March 1, 2013

From Dark & Dingy to Bright & Cheery

If, once you realized this is a home improvement update post, you thought, "IT IS ABOUT DANG TIME WOMAN," I am so with you. I finally--finally!--took new photos of our family room. I posted before shots back in November, which tells you that this post is waaaaay overdue. In case you've forgotten what it originally looked like (or don't really feel like clicking back to the "before" post), here is a refresher.

This shot is from the window by the kitchen:
 And this one is from the doorway between this room and the living room:
I'd almost forgotten how much I hated going in there

Remember how there was NO lighting in that room? That was remedied by swapping the tiny (and kind of pointless) ceiling fan with a really simple square semi-flush light from Home Depot. We added an identical one directly in front of the big window. There was already a plate there, so we knew the wiring for a light existed; it was just a matter of going up in the attic and figuring it all out. Fortunately I'm married to an engineer who is also one of the handiest dudes I know. An hour or two of crawling around and rerouting wires, and our sad dark room had light! Huzzah!
We also primed the walls (obviously) after adding some spray texture where the built-ins used to be. You can still tell that the wall texture is not uniform if you look closely, but it's not nearly as noticeable as it once was.
This is about where we stopped working on the room as a whole and focused our energies on that blasted fireplace for a few days. Then--happy day!--my parents came down to visit and lend a hand in the prettification process. We scrubbed and taped and painted and moved furniture and eventually our room was a place where I wasn't afraid to let Mila play anymore. Because now it looks like this:
And this:
Progress! Visible progress! It's clean and bright and functional...pretty much everything it wasn't before.

The shelving unit/entertainment center/desk consists of three of Ikea's ubiquitous Expedits (we've had the 2x4s since we got married, and David bought a 2x2 to store the printer and some other computer stuffs) and a sheet of plywood that David cut to connect the units and fit that corner. He painted it the same brown as the mantel and screwed it in to create a secure place for his computer monitor, etc. It was a simple and inexpensive desk solution, since we mostly used what we had on hand already.
The white doors on the left hide diapers, wipes, and other baby toiletries. The white bins on the bottom hide a power strip, a bunch of baby blankets, and most of Mila's toys. One of the baskets is filled with video game stuff (games, remotes, batteries, etc.) and the other is just a catch-all that I actually need to clean out. We had already removed one of the shelves on the left unit so our DVD player would fit there back in the day; now, turned vertically, it's just right for Mila's little play box. David's computer usually fits in the corner and out of sight, but he pulled it out the other night and I didn't want to mess with his stuff lest I break something. (I have a tendency to do that, you know.)
By the way, the trim is (no surprises here) Behr's Ultra Pure White, and the wall color is Valspar's Plum Passion (color matched to a Behr paint, if I remember correctly). You'd think Plum Passion would be, y'know, plummy, but it's not. It reminds me of the inside of an avocado. And since I love avocados, I'm totally okay with that.

So what's left on the to-do list?
  • Paint the laundry room door to match the trim.
  • Touch up all the edges on the fireplace, which I've mentioned before and still haven't gotten around to.
  • Scrape the popcorn off the ceiling. Ugh. One of these days...
  • Replace the tiny cheapo rug with something more substantial. I'm leaning toward FLOR tiles at the moment. They seem like a good choice in a room where we play and eat and make messes. I just don't know which ones to get. Suggestions?
  • Get a new couch, since this hand-me-down from the padres is at least twelve years old and falling apart and ugly. Comfy, yes, but kind of pitiful. We're leaning toward this guy in one of the dark grey fabrics. He's comfortable, inexpensive, fits in that corner, and looks like he'd handle spills and stains well. But we'd like more seating than that, so also...
  • Get some other furniture...maybe a big squashy chair, a storage ottoman, and a side table or two.
  • Put some art up on the walls. I really want to get this fun world map, but I have some other things to hang up just waiting in the closet for me to get my buns in gear.
  • Rearrange the Expedit shelves, since Mila can now open and reach into the "cupboards." (She likes to eat lotion, so it's probably best to keep that out of her reach.)
  • Address the cord situation behind the shelves. Right now it's a hot tangled mess that needs to be straightened out and organized...and preferably hidden.
So yes. There is still a lot to do, as seems to be the case in our entire house. It's not pressing though. Right now the room works for us and isn't hideous, which is all anyone can ask for from their home, amiright?
Any thoughts on the rug and furniture questions? I'd love to hear any ideas you guys might have to finish this room. Right now I want to bring in some navy or cobalt blue, and probably some pops of orange, but I'm open to suggestions, so please chime in!


  1. I still love it! And yes I agree with the blue! The room needs more color in it! And a dark tan couch! But i dont know what kind!

    1. There will be more color for sure. I just need to make it happen.

  2. It looks amazing Jen. Everything is coming together so well! I am in love with that map and think it would look great.

  3. Okay, I know this is my second comment on the same post but I just looked at those FLOR tiles and I am sold. So clever and so many options. Also, if you look at the video on the "what is FLOr" page the girl laying the squares is my twin. I am pretty sure. Haha!

    1. Aren't those things rad? And you are absolutely right! I didn't even watch the video because the still shot of her at the beginning looks FREAKISHLY like you. So awesome.


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