Six months ago, I shared some thoughts about how fixing up our house was going. The easy rooms had been getting done for the most part but other than the laundry room and guest bath, we hadn’t even begun to experience the “gut job” side of renovation life. Everything else involved some patch work, refinishing floors, switching out light fixtures and opening up some walls for new electrical — the small-scale stuff. Dirty stuff, but not long-lasting projects.
What made the tiniest to largest projects feel more manageable in our home was the use of our unfinished family room. It was a 200-square-foot Spanish-themed room when we moved in, with red linoleum in a terra-cotta mosaic pattern and thickly textured walls painted yellow. Having a non-precious part of the house where things could be dumped to keep the rest of the house mostly livable was kind of amazing. We’ve lived here for almost 10 months and have seen every single room transform in some way — some for significantly better and some maybe worse than how we found them — and each has been dependent on this giant room on the main floor acting as our garage of sorts.
There hasn’t been much needed from the family room for tool storage since we installed the kitchen cabinets last month, so we started dreaming about what the family room should look like. We decided to carpet the space since what was under the linoleum was a mismatched subfloor from the original house and the later addition. And we’d never be able to match the hardwood from the rest of the house. A family room is allowed to be a little less design-y and a little more comfy in my eyes, so carpet works. For the walls, I got my heart set on painted, vertical planks or paneling with clean molding on top and bottom to make the walls feel finished, and thinner strips of natural wood to cover the texture on the ceiling. I was convinced we could get it all done before the carpet was going to be laid. And then I was convinced we should try to get it done before our first child arrives later this month. Instead, the texture is still here, in all its chunky glory — but a light grey paint color, new flooring and furniture and decor that steal the show have helped tremendously.
What I didn’t expect was how much I could love this room, even without it looking the way I envisioned it. I can get so wrapped up in my thoughts and wanting things to look “perfect” that I don’t always see the bigger benefit that comes with just being done. We have a beautiful, welcoming space within which we have already logged countless work and rest hours. Maybe in the back of my mind, I’m hoping that this room can get that final step one day, but if not, we have a really lovely family room that came together incredibly easily and works for us. —Lauren
Photography by Austin Day