After a little break for the holidays, Jeremy and I are preparing to start our first project of the year. It’s our family room, a space that never felt quite right but sees a lot of action. It’s the main place we go to hang out, watch TV, play games, and gather when we have company. When we first moved into the house, it looked like this:
It has white walls with 90’s/2000’s orangy oak trim. It’s a long and narrow room, measuring ~15″ W x 21″ L. It had worn, but clean, Berber carpet. The floor plan below shows you where it is in relation to other parts of the house. You can see that it has one large opening from the kitchen area.
As with the rest of the house, the room is not offensive but feels outdated. When we first moved in, we simply put all of our existing furniture in a hodgepodge layout.
This room initially stumped me. I love the natural stone fireplace, but it has some challenges. First, it’s flat against the wall, so installing built-ins would make the fireplace look recessed. That’s not a look I particularly like. In addition, it has a huge mantel. It fits the wall and the space but it can dwarf things next to it if they are not substantial, too. Lastly, the long, narrow nature of the living room is always a challenge when trying to make a room feel cozy, comfortable, and intentional.
The Family Room Floor Plan
The first thing I did was create a floor plan. For me, this is the foundational step in designing any room. It will dictate the type, size, and number of furniture pieces needed. That will be essential when shopping for the different parts of the room.
This room will have two focal points, the fireplace and a large TV armoire. We purchased a hunter green sectional for our first house over 10 years ago and I still love it. It will help anchor this room and provide a great view of the television and fireplace. Just an FYI, the sectional shown in the floor plan is not exactly right, but it works well enough for the concept and planning. I created a labeled version of the floor plan, to provide additional insights into the different components.
In the grandest of plans, I would like to vault the ceiling and add two windows, flanking either side of the fireplace. However, that may need to wait until later as Jeremy and I are still deciding how to do both of those things. But I cannot stop thinking about vaulting the ceiling. It would be a game-changer for this room. Hopefully, that will happen down the road.
The Family Room Design Board
The design plan is not completely finished. I feel pretty confident about 70% of it but know that things may change and morph as we move toward completion.
For the most part, this design plan shows the materials and furniture. I plan on painting the walls Simply White by Benjamin Moore. The room is west facing, so it’s never extremely bright, although adding those two north-facing windows would definitely help. We’ll remove the carpet and lay down the white oak flooring that we installed in the office, dining, and living rooms. I plan on painting the trim ultra-pure white by Behr and replacing the baseboards with thicker versions.
I’ve already purchased the wood cabinets that will flank the fireplace and love them! I plan on applying a whitewash stain to dampen down the yellow and neutralize the color. The TV armoire is from Crate and Barrel and is exactly what I want for the room. It is visually heavy (I’m sure physically too) and will hide all of our TV and video gaming accessories. I want to get some sort of natural wood console table to go behind the sofa. I plan on storing blankets and other cozy materials there.
As for seating, we’ll keep our green sofa (the color above is an exact match – although it’s not our sofa). I want to use more modern leather chairs to create some contrast in the rather traditional country style of the room. These chairs may not be the ones we end up buying but they are good-enough representations for now. I also include some fabrics and pillows to show the direction for the accessories. This may change but I am happy with the choices right now.
One thing missing from the design board is the desk that will be tucked into the corner. I already have it (I’ve even talked about it here before). It’s a cute little vanity that I bought for $40 from an antique shop a few years ago. I’ve been slowly sanding and stripping it for the last two years. It’s actually one of those learning projects. I had no idea what I was doing, hence why it is taking me so long to finish. But it is almost done now and I can’t wait to bring it into the room.
Timeline & Execution
We plan on working on this project for the next 2-3 months. The biggest project will be laying the floors. Jeremy and I are getting pretty proficient at it, but this room is larger and has the additional challenge of the stone fireplace that requires some troubleshooting. Specifically, how are we going to lay the floors next to it since the edges are jagged and inconsistent? We have a couple of ideas, but no final direction yet.
Jeremy has a busy January, so we are officially starting the project on February 1st. I’ll spend the next couple of weeks wrapping up the final design decisions. I’ll share some of the things I am researching (curtains! console tables! art!) over the next couple of weeks.
Yay for a new year and new project!