At this point in time, it seems like Craig and I are here in our current house, our current town and current job positions for the long haul. And in making that decision, I decided awhile back that we need to maximize the space we have in our home. By all standards, it is a pretty big house - we've got a very open plan in the downstairs with four large and very functional rooms. Upstairs are two modestly sized bedrooms, our large master suite and a huge playroom for all of Natalie's adventures.
But for all the space we do have, we weren't using it properly. I'm a firm believer in functionality and purpose - it's not the size of the space, but how you use it that makes the difference.
Having said that, I am probably IKEA's dream consumer.
So with this idea of functionality and purpose, I began crafting an idea for rearranging certain areas of the house so that the needs of our family were better served. First of all, we do not throw enough parties or eat enough fancy dinners to necessitate three separate dining areas.
Here is a rough sketch of our downstairs that I made through the free online program, Floorplanner.
Originally when we moved into our home, we had the front study, the formal dining room AND the breakfast area in the kitchen as potential eating places, complete with tables and chairs. Over time we realized that three dining areas MIGHT be a little excessive for a family of two people, one small child and two lazy dogs.
So things got shifted around. We sold off one of the tables and chairs, moved the dining set from the study into the formal dining room, bought a few new pieces of office furniture and I've been slowly (as in over the past eight months) putting together a functional, comfortable and overall useful study for us.
But before I really got too crazy with the furniture and design, I needed to think about what purpose this study really needed to serve:
1. Craig has really gotten into the buying, selling and trading of baseball cards and he needs space to store cards, print invoices and package cards to send to buyers. He also is still scheduling games and referees for local basketball tournaments so he needs an organized space to do that kind of complicated work.
2. Over the years, Craig has collected lots of sports memorabilia, many items of which hold a lot of sentimental value. I wanted a place to display these items in a manner that wasn't so obvious as a "trophy room" but instead as the backdrop to an area where work and relaxation take place.
3. There are two rooms in our house that we occupy the most - the open living room and kitchen area and our master bedroom. Both of these spaces have large, flat screen televisions. As much as I enjoy my DVR, I felt like we all need a space where there isn't a television. An area where I can curl up with a book, Craig can work on schedules or baseball cards, and Natalie can color, play games or read books.
4. Eventually Natalie will be in school and will come home with homework. She will need a space to do work on the computer, or a large floor area to create a project. As one of our personal technology rules for her, there will never be a computer in her room so I felt like we needed to establish an area of the house where work (and eventually, her homework) is completed away from the distraction of toys and television.
So, without further ado...here is the progress on our study thus far:
View into the room through the archway from the foyer.
My reading and computer nook. The general theme for the room is dark brown furniture accented with stark white, steel gray and soft turquoise. I got the bird canvas on sale at Hobby Lobby and the candle pilaster was a Mother's Day gift from Craig and Natalie. And of course...the puppy dogs MUST have their space in our new room.
Craig's desk and memorabilia wall. We bought the desk last summer through Staples, the shelves were a Father's Day gift from IKEA and all the office supplies were either Christmas presents or stocking stuffers. In the picture on the right, you can see all of Craig's special framed items - his second place medal and team picture from his his run in the state tournament way back when he first started coaching, there's also a piece of the net from when the Dallas Stars won the Stanley Cup, and most importantly, a signed football by Aikman and Staubach that Craig's father gave him before he passed away.
I tried to arrange the shelves in a way that filled up the space without being too cluttered or too "sporty." There a painting that Natalie created last year, a picture from our trip to the beach last summer, as well as the yearbooks from the three years we worked together at the same school. And of course...lots of signed sports stuff.
For Christmas we were gifted with some money from my parents and the first big purchase we made in the new year was this Hemnes bookshelf from IKEA. I definitely wanted something that had doors - more of a cabinet than a true bookshelf - but even more than that, I really liked how only the top few shelves are exposed to the glass and the bottom is covered up. This allows for a pretty display up above and major organization of baseball cards, family pictures, art supplies, etc. hidden down below. On the top shelf is another signed football along with some baseballs of Craig's, on the second shelf, I emptied our upstairs bookshelf of some of my hardback books (I took the covers off because I think for display purposes, the naked books look better), a few childhood photos of Craig and myself and then finally signed team photos of Craig's current 7th and 8th graders along with a signed basketball from the University of Texas basketball players. While we were at IKEA buying the bookshelf, I also stocked up on four gray storage boxes with lids for prettier organization.
And what's missing? I'm still on the hunt for the perfect second hand side table that I can strip down, paint turquoise and plop a lamp on with a coaster next to my chair. If I'm going to be reading and typing in this room...I'm going to need a place to put my wine glass.
Although the basic pieces of this room are in place and it is incredibly functional for all of us to use, there are still a few BIG things that we need to address...eventually:
1. Painting the walls a soft gray above the chair rail and a dark gray below.
2. Scraping the popcorn off the ceiling and then replacing the old air vents.
3. Replacing the light that screams "dining room" with a higher placed funky lighting fixture.
4. Pulling up the light colored flooring and replacing it with the same dark manufactured wood flooring that we have in our living room.
5. Finding and hanging curtains - the windows are HUGE and the curtains are going to be a lot of work but I'm thinking of something light, white and very airy.
6. I'd like to put a soft rug in the middle of the floor - something with a mixture of white, gray and a dash of turquoise.
Overall, I am VERY pleased with the progress that we have made in this room and it already has served its many purposes. As much as I would love to have it all done and perfect RIGHT NOW, with our bank account the way it is right now with a child in day-care and two car payments...well, lets just go with the old saying - good things will come to those who wait. I know that it this is all just a phase and eventually, we will have the disposable income to do the necessary repairs and updates to our home but in the meantime I will take joy in the little things that we accomplish along the way.