Photos by Morgan Schleif / BEFORE Photo by Paul Flessland
It’s been a few months since we visited or shared with you the progress at the farmhouse and I’ve missed you. You have all been so kind over the past few months. I’ve run into many readers at Eco Chic Boutique and out in public who have shared how much they enjoy watching the transformation occur at our house. You have become a warm and welcoming community and I’m glad to be back. You have shared that our renovation journey has inspired and encouraged you to try new projects in your own home. Well, the room we reveal this month is all about inspiration, collaboration and community.
A Gathering Room
The room we reveal this month is my favorite. I know I’ve said this before, but it’s like having children. Each has their own special qualities that you love and admire them for and this room has a quality that was obvious the moment we walked into the house. I believe the sentence, “Think of all the women’s events you could have in this room,” was uttered by our agent, Maria Roesch, and I heard my husband Tate moan in the corner. We all knew this room was special, and I was already planning the first event.
The original owners of the home were very similar to Tate and I. They built the home when they were 40 and 44 and never had any children. Wait for it–Tate and I bought the house when we were 40 and 44 and have no children (of our own) at this moment. As you may have heard, we are fostering a baby girl we love very much.
The previous owners used this room to host many holidays with a large extended family of siblings, nieces, nephews and friends. We’ve had the pleasure of meeting a few and they always share stories of coming to this home for various holidays and events. So as you can see, this room is no stranger to large gatherings. That is why it is so special, and we knew that we had to do it justice by updating it in a fashion that welcomed the gathering of friends and family.
Let’s take a look at what the room looked like when we bought the house and how it looks today.
The room was originally decked out with restaurant-style benches that spanned both sides of the room along with a corner unit vented and designed for indoor grilling. While we loved the practicality of the benches and grill, we felt it was time to make some changes.
I’m not ashamed to say that we gutted this room last July while we had a dumpster for another project and it was February before we actually got to beginning the renovation and started putting it back together. Since this room is a completly separate section of the house, we were able to close the doors and leave it for a while. This may not work for all projects when needing to live in a space, but this time it worked. We are currently in the process of renovating the kitchen (you can see the photographs on my Instagram page) and I can tell you that we are not holding up the completion of that room. Making coffee on the floor of the laundry room isn’t something we want to do for too many months.
As with most of our room projects, Tate and I had different visions for what the room could be and what we would use it for. While I envisioned all white walls and glistening chandeliers, Tate really loved the cedar wood walls. He wanted a space that felt a bit more woodsy where we could incorporate some gaming options, such as a shuffleboard table. So, we compromised. We kept some of the wood and saved space for a shuffleboard table that will arrive once we have saved up the money to purchase one.
I began the transformation by picking a specific item that would be the foundational piece and focal point of the room and working around it. For me, this was the black French doors at the far end of the room leading to the backyard. I’m a firm believer that each room needs a focal point to make the room feel grounded and give your eyes a place to rest when you enter a room.
From there, we worked with both function and design to create the rest of the room. This is the only non-original part of the house and since it does not sit above a basement it tends to be cold on your feet. So, we decided that since most of the rest of the house would have wood flooring, we would stay with carpet in this room to keep it cozy.
When we removed the tiled walls around the grilling space, we were left with open walls and decided to add a brick feature wall to create a little interest and to also fulfill my love of red brick. This wall also served as the perfect place to display the vintage liquor bottles that Tate’s late dad, Harold, gave us when we purchased our first home. He had this box of old liquor and brought it to our house-warming party. We haven’t drank any of it, we just love seeing it because it reminds us of him and his warm hospitality.
What might seem like the easy part was actually the hardest for me with this room: the light fixtures. Given my love of chandeliers, I was determined to have a hanging light feature in this room. To find one that fit that style of the room and wasn’t too long was a challenge, but after many nights searching online, I found one that fit the style perfectly. Along with the dilemma of a hanging center light were the wall sconces already in the room. In order to save money, I didn’t want to cut new holes and pull more wires. Finding lights that were black, shallow, not too rustic and would go upward and downward to fit the space perfectly was a challenge. But once they were found, we were so happy, we didn’t settle. The sconces fit the space perfectly and don’t stand out too far from the wall.
So, I suggest that you don’t hustle your fixture purchases. Be patient and find the perfect one. It really is worth it.
The light fixtures were the last piece to be completed and then the decorating began. We already had a grand table built by Grain Designs a couple years ago and it’s currently giving us a place to have dinner while waiting for the kitchen to be renovated, but once the shuffleboard table arrives, we will change the layout of the furniture. To keep with the warm tones and woodsy feel of the room, I decided to go with these dark tobacco-colored leather couches and reading chair from Magnolia Home. It also contrasted nicely against the white board and batten walls. They also smell fabulous. I hope that new leather smell never goes away.
This room has already served as a great gathering space for friends and for those quiet mornings spent drinking coffee and talking with God. I find myself settling into this room more and more since we completed it. Maybe it’s the smell of the leather and new carpet, maybe it’s the comfy couches, or maybe it’s the lure of black French doors, but I believe it’s the spirit and love of those who lived here before us and created this great room as a place for friends and family to come together. I look forward to hosting many gatherings in this room. I hope you will join me, because from the moment those words were uttered by our Realtor, I knew this room would be something special and many events would be held here.
If you want a complete list of contractors and furnishing used in this room, join us on the Eco Chic website and check out our blog at ILoveEcoChic.com.