(Note: This blog was posted a year after the actual event. We may not be in total quarantine anymore, but you can always plan a Disney staycation even if travel restrictions are lifted! Hope this is helpful to those who are looking for some Disney magic and inspiration to spruce up your summer!)
Okay, brace yourself. This is going to be a long one. This staycation was weeks of planning on my part and a good chunk of change, but compared to an actual Disney Vacation, it was a huge savings with lots of magic and tons of fun!
Oh hey there! Remember me? It’s been just a little while since I’ve posted. Okay, a really, really long time. Listen, three kids is no joke. I’m not really sure how people do it. I mean, we’re handling it. Everyone is happy and growing. I’m afraid to say healthy since one or more of us has been sick for the past 5 weeks. It’s been a winter you guys. But here I am with a really fun progress before-and-after for you all!
I started dreaming up the plans for our family room exactly two years ago. It was part of my New Year’s plans for 2018 (view post here). While we did accomplish a LOT that year (painted the kitchen cabinets, got additional cabinetry, temporary countertops, etc., we did NOT get to this family room reno. (Check out this post to see what we did in our kitchen that year instead!)
Last year, we spent our dollars on a new roof and our surprise baby Norah! We redid the girls’ old playroom into her nursery, which I’m still completely in love with. I actually loved this nursery so much, that having it live right off of this family room made me even MORE impatient to finish this space to match the awesomeness of Norah’s room.
Painting her room white did so much for the space, I found myself craving a white and clean pallet in the rest of the house. I’ve been working on minimizing our things, and having our home be a place of rest and space, rather than busyness and clutter.
Before and After!
Without any new furniture (that won’t be until phase 3), we’ve completely transformed the feel of this space. We’ve moved some pieces around to open up the space and clear the path to our new sliding patio door. We’ve also completely changed the texture of all four walls, including a shiplap accent wall against the back of the house. I’m in love with it, and it was totally cheap. About a hundred bucks all in. Finally, we threw out those ugly red roman shades (I hate red- what was I thinking??) and got one long bamboo shade to help with the strong sun that comes through these back windows. The gray curtains that flank the windows were leftovers from a design project I worked on a while back. They’re pretty heavy which has been nice and warm in the winter, but I might switch them out for something lighter in the springtime.
A Calming Environment
Spending any amount of time in our house, you’ll see that our family is far from calm. More accurately, I should say my husband and I are calm, but our three girls are NOT. We have a six-year-old that dances and jumps on our furniture from the time she gets home from school until the time she goes to bed, a two-year-old who takes out and reads through every book in the house every single day, and spills cereal in the den at least once a day. Finally, we have our 8-month old, who is walking already, and has started her “knock everything off the coffee table and toy box” phase a bit too early for my liking. It’s always noisy, and the house is RARELY clean. HOWEVER, that doesn’t mean that I don’t strive to create a home that feels calming and organized.
One of the ways to bring cohesiveness and the feeling of calm to your home is to tone down the amount of colors you use. From our front door, you used to be able to see our blue formal living room, through our peach kitchen, and straight back to our yellow family room. It really was cute and fun and warm, but I wanted to tone it all down. Two years ago when we painted our kitchen cabinets, we also painted the walls a light gray (Gray Owl by Benjamin Moore). I took that same color into the walls of our family room, allowing for much more flow from room to room, making the spaces feel bigger and more cohesive.
My father-in-law (bless his soul) also skim-coated three of the four walls in this room that were covered with a very rough wood paneling. We discussed putting drywall on top of the paneling, but he came in and skim-coated each wall, leaving it buttery smooth. The smooth texture has also helped to calm down the room a bit, and somehow makes it feel cleaner.
This is what the walls looked like when we moved into the house.
It was basically a cave. This is what that corner looks like now.
The Next Phase
We’re not done in this room. But we will probably be taking a break for the rest of this year. Our next round of improvements to this room will be continuing the flooring from Norah’s room into this room (this laminate from Lowes) and getting a big area rug. And finally, once our kids are a bit older and not spilling juice on our couches once a week, we’ll be trading out our hand-me-down leather furniture for some of our very own pieces. When it’s all said-and-done, this room really will be amazing. For now, we are loving the refreshing change the new walls and window treatment have brought to this room and are soaking up every minute of our crazy girls using this room to the fullest.
I say this every time I finish a room in our house, but this nursery really might be my favorite room in the house. This former hot tub/sauna room from when we moved in, which transformed into the girls’ playroom, has now been given the ultimate face lift and has become what it was always meant to be: a stunningly simple baby girl’s nursery.
Working from home isn’t always the idyllic arrangement it seems. Distractions and space that’s ill-suited for work can make your home an obstacle to productivity, especially a small home with limited office space options. The key is to establish a dedicated work area that’s separate from everyday household activities and large enough to accommodate all the elements of an efficient workspace. It may take some creativity and experimentation, but you can make it work even in a home that’s short on square footage.