Wesley's room 2.0

The very first room that we worked on in the new house was Wesley's room.  He did amazingly well with the transitions from St. Louis, to his temporary room at my parents' house, and finally to the new house. Even so, it was important to us to get him settled and "home" asap.

Wesley's nursery in St. Louis was one of my favorite rooms, and was one of the must difficult to leave.  It was a small room, but it worked well for our baby, and he slept in it every night starting with the first night home from the hospital.


The above photo is from Wesley's room in St. Louis.  More info can be found here.

We had 2 rooms in the new house to consider for Wesley's room.  One was longer and more narrow, and the other one was more square in shape.  Both had 2 windows (one each a dormer), and good sized closets.  We decided that we liked the long, narrow room for Wesley.  It was closer to our room, plus we thought it would work well with his furniture.  We had also been thinking about painting Wesley's room the same dark blue as his previous nursery, and I thought that this room would work better with the darker color.

The room had been painted green, and desperately needed a new paint job.  The hardwood floors upstairs should be refinished at some point, but they are in decent enough shape.  


I like the dormer window nook, and can imagine that Wesley will have fun in this little corner of his room as he gets older.

We tested a few different blues and went with one that was slightly darker and deeper than the color we used in St. Louis.  The photo above is over-saturated, but it was still a little brighter than I wanted.  We also painted the sloped ceilings white to help offset the dark wall color.  The furniture is the same, although we swapped out his dresser for a larger one.  The gray dresser had been ours previously, but it didn't really fit in our new room.  


This is the view from the hallway - we added a few prints that we found online - on for St. Louis, and one for Columbus.


My mom was able to remake the curtains to fit the two smaller windows.  We made the curtain rods out of plumbing parts, spray painted black.  We also replaced the metal blinds with simple white wood blinds to help block the light.


Here you can see the dresser.  The door near the crib is the door to the hall.  We are still using cloth diapers, so we hung the wet bag next to the changing pad, and keep the extra diapers in the top drawer.  We hung his animal prints over the dresser.  Now that he's starting talking, he likes to tell us about the bears and the lions :)


The door to the left of the dresser is for the closet.


Continuing the rest of the way around the room, we installed Wesley's bookshelves again, we liked how they worked in his old room.


We read in this chair every evening.  The current favorites are Spot, and Curious George.  

So that's Wesley's room, and also the most complete room in the house.  We finished his room back in August or September, I just haven't had a chance to post about it.  I'd like to eventually replace the overhead light fixture, and I'm sure we'll switch out things as he gets older, but it works for now.



a few new pictures

I finally got around to take a few updated photos of the house a few weeks ago.  We ended up hosting a family Thanksgiving at our house, which helped get us motivated to finish up a few lingering small projects.

This is the family room, and where we spend most of our time.  As I've mentioned previously, we are waiting on doing anything with the red carpet until we decide if we are raising the floor or not.  The blue chairs are to be recovered at some point as well.  I am also still debating on what to hang on the walls.  The walls are painted though, so we've made some progress.


This kitchen looks the same as it did when we moved in, but we have plans for the kitchen that we'll hopefully be able to start working on soon... Next up, the dining room:

We've painted the walls in here, and managed to hang up a few things.  Our table really isn't idea for the size of the room, but we're trying to make it work.  It's an odd space that will likely change, but it's working for now.  We'd like to update the light fixture soon though.

The living room received the same paint as the other rooms downstairs.  We're still messing around with the furniture arrangement, we might even add on to the ikea sectional.  We don't use this room as often as the family room, but it's nice to have the extra space.  And it's nice to have a working fireplace!  I have a feeling we'll use this room more as Wesley gets older.


It's an difficult space to photograph, but we decided to paint the half bath a really dark, almost black, gray.  I was hoping the dark color would help get your focus away from the overwhelming amount of "travertine" tile.  At some point I'd like to remove all the tile in this bathroom and start over, but for now, we focused on easy (and inexpensive) updates.  We got a new mirror on craigslist, and I've been shopping around for new lighting.  We'll probably replace the faucet and accessories at some point too.  I framed some vintage postcards from my grandparents to hang on the walls.


That's all for now.  Wesley's room is actually the most done, but he's always napping in there when I think to take photos.  I'll try to get some updated photos of the bedrooms soon.


family room floor (flor?) + chairs

A few days after I wrote the last post I came across several other bloggers who had recently used flor carpet tiles in their homes.  I had briefly considered flor tiles, but I had never seen a style that I really liked, as they usually look like individual squares.  But after seeing some photos of the Suit Yourself pattern, I started considering flor tiles again for our family room.  Some of the pro's are that they would be an acceptable "temporary" solution because they could easily be reconfigured and reused as a smaller rug if we decided to do hardwood someday.  The are also more pet/kid friendly in that we could replace a damaged tile or 2 without having to replace everything.  On the negative side, it's not nearly as cushioned as rolled carpet, and the loop pile might be an issue with our dog claws (they tend to snag carpet).  I was able to get some full size samples though, and we've been testing them out:

The dogs would not leave me alone for the photo, sorry!  We are leaning towards the lightest color, and they seem to be pretty durable.  Now we just need to decide if we're ok with the lack of cushion. Here's a link to the same color installed over at Chris loves Julia.  

The red carpet has got to go, it never looks clean and it's driving me a little crazy!

Speaking of crazy colors, in other news, I've been looking for a pair of chairs either for the family or living room, and I found these a few weeks ago on Craigslist:  

They are "his and hers", so same shape, just a different size.  And apparently I cannot take photos without including a toddler and/or a dog...  The blue fabric isn't a horrible color, but it is in really bad shape and faded. so we will be reupholstering them.  We also need to adjust the springs at the same time.  My mom has reupholstered things in the past, and has even helped me reupholster a few pieces as well.  I'm hoping that we can tackle this project soon.

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thoughts on the family room

A few months ago I was given a renovation project at work.  It's a big project, one that has a good amount of public attention and use.  During one of the initial meetings, after walking the existing space and looking at the floor plan for only a few minutes, I was able to confidently state that I thought the client needed to rotate an entire set of restrooms 90* and move them 15' away from their current position.  This opened up the flow of the space and solved some major circulation issues.  It was a big move, it will be an expensive move, but it just seemed to make sense.  The client loved the idea, and we moved forward with it.

I'm telling you this because you'd think, that given that this is my profession, that I'd be able to walk into our new house and make these same kind of assessments.  Cause the new house has issues!  Not as many, and not as obvious as our St. Louis house, but this house still needs some help to make it ours and to make it work for our family.  What I am finding is that I'm really having a tough time coming up with a game plan for this "project".  Can we work around any of the existing finishes to help offset costs?  Or do we want to start fresh and go more modern this time around?  How do work in the cape cod aesthetic?  And because of all this, even a small detail like choosing a new light fixture for the hallway, starts to completely stress me out. 

On the plus side, we have plenty of time to live with the space, to see how we use the space, and to decide what big changes we want to make.  That's what we did in St. Louis and it worked out well for us.  But in the meantime, we have a broken hallway light that reminds me every evening as I stumble up the stairs in the dark, that it might be helpful to start making some general design decisions.

Taking a step back for a moment, one of the biggest sticking points for me is the family room.  As I mentioned in the last post, we haven't done much with the space because I cannot decide what to do. This is the space where we spend most of our time, where we watch tv, where Wesley plays, and where people tend to hang out when we entertain.  I keep thinking that if I can figure out what to do with the family room, perhaps some of these other, small, details will start to fall into place.

As a reminder, this is the family room:


A few other views:




I have not taken any new photos since we've moved in, but we have painted the walls a really light gray, and have tried out a few different furniture arrangements.  Right now, we have our large, lounge sofa (it's medium gray in color) under the 3 windows.  We have a larger upholstered chair on the opposite wall, near the step, by the basement door.  Our tv is on the far wall, beside the single window, because that is where all of the outlets and speaker plugs are located (the house came wired for surround sound).  We are still struggling with the arrangement, but the biggest issue is obviously the floor.

Not only is the carpet dark red, it is also seems to be a low quality carpet and despite the dark color, our dogs have already managed to find ways to stain it.  It also shows all of the pet fur and never looks clean, even right after we vacuum.  We've gone back and forth and think that we've identified all of our options:

1.  Replace the carpet with hardwood floor to match the existing hardwood floor:  This was our initial thought, and we actually already got some quotes on it.  Since this is in the addition, we do not have hardwood under the carpet, so we'd need to start with new hardwood.

2.  Raise the floor to be the same level as the rest of the house, and then add hardwood:  This is where it gets complicated.  I'm not sure why the previous owner decided to make this a step down from the rest of the house, but the line between the kitchen and the family room is just odd.  It makes furniture placement limited, and really breaks up the space.  We've already had a guest trip over the unexpected step.  It's also awkward to step up into the office. We have not gotten a quote on raising the floor, but it wouldn't be cheap, and it makes the hardwood installation even more difficult as well since it will be against the existing floor.  If price was no issue, and it could be done without complications, this would be my first choice.

With 1 and 2 - we'd need to buy an area rug.  Those of you with larger spaces know how expensive big area rugs can be, and those of you with pets know how hard pets can be on rugs...

3.  Replace the carpet with new carpet:  We would probably be looking at this as a "temporary" solution.  Ideally we'd really like hardwood throughout the first floor.  But, given our current budget and the fact that we have a toddler playing on the floor, we're also considering just updating to a more neutral carpet for now, and then maybe doing the hardwood in a few years.  With this, we'd try to find a carpet that could be bound into an area rug at a later point, to help offset some of the cost of a "temporary" solution.  It should be noted that we have started looking at carpets and haven't found one that we like yet.


The adjacent office (the doorway with the step up that you can see above, it has a sliding door) does have hardwood under the carpet, so once we decide what we're doing on the family room, we're planning to remove the office carpet and refinish the floors underneath.  Or maybe we'll be lucky and they'll be in great shape, ha...  For some reason we just cannot make a decision on the family room floor, and I really feel like it's causing a road block in my mind, preventing us from making decisions on other things.  If you all have any thoughts, please share...

And if you know of the perfect flush mount light fixture for my hallway, please pass that along as well :)


slow progress

As you can see from the photos, our new house is very different from our old house.  We now have much shorter ceilings, and more windows.  We have a little more square footage, but a layout that is broken up.  Our basement is much smaller, but we have a lot more closets and cabinets.  The original features and "character" in this house is much more subtle.  Not to mention that this house has an addition that is only 10-15 years old and includes some odd design decisions that were very specific to the previous owners' taste and lifestyle.

This house is in way better condition that our previous house was when we first bought it.  Even though the style is not our preference, it technically doesn't "need" anything done right away.  But of course we already have a wish list of things we'd like to change...

When we moved in to our stl house, we spent the first few weeks removing wallpaper and carpet, making repairs, and patching walls.  We jumped right in to painting and replacing light fixtures.  We lived out of boxes and ate microwave meals for the first 6 months.  We were ok with that though because we felt like we were making progress, and enjoyed working on our home.  Over time, we slowly unpacked the boxes.  We acquired more furniture and started to fill the rooms.  And eventually, 5 years later, we were settled in our home.

This time, we started with our furniture.  Some of what worked in our old house just doesn't work in this house.  The dining table is probably too big.  The seating arrangement in the family room is odd.  We need some kind of bookshelf in the office before we can unpack books.  I miss the built-in hutch. All of the windows, while great for natural light, make it difficult to arrange furniture in the rooms.  I'm sure that Mike wants to be done with the "lets just see how this sofa looks over there" game.  I know that this will all get figured out over time, but it's a little chaotic right now.

As for house projects, we've been able to focus on a few things, but it's been a much slower process this time around.  This house doesn't have the same sense of urgency because it is very livable as-is.  We also weren't trying to work on the house with a 15 month old the last time, so there's that...  nap times are precious moments :)

One of the first things we did when we bought the house was to start thinking about the flooring.  The house has hardwood throughout, except for the dark red carpet in the family room and office, and the lavender carpet in the master bedroom.  Not only are the colors horrible, the quality of the carpet is surprisingly bad.  We've already had some issues with staining, and the pet fur just sticks to the carpet, making it difficult to clean.  Mike and I decided that we were ok with keeping carpet in the bedroom since it's so expensive to install hardwood.  Wesley helped me shop for new carpet.


Even though I likes some of the other styles of carpet, realistically we knew that we needed something super durable and pet friendly in the bedroom.  That may seem odd, but all of our pets sleep in our room at night, and the cats tend to hang out there during the day as well.  They all tend to be pretty rough on rugs, so we were willing to pay a little more to get the super pet resistant carpet.  Notice that the carpet sample colors are a nice mix of gray cat and golden retriever fur :)  


I found that the local carpet shops had much larger samples for you to take home, and am glad that we took the time to check the samples in our space.  Although everything looked better than the purple carpet, ha!

Installation seemed easy enough and they were even able to work around our bed, which was nice.  Mike sent me the above photo during the installation process.  Did I mention that we got a new bed when we moved in?  From our roof insurance repair in stl, we needed to replace our guest room bed so we decided to put that money towards upgrading our bed to a king instead.  Although it's a little bit too wide for the windows, we are so happy we decided to upgrade.


We've also been able to start painting a few rooms.  Wesley's room was the first priority.  We thought about a few different options, but decided that we liked the dark navy of his previous room so much, that we went with it again.  We picked a deeper color this time though.  


The picture is mid-painting, we have his room more together at this point.  Although we still need to hang things on the walls and remake his curtains to fit the two smaller windows.

We also started painting the downstairs.  Similar to our stl house, we wanted to paint all of the main spaces downstairs the same color.  We will continue the color in the hallway and up the stairs.  We wanted a light warm gray.  Even though the photo below is of Wesley, you can see just a few of the many samples on the wall behind him.  Picking the right color was very difficult - we even had to remix 3 gallons after we thought we had picked the right color, and then it looked blue once we started painting!


We finally found the right color though and have been slowly working our way through the downstairs.


Sorry for the poor quality iphone pictures...  that's the update for now.  it's hard to believe we've been in the house for almost 2 months!

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