Saturday, September 21, 2013

Putting the 'sun' in sunroom

This is the story of how a little room that sat empty for 18 months and was never on our radar to tackle ended up becoming the place we now spend most of our time. 
The day before Logan's church dedication ceremony back in February, as if we didn't have enough to do to get ready, we decided we were finally fed up with the couches we'd been using for the past 7 years. Without doing any real research or comparison shopping (very unlike us!), we went out and just bought one - we were just at that point. But when it came time to dispose of our very used former couches, we realized we should keep them and put them in our otherwise-empty sunroom, particularly because these were the only couches we were still allowing our dog to lay on (side note: as hard as it was to resist the looks we got as we trained her to stay off the two sets of new couches we've gotten in this house, it's been the best decision ever - they stay so much cleaner and are wearing so much better as a result).

Anyway, all of a sudden we had furniture in the sunroom, and all of a sudden I found myself wanting to make the sunroom a livable space. But unlike the other projects we've taken on around here, we weren't planning on investing in any major DIY; this one was going to have to get done through a combination of the little things - painting, spiffing up those worn couches, and piecing together things from my old standbys: Target, Marshall's/HomeGoods, and IKEA (who am I kidding, most of the furniture we own is from IKEA anyway).

Because part of the goal here was to put the 'sun' in sunroom, and to eliminate the last of the dark, dingy, retro-in-a-bad-way wood paneling in the house (hurray!), I opted for a white room, which you won't find anywhere else in my house. This gets a little tricky though, because "white white" is often too stark. I ended up going with "December Starlight" from Valspar, which looks white on the wall but isn't 100% white. And, by some miracle, all of my "whites" (walls, picture frames, furniture) ended up matching perfectly, which can be even trickier. It's rare to luck out like that on home projects, so I'll take it when I can get it.

My only other comment on the painting was that it was soooo much more work than any other painting project I've done, because of all the grooves between those wood slats of paneling. I did two coats of primer on it all, then had to do three coats of paint, including one with a brush used to get in between every. one. of. those. grooves. Torture.

As you can see, there's some interesting stuff going on with "woodwork" around the windows - our conclusion is that this room was pretty much thrown together using what seems like scrap material when the addition was put on back in the 70s. There are literally wood planks randomly nailed above certain windows; Troy says we probably don't want to see what's behind them. But again, this being the little room makeover vs. another big one, we went with what we had. The good news was, painting gave me an opportunity to try and make it make a little more sense of it all, which I think I was able to do by painting some of the wood a bright, sunny yellow (Valspar's Lemon Twist).  

The part of the room I'm most excited about was the little shelf nook - again, an unexciting, neglected part of the room until it was given some interest by lining the back wall with patterned fabric (you see this all the time on Pinterest and home improvement shows, often done with wrapping paper, scrapbooking paper, paint, or even wallpaper). All of a sudden, I had lots of ideas for things to put on the shelves that had never inspired me before.
Finally, the reason we now spend most of our time out here? We moved our upstairs TV from the living room out to the sunroom, which pretty much does it. Also, this room is right off the kitchen which makes it easy to hang out here, and truth be told, there's just something more comfortable about hanging out on these old couches when you spend your nights with a toddler and a yellow lab. We don't worry about the mess or things getting spilled out here, which is a nice break from the way we behave around our still-new-feeling furniture in the other living spaces.  
Source list for everything else in the room:
  • Furniture: Liatorp series media stand and side tables from IKEA
  • Picture frames: Ribba, Sondrum, and Virserum frames in assorted sizes from IKEA
  • Curtains: Sheer Curtain Panels from Carol Wright Gifts (one of the only sites I found with 54" curtains for the short windows)
  • Fabric for shelving: Waverly upholstery fabric, Joann Fabric stores
  • Wicker chair and wicker pendant light from IKEA (for the light, I removed the hardwire fixture and substituted a cord fixture from IKEA that I just plug into the wall behind the chair)
  • Mini table lamps w/glass base (in stores) and yellow lampshades from Target
  • Throw pillows from Marshall's and HomeGoods
  • Mini vases from IKEA

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Basement remodel: man-cave compromise!

We completed our basement remodel about a year ago, right after Logan was born, but I'm just getting around to taking photos and feeling ready to document the project. I've actually been keeping busy with some other house projects that I'll be blogging about soon, in addition to our baby of course, who is becoming more like a toddler every day.

Anyway, we knew we really needed to remodel the basement in our house because it would nearly double the amount of livable space available, especially as we added another person to our family. The space could also be used so much more effectively - it's a pretty small space and the fireplace was just monstrous. Everything was severely outdated and kind of dingy/dirty from the sooty, wood fireplace. Finally, the space was all chopped up with a little wall that divided one part of the room but didn't need to be there.

Like many men Troy wanted the space to be his "man cave," meaning he had full jurisdiction over how it looked and what it could be used for. Unfortunately, our house just isn't big enough to have that much space not be usable by everyone, so we tried to compromise. I agreed to keep the decorations somewhat masculine (and I ended up loving the orange!), and typically there are some of Troy's deer head/horn thingys on the fireplace but we've had to put them away recently so they don't get broken by the crawling babe.

Troy did all demolition of the existing fireplace, 70-s delight wood paneling, sheetrock, and even ceiling, as the wood fireplace had left a lot of soot on it. We hired out the fireplace conversion to gas and the tiling to ensure it was done correctly, and Troy hung the new sheetrock but hired out the taping, mudding, and sanding this time around to keep the project moving as the clock also ticked down to our due date. (I didn't take nearly as many pictures of the whole process as I should have, given all the other baby prep that was taking place.)

In the end, we needed some rework done on the fireplace so that and the carpet installation and furniture delivery all took place the first week we had Logan home from the hospital. Yes, it was crazy but so worth it to get the project done and get to start using a space we hadn't spent 5 minutes in for the first year we'd been in the house.

Quick note on the built-in shelving: this was tricky because the space on the left side of the TV is a bit wider than on the right, and because the edge of the fireplace on each side is jagged rock. Troy thought about it for about a month and ended up using some material that is made for doing wood stairs. I think it looks great - exactly the look I was going for. I found most of the gold d├ęcor and other things at Target, much of it for 70% off.

We love it! There's nothing better than curling up with the fireplace on and watching some TV. It was a significant investment compared to the other house projects I've blogged about here, but we contained costs as much as possible by doing as much of the labor as we felt we could, and we unlocked double the living space - a great trade off!