Many of my regular readers know I've been going through my home room by room redecorating and updating them. As I design the room, I'm not just interested in updating the decor, but making the space more practical for my new stage of life as an empty nester.
The room we chose to update this year was our family room. It's a large, long room and it has always been an awkward space to decorate because of the length and the lack of light. In the two "before" pictures the room is decorated for Christmas, making the room appear even more cluttered.
This is a view of the room if you just walked inside. A large mammoth entertainment center covers one long wall (remember when these were all the rage?). The walls are stucco with a faux painting of gold and creams.
This is a view of the room if you were standing by the Christmas tree looking back. Again, it is very cluttered because I had to make room for a Christmas tree. But I really want you to notice the French doors, as they play a huge role in the renovation project.
Now, before I begin my tour of the beginning of our renovation project, let me explain my reason why we decided to do what we did. As you know, we are empty nesters. We have three small bedrooms on the third floor of our house with a narrow staircase leading to them. When the children and grandchildren come home to visit, they usually stay about a week and average about three or four visits a year. The last time they were here, we didn't get much sleep. The crying grandchildren woke us up at night and Ashley, who doesn't like the mattress in the guest room, requested to take our bed. So we gave up our queen size bed for Ashley (I know, what a princess). But now my husband and I were sleeping on a full size bed and we weren't comfortable as we kept hitting each other all night. Then Jason, Ashley's husband couldn't sleep with the baby in the master bedroom, so he went to sleep on a sofa in the living room. Of course we then teased Ashley the next day and asked her how she was enjoying that nice, large Queen size bed all to herself while her elderly parents suffered on a full size bed.
Now there are two other reasons we wanted a bedroom on our main floor other than guests: accessibility for old age and air conditioning.
We were concerned as we age that we may not always want to or even be capable of climbing the stairs to the master bedroom. It would be nice to be able to stay in our home as long as possible by making it more "old age friendly".
The last reason is that our home does not have central air. We have one small window air conditioner that miraculously cools the entire main floor to our satisfaction, but the third floor is hot. The lack of central air is usually not a problem for us. We are outside more than inside during the summer and neither my husband nor I even like air conditioning. We are able to sufficiently cool our house with box and ceiling fans. However, every year we get about a three day heat wave, which makes sleeping upstairs very uncomfortable. On those days we sleep on mattresses or cushions on the floor on the main level. We thought it would be nice to have a real bed for those hot summer days.
Now that you know why we wanted a fourth bedroom in our home, let's discuss the problems with creating a sleeping space in a living room. The main problem we had to deal with was how to create privacy without losing the light. The living room is a dark balcony space that overlooks a sunroom. There are only two windows on the east side of the house. I did not want to just wall a portion of the room off and lose all that light.
The second problem, was losing too much space for a bed so that there wasn't enough seating space. The bedroom portion of the room had to remain as small as possible so that our family still could gather together in this room. I should also mention that I have three total living rooms in my house, so I'm not really giving up a large space for large gatherings. I have a small sitting/living room open to my dining room, and a very big open sunroom that was large enough for my daughter to be married in. I only needed enough space for the family to comfortably watch TV in this room.
Now that you know the reasons we wanted to renovate this room, and the problems we had to overcome, here is how we solved them.
The first thing I did was to paint the walls pure white in a semi-gloss finish to brighten the room and reflect light. The white instantly updated the room and made the woodwork pop!
After months of thinking, talking, and researching, we decided that a wall of glass that created a partition but still let light in would be best solution. We used the existing French doors to the room. Hubby simply took them off their hinges and made a wall with them. Then we purchased Plexiglas and hubby made two sliding doors that operate like the popular barn doors in Farmhouse style homes.
Here is a picture of the the room still under construction. The French doors were made into walls to section the room off. I stained the new wood surrounding the doors black. Later I would stain the area on the outside of the black "Early American".
My husband created a sliding barn door system all by himself. He did not purchase one of those fancy, expensive kits. We left the wheels and nail holes all exposed for a modern industrial look.
The clear Plexiglass slides directly behind the French doors so you can't even tell it's there when the glass is open,
As I stated earlier, the room is actually a balcony, so we wanted to close off the opening to the sunroom below for sound privacy. We decided a bookshelf would not only be very practical but very pretty as well.
Here is a view of the Plexiglass doors closed. Now I know most of you are wondering about privacy. As of now, privacy is not an issue. We have a pocket door attached to the main living space of the house that we can close anytime my husband and I want privacy. If more privacy is ever needed, I could also put a rod behind the doors and add a curtain that I could open and close. My husband and I have been using this room for a month now that the kids have been living with us, and we have not felt privacy to be an issue yet. I also realize that if I ever have guests use this room, they may want more privacy so I would definitely hang drapes for guests.
A view of the room open with the doors behind the French doors.
Here you can see what the doors look like closed from inside the bedroom looking into the family room.
For the bed, we wanted the largest bed possible without sacrificing space, so we decided on a queen mattress. I ordered a fabric headboard from Wayfair and we attached it to the wall. Then my husband built a wooden platform that a mattress could sit on top of. There is plenty of space underneath the bed for under-the-bed totes.
In this picture you can see the shelving unit my husband created. He put bead board paneling behind the shelves. I painted the shelves a bright high gloss white.
Now I know you're anxious to see the final results but I don't know when I will be able to show them to you as just days after we almost completed the room (I still have to polyurethane the glass doors) the Apocalypse happened and my kids moved in with us. It was actually PERFECT TIMING, but I never really got a chance to decorate the room the way I planned so I haven't taken pictures. However, I will say that the room is working out perfectly for our now multi-generation household. Because there is a living space right next to the bedroom it's as if my husband and I have our own "Master Bedroom Suite". The kids have the entire third floor of the house to themselves. Each grandchild has their own bedroom. We share the bathroom, kitchen, and dining room, but at night my husband and I can retire to our "suite" and have time to ourselves before bed. It couldn't be more perfect!
The funniest part of this whole story is that I always felt led by God to do this but I didn't really know why other than the reasons listed in the beginning of this post. Every time I would tell people I was putting a bedroom in my living room they looked at me as if I were nuts...including my own kids! I would reassure them that we would make it look spectacular and not weird, but no one believed us. So far I only had one friend and my kids see the room since the pandemic occurred, and everyone now agrees it's the coolest thing ever. Before the room looked very dated. Now it looks hip and cool, like a New York City loft; and it's not even decorated yet, plus we still have some of our old furniture! I was planning on carpeting over the tile, and buying new decor and furniture, but now that is all on-hold until we see what the future holds. For now, the room is perfect as it is!
If you really want to see "After" pictures without it being completely finished just let me know in the comments and I will post a few current shots.
Have A Great Day! Amy
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