Moving from the living room toward the back of the house, opposite the stairway, is a small hallway with the coat closet and the powder room.
Just beyond the little hallway is the family room. The back of the house gets full western sun, which makes it very warm in the afternoons. In the summer I keep the blinds closed in the pm, and we went ahead and installed a ceiling fan this year, despite the fact that it's a decorating no-no. Sometimes practicality wins out (and I don't think it looks too bad anyway).
I have once again used my mad photo-splicing skillz to give you a broader view of the room.
I'm not sure why there is a flag stuck in the vent in the top right of the photo.
We have a gas fireplace; gas doesn't have quite the same ambiance as a crackling wood fire, but you can't beat the convenience of it. Just flip the switch...no dirty wood on the hearth, no ash to clean out.
As an aside, my family has never been able to figure out which room I'm talking about when I say "family room" or "living room". I'm not sure why...I've been calling them the same thing since we moved in three years ago, and it just doesn't seem that complicated. A couple of weeks ago Craig said he figured out how he could remember it: Family room/Fireplace. This from a man with a doctorate degree! Don't worry, he thinks it's funny too.
Almost everything in this room came from either a thrift store, garage sale, or craigslist. It's funny how looking at things in a new way can give you a new perspective. I've been kind of dissatisfied with this room for a little while; I guess I was just starting to get bored with it. But looking at these photos makes me realize that it's not so bad after all!