The Family Room

A little over a year ago we purchased a house for our family with hopes we could turn it into a home. The house needed a lot of work, it still does, but I think what it needed most was a family. This is the story of that journey.

It all started with the dark, dank, and in many ways disgusting family room. If we had any hopes of turning this beast around we’d need success here first. For our family, this room needed to be happy, a place where we could sit, play, laugh, watch, read, learn, and just be. But how? More natural light, no paneling, and the carpet had to go. Oh, and we needed to remove our housewarming gift from the previous owner, an archaic television monstrosity “built in” (They cut a hole in the wall and shoved it into a closet) to the back wall. 

After a few weeks of dreaming and consulting (thanks FYK Architecture) we had a plan:

  • Open up the wall to the living room AND the wall to the foyer
  • Remove the carpet and put down hard wood
  • Remove the paneling and replace with sheetrock
  • Get rid of the TV and patch the hole
  • New paint for all.

We hired a contractor to handle the openings and the sheetrock, but we put down the floors ourselves, except for the finishing. Josh had fun removing the TV, let’s just say it’s no longer in working order. A month later and it was ready for furniture. 

It seems a lot of people move into a house get everything decorated and they’re finished. That is not how we do it. To us, each room must be learned. It should be lived in and understood. What is the flow? Where do we sit? How does it feel? In past houses it took us years to get a room just right. And that’s okay. 

There’s usually a tipping point in every room where things start to make sense. Great interior designers often seem to start there. Maybe it’s a chair or a fabric. I’m not there yet. For me, it was the cabinet below the TV that I found on…wait for it…Craigslist. The black and gold cabinet was the piece I needed to anchor the back wall and pull some black into the room to marry the black and white marble that is in our entry. Once we put it in the room, everything else started coming together.

To be honest I couldn’t tell you how it feels different today because I refused to acknowledge the room in its original state. Today the room feels bright, cheerful, and full of life (but that could just be the kids). We do all the things we’ve dreamed of, and I’m pretty sure it’s where my youngest daughter will take her first steps. I guess you could say it is finally feeling like home. 

The family room was the win we needed to really believe we could turn this house around. Many days when the house is in transition I just go and sit in the family room and renew our vision for the whole house and know that we will make it happen. The room is not finished yet, and I know it will continually evolve. but I think this is a great place to start.

Our family room is full of Craigslist finds:

  • Black sofa table
  • Black and gold media cabinet
  • Pair of marble lamps
  • Pair of linen parsons chairs (by the media cabinet)
  • Pair of vintage leather and faux bamboo chairs 
Posted on May 31, 2016 .

Stereo Cabinet Makeover

One item that I see almost daily on Craigslist is vintage stereo cabinets. These pieces often get looked over because they may not work or look nice, and in the days of Spotify and Pandora the majority of people just aren't looking for a record player or gigantic radio. The good news is these forgotten pieces of furniture can be amazing when they are transformed. When I was pregnant with my first, this little beauty caught my eye and for $10 I couldn't pass it up. I knew immediately that it would be a perfect changing table. 

We took out the old radio components and painted the dresser off-white. We actually saved the components for other odd and end projects. We replaced the stereo fabric with new fabric that coordinated with the nursery. The addition of the fabric turned out to be on of my favorite parts of the finished piece. I also loved the original diamond pattern on the stereo cover, new pieces just don't have details like that. Next time you see an old stereo cabinet take a second look, with a little tlc it could be the perfect piece for your space.

We'd love to feature more before and afters on the site. Send yours to

Posted on July 21, 2014 .