Monday, September 26, 2011

The Den: Before & After

I so wish that I was one of those "don't own a TV" or "never have time for TV" people, but truth be told, I love TV.  It's not on much during the day, but at night John and I love to crash on the couch in front of Survivor, Modern Family, 30 rock, NOVA on public TV, or Lord of the Rings for the 100th time.  

Our den contains our TV and laundry room, so we spend a good bit of time in there.  Up until this summer we sat in there with a big weight on our shoulders.  A weight of not doing what we thought we would do.

We thought that our den would be the first room to redo.  Oh no, it took over 5 years for us to pull up our boots and get it done.  When we finally started on the project, I snapped some before pictures.  Here is the view from the kitchen:

Carpet + paint do an AWESOME job.  Carpet.and.paint.  We went with the Martha Stewart line at Home Depot for our carpet.  First, let me say that the people at Home Depot (every single employee) were the best to work with.  They were nice, knowledgeable, quick, and very, very helpful.  I even wrote their home office telling them about my great service.  

Here are some tips that we learned:

1. If we bought the Martha Stewart line, installation was only $37.  For a whole house or for just room.  $37 flat.
2. If we paid Home Depot to install it, then the transaction became a service, making everything tax free.  The labor, the carpet, the pad.  Everything.
3. Originally, we were going to go with a cream-ish color on the wall.  However, Martha Stewart (herself, I assume) has pre-selected her paint colors that coordinate with her carpet colors.  All we had to do was look for the symbol.  Our symbol was an apple, so I took that to the paint department and found that Pure White was the coordinating color.  I'm usually all about picking it myself, but I had to trust Martha on this one.  She was right.

Another thing that we did was talk to my aunt who is a decorator by nature and profession.  She gave me some pointers about the layout and where to focus my money.  

See that big white TV cabinet in the before picture?  I love it and I'm an avid believer of being able to hide a TV during its downtime.  Well, she told me that the cabinet was too close to the ceiling, which made the ceiling seem lower, then making the room feel smaller.  So I changed it.  I (and by I, I mean John and a neighbor) switched some den furniture for some dining room furniture and just like that it made the room feel bigger, the window was more exposed, and all my problems just melted away.

The layout that she suggested sounded great, but once we had it set up, it just didn't feel right.  So, we moved things around until they did-which was pretty much the original layout.  

Another big project was the laundry closet.  Whoever built this little closet did not have the same hopes and dreams for a laundry closet as I do.  It was L-shaped (unable to fit doors), had a drop ceiling, and the most random storage space above.

John ripped it out and built us a closet where I can hide the washer and dryer.  It pretty much rocked our world.  Come back later where I give more details of the beauty that is behind those doors.  (It's my favorite part of the room!)

And that's our den.  Our new den that makes us relaxed and happy and just giddy to be in there.  These pictures are all labeled "after" but really, they should be called "during" or "almost done" or "just about there."  We have some trim work to finish, we're going to paint the metal on the windows, and let's not forget about accessories.  I'm so excited about making and adding some pillows and such.

For now, the new carpet smell is gone, we can function in there, and we're just enjoying the refreshing feeling of finally doing what we had planned on doing first thing, five years ago.


  1. love it!! also, i am really wanting to know what is in the laundry hole now. please-more pics.

  2. I'm kinda impressed that you had "Martha" consult on your rehab... Fancy pants much???

    The room looks great! Can't wait to see what's behind door number two.