Room Tour: The Adult Lounge

This week I thought I would show you the room we call the Adult Lounge.  As I’ve explained before, nothing adulty-adult goes on in here.  After Opal goes to bed we retreat to this room to drink a beer and watch a show (current obsessions include Orphan Black and Parade’s End).

I’ve been working away on this room in fits and starts for months, and it has become one of my favorite spaces in the house.  Unfortunately I don’t have proper before photos, so here are some candid outtakes from my life to give you an idea of where I began:

tv room before

If you’re able to, direct your eyes away from that handsome man and adorable wiggly baby (who is obviously a genius!), into the room on the left.  I went through a pretty heavy duty every-room-painted-a-different-color-including-but-not-limited-to-an-oxblood-accent-wall phase, and this room was no exception.  The TV sat on a cheap espresso veneer stand, and there was nothing on the walls.  It was sad.

The beauty emanating from these creatures always made the dismal room seem not so bad.

We lived like this for years, and it’s not like we never spent any time in here.  Nay, dear reader, time was spent:  All five seasons of The Wire, and all six seasons of The Sopranos.  Twice.  All this time led to the formation of an indent in my spot on the couch that was the exact width of my posterior end.  We called it The Gulf of Badonkin.

Progress: this was after we ripped out the carpet and 9,000,000 staples and painted the walls white.

The photo above shows a progress shot.  This was after I painted the walls white, and we ripped out the carpet and nine billion staples.  The floor under the carpet is finished fir.  You can see in the progress photo the over-sprayed paint on the edges of the floor, and under the rug there is some damage from the staples and tack strips.

On a recent visit my mother in law basically refinished the floor while Chester and I went to a movie.  Yes, I am the kind of person who leaves her mother in law on her hands and knees sanding while I go out gallivanting.  She did a great job, got all the paint off, and made it look beautiful again.

Now, at long last, it looks like this:

Cromwell's handsome mug does wonders for a room.

This room is really small, and because of where the windows and doors are, the TV can only go on the far wall, which means the couch has to go under the window.

The couch is from  I could not love it more.

The couch is a dream; petite but incredibly comfortable with its down-wrapped foam cushions.  Wolsey has shown no interest in scratching the velvet, and the dogs, who spend a considerable amount of time looking out the window from this perch, haven’t stained or torn the upholstery (knock on wood).


In this photo the console table looks more red than it is in real life.  The color is actually electric watermelon, and I’m crazy about it.  The cord management situation isn’t perfect, but it isn’t a major eyesore either.  I hung the artwork partially behind the tv on purpose, on the theory that it makes the tv look less important.  The large boom box painting is another by Carol Crump Bryner.  The dog portrait to the left of the tv is of my beloved Megan, my Mega-Babe.  A kinder soul never lived.


My love of birds and plants is on display in this room, as in every room of the house (see, e.g., the mallard footed mirror in the bathroom).  The print is of a raft of Murres, by the late great Diana Tillion.


One of the difficulties in this room was fitting in another place to sit other than the couch.  It’s hard to tell from these photos, but there is a door to the right of the TV, as well as the door that leads into the room by the stairs. That means that the only place a chair can go is in front of the bookshelves, which felt awkward.  Enter the hanging chair.  I have always loved hanging chairs because they’re fun, but in this case it just made the most sense.  It’s a super comfortable place to sit, it doesn’t take up much visual space in front of the window and shelves, and it’s nice to be able to pivot toward the couch for conversation and toward the tv for a show.  Also, and of paramount importance, the cats approve.



Hey Meatloaf.

So, that’s the Adult Lounge.  Thanks for coming along on the tour, and here are sources for the non-vintage/one of a kind items:

Rug, West Elm / Coffee Table, West Elm / Console Table, Blu Dot / Chevron Side Table, West Elm / Table Lamps, West Elm / Couch, / Hanging Chair, Serena and Lily / Bird Planter, West Elm / Kilim Pillow on Hanging Chair, One Kings Lane


28 responses on “Room Tour: The Adult Lounge

    1. meramatthews

      Thanks, Laura! The couch really is a beaut, isn’t it?! It’s from a company called It’s a British company with a showroom in New York. Not being anywhere near either place, I couldn’t see the couch before purchasing, which was nerve wracking. The customer service was fantastic–they sent me loads of free swatches, and then on my request photographed the showroom version and emailed it to me. It was really helpful to see the couch less styled, and the color unfiltered. Highly recommend!

  1. Carol Crump Bryner

    I love this Mera. Not just what you’ve done with the room, but the way you tell its story. You always include so much life into your words and photos – it gives me a real sense of a house and family surrounded by love.

    I remember this room from the days when your mother-in-law and I listened to music on those boom boxes while we painted. It’s fun for me to see that painting again, and to see the floor of my studio (30 years ago!) when it had been freshly done, just like in your adult lounge. That blue couch is beautiful – looks like it’s just waiting for its own “Gulf of Badonkin.”

    1. meramatthews

      Thank you for your kind words, Carol. I love the boom box painting; it’s my favorite combination of beautiful and funny, and I like the contrast between the bulky tape player and the slim flat screen tv. This couch will be spared a Gulf of Badonkin–I always choose the hanging chair. The cats are happiest swinging in my lap, and it leaves enough space on the couch for Chester and the dogs. 🙂

  2. y2knina

    “Yes, I am the kind of person who leaves her mother in law on her hands and knees sanding while I go out gallivanting.”

    OMG, you are hilarious. Unfortunately, my m-i-l is 101 years old so I will have to live vicariously through you because even I couldn’t ask the woman to get on her hands and knees. Tempting, but, no.

    I love the room, the COUCH, all of the great contents … but … I have to say I disagree with you about the art behind the TV. In trying to minimize the TV, to my eye at least, you are minimizing the art, all of which seems great but less important with the TV in front. (Oh, and I love the console!) TVs are the pain in everybody’s butts (or badonkins, if you prefer) and I think there’s just no disguising them, minimizing them, whatever.

    But, hey, what do I know?

    1. meramatthews

      TVs are definitely a decorator’s bane! I can definitely see what you mean about the art being minimized. What I was going for was a sort of “we only pull this tv out occasionally” kind of effect. Maybe because I have that rationale in my mind it works for me. 101! I think you get a lifetime sanding-pass at, oh say, 95 years old! Thanks a lot for your comment, I appreciate it!

  3. Susan Glassow

    Mera, what a delightful space. I too like y2knina feel that the TV screen competes with the art…and such wonderful art too. Have you tried placing fewer pieces above the TV? I can never really tell myself how it will look and feel until I hang experimentally so I don’t know how that will change how we see the wall. The couch is wonderful! Glad it’s animal friendly…Do you know Mary Oliver’s Dog Songs? I was just given a copy for my birthday (in honor of my grand-dog, chihuahua love). I thought of you. Badonkins forever…

    1. meramatthews

      I love Mary Oliver but I haven’t yet picked up Dog Songs. Something to look forward to! One of my favorite poems is Stephen Dunn’s “Some Things I Wanted to Say to You.” A line I often think of is “did you know/a good dog in your house/can make you more thoughtful/even more moral.” Certainly true in my life. Like you I never know how something will look until I try it, and even then I sometimes have to take a picture before I decide whether it works or not. Here’s to experimenting! 🙂

  4. Katy Gilmore

    Ah Mera you do spin such entertaining yarns in your house stories, they are great!. I love this space in its new iteration. You WAY overstate my contribution – you stayed around through sanding and scraping, and you got the big sliver in your finger from our chisel work on the overspray. I remember just applying a very satisfying, hides-all-sins, layer of that low VOC verethane you used. And your handsome husband has industrial strength knee pads, which really helped the job. It was worth all our efforts.

    This post is so rich with places for people to comment – the blue couch is luxurious and practical both. What a combo. And very comfortable.

    I have to weigh in on the art + tv issue, because I really like what you have done. I’m not sure I can explain why, but somehow it does make the TV less the issue. There is a thing about the brain completing an incomplete vision, and maybe that’s what happens here – I focus on finishing the pictures that are slightly blocked, instead of the gaping blackness of the TV. (Specially that works with Carol’s great patterned rug.) I also love art and TV walls, because they give a place for my eyes to go when the ROKU is bouncing or Hulu is repeating a commercial for the zillionth time.

    And I have to admit that we still have a functioning boom box that was meant to be replaced eight years ago – in our living room! That probably disqualifies me from even commenting here.

    1. meramatthews

      Katy, your contribution cannot be overstated! It would have taken me weeks just to muster the energy to tackle the floor, and you, in your indefatigable way, got right down to it! TVs are tricky and there’s no right or wrong answer as far as I’m concerned (well, maybe that’s not true–the before version was WRONG). I’m with you, I like having another place to rest my gaze when hulu skips a beat now and again. Thank you!

  5. Marlene Miller

    There are so many wonderful things in this room…. the couch, the console table!!!! the rug! the woven-bag-becomes-a-planter-cover. Love your taste, and your wonderful way of telling your story. xoxo

  6. michellet2013

    A great story and an fabulous room transformation—you are so talented all around! Thanks for sharing. Now if we could just figure out how to make televisions apparate!

    1. meramatthews

      An apparating television, that’s the perfect answer! Sounds like something a certain beautiful and brilliant high school student might invent! 🙂

  7. Kal

    The colors, the textures… I might be drooling like a teething toddler…

    My Mother in Law has a wicker hanging chair from the early 80’s. Right now, it just hangs from a metal stand, and its paint is peeling and the wicker is cracked in spots. I am itching to get my hands on it and refurbish it for her, but I don’t think I could manage getting it out of her house without her asking why I’m cramming her favorite chair in the back of my car… Maybe if I show her this picture……

    1. meramatthews

      Haha, a teething toddler, there’s a metaphor that hits close to home! Good luck with the sneak attack refurbishing–you are way more ambitious and crafty than me! Thanks for stopping by and for commenting! 🙂

  8. Meghan

    Is that a hanging chair from your parents house? Methinks it looks familiar. Always loved swinging while watching tv. I’m loving this blog and you’re officially in my feedly now.

    1. meramatthews

      Meghan, your mind is a steel trap! It’s not the same hanging chair, but before this new one arrived I did use my parents’ old hammock for a while. Thank you!!!

  9. dwhmmatthews

    Should I dare tamper with the accolades and compliments? Your writing for the entry and the responses dazzles my mind with targeted word and picture imagery. OK. A mom can brag. One tiny suggestion. What if you carried the picture-surround of the TV under the watermelon stand?

    1. meramatthews

      Thanks, Madre! I like the look of the table struts, which is why I didn’t hang anything below it, but I’ll give it a try and see if it works! xoxo

    1. meramatthews

      West Elm does deliver to Alaska, and in my experience shipping has always been fast and reasonably priced. The table is on sale right now!

  10. Erika

    The room looks awesome! I am thinking of getting that same hanging chair for my nursery. Do you think it would be comfortable enough for nursing a baby?

    1. Mera Post author

      Thanks, Erika! The hanging chair is super comfortable, and would definitely work for the occasional nursing session. I don’t think it would be the greatest as a primary nursing spot, though. I would worry about getting in and out of it while holding a baby during nighttime feedings, as it kind of requires free hands to maneuver into. I used a super sleek looking rocker in my daughter’s room as a nursing chair, and I have to say I wouldn’t do that again. If I go for round two I’m going to look for a rocking chair with upholstered arms and a back that is high enough so that I can rest my head. Those ubiquitous nursery gliders might not be the prettiest, but man are they comfortable! Congratulations!

  11. Karli

    I have a question, I just got the same hanging chair. When you first sat in it did it feel as if the chair was breaking (hearing a cracking noise)? I noticed the rope stretches allot…by the time we all tried it, it was way closer to the floor like the frame of chair is stretching. Just curious if it felt the same with you. I just don’t want the chair to break. Haha! I love your living room makeover though!!! Inspired me to put one in my living room.

    1. Mera Post author

      It’s been a while now, but I do seem to recall that it was pretty creaky in the beginning. The rope definitely stretches–every time my husband sits in the chair I notice that it gets a little lower. I’m glad you got the chair, it really injects a bit of fun into a room, doesn’t it? Thanks!

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