An Update on Our Family Room
The Family room has been a room that I’ve struggled with since we moved in. We didn’t know how we would use it and if you don’t know how you are going to use the space it sure is hard to design it. Would it be a play room? TV den? And how much time would we want to spend here? Well, I’m happy to say that we have figured that out and it’s coming right along ….
But let’s recap where this room has been since we bought it.
Here is what it looked like when we first bought it – actually when we FIRST bought it the bay window was completely covered with the vines that cover the front of our house – like pitch black.
We trimmed them back (and even more since this). This room may have been a dining room, I’m not sure. Those two doors led to the hallway that housed the hot water heater and washer/dryer and a closet on the right. We renovated (see this post here) to open the space up as that particular area – as well as the entry into the kitchen was dark and totally under utilized. A fun game to play is ‘where do you want to stand/sit’ in your house and if there is one obvious place that you want to be less than everywhere else – then change it. In our house it was this space – the kitchen entrance (a tiny swinging door) and the den. So we opened it all up.
Gah. MAN. That is hard to look at. As we were renovating (in the world’s fastest renovation ever) we had to choose all the paint colors in basically one day without sampling on the wall. I chose neutrals for most rooms and then for fear of being WAY too boring we decided to go dark with this one. We painted it Stiffkey Blue by Farrow and Ball and the color itself is great, but we weren’t psyched about what it did for the room (duh, it created a long dark hallway).
But we lived with it for a bit, unsure of what was the perfect solution.
We fostered that sofa for a while from Sixpenny and shoved all the toys in a messy piece of garbage book shelf that I got from the flea market that fell apart 6 days later.
See? The color was good, but ugh, not for that weird space. I tried a few vintage rugs (below) and it just got worse and worse ….
What I didn’t realize (and what I wrote about in the first post) is that when you have slightly awkward architecture, what you DON’T want to do is highlight it with all of a sudden a much darker paint color. Additionally if you want your house to flow nicely visually and you have an open concept layout, then do not paint one large portion of that floor something MUCH much darker. It made the entire house feel smaller. Save your dark colors for enclosed spaces, not a room that is shared with the rest of the floor. (Great, advice, Emily – I sure wish you had told me that 5 months ago.)
We painted it Ammonite from Farrow and Ball, and INSTANTLY felt so much better. It was like the house itself sighed in relief. We have that color in our bedroom and I could not love it any more. And by the way it’s not the same color as the entry/stairwell (blackened) or kitchen (strong white) and it looks great together. I was slightly worried about the tones, but it’s just a really pretty tonal story that adds some depth and interest, in the most subtle way.
We styled it out for this Target shoot before loading in our furniture.
Previously I had shown you a working mood board (not finalized, folks) and we are getting closer to completion.
I asked you to help decide between the more granny antique persian rug or the solid indoor/outdoor rug (in this post). I chose the antique and couldn’t be happier.
Meanwhile we got to work on the custom sofa. I LOVED the one in the mood board from Anthropologie, but sadly we needed much shorter and yet deeper. So we worked with Clad Home in LA (Rosa Beltran’s furniture line) to customize our dream family room sofa.
What I loved so much about the sofa was that it was modern, with traditional elements, had a simple seat cushion and back (not multiples) which has become a big trend that I’m into. The arms are tiny which provides more seating. It’s 5″ off the floor which makes the room feel bigger (sofas that are all the way to the ground can ground a space but also cut your eye off).
When customizing a sofa I highly suggest working with someone who has a TON of experience in doing just that. The amount of tiny measurements needed that you need to specify is daunting and if you get them wrong you could really ruin the design (which I have before). It’s not just width x height x depth. Clad has an insane amount of experience making any style, length, size (and making custom sleepers that are so pretty). Yes she gave me a discount but you’ll see that her prices are actually very affordable considering that you can make any custom sofa with only a 6 week lead time. I believe that she will ship all over, but Clad is based in LA.
I chose this super soft poly-blend velvet that is really easy to wipe up and I spent more to get the most comfortable feather/foam combination (something you should always ask about). I think it was an additional $300 to upgrade. Clad provided the fabric so I can’t link it up (its included in their cost), but they will be able to let you know what it is if you are interested. I think this one would have cost $3000.
It’s so dreamy, you guys. It’s incredibly deep (if the cushion is off it’s practically a twin bed) and instantly soft. It even has the Brian Henderson seal of comfort approval. If I were to do it again I would reduce the back cushion by 2″ so it doesn’t stick up above the back.
Next up – the curtains finally arrived!! I love these so very very much. I worked with Calico on them (I’ll do a full post about it) and they couldn’t be more perfect. The pattern is a blue-ish/green tree toile, in a washed linen.
Meanwhile we still haven’t really figured out what we are doing with the end of that room. Right now we have that cozy rug from Article that the kids love reading on, a toy trunk that is kinda awkward and that cabinet (that is very secure to the wall, don’t worry). I think if I were to shoot it properly I would put a round play table/chairs over there. I’m still thinking about eventually putting in a built-in shelf-storage-bench, but there are a few oddities that are stopping that idea. 1. The view from the front would be super weird if the floor to ceiling windows were blocked by something the bottom 20″ or so. 2. The windows aren’t tempered and aren’t in the best of shape. They need to be totally replaced, but that would a. be super expensive, and (more importantly) b. I’m scared that by overhauling the windows the vines that are clinging to them would get cut – and these vines are the mother roots for the growth over the entire house. Those scraggly things you see up there are actually super important or it will all die (and it’s just so dreamy). Once we get our privacy fence up I’ll consider taking a photo from the outside so you can see. My contractor didn’t really have a solid enough solution and we were just done spending money when we renovated, but maybe in a few months I’ll get some people to quote on replacing the windows and consider any solutions to make it pretty from the exterior. See … complicated.
Speaking of weird things ….
See those curtains on the right? Well, longest story ever (and one that I wasn’t really going to tell you, but well YOU KNOW ME) … here goes.
I originally chose and ordered those curtains in that fabric in those curtains for Elliot’s room before the wallpaper was up. Once it was up I realized immediately that the curtains had to be white. I had made a mistake – you’ll see once I reveal it. So I emailed Calico immediately to stop the production but these were already made. Since I was going to have to pay for new ones to be made anyway I had them bring them over when they installed everything else. In person they were just so pretty.
Meanwhile when I’ve been sitting in this room, watching TV I have felt that I wished we had the option to close it off so I didn’t have to stare at the entry and kitchen at the same time. It just felt too open.
I had brought up the curtain idea even before this and Brian/Mel/Ginny thought I was crazy and pretty much said ‘no’. So how serendipitous is it that we had left over curtains, that were wide enough, and the most perfect color for this room?? They installed the rods, with pass through rings and while you can’t tell – it’s full enough (and black out, so sound absorbent!) to completely close off the room while we are watching TV but can be gathered to be totally in front of the TV during the week when we don’t really watch it. You can’t see the curtains or rod from any other room so it’s really just a secret. We’ve had it for about 5 days and I for one LOVE it. I snuggle in and watch Married at First Sight (and now the Bachelorette!) and it feels super cozy. And if we need to use it as a makeshift guest room we can.
So do you think? Is it super weird or kinda ingenious?
Obviously we aren’t done with the room and I need to figure out what is happening in front of the window as well as what art is going up on the walls. Stay tuned, folks.
Quick resources – sofa, pouf, antique rug, blanket bin, sconce, ceiling light, solid curtain, patterned curtain, standing lamp, color block pillow, stamped pillow and the blue color block pillow is from Citta in Australia.