Family Room Phase 1 Complete!

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!

family room reveal

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!

family room before
family room 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.

shiplap wall, family room

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.

family room reveal, kids

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.

family room reveal
family room reveal

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.

Small, Simple, Scandinavian Nursery Reveal

nursery reveal

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.

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Creativity and Productivity: Establishing an Efficient Work Space

Guest Post Written by: Alice Robertson,

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.

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Tidying Up: My Personal Review

If you are a Netflix lover like myself, you have probably seen promotions for the new show, Tidying Up, with Marie Kondo. The show demonstrates principles from Marie’s best-selling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing . Just like her book, the show is quickly gaining traction and has everyone looking to purge their unused and unwanted items from their home, and leave it tidy and organized. Being an organizer and lover of clean homes myself, I thought I would give you my honest reviews of the show…

My Thoughts…

Of course, I always love to see people getting organized in their homes. It honestly makes me breathe easier when I see them let go of all their excess things throughout the course of the show. If you are newer to The Mom By Design, you may not know that I created my own organizing course last fall, right before our second daughter was born. Yes, a lot of my ambition for this course came from my crazy amounts of nesting energy. But, it was literally the cleanest our house had ever been and that purge set us up so nicely for those infant months of not being able to do much other than survive and sleep. 

I remember Marie’s book being pretty popular around the time I was making my course. I never read the book because I always loved to organize and never really had an issue with getting rid of things I no longer used. I certainly appreciated that someone wrote a book about tidying up and understood why so many people were intrigued by it, but because I didn’t need to learn about it myself, it wasn’t on my must-read list. 

Now having watched a few episodes of her show, I can’t help but see a bit of myself in Marie and a bit of Marie in my course. We have a lot of similar principles, though we articulate them a bit differently. I do not take the time to “greet the house” before I organize it, or tell my clothes “thank you” before I put them in a bag to donate or throw away. Times like this usually spark an eye-roll or a chuckle from me while watching. However, there’s a part of me that is touched by this action, of acknowledging what we have and how it has helped us in our daily lives. Our home does so much for us that we take for granted, and I appreciate that Marie makes us stop to give thanks to our home for all it has done for us in protecting us and our families.

Comparing “Tidying Up” to “Organize It”

Marie divides up her organizing process into 5 sections: clothing, books, paper, Kimono (which is your kitchen, bathroom, garage, and miscellaneous), and finally, sentimental items. I divided up my course, Organize It by rooms- but they were similar to Marie’s categories: closets, kitchen, office, playroom, garage, and laundry room.

I went through the course last night to see the similarities and I thought this one section from the “Closets” module sounded very “Marie-like.” You guys, I was 9 MONTHS PREGNANT when I filmed this course! Was I nuts??? I can’t help but chuckle when I look at that belly and how winded I am in some of the clips. But I’m also totally proud of all the work and nesting energy I was able to put into this course this far along in my pregnancy.

Closet Organization: Organize It

Keeping a Tidy House with Kids

A lot of people ask Marie about how she manages a tidy house with two young children. She admits that it is difficult, but she tries to include them in tidying up as much as she can. The main reason my house gets messy in the first place is BECAUSE of my kids. I literally can’t believe how much of my day is spent picking up and putting away. It’s basically a never-ending process. But like Marie, I do try to involve them as much as possible when I can, and when they are able. Last night as I was putting Logan down, I asked Riley to clean up her room a bit (it was a disaster). After rocking Logan to sleep for about 10 minutes or so, I went into Riley’s room fully expecting to help her clean the rest of the way. It was SPOTLESS. I’m not kidding. I almost cried. And she was soooo proud of herself when I made the fuss that I did. The Playroom Organization module reminds me a lot of Marie in encouraging your kids to be a part of the organization and tidying up process.

Playroom Organization: Organize It

So basically, I’m a fan of the show. Admittedly, it gives me a bit of a boost with how well I did in my Organize It Course. And I’m grateful I don’t have the heaps of belongings her clients have in the show. Feeling like you need your “stuff” can be a pretty intense feeling sometimes. But once you start letting go, it all becomes a lot easier.