living room rendering

The Design Plan for the Living Room, Dining Room, and Sunroom | Custom Build

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Things are rocking and rolling over at our build! In the last house mood board I shared, we were still in the basement, but I’m happy to report that we have gone vertical! Yes, we’ve got an actual structure complete with trusses. I thought this would be my favorite part of the process and I was right. Seeing walls and a roof makes it feel real. It’s so encouraging to see after staring at dirt and a concrete floor for so long. I’m starting to believe that this house may actually get done after all!

I’ve shared our vision for the basement and now I’m moving to the main level for updates and pictures. I’ll combine the living room, dining room, breakfast nook, and sunroom in this one post since a lot of these rooms all play into each other.

Living Room Plan

So our living room has a bit of a complicated story- keep scrolling if you want to skip it. But here we go- designing our plans was not the smoothest process and last year when our (then) designer came back with a first draft, we asked that the dining nook, right next to our living room, get bumped out at least 5 feet.

We wanted an open floor plan but enough space around each area so it didn’t feel too cramped. The designer didn’t make the area as big as we asked and instead of going back and forth, we decided to accept it and just keep moving forward. There were other reasons why we didn’t want to keep going back and forth, but yes, not speaking up was on us. Lesson learned!

A few months ago, a little late in the game but better late than never, we felt it best to hire a different designer better aligned with our vision and style, and luckily, we found someone that was the perfect fit! We hired them to design our exterior and tweak our main floor plan and they confirmed what we thought: There wasn’t enough room to comfortably fit a dining table.

Of course, I had already been thinking about that and stressing over it for months. Because who builds a house and doesn’t make it big enough for their dining table? Who builds a house and then takes down part of it to add an addition? Because without doing an addition on the back of the house, our only good option was to do a built-in bench for our dining to save space and have enough walking room.

Now, I have nothing against built-in benches and I think they’re super cute and a great space-saving option, but it wasn’t my first choice and it wasn’t what I was envisioning for our long-term home.

Before addition living room rendering
rendering of the built-in bench option by Providence (with a sneak peek of the kitchen!)

But thankfully, we did come up with a better solution! Right next to our living room, we already had a nice-sized covered deck on our plans. (I didn’t actually want the covered deck, but for budget reasons, it was a placeholder for a future sunroom conversion as we were trying to plan ahead by including a room that already had a foundation and a roof.)

sunroom dining room construction
area to be turned into living space

Our designer suggested turning the covered deck into dining if adding more space wasn’t an option- and we had already completed our foundation, so it wasn’t.

I had already really wanted to convert that room anyway, so this gave us even more urgency to make that happen. We crunched some numbers and thankfully, found room in the budget to include it in the build now!

Now, it’s not right next to the kitchen and I know some people may have debates about that, but it’s just a short walk, and for us (you know the ones paying and living in it haha), it’s perfect.

new plan for living room

Because we’re not having a dining table in our great room anymore, visually and spatially, our living room just grew majorly in size. We’ll have a main conversational seating area and a seating group by the window. I’ll try out different things when we move in, maybe a cozy reading chair or a wooden chair and a little table.

As far as decor and furniture for our living area, I plan on using the same things from the living room in our last house. We have more rooms to fill in the house we’re building, so I don’t really want to buy anything new if I don’t need to. And if the space does need something new, I’ll figure it out once we move in.

I love the stone fireplace option that our designer did in the living room rendering, but I’m leaning toward a plaster one with some curves to add that European flair.

We’ll put a little dining/breakfast nook in the corner next to the kitchen for our day-to-day family eating and I’m excited about that because I’ve always wanted a cute little breakfast nook but we didn’t have room in the budget to add more square footage for it.

breakfast dining nook

banquette | table | chairs | sconces | espresso cups

And the cherry on top is that our covered-deck-turned-dining-room is big enough to also be a sunroom. I’m all about maximizing your home as much as your wardrobe and I love the idea of rooms serving multiple purposes, or at least having the option to.

Sunroom Dining Room Mood Board

light | tree | couch | bookcase | flooring | chairs | table

This dining room/sunroom can work for formal dining, casual coffee, serving dessert after dinner, doing crafts at the table, completing a puzzle as snow falls out the window…the list goes on…

White Sofa with Art Deco Style Bamboo Coffee Table
inspiration of combined rooms by jeanstoffer

By breaking up these main areas, we also added some separation to our main level and a room where you can shut the door, which is much needed in a generally open floor plan.

I share all the back story because it’s been such a learning experience and I wanted to show that building a house from scratch doesn’t mean everything is smooth and perfect and that you can get everything you want. At least for us!

We should have measured out how big that space would have been to get a better feel and we should have spoken up that we weren’t happy, but I do have to say, even with the bumpy road, I like our new layout even better.

So would it have been better to work out the first time around? Now I say no. True to what this whole experience has been so far, God worked through this delayed and frustrating process to bring something even better!

In a (very long) nutshell, that’s a look at our main area. Since you already saw a sneak peek of the kitchen, I should probably go ahead and share that post next!

In the meantime, catch up with the process so far:

What I Bought for Our Home Build | Lighting

Our European Exterior Custom Build Update

Custom Build Basement Family Room: Construction Pictures, Inspiration, Mood Board, & Our Selections

Parisian Modern Office Custom Build: Construction Pictures, Inspiration, Mood Board, & My Selections

Carolyn Arentson
Carolyn is the founder and creator behind My Chic Obsession. When she's not dreaming up new content, you can find her watching a funny tv show with her husband, raising her two boys, or planning her next trip to Paris.