Category: Home Projects (Page 1 of 3)

Family Room Design Ideas

I almost titled it “Living Room Design Ideas” but really, it’s a family room. ¬†It’s going to be a place where David, Connor, the dogs, and I will spend a majority of our day while we’re at home (either that or the kitchen), but also where we welcome and have our friends and family congregate and enjoy each other’s company. It’s going to be ALL centered on the family in our home.

Last week we revealed the (almost) finished room HERE.

So before I get back into the not so exciting details about flooring and electrical, I figured I’d do a fun post of what I’m probably going to spend the next 2 months doing: designing and shopping! ūüôā

My plan is to try and decide on all of the details of the furniture, rug(s), and curtains in the hopes that when Labor Day comes around, I can find some good deals and purchase what we need. ¬†So, here’s to hoping for some luck and good sales.

Back in this post, I talked about the new layout that I was imagining. ¬†Here’s a reminder for you:

We’re definitely getting there. ¬†As much as I would love to jump right into that kitchen renovation, we’re going to save our pennies up over the next few years and make sure we do it right ūüôā

What you can see from that picture though is the fact that we’re going to need a sectional, which we don’t have. ¬†Even though I love our original side chairs and sofa:

I think the chairs a bit small for this room now, so we’ll probably sell them and invest in some larger, comfier ones. ¬†The sofa also got recently relocated to the office/playroom, and we decided we love it in there. ¬†It’s nice to have a comfy place to sit while Connor’s playing, or if you just want a break from your desk. Also, it’s just not going to get moved back period because it’s HEAVY A.F. ¬†Thank you Ethan Allen for making the most dense sofa on earth.

While I also LOVE our current coffee table (it has David’s Grandma’s seashells in it!):

I worried about the boxy-ness of everything in the room, not to mention the fact that it has sharp corners and a glass top (ie, not the most kid-friendly). ¬†So we may end up selling that too (don’t worry, we plan on keeping the sea shells), in favor of something round and of a material that will be able to hide the daily beatings from kids. (PS – that picture above is from when we first got the coffee table when we lived in our Maryland House. ¬†David’s grandma gave us her shell collection and I knew the perfect spot for them!)

Also, I’m not sure if you noticed from the room reveal post last week, but we basically left one side of the room unfinished without any molding and little effort on the paint. ¬†Can you see it yet?

That entire back wall, to the left of the bump-out and to the right of the fireplace is going to have built ins!!! SO. EXCITED. ¬†I’m hoping to incorporate that bump-out into the built ins somehow to try and disguise it. ¬†We’ll see how that goes!

So without further ado, here are my ideas (subject to change!):

[click the image to enlarge it]

I’m definitely trying to go for a pretty natural look in here, with a touch of navy. ¬†I wanted some natural texture with the colors, fabrics, and wood. ¬†I’d like to avoid anything too graphic for this room, since it’s so large, I really don’t want it to be all in your face. ¬†I’d like for the large furniture to make a statement, with some pretty, organic touches of color and fabrics. ¬†Here are some of the details/sources:

  1. I’ve been eyeing this built in setup for like over a year now. ¬†If it has navy, I’m sold. ¬†I think the fact that its adjacent to a fire place and a window to the deck just made me know that it was made for our house. ¬†It’s a beautiful setup by Studio McGee.
  2. This scalloped light fixture. ¬†LOVE IT. ¬†I bought it a few months back, and we’ve had it installed in the foyer already. ¬†We bought the 4 bulb unit, thinking we wanted maximum lighting in the foyer, but it’s REALLY bright. ¬†I think we may have to get some toned down LED bulbs for it. ¬†I bought ours off of Wayfair.
  3. Various navy pillows.  Just kind of pulled these offline for some ideas to carry the navy onto the couch/chairs.  Still undecided on these.
  4. Who knew finding curtains that I love for this room would be such a pain in the a$$? Exhibit A. ¬†I’m looking for a really natural/organic pattern of navy blue on white for my curtains. ¬†Yes, I’m even willing to make them myself at this point. ¬†But I can’t find anything like these, and I refuse to pay this price from Birch Lane. ¬†And yes, you read that right… that price is for a SINGLE panel.
  5. These built ins are just here for when we make a decision of whether we want to put a TV in this room or not. ¬†You may think we’re crazy, but we kind of love not having a TV in our main living areas because it forces us to be present with each other. ¬†We have a projector in the basement, but it’s a lot more work to go watch a show or movie that way, rather than just grab the remote and turn the TV on. ¬†We just don’t know if we’ll be of the same mindset in 5-10 years? ¬†Who knows. ¬†I really love how the TV is set into the built in design though, by Amber Interiors.
  6. Some greenery. ¬†Can you tell I read a lot of blogs by showing this fiddle leaf fig tree? ¬†Truthfully, I’m not picky on the type of tree, I’d just like to put more greenery in the house in general.
  7. Large grey sectional. ¬†I’m on the hunt for this. ¬†This one is just a random one I found off of Wayfair. But I want it to be perfect. ¬†And also something that will be able to survive children. It’s gonna be hard, I know.
  8. DROOL. ¬†Who wants to be my best friend and buy me this coffee table?? ¬†I’m on the hunt for a more budget friendly option than this McGee & Co. one.
  9. I never thought I would want leather chairs, but man, do these ones from Pottery Barn look so comfy.
  10. I had this lamp from Target in our master bedroom and I love it, but decided it would look pretty great down here in the family room.

The room measures about 18′ wide by 27′ long, so I think finding a rug is going to be interesting. ¬†I think I may end up doing two rugs similar to what I’ve done in the office/playroom. ¬†But finding THE rug is making me go crazy. ¬†I couldn’t even make up my mind for a general one to be put on this mood board so I left it off.

I’m all open for any recommendations of furniture companies that you love! ¬†So far, we’ve had great experiences so far with Ethan Allen, Bassett, West Elm, and Pottery Barn, but I’m all ears for your experiences/thoughts!

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This Wall is Coming Down! – The REVEAL

Well, after about 3 months, we have a habitable room again… sans furniture! ¬†Many months of planning and preparation allowed us to get here, and David and I trucking through the final touches after the contractors were finished have finally given us the big, beautiful room that we had always hoped and planned for when we bought this house.

Wanna see?

Here’s a reminder of what we were looking at before. From standing in the kitchen ¬†we used to see this:

And now, we see this:

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A Growth Chart for our Growing Boy (and a discount code for you!)

I’d like to interrupt the “regularly” scheduled wall removal posts for a fun little DIY project. Don’t forget, there’s a special discount code for you readers at the bottom of this post!

We’re pretty close to being done the living room, but we need about 2 Connor-free days of work to finish the flooring. ¬†I’d so much prefer to use a vacation day to get this done while Connor is at school so that we can enjoy our weekends together as a family. ¬†Like this past weekend, we had 3 busy but fun filled days together going to the local coffee shop, hanging out at University of Delaware Alumni weekend, going to the farmer’s market and library, seeing good friends at a going away party (we’re going to miss you, Adam, Janet, Keira, and Cameron!), and a local town’s fun day out¬†(Yorklyn Day). ¬†We were thoroughly exhausted but wouldn’t have it any other way ūüôā

So before we can finish up the living room, I decided to try and finish up this small project over the weekend during one of Connor’s naps. ¬†It’s been something that I’ve been trying to finish ever since Connor turned 1 year old back in February. ¬†We were pretty religious about taking weekly (ugh!) and monthly progress pictures for him for his first year, but then decided to give ourselves a break after year one to just check in once in awhile. Man, was that a commitment. ¬†But the output was priceless! ¬†Here’s a glimpse:

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This Wall is Coming Down! – HVAC, Electrical, & Drywall

Hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! Thank you to all of our armed forces who sacrificed their lives so that we can enjoy the freedom that we have today <3  I read something in the news last week about the National Moment of Remembrance that I probably should have know about before, but I hope everyone took a moment to think about the importance of this holiday.

What. A. Project. ¬†The end is near, you guys! ¬†Yet, not near enough. ¬†Sorry for being so silent these past few weeks. ¬†We’ve been posting over on our IG¬†about some progress here and there, but life has just gotten in the way. ¬†Surviving through the days lately has been our motto.

The good news! ¬†The contractors are all done! (Well almost… apparently there is a rule that you must have a smoke detector in every bedroom before we’re allowed to close out our building permit, but eh, minor details.) ¬†And now the rest is left up to us to finish. ¬†So here, we’ll just detail out some of the rest of the things the contractors had to take care of before they handed it over to us.

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This Wall is Coming Down! – Demo & Installation

We recently covered the HVAC selection and install, and also the design of the beam. Now it’s time to get to the good stuff… demo & installation!

We were so excited for this day. DEMO DAY!  When we were planning this project back before Connor was born, we had originally planned to do all of this ourselves.  Taking a sledgehammer to some perfectly clean drywall?  Does it get any better than that?

Side note…Does anyone else like Brooklyn 99? ¬†It’s one of our guilty pleasures. Demo is¬†probably the most fun part of any project (with the exception of sitting down once you’re done and enjoying the finished product), so why would we pay someone to do it?

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This Wall Is Coming Down! – Engineers, Contractors and Beams. Oh My!

The HVAC Portion of getting this wall down was a large part of the project, but there was still a lot more planning that needed to go into it. It became obvious to us pretty quickly when getting quotes for the structural work that choosing a contractor was going to be hard. The quotes were all over the place, with the main difference being the size of the beam. We received quotes for everything from a 11 3/4″ x 5 1/4″ beam to a 18″ x 7″ beam to span our 21′ distance. So how do we know if a beam is big enough to support the weight or if one is overkill? How were the contractors coming up with the beam size? How can we choose a contractor when we don’t have a standard beam size?

To get the beam size, the contractors were going to suppliers and providing measurements and answering questions. The supplier would then tell them the size of the beam necessary. The main things that are important to calculate the load on the beam are the:

  • length of the beam
  • height and length of the floor joists the beam will support
  • number of floors above the beam
  • the type of attic (truss or stick framing)
  • many other factors

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This Wall is Coming Down! – HVAC Installation

Did you check out our previous post about how we got started on this wall removal and the HVAC issues we ran into?  If not, you can check out that post here.

After months of scoping out HVAC contractors, and working out the details on the job, we narrowed it down to two contractors.  We finally had two quotes and had to decide between the two.  Here was the situation:

Contractor 1 РLower price.  Skeezy, not so knowledgeable salesman. National franchise. Daikin HVAC system.  12 year parts and labor warranty. Pneumatic Arzel dampers. Could do the job soon.

Contractor 2 РHigher price.  Very knowledgeable and friendly salesman. Small company. Trane HVAC system.  10 years parts and labor warranty. Electric Honeywell dampers. Could do the job soon.

See the issues? ¬†Decisions, decisions. ¬†As engineers, we care deeply about getting the technical details down before we make a decision, and if your company doesn’t have a knowledgeable salesperson employed, than we’re either not going to go with you, or we’re going to ask you to bring in the engineer/owner/designer of your company so we can ensure that we get good details about the quote. ¬†With contractor 1, after the first meeting, we pretty much told them that the owner needed to be there at our meetings to answer our questions, because we couldn’t handle the sales guy. The sales guy knew about their HVAC systems, but didn’t know anything about re-routing duct-work, and that’s what we contacted them about in the first place. With contractor 2, we did most of our decision making with the sales guy and only brought in the owner when we needed to nail down some very specific details.

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This Wall is Coming Down! – HVAC Selection

YOU GUYS, IT’S HAPPENING. ¬†The wall is coming down!!

You may have seen our Instagram post last Friday about the new HVAC system getting installed! We’re going to be writing a series of posts as this project gets completed over the next few weeks, so enjoy the first one!

It’s been almost 2 years since we toured this home on our house hunting trip, and when we walked into the kitchen and saw the living room, we immediately knew… that wall would have to come down. ¬†When we moved in 18 months ago, it was going to be our first big project on the house, with grand plans to get it out before Connor was born in February 2016 (well it was supposed to be March 2016, but he had other plans).

We talked all about our big plans in THIS POST with a new imagined layout. ¬†Here’s a quick summary below. ¬†We wanted to go from this:

To this:

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Shiplap vs. Nickel Gap: Making Your Budget Work For You

This is going to sound weird, but I’m just going to come out and say it; one of my favorite renovation projects so far was the powder room in our Charleston house.¬†Really? A bathroom? And not even like a master bathroom with a waterfall shower and a huge tub? Yeah, really, just a powder room. And I can sum up why in one word: “shiplap.”

Actually it’s really two words: “Nickel Gap”. So what’s the difference, and why does it matter? Well, technically¬†shiplap¬†is a type of board with a rabbet joint which allows the boards to overlap. The bathroom above did not use real shiplap, but it essentially looks like it. Instead we used a method called “Nickel Gap” which is simply spacing the boards the width of a nickel. This method is more time consuming, but can be done for significantly cheaper and yields a similar result.

For the boards, we used 5mm plywood, which is about as thin as plywood comes. At about $13.50 for a 4’x8′ sheet, you can really make a room interesting for cheap. ¬†We bought 5 sheets at Lowes and had them cut in-store to 6″ wide strips lengthwise.¬†I think the guy who did the cutting probably still breaks out into a cold sweat when he hears “Customer assistance needed in the board cutting area… bing bong… board cutting area.” I don’t know if they have rules about a number of cuts they’ll make per board, but¬†he did seven cuts¬†for us. He cut all five of the boards stacked,¬†which definitely saved time, though.¬†I could have cut the strips with my table saw, but I never would have been able to cut them as straight and even as in the store.

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Dueling Desks… Part II

If you’re in the Delaware area, how about this snow today?? ¬†I stupidly posted about the snow last week on Instagram, hoping it was the last snow of the season. ¬†‘Tis not. ¬†Hope everyone stays safe today! ¬†And follow us on Instagram if you aren’t already ūüôā

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Did you catch part I of our Dueling Desks discussion??  We talked about our history with home offices and what we were looking for in our forever home with our current job situations.

So after some searching for some good executive desks, I came across an email from Home Decorators Collection.  I still get emails from them, from that time when we bought this hamper and turned it into a trash/recycling system in our kitchen.

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