Monthly Archives: July 2016

Lesson Tearsheet – an important necessity for open concepts

desk with x legs, sofa table behind shabby chic sofa, parsons chair at desk, MBZ Interiors, Many many years ago Dear Husband and I moved into our first home together on the north side of Chicago. It was a really old house with lots of gorgeous woodwork and big windows. Our plan was that we’d renovate and live in the attic and rent out the main part of the house. Yep, we lived in the attic. The house had a charming front porch with a beadboard ceiling. (I made hand-sewn curtains and lightened up the dark porch by painting it a pale gray. This was my very first project as a homeowner!) After you stepped through the communal porch, you entered a hallway with 2 doors. One door led to the main apartment. But the other door led to a twisty wooden Nancy-Drew-style staircase, which took you to our attic apartment. (I couldn’t find a photo of the attic but I did find a photo of the porch, Circa 1990…….)

shabby chic style in the 1990, rachel ashwell 1990,











Blah blah blah, where’s the lesson you ask?  We decided that the attic would be open concept and loft-like with high angled ceilings. I knew I was going to have the furniture float in the middle of the room, specifically the sofa’s back would face the dining area that led into the galley kitchen. Since there would be no wall, this furniture placement would define the rooms in the loft. And before any construction began, I told the contractors (who were really just Dear Husband’s Chicago firemen friends) that I wanted an outlet in the middle of the floor so that I could put a sofa table behind the sofa and put lamps on top of the table. Genius if I may say so myself (and I can because this is my blog) and that’s the lesson for today. 

green sofa, lamps behind sofa on table,









Many clients come to me with giant great rooms and there are only outlets along the walls. The options for placing furniture are along the wall which leads to having a massive empty dance-hall-type-floor in the center of the furnishings. AAAAAKKKKK! It’s the worse design mistake and I’m sorry to say that a lot of builders build with volume in mind but rarely furniture placement.

stone fireplace, bookshelves next to fireplace, MBZ interiors,











So if you’re planning open concept or have a true Great Room and want your furniture to float in the room, please ask your contractor for an outlet in the floor – – – – before the floor is installed and before the room is complete! It will save you time, money and furniture placement headaches. (Photos, except the baby photo, courtesy of Pinterest)

sofa table with lamps, farmhouse table, MBZ INteriors, interior design Orland Park MBZ Interiors,

sofa table on brick paver floor,



























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