Is it a den? Is it a dining room?

About 2 years ago Luke and I made the agonizing decision to move to get into a better school district. We loved our house. We bought it as a fixer upper and had lived there for 8 years. We’d bought the house a year after we got married. We had touched every surface – painted ceilings, sanded baseboards, gutted a bathroom. We’d brought two newborns home to that house. But now those little babies were ready for school.

We purchased another fixer upper, in a neighbor hood that we adore. Our house is still small but we have a large garage and the kind of back yard that kids dream about. The “fixing up” part of our house is pretty slow going with three kids and working full-time. I do enjoy the process. Here are some before/after shots of our living room. I really love the fireplace redo!

Here’s a look at the living room before we moved in. How do you like the bars on the sliding glass door? The ceiling fan is so old that it’s actually coming back in style.



The main problem with this room for me is that I can’t decide if I want it to be the den or the dining room . . . as  you can see from the pics of it both ways. It’s really small, has a lot of doorways and nothing is centered so it’s tight for us as a den. It works great as dining room because it’s very open to the kitchen but I miss the fireplace in the winter. I’ve thought about changing it seasonally so maybe I will do that this year.

We painted Benjamin Moore’s White Dove but I used Sherwin Williams Emerald Paint. I love the color and the paint. Sherwin will color match and they had this color in their system. I highly recommend them both. This room has vaulted ceilings and was really a pain to paint. I knew I didn’t want to paint it again (at least not for a long time) so I wanted a neutral color and a nice paint. It took 2 coats of primer and 3 top coats. We replaced the flooring with this really nice bamboo flooring from Cali bamboo. It has a 50 year warranty and doesn’t have a bunch of chemicals in it which is really important to big Luke. I went with a light color because I have seen firsthand that dark colored flooring, though popular right now, really makes a room feel smaller. I painted the fireplace which turned out to be a lot of work. The brick is really textured so I had to shove the paint brush into all the cracks and cervices . . . it was way more work that I had anticipated but I LOVE IT.

Here are some things on my radar for this room . . .

My MIL has graciously offered to recover the blue oriental print chairs for me. She also gave me the chairs! Here is the fabric that I just got in last week.


I would really like to move the ceiling fan to the boys room. It would go well in there. Here are a few light fixtures that I like for the space.

This is my dream light fixture but at $4,200, I think it will remain a dream.

Here are a few other options  . . .

Top left, middle, bottom left, right

I need a bamboo shade for the small window beside the fireplace. I’m not sure if I am going to put any window treatment on the sliding glass door. This door opens up onto our porch so our neighbors can’t really see in and because the room is small, I don’t want to crowd it. I will use the same shade for the kitchen too. I really like this one and I wouldn’t refuse this kitchen either!


Luke has been building a dining table since before Christmas. I don’t think he realized the scope of the project when he started. It still needs one board in width and the bread boards attached at the ends. I haven’t decided whether I am going to stain it or leave it natural, thoughts?? It’s going to be beautiful and so special to have. I will be on the lookout for chairs once it’s finished.

Luke wants to replace the mantel with a cool pieces of Cypress that he has but we aren’t really sure how to attach it. I might just sand it down and refinish it in the mean time.

Long term I’d like to raise the floor to the same height as the rest of the house, it’s a step down room. Tear down the wall between this room and the front room. Replace the paneling with dry wall so we could get rid of the big old speaker system thingy – it’s left a huge hole in the wall that can’t be patched so I just have to live with it for now. All of these projects are more complicated than they sound because of other weird features of the house that I won’t go into right now.

The room is coming together, stay tuned!

Contact: laurenskijones@gmail.com


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