I remember staying at my Grandma Dorothy's house when I was little. She had a formal living room at the front of the house and a separate sitting room at the back where we watched movies and read books. Honestly, I'm not sure what the formal living room was for, since it didn't feel like much living was done there, as I rarely saw the adults spend any time there, outside of large family gatherings.
I loved being in that room all by myself, sitting with my legs crossed on her white leather ottoman, gazing out her front windows at boats on the Puget Sound. I'd take her old photo albums off the shelf and look at pictures of her and her siblings and parents when she was young. There were also many pictures of my dad and uncle when they were children. Most of them were black and white portraits in natty little matching suits on front lawns or first days of school and such, but sometimes I'd stumble onto pictures from when my Grandfather was still alive. I never got to meet him, and really, neither did my dad, as he died when he was only a toddler.
He was a large man with a strong forehead and nose, slightly resembling the butler from Downton Abbey, but maybe a bit less posh and dignified, since he was a pharmacist and not working for an Earl. I wonder if my dad and uncle sat in that same living room, on that same ottoman, looking at these pictures... The ottoman was a mother's day gift to Dorothy from my dad when he was 15. He was living with a foster family at the time and working in their furniture store after school.
That ottoman now sits in my living room, albeit covered in Ikea fabric, as the light-colored leather has seen better days (and has been the victim of many cats). It's the piece of furniture I hold most dear, with its history and memories and timeless round design. I can't imagine my living room without it. It fits perfectly with the white bookcases that I thrifted and pushed together to make a tv-stand, the two chairs I picked up at The Habitat for Humanity store here in town, and our weird giant speakers that we bought at Goodwill and painted teal.
It may not be a formal living room, and we certainly don't have a separate sitting room tucked away elsewhere in the house, but it's still a great place to curl up and flip through photo albums.