Thursday, September 12, 2013

Before and After: Our New Family Room(s)

We moved here to Raleigh just over three years ago. As is usually the case when you move, I can hardly believe it's been that long and yet, I feel like we've lived here forever.

We updated our kitchen right when we moved in. And, then had two more children. So we did nothing to our house. I mean - nothing. In three years.

No updating. No new furniture. No painting. NO-THING!

We're not really remodeling kind of people. Our idea of a fun weekend would NEVER include words like:

The Home Depot.
Light fixtures.
Carpet samples.

I know and love so many people who simply revel in the process of redecorating and picking out and browsing the aisles of home improvement stores and "Oh, look at all these paint samples aren't they delish?" I am just not one of them.

The idea of picking out a paint color gives me hives.

But, I've had this feeling lately of really wanting to lighten up our spaces. To freshen up our living areas and finally do what I meant to do years ago when we first moved in.


For the last couple of weeks, I've been working on our home. Our two main living areas.

And, they're finally finished.

Here's how it went down:

First. New carpet.

Our family room carpet was awful. I mean, dirty. Dirty, awful, stained, seams ripping and shredding and the corners of the room were one shade and the {ahem} lived on areas were another. Like three shades darker.

We debated extending the hardwoods into our family room but my husband really wanted carpet because - WRESTLING. He has four sons and wrestling is ALL THE RAGE in this house. And, we would cover up new hardwoods with a shaggy carpet anyway (doubling the cost), so we decided to replace the carpet.

So I brought home samples from the carpet store and broke out in hives.

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I placed the samples all over the room at different times of day (because I was told you NEED to do that to get the right shade), and I called in my sister who is a master at this stuff and I emailed my designer friend in Atlanta and begged her for help and I wiped the sweat off of my forehead and after a few days, I finally settled on a light sandy shade.

I still had hives.

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Meanwhile, our furniture was in all the wrong places, and I knew it. I could feel that everything was all wrong and discombobulated every time I walked into the room, but I just had no idea how to fix it. I ALWAYS line the walls with furniture which I'm told is like the NUMERO UNO thing you are NOT supposed to do.

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After the carpet was installed, we promptly moved the furniture around to ALL THE WRONG PLACES. Again.

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We had a TV stand that we bought from an NC State student. I'm not kidding. We've been using the Craigslist discards from COLLEGE students. Which is fine - we don't need new and the best and all that nonsense, but this TV stand was like $20 on Craigslist. Three years ago. And, the kid smiled when we hauled it away and returned to his empty apartment uttering, "SUCKAS!"

It was time for it to go.

(Hi, sweet baby girl crawling on the new carpet with the furniture in all the wrong places.)

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So, I called in some help for furniture placement because I had no idea where to put the sofa or anything else for that matter, and then I started shopping. And, I found things that felt like me and us and I had a budget (because we LOVE Dave Ramsey) and I used new things and old things and I pressed through what isn't really my "thing" and I love what happened:

We now have the happy space I imagined in my mind a few years ago.

Light and bright and cheerful. (And, listen, people. We have five children. I took these photos when it was clean, but let me tell you, it does not always look this way. Don't be deceived. That is all.)

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I love this orange lamp, especially. It called out my name the moment I saw it. Yes, lamps talk. Did you know?

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My friend, Ginger, told me she knew I was "home" when I moved here to North Carolina because I began hanging my photography of my children on the walls. I had never done that before.

Yes. Home.

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This orange bird pillow is my happy place. This TV is my husband's.

Goodbye, NC State grad discards.


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I got a new bench for our entryway. Because our other one was 12 years old and falling apart and had been housing stinky boy shoes for nine years. I love this one. The shoes have relocated to the closet. Nothing in this bench but nothing.

I got new rugs for our entryway, too. Because we had none before and it was a slip and slide when it rained.

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When we bought our house, we loved that it had two downstairs living spaces separated by french doors. I suppose the front room is technically supposed to be a formal living room? But, we're just not really formal living kind of people, at least not at this stage in life, so we knew just what we'd do.

Two family rooms.

One designed for us (and our whole family). One for our littles and their friends. Where we can see them and they can see us, but we can be watching or doing two separate things if we want to, but still kind of all be together.

It's been a playroom since we moved in, but the bigs have been begging for a more mature space to flop and play Wii and just be bigger kids.

The carpet in here (on top of the hardwoods) was also pretty bad. The vacuum cleaner ate part of it one day and created a huge snag down the middle.

I was completely confused as to what to do in here (also confused as to how to keep my finger out of a phone photo), but decided it needed to still feel like a kids' room, but just be freshened up.

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I love the way it feels now. Light, shaggy, soft carpet, new pillows.

A new family room for our babes.

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Their circa 1982 tube TV replaced with our previous flat panel. They think they've won the lottery and I love that.

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I'll add more photos on the walls in here when I've recovered, but for now - favorite books and guitar playing and a snuggling up together to read place.

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Today, I'm sitting here looking around and taking in the scent of a new candle and sitting on my favorite leather chair in our "new" family room.

Typing and drinking a cup of coffee and I no longer have hives.

And, I'm so thankful. For new spaces and fresh light and that God has blessed me with a family that I love so very much and get to laugh with and play with and love.

In our happy new spaces.


  1. It's gorgeous! I love the 2 separate spaces. We only have 1 and toys.are.everywhere!!!

  2. So beautiful. You have a great eye for things like this! :) And I love the new photo of your 5 babies :)

  3. I love your rooms; they look great. Especially the pictures of your kids on the wall.

  4. It is absolutely beautiful and 100% YOU! Love all the pillows, the tree on the wall is fabulous, and the orange lamp.....loving the orange lamp. If I didn't know better, I might have thought it was the teensiest bit peach though and you "hate all things peach." Don't know why I remember that from one of your early meme's, but I do. Beautiful and functional (even if it only lasts a day). Sometimes I feel like all I do is pick up other people's stuff. Anyway, thanks for the tour. Hope to visit in person some day...

  5. Your rooms look amazing!! I really love the owl pillow in the littles room and the flower painting in the bigs room room. Very nice!!

  6. Your rooms look amazing!! I really love the owl pillow in the littles room and the flower painting in the bigs room room. Very nice!!