Freshome Reader Help: Advice on Laying Out Space

Freshome Reader Help: Advice on Laying Out Space

RAFAEL: I recently bought a place under construction (the structure is up, cement only) and I have the chance to make some changes in this construction phase. I would love to know your thoughts and ideas on some of the spaces I want to create. I’ll start with the living/dinner room. My biggest “problem” with this space is that no fireplace was included on the original project. I want to build one on top of what’s currently done (all the walls are already up). I will be decorating based on contemporary/minimal style.Here is the blueprint so you can have an Idea of what the space is. Can you share your ideas or links?

EDITOR: Have suggestions on how Rafael can incorporate a fireplace into his space?

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  • Ted Mosby August 6, 2010 at 14:49 PMLogin to Reply →

    hi rafael,
    your project is a bit difficult.
    in your plan kitchen and living are seperated in two ways, the wall and the floor. you should definetly think of just taking one kind of floor. white polyurehtan is cheap and easy to clean.
    if you can, tear down this wall :) … i would create an open kitchen with bar/counter that you can use as dining table. 4 barstools only. the bar should go from the square column up. so you safe space and your apartment looks bigger.
    I guess this could be your style.

    see the bar and the cooking island! also the turnable tv wall in the back.
    i would install such a tv wall in right lower corner. so can watch tv while cooking. if you want to watch tv while eating, put the bar a little to the right. you cant use it as counter anymore but still…

    as there is no vent for your fireplace, i suggest a solution with fire gel like this:

    couch to the upper wall.
    as you sad minimal i guess you dont need much storrage space in there. ;)

  • Rafael August 6, 2010 at 17:01 PMLogin to Reply →

    Hi Ted,

    Thank you very much for your comment.
    I’ve already considered to tear down the wall that separates the kitchen and the living room and separate them partially with a glass wall (like the pictures you sent). The only problem I see is that the two entrances (for the living room and kitchen on the top of the blueprint) are to be made on glass too (slider doors that goes inside the walls) and I think it could be weird to have the doors connecting to the glass wall.

    The floor is not determined yet. I’m very undecided on the materials… Dark wood or white ceramics….

    As for the fireplace, I’m considering this one ( It is a bit expensive but I think it fits really well in my decor idea.

    I’ll consider your Ideas for sure. Specially a way to include the island instead of making all the kitchen appliances right on the left wall on the blueprint.

    Any other ideas are welcome for avery single aspect. My intention is to publish all my apartment divisions here, one at a time and then publish pictures final result.

    Thank you!

  • Trevor August 6, 2010 at 18:11 PMLogin to Reply →

    I like what the other comments said about the kitchen and flooring. Definitely try and get a single floor material if possible, and a counter or large island would look great in here, especially with that all that glass! For the fireplace, I see a couple options: First would be the right wall. You could either center it up for a more monumental feel, or because of that column, you could set if off-center and create a sort of more multi-use space where the fireplace isn’t the focus all the time. This second option would work great for a lower visual-impact fireplace that doesn’t fight for attention with the view to the bottom. It would also give you more options for developing the space with FF&E. For construction, if you don’t mind losing the floor space you may be able to build the fireplace inward of the current concrete wall to save money, but I don’t know if that’s against building codes. More traditional would be retrofitting that wall to fit a fireplace.

    My third idea for the fireplace would be a free-standing unit, which can be a great accent for the room. This would also probably be the cheapest option depending on how elaborate you go.

  • siavash August 7, 2010 at 00:25 AMLogin to Reply →!/photo.php?pid=25869&id=100001446152721

    conditioning and gas supply are important and they decide about placement but if you use that rounded column it gana be better .
    use reflective materials for fire place and i suggest black or natural concrete .
    the picture is concept of what you said.

  • LukeSF August 7, 2010 at 11:13 AMLogin to Reply →

    Why not to keep to the ethanol fireplace? Then you can place it wherever you want… And the styles of those are really versatile,so you can find the one to your liking…

  • Ted Mosby August 7, 2010 at 15:15 PMLogin to Reply →

    hi again.
    nice fireplace siavash… cool design.
    rafael, i think your decision for the fireplace is perfect. it is really contemporary.
    i would like to see and help you with all little decisions.
    honestly i think that a glass wall isn’t perfect. and you are right, it would be weird. so i guess you have to install a column like the bottom one. so you are safe. but i dont’t see way you need two entrances. can’t you just make one big one out of these two?
    if you still want to install a visual seperation, may be the glass wall should be as high as the counter. a one feet or 30cm high glass “seperation” could come from the ceiling, too. if you know what i mean. light behind this wall would look great and indirect.
    i see the flooring problem. both ways are very nice. what colors do you want to be in your place? it should be well-balanced…

  • Ivet August 7, 2010 at 15:38 PMLogin to Reply →

    Hi Rafael!
    The task you’ve given us is very challenging and I believe nothing is impossible, you just need the right approach to the problem. I’m giving you one of them.
    You’ve said that all the walls are already up so I didn’t touch a thing there. Specially since the wall between kitchen and living room makes sense – there are separate entrances to both living room and kitchen.
    I’ve added central fireplace witch is in a way also dividing dinning area from living area. All the furniture have simple straight lines just as you wanted. And I hope your new home is also in this kind of nature as I imagined it :).
    You can see my vision of the solution here:

    Living area for Rafael 01

    Living area for Rafael 02

    Good luck!

  • Rafael August 9, 2010 at 16:41 PMLogin to Reply →

    Before anything else, thank you all for your comments. I must say I’m surprised! Had no idea I would have such helpful and enthusiastic thoughts from you.

    Now, I’ll reply to each of you.

    @Trevor: I was initially thinking of using the right wall for both TV and Fireplace, none of them centered. The TV would lean to the column side and the fireplace more next to the upper wall. As for the fireplace type, I’ll definitely use one of the many ethanol models available or even buy a couple of burners and design one myself. I can buy 2 burners (produces 4 flames) for about €450 each (not too cheap, but there’s no gain with no pain). I already know the price for the fireplace I linked in my previous post: near €2000.
    Thank you for you comment. More ideas welcome.

    @siavash: Sorry, I recently gave up from Facebook. I can’t see the picture. Can you make it available else where pls? Thanks a lot for the comment.

    @LukeSF: As I said to Trevor, I’ll keep the ethanol option. Thanks for the link and for the comment. More thought welcome. Thanks!

    @Ted: Hi again Ted. Thank you for the interest! Your previous idea made me think and I’m now inclined to take out the doors and go for an open space. Use a glass to separate partially the kitchen from the living room and the space from the two doors become a single entrance. I think the glass could be right from the island border to the ceiling.
    As for the floor, I’m still confused as i want all the closets and doors to be on dark wood ( as well as all the bedroom floors (I must add that all closets and doors are from the ground to the ceiling).
    I will not use too much color. White walls and maybe some very simple wallpapers.
    Thank you again! Hope you keep posting ;)

    @Ivet: I wish you haven’t made this! Why? Because you made me think about my living room + kitchen spaces right from scratch :D. What I’m trying to say is that I’m very pleased by what you’ve done and what I need right now is to re-think . I’m not even close of what an interior designer is but I’m doing all the efforts to join all the information I can to build a space based on simple and pleasurable ideas so I can make a completely attractive and comfortable place where I can spend my time and bring my friends to.
    Love the central fireplace! Love the final overview! You’re talented! Can I ask what program do you use to do that?
    You were really helpful! Thank you!
    I’m already following your blog ;)

    Well, I’ll put some Ideas together and speak to the constructor this week to see what’s possible and what’s not. I’ll keep you posted and hopefully, by the end of the next week, I’ll throw in another room from my apartment for you to show me some magic.

    Thank you all!

  • Ivet August 9, 2010 at 18:31 PMLogin to Reply →

    Thanks Rafael!
    I’m using sketchup with su podium plug in. I love it. Simple and effective and makeing models in it is pure fun for me. It’s layout looks more architectural than other 3d modeling programs and the possibilities are endless.
    Good luck with desigions! :)

  • Ted Mosby August 9, 2010 at 19:52 PMLogin to Reply →

    hey guys…
    i was about to ask the same question: what programm is that? :D
    and that she is talented is needless to say. ivet your blog is really nice.

    rafael, i think you have to use a white or light grey self-leveling floor. i guess parquet would be to much wood.
    i have to admit i m not sure if i understand you. where exactly is the supposed to be? may be ivet could make a little visualisation of this version ;) . if you do understand what rafael means, ivet. :)

  • Ted Mosby August 9, 2010 at 19:54 PMLogin to Reply →

    oh …. “where exactly is the GLASWALL supposed to be?”

  • ivet August 9, 2010 at 20:54 PMLogin to Reply →

    Thanks guys!
    I’m not sure if I got it right, but Rafael wants to make only one entrance to the living area so I guess that would be to living room. and maybe this glass wall wouldn’t go all the way to the wall of the hall but just leaving some space for the entrance to the kitchen. This is the way I’ve figured out what he wants but maybe my imaginations is running wild :).
    I agree with you Ted that lighter floor would be better, but I’d reccomend whitened wood for living area. Wood is always more cousy in living room, besides the fact that in Portugal tiles(or ‘cold’ finishes) are mostly used flooring. You can use something like this:
    whitened oak 01

    or my favorite
    whitened oak 02

  • ivet August 9, 2010 at 20:58 PMLogin to Reply →

    I actually meant this one:
    whitened oak 03

  • Ted Mosby August 10, 2010 at 16:24 PMLogin to Reply →

    i see your point ivet. i also agree with you that whitend wood would be good for the living room. but i would use the same floor for hall and bedroom, too. and i m afraid that with wooden furniture it could be to much. you see i m not the wooden type. ;)
    but i didnt know what kind of flooring is most popular in portugal and to have something special is important. but i m sure rafaels apartment will be a special place!

  • ivet August 10, 2010 at 20:11 PMLogin to Reply →

    @Ted –> I agree about having this floor in the hall and bedroom. But what makes you think the furniture must be wooden look-alike? Rafael already bought furniture? There are lots of wooden materials (this is the basic furniture material) but with different finishigs – like soft and shiny and mate and with texture that is not wood :)…combinations are endless. And yes, it would be too much to have all wooden like :). Not so very modern :).

  • Ted Mosby August 11, 2010 at 13:41 PMLogin to Reply →

    Rafael postet a picture and said “i want all the closets and doors to be on dark wood( ”
    and that is my problem. wood is a good material and you need it in an apartment but not all with wooden texture. as you mentioned, it is not very modern.