Rehab Diary: A Living Room Update Just in Time for the Holidays

The nicest thing I can say about the faux-walnut credenza that once stood in my living room is that each of its three small doors locked–so when I shoved my kitchenware into one of its cubbies, at least all my junk wouldn’t come tumbling out behind me.

Well, actually that’s not the nicest thing; the nicest thing is that it belonged to my grandmother. It still pains me that she’s no longer with us, which is why I long delayed my decision to swap out her credenza for something more practical. Before you balk, know that my grandma was as pragmatic as they come and not in the least sentimental. I know that if I could ask her if she’d mind, “Heavens, no!” she would say.

My biggest problem with the credenza was that it was heavy on bulk and light on storage. So I swapped it for a bookcase, baskets, and a bench that quadrupled my space to store baking tins, cookie cutters, and a handmade French rolling pin, all of which my grandmother gave me.

Photography by Tom Kubik for Remodelista.

Above: My new storage wall at the back of my living room, next to the kitchen.

Above: The first new piece I added was a Kameron Bookcase with walnut-stained mango wood shelves on an industrial metal frame; currently on sale for $539 at Home Decorators Collection. For holiday cheer, I hung a Champagne Glitter Wood Curl Wreath, 22 inches in diameter and found at my local Home Depot store; $24.49.

Above: To the right of the shelves, I had space to tuck in an Alondra Storage Bench. In addition to providing seating, at almost four feet wide, it offers generous storage inside; $249 at Home Decorators Collection.

Above: To contain my kitchen wares, I used a set of three Caleb Metal Baskets–two shown here on the bottom row. Inside, I tucked two beer steins from a recent trip, a waffle iron I can never seem to find a home for, and my unattractive-but-efficient ice cream maker wrapped in a spare piece of cotton. A set of three Caleb Baskets is currently on sale for $125 at Home Decorators Collection.

Above: My baking pans occupied two of the three cubbies in my credenza. But I managed to fit all of them inside a large Anderson Tray made of iron with a pine liner. They’re currently on sale for $98 for a set of two at Home Decorators Collection.

Above: I filled the smaller of the Anderson Trays with my table linens.

Above: For stowing things I don’t want to display, I found Eco-Natural Wool Baskets. They hold, among other things, my hand mixer, and extra parts to my stand mixer and food processor–and they also herd cats. They come in natural (shown here), brown, and gray, and are currently on sale for $80 each at Home Decorators Collection.

Above: An Eco-Natural Wool Basket next to a set of German glassware–from my grandmother.

Above: To pull everything together, I rolled out a Charisma Butter Pecan Area Rug beneath my dining table and next to the storage wall. Available in several sizes, the rug is $257 for the 8-by-10-foot size shown here.

Above: My living room has survived several configurations; in this early version, the sofa sat where the dining table now lives. At the right is the credenza.

Above: Yet another layout, with the sofa facing the credenza (and the World Cup). I’m happy to report that the imposing piece found a new home.

Meredith Swinehart

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