Monday, January 28, 2013

Dreaming of sunny days.

It's safe to say that SAD has taken a brutal hold of me this winter. I want nothing to do with going outside (unless it's to play with the dogs), walking home in the dark every night at 5pm bums me out, and all this cold is doing horrible things to my Irish skin. I've been less than motivated to do anything, save for a few crochet projects that I've worked on while parked firmly in front of the TV.

We've been talking a lot about what to do with our extra room on the second floor. Our house has 4 bedrooms, three of which are on the second level. One is being used as our office/craft space, one as a guest room and the other is housing all of our "we-don't-know-where-to-put-this-slash-haven't-unpacked-this-box-yet" kinda stuff... it's a big cluttered mess. And, if winter doesn't make me grumpy enough, a cluttered room that I'm intentionally ignoring will certainly make my mood exponentially worse. So we started brainstorming on what to do with that room and our previously neglected enclosed porch. The porch was one of the features we liked the most about the house when we bought it, but we've definitely been a little stumped with how to tackle a second living space on the first floor. It's an odd shaped (L-shaped) and it's carpeted (which eventually we'll change). Up until last week, there were hideous vertical blinds covering the 14 beautiful windows that line the walls. We had just dumped more miscellany there because it was an unused space. What's nice about the space is that it's bright and airy. It's also heated with two radiators. It was added to the house in the 50's so it's a little dated looking, but we were willing to try to revamp it. There's exposed brick on two walls which makes it feel very cozy. After going through possible scenarios for the extra room on the second floor we figured out a solution for both rooms at the same time. Knowing that we'd like to have two children some day, we want the extra room upstairs to be an easy space to re-do when the time is right. We originally talked about making built-in bookcases and a window seat in there, making it a sort of lounge/library space. But that would be a mess to re-do down the road, so we decided that we'll make that space our home gym, it's easy enough to move our equipment in there and eventually we can store that stuff in the basement if we need to. We won't really have to decorate that space except for installing a TV and maybe a ceiling fan. So that left us thinking about the front porch as a second living area. We both love the idea of having a reading space that is quiet and comfortable and we knew we wanted to make a space that was perfect for curling up on a nice day with a book and hearing nature all around you.

Here's what the space looked like when we first saw the house:
Standing in the original front doorway, looking at the actual front door. Look at those horrible blinds.
Standing with the radiator (pictured above) behind you, this area will be our reading nook.
The only serious purchase we made for the porch so far. Old theater chairs which we love.
So using the magical world that is Pinterest, I started looking for inspiration. I'll admit, I really struggled with what to do in this space. Here are some inspiration photos:
I love the built-in daybed and mudroom aspect of this space. It looks so bright and cheerful here!

Our ceiling isn't as intricate as this but it is wooden planks and I love the curtains here.

I think I'm mostly drawn the color palette in this one.

Rather than build something into the space, we searched around for daybeds. Who knew how expensive they could be?!? I fell in love with one at West Elm, way out of our budget, and thought for sure we'd have to settle for something boring. Then, I stumbled upon plans to build the exact daybed I had been swooning over. Here's the bed at West Elm:
I love the clean lines and airiness of this!

So, I had to talk Zach into another woodworking project, but after reviewing the plans he seems excited to get started on this one. It will fit lovely into that space... I made a scale drawing (because I am a dork) of the floor plan and it gives us 3 inches on either side. We also picked up some inspiration textiles, a pendant light, and a couple of bookcases to house books and decorative objects. The colors we decided on are white, grey and yellow, and we're going to add some other accent colors, like navy and maybe a dark orange too. We both decided that to modernize the space we'd have to tackle the windows, which was daunting to say the least. Fourteen windows, 28 panes... and trim! Since none of the rooms in our house have white trim, we thought it would really make this space stand out and look really current. For paint colors we went with a muted neutral gray and brilliant white (whatever really nice trim white Olympic makes).

Oh yea, we're definitely getting this for the wall near the daybed:)
There was nothing left to do but get to it, Zach took down the awful blinds, I spackled the nail holes and...
The blinds came down, I got a bucket of hot soapy water to clean the window frames (gross)
Without the blinds the space is already 10x better! Look at the piles of artwork we have!
Then, I primed.
And primed. Notice project beer at the bottom of the frame.
Zach started painting the ceiling and crown moulding. What a difference. Everything, and I mean everything, in this house was painted antique white. It doesn't really bother you until you start painting a new color over it!

After a coat of primer and one coat of paint. So much to do. I think it's going to take 3 coats (at least)!
I love how bright everything looks now. The wall color will be a soft gray which will make everything really pop.

So, we're making some progress. It's tedious, time-consuming work, but it's very satisfying. We're planning on making new radiator covers too, instead of trying to paint the radiators themselves, so the room will look very polished! Oh yea, and that ceiling light will be updated with something a bit more modern too!

More updates as we progress!

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