Tuesday, August 30, 2011

What's the Big Idea?

Here it is!...the much anticipated post on our big plans for our rec room.

Over the past couple of posts (here and here) I've been featuring some before and after pics of our rec room to showcase how far that room has come since 2009.

Current photo

Current photo
In its present state, it functions as our computer room and half bathroom. And even though the space isn't huge, we're looking to pack some more functional punch into this room!

In the future (as in hopefully-in-the-coming-weeks kind of future!) we're looking to:
  • insulate the walls (this addition to our house was never insulated properly when built)
  • get new energy-efficient windows
  • create a niche for laundry, (washer/dryer are in the basement now - hate it!)
  • make a designated space for playtime - you know, for future kiddos that come into our world :)
  • install new carpeting on half the room's floor for said future kiddos
  • lay tile on other half of floor (in front of patio door) and in the bathroom
  • add a new doorway that leads into the living room.
The doorway project will TOTALLY change the way we live. Here's how:

In this floor plan I drew up, can you see where the living room and rec room meet? The two rooms are separated by a wall.

If you're in the living room (Point A) and want to go into the rec room (Point B), you have to go all the way around the house in a ridiculous circle illustrated below:

It's SOOOO annoying! I mean, it's not a big house, but having to walk that crazy c-shaped route EVERY time I want to visit the room just on the other side of the wall makes me ca-RAZY!

Creating a doorway between the two rooms will allow for a more functional layout/flow. Let me show you where we plan to put the doorway:

The grey box indicates the half bath and storage closet in the rec room, and the circle labeled 'create doorway here' is self explanatory :)

Since the rec room is actually an addition put in by previous owners, there's a window in the living room (which I painted over like I did here) right there where my circle is.

Let me explain that with a real-life photo and my drawing placed side-by-side:

That's taken from the living room side of the window.

And this pic is taken from the rec room side of the window (see the formerly exterior brick and the closet/bathroom wall to the right?):

Since there's already a window there, we plan to knock it out along with some brick to frame out a nice opening for a pass-through between the two rooms.

I got antsy one night and started the job already :)

Taking a metal putty knife and hammer to the grout lines wasn't working so well though.

It was time to get messy:

Soon I had three rows of glass blocks down and it was looking like this:

Wooohooo! I could see into the other room!! :)

After it all came down, this was the view (sorry for the bad night lighting and camera phone quality):

Here's the only glass block from this demo project that came out in one piece. Yeah, there was a lot of glass:

Here's a before and after of the view from the living room into the rec room:

                                  BEFORE                                            AFTER

And from the rec room into the living room:

                               BEFORE                                                AFTER

There's sooooo much more light in the rooms now, especially the living room. I love it and can't wait until we can actually walk through a doorway there and easily go from room to room!

I'll update you on that process once it's started. We're going to hire a professional for that since framing out a doorway is beyond our scope of DIY skills. Right now we're having a few contractors give us bids on the job and then we'll go from there...SO EXCITED!

How bout y'all? Anyone make their home's floor plan more functional with a pass through or other change-up? I know YHL has one in the works for their dining room/kitchen.

Monday, August 29, 2011


As promised in my last post, today you'll get a view into our rec room's half-bath.

Take a look at my loo:

Ugh! Pure hideousness, no?

Need more evidence of said hideousness? No problem:

Yes, that's a glass block window...

And yes, you can see who's using the toilet while standing in the kitchen...or who's in the kitchen while using the toilet.

One scenario is more embarrassing than the other...and I think you're smart enough to figure out which one that is :)

Oh yeah, and this bathroom is CA-RAZY small so it's difficult to take photos of.

I can't easily fix the size, but to remedy the extreme invasion of privacy and hideousness galore I painted over the glass, along with the walls (paneling and brick), with the same paint and color I used in the rec room - pictured below and discussed in this post.

After the paint, this...                                              looked like this:

  and this...                                                             looked this this:

Okay, now we were getting somewhere.

After painting, removing the green medicine cabinet (that was chucked prior to me taking 'before' pictures), and hiding the hole with a perfectly sized mirror, this wall...

...turned into this:

O to the K! Now we're cookin with gas!

Next on the agenda was to replace the light fixture. For a looooong time it looked like this: Sad and missing a bulb.

I checked out Lowe's outdoor lighting section (which, did you know, has fixtures at cheaper prices than indoor bathroom lighting options?!) and came home with this industrial, modern country beauty:

I'm officially IN LOVE.

Just look at the difference paint and a new mirror and light fixture made to this space!

BEFORE                                        AFTER

Then I put all the essentials back in the room; a hand towel, extra toilet paper, and some accessories - cuz let's face it - decor is essential in the bathroom :)

Here comes an AFTER photo shoot!

So that's the rec room bathroom's overhaul...What do you think? A little less hideous and a lot more private, no? :)

Anyone else make over a half bath/powder room recently? What about a project that created more privacy in a space? 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Rec Room Re-do

I mentioned in this post the other day that we've got some big ideas/plans for our house's rec room. I promise in another post I'll talk allllll about those plans, but first let me familiarize you with the room itself.

I don't know if I've ever even shown our rec room to you. And maybe that's because until recently, it used to looked like this:

YIKES! Holy wood, wood, and more wood Batman!

Four walls, AND the ceiling were clad in wood. That's waaaay too much wood (that'swhatshesaid). ;)

The ceiling was and still is my favorite part of the room - it's a richly stained, very pretty beadboard, which makes us relatively sure this room used to be the house's back porch (we've found, at least in our area of PA, that a lot of older homes' front and/or back porch ceilings were dressed with beadboard). That, and the fact that our neighbor, who lived across the street all his life, remembers this being the old back porch :)

But because every surface of the room is wood, save for the carpeted floor, the ceiling was the last thing anyone noticed. Plus this room was flat out DARK and DEPRESSING. And so I set out to change that.

Hint, hint. You can see a little sliver of it there on the left wall in the photo below:

Leaving the ceiling as is, we started sanding down (for good adhesion) and priming EVERYTHING else...The wood paneling, the wood trim around the windows, the corner trim between the wall and ceiling, and the built-in bookcase(in the photos above and below).

Yes, even that was originally stained wood.

After TWO coats of primer - because the stained and poly'd wood paneling bled through the first coat in some spots - it looked like this on the left wall (the wall with the door that leads out to our now back porch and yard, mentioned here).

Then, after two coats of Benjamin Moore paint in eggsell finish, a good night's sleep and a half-a$$ed photo shoot the next morning ;) , we had this:

Here's a close-up. The color's hard to read in pictures (especially these crappy ones, haha. Don't worry, there are better photos later) but it's a subtle off-white when paired with the semi-gloss white on the trim and door:

Here's the longest expanse of wall halfway done (the wall continues about 2-3 feet beyond that second window). It was so much work I did it in sections to keep from going crazy...though some might say it's too late for that ;)

Then I finished the right wall and half-bath wall but for got to take picures of them :) The bathroom itself got an overhaul too, but that's for another post yet to come.

Now for the reveal: Here's the finished product of the room with our desk setup. Isn't it so much brighter (read soooo not depressing anymore) and doesn't the ceiling stand out beautifully now?

Above the desk I hung some stuff like this chalkboard. It was an old window my mom and I found in my grandparent's barn. I freshened up the white paint and sprayed the glass panes with chalkboard paint.

I've been writing season-themed sayings on them. All summer long it's said, "Let's have fun in the summer sun"

Then this summer-filled round frame hangs near the top of the wall (I found it at Big Lots along with the curtains in this room). It has pictures from our honeymoon, some other beach trips, and winston of course :)

It's a fun spot to switch out seasonal decor.

I'll take the round frame down in Fall (which for me is like, a week from now!!!) and put up a leaf wreath. Then for Christmas I hang a music sheet wreath I made last year. And then for Spring I'll hang a faux forsythia wreath - which you would think I'd have an aversion to after our backyard forsythia clearing rampage adventure mentioned here. :)

The last thing on the wall above the desk is a frame with old photos from when I was still in college.

From left to right, top to bottom, its one of my mom's kittens, my mom dancing, my sister, a bridge in New York (I wish I knew what bridge it is!), a piece of one of the World Trade Center's beams left from the rubble and shaped like a cross, and my mom reading.

The wall area to the left of the door has become a spot where we hang up Winston's collars and leashes. I hung that piece of wood and hooks with the thought in mind that in the future it'll be a place to hang coats, hats and kick off shoes when little ones come in after playing outside :)

I'll leave you with a side-by-side Before and After, and as promised I'll be back later with posts on the bathroom makeover and our plans for making this room MUCH more functional. Til then, as Tigger says, "TTFN! Ta-ta for now!"

                                  BEFORE                                            AFTER

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