Keepin it Real + Hopes and Dreams

Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap  —  June 23, 2011 — 16 Comments

There are a few rooms in my house that I’ve never posted pictures of before, mostly because we’re a two-person family living in a four-bedroom house and our extra bedrooms have had some trouble discovering their identity. This lack of function has resulted in all three extra bedrooms pretty much becoming a dumping ground for random clutter, unfinished projects, and items that don’t have a home elsewhere.

The front room is one of the best in the house. It’s right off the front porch and living room, has great natural light, and is generously sized. We used to use it as our office, but we had a lot of trouble keeping it warm this winter so we decided to consolidate the office and man cave into a smaller bedroom. This is a good setup because it allows Nick and I to hang out while I write and he plays video games. However, it breaks my heart that this amazing room is just sitting unused, especially now that it’s summertime and I’ve forgotten the perpetual chill that drove me out of there in the first place

Please don’t judge me for the pictures below. This room is just full of junk. I’m hoping to sort it all out and maybe have a garage sale this summer.

It really is my favorite room in the house, and it’s a shame that it’s so full of junk right now. Fortunately, inspiration has struck. I’ve been thinking a lot about babies lately (nope, not preggers, just crazy) and wondering if I’ll have to give up my sharp-edged coffee table and not-so-soft rug in the living room in order to have a place for babies and parents to coexist happily. While I’ve always thought of this room as a bedroom because it’s got a door, it’s technically considered a living room or den because it doesn’t have a closet (and you have to go through another bedroom to get to a bathroom…awkward). So, eureka, why don’t we do something to warm it up and then use it as a den/playroom/family room/office?

Priority #1 is figuring out how to keep it a bit warmer in those blustery Louisiana winters. Here are my ideas.

  • Switch out the muslin curtains for something heavier in the wintertime
  • Pay probably a lot of money to convert the coal-burning fireplace to gas
  • Pay maybe not quite so much money to just get the chimney sealed up so warm air doesn’t escape that way  (we know it’s open at the top because this is the second year in a row that we’ve ended up with traumatized baby birds in our fireplace)

I think the main reason it’s so cold is because it has three exterior walls (all with windows), so maybe just hanging some thermal curtains in the winter could go a long way? We’ll definitely try it before shelling out the cash to make the fireplace usable (as romantic and awesome as a working fireplace would be)

Onto the fun part…figuring out how I’ll outfit it (after saving up my pennies, of course)!

I’ve already got this dining table from Ikea that I use as a desk (and love). Keepin’ it real again here, people. This is what my desk really looks like right now.

Here’s what I’d like to do with the rest of the space:

  • Punchy blue, green, and orange accent colors
  • A family-friendly slipcovered sleeper sectional (say that three times fast!)
  • Super soft faux sheepskin rug
  • Expedit media center for plenty of storage
  • A soft gray-blue on the walls to keep it serene and make the most of the natural light
  • White floating shelves above the desk and in the nook to the right of the fireplace to amp up the storage and function even more
Here’s a not-at-all-to-scale sketch of the potential layout. I did do some real life measuring to make sure I wasn’t completely delusional about what would fit, but I get a little crazy when I start counting all those little squares so I decided to keep my sketch simple.
My handwriting is terrible and the scanner cut off the back of my sofa, but hopefully you get the idea. The desk and shelves make it a functional space for me to get things done, while the cube storage and super-soft rug make it a great play area for mini people (and big people who like to play the Wii every now and again), and the sleeper function of the sofa means it can even function as a guest room in a pinch. Total cost of the sofa, rug, and media console comes to about $1500. Add in a TV and some storage and we’re probably talking about $2000. Not dirt cheap, but not too shabby, either. Especially for a room that’s packed with function. It’ll probably be many moons before I save up enough home decor dollars to make this a reality, but I find that projects like this one are often better when I’m forced to wait. It gives me more time to cultivate my genius.

Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap

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16 responses to Keepin it Real + Hopes and Dreams

  1. Don’t feel bad about having such rooms in your house. We have one in our house too – we refer to it as ‘the room we don’t speak of’. It is a clearinghouse for all unused furniture, knickknacks, books, etc.. Quite honestly, it is like a design warehouse because I just go into the room, pick out something, and use it decorate the rest of the house. Haha. I look forward to seeing your changes!

    • Charlotte | livingwellonthecheap June 23, 2011 at 5:55 pm

      Thanks, Karen. Love the nickname for your room! So funny! I feel a little better knowing I’m not the only one!

  2. So here are some ideas that I found on the internet to help warm up the room:
    1. Definitely get that rug!
    2. Put a dehumidifier in the room. That’ll suck out all of that Louisiana moisture.
    3. Make sure that the windows and doors properly seal in that room.
    4. You don’t need to convert the fireplace! Save yourself some money and put candles in the fireplace and light them when you are in the room. That’s why a lot of people carry tealights in their car with a lighter because the candle will save you from dying in the cold.
    5. Get clear shower curtains and hang those in the window. The shower curtain will keep out cold drafts and suck up the heat from the sun.

    • Charlotte | livingwellonthecheap June 23, 2011 at 5:56 pm

      Thanks, Caz! I’m especially loving the idea of filling the fireplace with candles!

  3. We’ve got a GIANT picture window in our front living room that used to keep us out of our attached dining room in the Winter. Hanging heavy curtains with sheers behind them made a huge difference!

  4. Michelle Miner June 23, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    Congratulations, Charlotte!! Love your blog and your house is a cutie. You sound like Martha Stewart or something.

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