When we moved to this house, I had a big list of gripes. I know how entitled this sounds. A beautiful house with a pretty yard set perfectly on the middle of a sweet suburban street, walking distance to places we need to be most days. Glorious! However, we moved from a four-bedroom California split to a three-bedroom, very open concept rambler. The spaces felt weird to me, undefined and lacking in character. I was most bothered that the house didn’t have an extra bedroom for guests, and no defined office space. The formal dining room was situated in the heart of the home and was wide open to everything else. The original brass and glass chandelier was hanging, but wasn’t connected to electricity. The ceiling was vaulted, but the walls were painted pink which reflected cool against the worn, white, builder-grade carpet.
As we had an eat-in area near the kitchen, I knew we had little need for this awkward, formal dining room. I hatched a plan to create a library that would be a good fit for my office, but also for a dining space if someone found it necessary in the future. After we made an offer on the place, and before the house closed, I hired a contractor/friend to build shelves, storage and a window seat. The first day we had possession of the house, our contractor got to work, measuring the space, drawing up plans and building boxes in his workshop to later fit into the space. He also helped us tremendously by painting over the pastels that were in every room of the house. I worked a little bit ahead of him by taking down wallpaper border that had been fashionable in the 90’s. In a fit of confidence, we invited everyone we knew in town (about 8 people) over for a painting party which basically finished up new paint in all the rooms before our furniture even arrived.
Once the library shelves were in place, we were able to unpack our boxes of books. I found an area rug to help define the space and put my old oak desk in the room. A paper “dandelion” light fixture from IKEA replaced the old non-working fixture. The place really started feeling like home when I hung a quilt which had been a wedding gift on the remaining blank wall. Over time, I sewed a box cushion and pillows for the window seat, and it now serves as a favorite landing place for our kids and the dog. The storage in the shelf units hold my grandmother’s china, office supplies and games. This new office space has become my command center. From here I can watch what happens on the street, while still keeping an eye on what’s cooking in the kitchen. The kids do homework here, Roland pays bills here, and once, I moved out the desk, moved in a table, and we had Thanksgiving dinner here. This room is proof that it pays to be a little imaginative and think outside the box the original house contractor builds for you. Give yourself permission to create the home you need, instead of just being fine with the home you have. If you need help in this area, Northwest Home Coach can help you out! Let’s dream a little and make something beautiful within the limits of your home.