Saturday, June 19, 2010

My Favorite Space ... Welcome to Our Family Room

If you are joining me for the first time, thank you for coming, and welcome to our Family Room.

Have you ever wondered where I am in this old pile of bricks when I'm working on the blog?  I got this new laptop in the fall, combined with our existing wireless network, and I now have my choice of locations to work.  My favorite place is the family room.

This room didn't always look as nice as it does now. Like the rest of the house, this room required serious work on all of the surfaces and systems. Every square inch of the room has been stripped and refinished ... floors, moldings, and the walls. The beautiful results were worth the months of hard work it took to get to this point.

See, there's the laptop.

This is a nice large room, with an odd shape and lots of challenges when it came to arranging the furniture ... two doors, a huge fireplace, a deep pointed bay, a monster radiator, and two large dog beds. I'm not all that satisfied with the arrangement we have now, but it's functional and I'm going leave it alone. One day, I'm sure the solution will come to me.

Floorplan, to help you visualize what I'm talking about.

Here is the only photo I have of this room before I started tearing it apart. I took this with an ancient digital camera in 2002, when we first toured the house with our realtor. All of the stuff, of course, belongs to the prior owners of our house. You can see that they also had trouble figuring out what to do with the bay window area.

Here we are, about half way through the stripping process. I used a heat gun and a scraper to remove all the paint from walls so the plasterer could do his thing. I stripped all the paint off the moldings (heat gun, again) to get the built up paint out of the grooves and contours, so it would be a nice smooth surface for a fresh coat of paint. The moldings in this house, we discovered, have always been painted a pale color.

Here is a tour around the room, after all the walls were scraped and the molding was stripped, sanded, and primed.  The room, at this point, is ready for plaster.

My father-in-law (the electrician) figured out how to snake wiring through these old walls and ceiling, and he installed new lighting throughout the house.  This room received recessed lights in the corners of the ceiling.

Door to the Foyer.  I see a bag of plaster by the steps, so the plasterer must be getting ready to work.

Fireplace, and double doors to the Dining Room.  Everyone has a refrigerator and a couch in their dining room, don't they?

After plaster and paint, the place started coming together.

The color is Restoration Hardware's Silver Sage.

Once the floors were refinished, the place really looked good!

This room, along with the rest of the house, is furnished with items that my husband and I have collected during our 30 years together.  We were antique collectors when antiques were cheap, and we were happy to snap them up and bring them home ... not something you can do so easily today, I'm sorry to say.  Lots of other things came from thrift shops and discount stores.

Lazy Boy chairs, pillows from Home Goods, antique trunk with a glass top for the end table, painting over the mantle and the chestnut side-by-side secretary were from estate auctions years ago.

I bid WAY too much for this Victorian sheep painting at the auction ... but I was not going to let that other woman have MY painting.

A view the other direction.  The turquoise armoire is one of my better finds on Craig's List.  All it needed was a good scrubbing.  It holds the Grandson's toys, books, and games.

My father-in-law built the model ship AND the glass case that holds it.

Through the door to the foyer, you can see that the staircase is still half taken apart.

Many of you have already seen our TV cabinet, which used to be our china hutch.  (If not, CLICK HERE to see how I made it.)

In the photo above, you can see one of the reasons why it's so nice to hang out in the Family Room ... this is where our pets hang out, too.  (That's Maggie on the dog bed.)

Emma is sacked out, as usual.

"Whatcha doin', Mom?", says Daniel.

We do just about everything at this coffee table.  It's 42" in diameter, with four wedge-shaped stools tucked underneath, and it's perfect for games, or snacks, or just propping up your feet.  A friend brought me the greyhound pillow on the sofa ALL the way from Scotland.

We took this painting of Heidelberg to Antiques Roadshow a few years ago ... found out that it's not a 19th century painting, but an early 20th century forgery.  I've never heard of the artist that it's supposed to have been painted by, so I can't figure out why someone a hundred years ago would go to the trouble to forge his signature.  All I know is that I think it's pretty cool to have a real live forgery.

I love this painting ... we call it Mrs. Chicken.  I bought this at the same auction as the sheep painting.  I instantly identified with the look on Mrs. Chicken's face, and I knew that I HAD to have it.  She would look better if she took a trip to the conservatory in Richmond for a good cleaning ... we can do that later.

Here you can see the stools under the coffee table.  The wing chair came from a thrift shop.  Ever since I had it reupholstered a few years ago, I haven't been able to stop the cat from scratching on it.  She has practically shredded the corners of the cushion.  The walnut table was a surprise gift from my husband.

Thanks for coming with me on the tour of our Family Room.  Whenever you read the blog now, you can imagine where I am when I create each post. 

(written by Hartwood Roses.  Hartwood Roses blog.)


  1. Love the sheep painting. It seems next to horse and dog paintings, pastoral paintings with sheep are very steep in price. Having herding dogs (corgis) I'm always on the lookout for sheep "stuff".
    Your home is beautiful!

  2. I smiled when I saw the dog's beds were actually on the floor plan. I am glad you have your priorities correct.

  3. OH, Connie... I love ALL of it... what a beautiful job. and...Restoration Hardware SILVER SAGE!!!!.. *sigh* Why didn't I see this SOONER???...

    Love love love those large leather chairs, they looks so comfortable and such a rich warm leather.

  4. I love that your floor plan shows a spot for the dog beds. That's a must in our house.... they are always in the family room and that's just the way it is.


  5. What a beautiful room - the trim details, the paint color, the artwork and antiques. All with a spot for the dog beds. You did a lot of work to make it as gorgeous as it is. Thanks for sharing the photos.

  6. An inspiration! I love the attention to all of the details, including the dog beds. You have exquisite taste!

  7. Hi Connie,
    I think you put more work into restoring your home than we did building ours! It's beautiful! Thank you for inviting us in!

  8. What a beautiful job! I love the results, but would have hated the actual "getting it there" part. That chicken picture is awesome! I know just how she feels. Thanks for the tour of the family room, it's lovely.

  9. What a great transformation. Great creative space. So, enjoyed my visit with you. Enjoy the rest of the party.

  10. Lovely family room and what a great restoration you did.

    So happy to see the very important greyhound beds in your family room! Charm's takes up a big space, too. :-)

    I have the exact same Lazyboy chair in merlot leather and I have an ottoman. I also use a lumbar pillow -- and, I blog from that chair or my garden room sofa!

  11. What a beautiful room! A great 'hang out' place as well!
    You did a great job restoring it!

  12. Your home is stunning and what you have done in this room is amazing. What a labor of love. It is gorgeous.
    Thank you so much for coming over and leaving the sweet note about my studio. I am so happy to find your blog. I see that you have two Whippets? My beautiful Desi is no longer living, but what great dogs they are. I miss her so much.

  13. What a beautiful transformation!! Loved it!
    Best wishes,

  14. What a lovely space. I absolutely adore your wall color. Very sweet and restful.

  15. What a fun time to visit you in your family room. It is very attractive. You have excellent taste in the house as well as the garden!

  16. Congratulations Connie, what a lovely serene setting. I can see you there. Wonderful job.

  17. I loved reading about the transformation of your home. You guys did a wonderful job. I also liked the story about your cherry hutch and the tv display. You are very creative.

  18. You have created such an elegant and relaxing room. It must be a joy to do your computer work there! Thank you for sharing.

  19. Amazing transformation and well worth all the hard work and funds that went into it to make it that way! TFS!

  20. Having owned a tree story 100 year old Victorian - I know the king of work you are going through. - People can sure piled on the paint and paper in a houses it's lifetime.
    We had to sell when I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia & chronic fatigue syndrome and the stairs and house work became too daunting and husband wanted a divorce.
    Now I have a rambling ranch, a new husband and less upkeep.
    - It does have a basement - but I don't go down there all that often.
    Some of my old craft supplies are annexed down there but they are not things I need often.
    Thank you for sharing.

  21. Wow, that's some remodel! The results are stunning, but I too, would have had a hard time "during". Thanks for sharing it with us!
    My Desert Cottage

  22. Your home is lovely. I can see why this is a favorite space. The woodwork is outstanding and the original artwork is wonderful.

  23. Connie

    Every time I see the before pictures, I am still amaized on just how much you and Steve have done to the house (and continue to do).


  24. This is one of the best blog post I have ever seen. I cannot believe the transformation. It's truly an inspiration. Please check the blog later for the finalist.

  25. Very nice to show your remodel. I couldn't imagine creating art in this beautiful space, but I love the transformation.

  26. What a great transformation! I usually associate LazyBoy chairs with that 80s look, but yours are fabulous! I love the artwork you've incorporated into your space. The picture with the cat lounging on the dog bed was priceless. Made me smile. I looked at your profile, saw Hartwood Roses, and realized that we live in the same town. :)

    I'm visiting from Kate's "Where I Blog" party. :)

  27. Love the transformation! Your family room looks very comfy and inviting...Christine

  28. Your room is absolutely beautiful! That is a gorgeous painting over your mantle! The chairs look so comfy! Just lovely!
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;0

  29. Hi there fellow 'Silver Sage' lover ! This is such a warm cozy space, I loved seeing your before and after pictures ! Thanks so much for linking up today, this is such fun getting to know where everyone blogs!

  30. You have so many nice things! Thanks for letting me take a peek!

  31. Wow! You have a beautiful space for blogging and hearing about the work you put into it makes me appreciate it more. The plaster was quite and undertaking.


  32. just to be able to DIY is amazing...and i love that the toys are contained in grownup furniture...rooms looks extremely cozy! Chairs I would so love :)

  33. Thanks for pointing this out Connie. It looks like you have found the perfect solution for your tv. I always love seeing your puppy dogs too.


  34. Your home is just beautiful. All of that heat gun work and scraping paid off! The silver sage is beautiful in there. Your floors are amazing! Love the kitty and dogs in there too.

  35. Your house is so lovely. Please do not say "you're sorry to say your furnishings came from thirft stores, etc." I want to come furniture shopping at your house. You have some very gorgeous antiques.

    I am an animal rescuer so of course I noticed all the photo's of your babies. Tell me something, I see you have Greyhounds living peacefully with cats. All the warnings I've heard about Greyhouds is that they don't do well with small animals as they would see them as prey. Please tell me about this obvious myth and how your cats and Greyhounds lives so hormoniously. Also, do Greyhounds make good watch dogs? Thanks so much and thanks for your lovely blog and sharing your beuatiful home and roses.

  36. Patsy, I hope you see this. Your email is not visible, so I could not send it to you personally.

    I will be happy to talk to you about greyhounds and cats. When I did greyhound adoption, I was the counselor assigned to mentor the adopters with cats. Email me if you want more info.

  37. Love the silver sage walls! And you have a red sofa too! We must be related!! I don't blame you, I wouldn't let some other woman take that painting of the sheep home with her. I love it as well. Beautiful room!


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