For as long as I can remember, I never wanted what everyone else had. Let me clarify. I may want what they have, but not exactly the same. I wanted it to be different, unique, and special. These choice opportunities could be as simple as holiday nail color (this past Christmas chose navy!), or closing up a portion of our open concept home to create a more usable layout for our family. (Oh, I heard that gasp from here.)
Not much excites me more than the exercise of wracking my brain for a creative solution and finally landing on something spectacular. To some, this may sound completely exhausting, and sometimes it is. But the payoff, to me is worth every agonizing moment and sleepless night. (I’m still catching up on the sleep that I lost trying to name our daughter and she’s nine!)
Two years ago, my husband and I were at a cross-roads of what to do with our home. Sell it and move on, or start changing it to actually work better for our family. Our house was plenty big, but the layout just wasn’t working for us (particularly me). Looking back, perhaps the best option was to move, but we decided to get creative and get to work making this house the right house for us. We did the unthinkable. In this day and age of open concept living, we were going to close up a room. You heard me.
The entrance of our home opened up to an open concept living room / dining room. Beyond that area, was a second open concept space that included our family room and kitchen area, with a powder room and my hubby’s office down a hallway. We had no mudroom and the kids’ growing list of activities and sizes of their coats and backpacks became overwhelming to me. Their gear would get piled up on a chair in the family room in plain sight of the front door. Yes, the very first impression you would get of our home, even before you entered, was a pile of stuff on our pretty leather club chair in the family room at the back of the house. I COULDN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE! (And this was even before we got our two medium-to-large sized dogs and dog crates.) We needed a mudroom. And if we weren’t going to move, I was going to have to get creative to solve this problem. That’s exactly what I did.
It didn’t take much convincing for my husband to agree, because he was going to gain a beautiful, much larger, office space. (Oh, and I painted a pretty picture too. Including built-ins and a new desk….dreamy. How could he resist my siren song?) He was sold on that idea from the get-go. (Shocking.)
We realized that we really never used our living room except to put up a Christmas tree and open presents once a year. Problem solved. We would put a wall up between the existing living room and dining room, leaving the dining room as is and creating a brand new office right off the foyer, complete with a beautiful bay window at the front.
I started to imagine what this was actually going to feel like. My husband has a zillion amazing qualities, but tidiness is not one of them. The office was going to most certainly need doors to close it off so that we could have guests without revealing his free-spirited organizational skills. (You see what I did there? You like that?) He wanted glass doors, of course, to allow in the most light, but they would have to be made with opaque glass to allow for privacy and mess concealment. Imagining a set of closed doors right when you entered our home; I quickly realized that our foyer was going to feel REALLY tight. Not at all the feeling I want in any part of our home. AND, giving up that front room would also mean, no more beautiful Christmas tree in our front window during the holidays. These two things became deal breakers for me. My hubby was heartbroken. He had already mentally moved in to the new awesome space.
If we were still going to go through with the renovation to get the much needed mudroom, the only other option was to make our living room the new dining room and make the old dining room the new office. THAT WAS IT! The new dining room was a perfect extension of our foyer. It was pretty and sparkly and came complete with an undisturbed front bay window that still hosts our beautiful formal Christmas tree. The new manly office is nicely tucked away from guests behind cool reeded glass paneled French doors (And a transom! Don’t forget about the awesome transom!).
Before we took such a bold, off-trend step, and to ensure that we would not be terribly devaluing our home, we consulted a real estate professional. (My bestie! You know, Meredith! Who happens to have been named one of Washingtonian Magazine‘s Top Relators for 2017 in the Washington metro area. MY GIRL!) Getting her blessing and assurance, we proceeded. Thinking outside of the conventional box has yet again paid off for me. I’ve learned over the last few years to let go of “the popular choice” and trust my instincts. Sometimes I hurt myself patting myself on the back for yet another creative solution.
1 Lucille Ball from www.google.com.
2 Pic from www.speckyboy.com
3 Meme from www.someecards.com
4 Clutter beacon in our home. In Harry Potter lingo, The Chair of Requirement.
5 This is exactly how it did NOT turn out. LOL! Pic from www.gentlemansgazette.com.
6 Christmas 2013 in our old living room.
7 Pic from www.phobia.wikia.com. Oh, and NOT my husband. LOL!
8 Our office doors and transom. I love them so much. I’m thinking of getting a match to use on our pantry…… (thinking emoji). LOL.