Katie’s House: Plans for the Family Room

Since finishing the Chamber of Secrets I’ve been mulling over where in our house I next want to direct my attention.  There’s a long list of candidates, but I decided I’m in the mood for something that requires neither demolition nor construction, and that the time has finally come to eradicate the last vestige of yellow paint from our downstairs.

 beforeThe overcast day that I took these pictures did the paint color some real favors, but when the evening sun streams in it lights up like a radioactive egg yolk.  Upon looking at this photo, I realize that the motley collection of furniture in here might warrant an explanation.  One recent day, in a fit of pique (and with Cameron, who was in full-on purge mode after reading ‘The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ egging me on), I up and sold the couch that was in this room on Craigslist.  Something in me snapped, and I couldn’t bear the thought of sinking into its lumpy microfiber depths even one more time.  The woebegone and empty bookshelf (the skeletal remains of books devoured?) is a casualty of the recently built shelves in the Chamber of Secrets.

carpet cornerThe state of this room might suggest that it is little used, but au contraire, we spend a ton of time in here.  It’s the best insulated room in the house and, come winter, it’s where we hunker down to hibernate with Netflix or books and mugs filled with steaming drinks.

pass through

This funny little window connects the family room to the kitchen, and has been the site of many puppet shows by our nieces.

Even though it’s been woefully mistreated, this room has a ton of potential.  I’m pretty sure that when I remove the stacks of homeless art and cull the unloved furniture it will be the familiar tale of a nerdy girl, maligned by all, who needs only to remove her glasses and shake out her hair to be suddenly beautiful and desirable.  I mean, painting over the yellow will probably be as dramatic a transformation as Ally Sheedy’s goth-to-lip gloss makeover at the end of the Breakfast Club, right?  That’s what I’m hoping anyway.

The domino-inspired design plan I put together for the Chamber of Secrets was invaluable for keeping me on track while we worked on it, and I’ve started putting together something similar for this room.

Step One: Find Inspiration

I love the use of botanicals and black in these next two rooms:

This next room is lighter and brighter and the vibe is definitely more relaxed. I love the mix of patterns and how welcoming it is.

The palette of this next room is not me (too neutral, too beige), but the plants and achromatic art are really speaking my language.

So maybe the colors and botanicals from the first two, the vibe of the second, and the art & plants from the third?

Step Two: Determine Your Style

The right words remain elusive, but what I came up with before is: Eclectic and collected, with a mix of eras.  I think it’s pretty close.

Step Three: Consider How You’ll Use the Room

This is our cozy room, so above all it needs to be comfortable.

Step Four: Assess Your Stuff

As comfortable as those side-by-side ma and pa armchairs are individually,  they’ve reduced movie-watching cuddling to holding hands across a great divide.  So I’m planning to buy a couch, but because the budget is tight I’m mainly searching Craigslist and thrift stores hoping to find a used one I like.

The [putative] Adrian Pearsall recliner will definitely stay in there, which means reupholstering it has moved to the top of the list.  In case you didn’t recognize it underneath its dowdy covering in the first photo, this is the one I’m talking about:

chair from sideThe rest of the furniture is on the chopping block, including the yellow-banded schoolhouse light fixture.

Step Five: Create a Design Scheme

I’m still sorting out the rest of the details (things are a little up in the air until I find a couch), though I do know that I’m going to paint this room in Miller Paint’s Crystal Ball. It works as well in our south-facing and light-flooded living room as it does in our windowless hallway, so I’m confident it will work here too. I like the idea of a unified paint palette throughout the house, and I think the slight hint of blue-grey will be a good complement for the unpainted fir trim around the windows.

Step Six: Make a Decorating Schedule (a to-do list)

To do

  • Paint walls, ceiling and trim (just the trim that’s already painted, not the fir)
  • Decide what furniture to keep and put everything else on Craigslist or donate it

To Make

  • Alter window blinds so they’re better at blocking light
  • Upholster chair (maybe do the tufted cushion myself and hire the rest of it out)

To Purchase

  • Find a couch.  Preferably a really amazing one with nice upholstery (I’m manifesting destiny with these positive thoughts :))

I’m really excited to get going on this project – have a terrific week!


13 responses on “Katie’s House: Plans for the Family Room

    1. Katie Post author

      I think you’re right – the layered,textured nature of an eclectic room really does up the cozy factor. Thanks Laura!

  1. Valerie Brooks

    I’m a big advocate for using black to accent color and softer touches like the floral. Gives a room definition. I’m with you, Katie, as to the monochromatic neutrals–not good in the winter in Oregon. Also, use of color can be tricky. Some colors as you point out with the yellow can change dramatically in light. I used a pale green, like a white with a touch of green, throughout our main floor as it changes throughout the day, but doesn’t compete with any other color. I think our dear old earth uses green as a back drop for everything for a reason. Love your ideas! Looking forward to the metamorphosis. xxoo

  2. Nina

    Ooh, fun, another follow-along. Love these.

    I hope that lamp on the side table makes the cut. It’s boss. And speaking of lamp lust, I love the floor lamp in the third inspiration room. (Love that whole room.)

    I think any space filled with plants and textiles is relaxing somehow, and then its just a short hop over to cozy. A bit of black accenting sort of sharpens the focus a bit and lends balance.

    Love your plan – can’t wait to see more.

    1. Katie Post author

      Thanks Nina! I like that lamp too, and will try to find it a home in the new space. I definitely agree about plants/textiles being cozy; they just bring so much life to a space.

  3. emily

    i love that you’ve mostly thought this through before you started…smart! I think that new paint color is going to be magic and make this space look instantly fresh. can’t wait to follow along with this update!

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