Gerhard Linse imagines…

A living room to come home to

A band of windows, art on the walls, a fireplace


Gerhard Linse, owner of Gerhard Linse Design Inc., first wants to know if he should describe a living room in an urban location, or in a suburban/country environment. He likes both spaces. He has certainly designed both. But each must be approached differently, so he needs to get that straightened out first.

He decides for this purpose he’ll envision his dream living room in an old suburb with big lots and many trees.

It becomes clear what he means the minute he begins talking about windows in this dream space. They’re energy-efficient and they run around the top of the room, dipping down here and there to capture the best views.

It’s a comfortable room where the sun filters through the windows and he can see the trees all the way around.

“I want to see the seasons and the light change,” he says. There are views in at least three directions: East, South and West.

It has a lot of open space for good art on the walls and room for low built-in cabinetry. There are a few books, but it doesn’t look like a library (which can be another room in the house, he explains).

When Gerhard envisions a living room space, he’s thinking about a place where adults gather and decompress after a hectic day.

It has an elegant wood-burning fireplace (“I’m a romantic,” he says); it’s modern and linear.

“It’s not a great big thing with an overpowering stone chimney,” he adds. “It’s ethereal. There’s glass beside and around it, and no heavy cabinetry.”

The room has 10 ft ceilings, a nice big comfy sectional couch, and a TV that pops up out of a cabinet when you want it. The walls are reserved for art. There are floor-to-ceiling glass doors that invite you to walk out into a beautiful garden.

The living room is open to the kitchen (a modern one, designed for people who like to cook). And there’s an “occasional” office space where one spouse can work and connect with the other while one is busy in the kitchen.

Liv rm 1

The living room and kitchen are integrated in such a way that you can walk out to the patio from either space.

“I really enjoy filtered sunlight and comfortably-sized spaces,” he says. “I don’t want a room that is proportionately awkward, so 25′ by 25′ by 10′ would be really nice. You don’t have to squeeze around the furniture. You can put a couch or two in the middle of the room.”

He says the walls are a warm, rich, lovely colour – but neutral: not beige and not stark white. The colour should come from the art, and walls shouldn’t take away from that.

It has a light-coloured ash floor made from wider, custom-milled boards “that have enough grain to give the wood character”.  And there’s a nice large area rug.

“My ideal is a house that’s split into pods,” he explains. “The central pod is the main living space with glassed-in walkways connecting to other sleeping and  utility pods – perhaps with a small pond or stream running under part of it.

“It’s a space that’s very easy to live in. It’s nice to be on one level, or the living room can be sunken, maybe by one step… but it doesn’t have to be.”