Family room makeover

We have now been living in our house for just shy of 3 months. The last couple of months have been spent unpacking, settling in, and sorting out some expected unexpected “new house” issues.

I realized I haven’t posted many details or pictures about our house. Let me take you for a photo tour (using the listing photos, not my own, so consider them “before” photos).


As you pull into our driveway, you come to the side of our house. This is where most guests get confused because they never know which door to use. Our main floor has four doors. I think this is totally awesome. We have a front door (with no walkway leading to it, something we want to eventually remedy), two side doors (one to a bathroom/laundry room, the other into the kitchen) and one just inside the mudroom in the back).

b52069_15We tend to use the kitchen door (on the left) which brings us into our large kitchen. The kitchen has been “recently” done, but wasn’t done all that well (there are some missing cabinets) or how we would have liked. But because it’s one of the newer projects in the house, it’s close to the end of our “to do” list. I have big plans for this kitchen! But they’ll be a long time coming…

b52069_16This is one of my favourite features of the house. It is also one of the features that has given me the most grief. We have an oil furnace, so we were planning on using this wood stove and a wood fireplace in the family room for a lot of our heat. We were told they worked. Then we got them inspected… We need to replace certain parts, but these parts are back ordered. Two months later, we’re still waiting for the parts (and using much more oil than anticipated… Thank God oil prices have dropped recently…).

b52069_13On the left wall we plan to put in a sliding glass door because we really feel the house could use another (a 5th!) door…. No, the reason is because this wall separates us and the back deck. From the outside you can tell there used to be a door. Then some genius thought to cover it up (hint: that genius wasn’t me or my husband…). We can’t wait to have easier access to the deck, and I’m already planning some fun summer parties! Now let’s head up the stairs (just behind the wood stove).

b52069_21Once you get upstairs, you get to our master bedroom. Isn’t the colour lovely?!… Our master consists of two rooms.


We hope to convert these rooms into one larger space and include an ensuite bathroom. We don’t have heating ducts in this room, but the wood stove pipe goes up through our bedroom. Another reason we’re eager to get that fixed… It’s been slightly chilly.

b52069_25Across the hall is the upstairs bathroom. We only use the tub to bathe A.J. because the cieling is sloped. It’s quite a large bathroom that we look forward to reconfiguring so we can actually shower upstairs.

b52069_20Beside the bathroom and across the hall from our room is the room we’ve been using for A.J. It’s nice and close to our bedroom for any middle of the night wake ups. But it’s the third smallest room upstairs, so we plan on keeping it the “nursery” for future babies and eventually move A.J. in this room (below) which right now is the “box” room (full of unopened boxes…) and potential guest bedroom.


This is probably the brightest room in the house. And not just because the walls are fluorescent pink… The room has 3 windows and it is great to sit in here during the day (amidst all the boxes…). If it weren’t for the size of our master bedroom, I would want this to be our room!

b52069_23This is the fourth bedroom upstairs, but it’s the smallest and doesn’t have a closet so I’m currently using it as my office.

We have big plans for upstairs… Eventually we want to rip down all the walls and start from scratch. The main reason being all the walls are lath and plaster. Which were then wallpapered. Which were then painted over… We would like to reconfigure the rooms keeping 4 bedrooms, a bathroom and adding an ensuite.

b52069_7My office looks out onto our backyard (with Mark’s shop). We have a wooden swing! It’s adorable.

b52069_6b52069_10There’s a great deck, but parts of it are starting to rot… So it needs some TLC.

Heading back inside, we have our first (chosen) project!

b52069_17Moving from the kitchen towards the front of the house, you come to what I call the “front room.” It could probably be a dining room, but I didn’t want to place our table here because just beyond it is the family room – a room we use so often that I don’t want to have to go around a table to access it. (If you’re looking into the front room and the family room like this picture, behind you would be the main floor bathroom/laundry room, and to the right is the front door).

And then we head into the family room…

(Door on the left)

(Door on the left)


(Door on the right)

This family room is quite large! Half of the family room was painted a milk chocolate brown while the other half had a bad attempt at sponge painting… To give the previous owners some credit, they had installed some pretty nice laminate floors. They’re a wide plank and have this rustic look to them which really suits the house!

Because this is the only room in the house which we didn’t have any major plans (i.e. tear down walls/ceiling), we decided to tackle it first so we could have at least one room that we could sit in at the end of the day and forget about all the other renovations/work we have to do! All it really needed was some paint and new receptacles. Easy, right? Well….. Mark and I both hate painting. Lucky for us we both have moms who love painting. So we decided to call my mom to paint and my electrician dad to update some electrical.

Mark and I had a colour picked for weeks. We brought home a bunch of paint chips from Home Depot and stuck them on the wall. We were looking for something light enough to keep the room feeling airy (Jennifer’s preferance), but dark enough for the colour to be substantial (Mark’s preference). I think Mark and I balance each other well because he tends to pick darker colours (too dark) whereas I tend to pick lighter colours (too light) so we meet somewhere in the middle where it’s just right!

We were looking for the perfect “greige.” We didn’t want something too grey (too modern) but not something too brown either. We wanted something neutral because eventually this colour will be used for the front room and into the kitchen so each room flows well into the next (with pops of colour used in decor, furnishings, and the bathroom).Β  We picked the “perfect” colour. Hints of grey, but still brown (to go well with the country feel of the house and the brick outside).

My mom did her first coat. And we hated it. It was slightly pink. We were at a loss for what to do. We’ve always been too cheap to get small test cans of paint to test a patch of wall, and I was regretting our frugalness. So we took our second can of paint to Home Depot to get it tinted a little differently. We dragged A.J. out of the house at 6:00 PM (she’s usually in bed by 6:30/7…) and showed the colour we had to the person behind the paint counter at Home Depot. We didn’t even say much and she saw the colour saying “oh yeah, it’s a little pink.” ……. The same colour we had been staring at for weeks and never saw the pink hues, she looked at for two seconds and immediately saw it. If I wasn’t so tired, it would have been humorous. Almost. She tinted our one remaining can and we came back home with a colour that we were certain would work better! We painted a patch and watched it dry. And then I cried. It was grey. But the faintest of greys. Almost white. It wasn’t a bad colour. But it not what I had wanted or envisioned.

And then I felt bad for crying over paint. We have a roof over our head, food in our fridge, all our family members safe at home. And I was crying over paint… I was worried about the money we had already spent, and I was worried about spending more to correct it. But my rational husband calmed me down, reminded me of a gift card he received from a friend for his birthday, told me that we had to be happy with the colour since we were going to be living with this for a long time to come (we sure as heck weren’t going to be repainting again anytime soon!) and continue with the colour throughout the rest of the house.

We went back to Home Depot the following morning while my (patient) parents watched A.J. and started working on the trim. Mark and I went to Home Depot and…… picked a colour almost exactly like the living area in our old house. I just loved the colours that were in our old house, and most of it was already done when we had moved in! It was a nice neutral brown, and it was just perfect.

Some before pictures…



038Mark had so much patching to do before my parents started painting. And then we started worrying that perhaps the previous owners had sponge painted in order to cover up wavy imperfections in the walls… But I was amazed with the final results!

042You can see just how not white the door in the living room originally was! (Oh yeah! Technically there are FIVE doors on our main floor…. This one leads onto the front porch, but it is sealed shut….).Β  And on the walls is the “greige pink” we originally chose…

044An assortment of colours on the wall…. Pink greige, white grey, some leftover kitchen brown we found in the basement and were contemplating, and our final colour…


My mom the painter! She had to spray paint the ceiling pendant and did a great job!

And finally, the result!


IMG_0005I still sit in this room and look at the walls with a smile on my face! Most nights I turn to Mark and say “I love the colour we chose!” (And when I say it, he understands that I mean the final colour, not the five million colours we went through to get to that one…). It’s light enough that the space feels really airy and open (certainly not as dark as it used to be!) and yet there is enough colour that the white trim pops. I hope to get some pillows and other decorative items to add more colour. I just love colour and I was so tempted to go with something more vibrant for the walls, but I know this is more timely and will suit us for the long run.

The light sconces on the wall over the mantle were brass and Mark spray painted them black and frosted the glass. They look amazing and the paint makeover was much cheaper than replacing them!

wall sconceA panorama view of our family room. The room is quite large, so the panorama view kind of distorts what the room actually looks like… But we’re happy with putting the couches in the middle of the room to leave space for A.J. to the left. I hope to create some fun kid prints for the wall to the right.

image1(Kudos to you if you’ve made it to the end of this very long post!)


6 thoughts on “Family room makeover

  1. Olga says:

    I loved getting the tour of your house, and your family room definitely turned out great! Can’t wait to see what else you do. πŸ™‚

    • Jennifer Lucking says:

      Thanks, Shannon! Unfortunately it’s not in as good of shape as we originally thought…… AND because of our major plumbing issues (with a cast iron pipe running directly below the deck into the septic), the deck will be ripped up this summer. I’m quite sad about it!

      • Shannon says:

        Oh! What a shame!!Hopefully you can build a new one somewhere, sometime πŸ™‚ We just built a small one last summer, but at the moment its just the deck, no railing or anything around it. I look forward to finishing it up this summer.

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