fourth of a five-part series in which Gemma Bonham-Carter of the blog The Sweetest Digs is chronicling the overhaul and transformation of her house. Next up: tackling the kitchen.

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