Before and After days are always fun around here, and this one is especially sweet since we have been working on our family room in the basement for at least 8 months, a surprising amount of time when I went back to see when we started. Now, we’re calling it done (for now, I just can never really say a room is 100% finished) and I have a slew of photos to share with you. Like, remember when it used to look like this?
Probably not, that’s from right when we moved in. But you might remember it looking like this for almost 3 years:
Little baby Faye is trying to distract you from that old fireplace we revamped for less than $100 and the fact that there used to be a trampoline in our basement. (It’s now outside and the girls love that I can jump on it with them.) Now, the same angle looks like this:
There’s something for everyone down here now and we’ve been spending so much time playing, lounging, chatting, reading, playing the piano, swinging! Although I used to think the wide open space that used to be our basement was perfect for the girls to run around, now that the room has order and function and, you know, furniture, it’s amazing how much more we use this space–all of us, but especially the girls. I think there might be an analogy in there somewhere.
We have a few different kinds of toys in the house. The really big things like the slide, playhouse and trampoline are now all outside, which is actually a very natural and normal place for them to be. Then there’s the dollhouse Faye got for her birthday (it’s such a hit among both girls) and the teepee which sit out in the open since they are used daily. The stuffed animals–“stuffys”–that aren’t among the 6-10 chosen to accompany a child in bed that night are stored in baskets. (The ones consistently at the bottom of the basket I am making stealth plans to donate asap. So many stuffed animals!) And then there’s the smaller toys, like playdoh, markers, shopkins, littlest pet shops, legos, play food, little people, blocks, doctor’s kits–all the normal toys kids have–have a home in the industrial drawers shown above (note: they now also come in black and they look incredible). We ended up buying two of the chests, more so that it would look balanced on the span of wall, but I’m so glad we have the storage now. I still haven’t labeled the drawers, but I’m amazed at how easy it has been to keep things organized and cleaned up.
Even Faye can carry a drawer over to the table herself and play–three cheers for that. When we first laid out plans for this playroom/family room, we thought of incorporating a slide, but over time, those plans were tamed when we decided to keep the fireplace after all and we sprung for more storage instead. But no one over here is complaining thanks to the simple swing we DIYed a few weeks ago. It’s the highlight and cherry on top. It adds a little whimsy and a little something different and Greta invites her friends over to show them thee swing all the time. It will be especially nice when the weather gets colder, too.
But it’s not all about toys down here. We really wanted this to be a family friendly space and, as we have said before, parents are a part of the family, too. So creating a place where Chris and I could enjoy as much as our children was really important to us. A big U-shaped sectional (the Ainsley from Interior Define) divides the room and is large enough for all of us, plus some friends for a movie night, too.
Ditching the fluorescent light for recessed lighting and lamps and pendants over the play table, painting the walls Simply White by Benjamin More and replacing all the carpet with this low-pile one with a small pattern really modernized and brightened the whole room–making it feel a lot larger. Although we didn’t demo any walls for this renovation, we did add one!–kind of. Since Greta’s room is right behind the wall where we planned to hang our TV, we actually built a second wall and filled the space with sound-proofing material to cut down on noise transferred to her room. We’re happy to report, the extra effort has been 100% worth it. Chris and I have been able to take advantage of watching our favorite shows without waking the girls.
Adding the planked built-ins not only framed our tv in and provided media storage, but it also seriously dressed up a wall that you might not think twice about before.
Here’s the same angle today:
The way our home was designed, it has the same square footage upstairs and downstairs, so our family room (plus, storage room–the door behind the tent seen below leads to that) downstairs is a very similar size to our living room, dining room, kitchen upstairs. One setback we ran into with this room was while we were installing the recessed lighting. We planned on adding cans to soffited portion of the ceiling, too, but unfortunately it was filled to the brim with duct work. That ceiling was a challenge all around. But, knowing its purpose helped us come to terms with it. With no way to light this side of the room overhead, we hung a double sconce on the wall and painted it a rich, warm green-black–Valspar’s Vintage Frame.
A few people have wondered, “If you were so concerned about that half of the room not being as bright because of the lack of recessed lighting, it seems odd to paint the wall so dark.” Valid. However, if a room or area or wall is shadowed, painting it white or any super light color will make it read as dingy. White paint needs adequate lighting, whether natural (best!) or overhead light to really shine. Knowing this wall wouldn’t have easy access to either of those things, we embraced the shadows and love the depth this wall adds to the whole room.
Here’s how this wall looked before:
The piano was Chris’s Great Grandmother’s and it’s a really special piece in our home that we’ve been waiting to find the perfect place for. It has moved from the living room to the reading room, but it feels perfect right here. Chris comes down and plays on Sunday mornings and it fills the whole home. I love hearing him play and Greta has started taking an interest, too.
We’re very, very happy to have this space and to have it done. So happy we got cable for the first time in 6 years because, hey, that couch is calling our name!
Wall Color, Benjamin Moore Simply White; Accent Wall Color, Valspar Vintage Frame; Built-ins color, Clark+Kensington Chalk; Carpet, Stainmaster Medford in Fizz; Area Rug, Skyline from Rejuvenation; Sectional, Ainsley from Interior Define; Throw Pillows, Studio McGee; Arteriors Coffee Table; Table; Chairs; Pendant Lights; Toy Storage Chests; Dog Painting; Round Mirror; Lamp on Toy Storage; Globe; P-L-A-Y Letters (spray-painted gold); Swing; Curtains; Bamboo Blinds; Guitar Hangers; Shaggy Pouf; Piano Bench; Letter Board; Black and White Floor Bin; Blue Dipped Basket; Doll House; Teepee; Double Wall Sconce; Plant Stand–TJMaxx, Engineer Prints (Ribba Frame from Ikea), Curtains; ; In the Built-ins: Dwell Studio Black Pyramids; Kai Samuels Davis “The Beginning” Print; Black and Copper Figurine; Nubby Vase; Small vases; Cement vase with lid; Kai Samuels Davis “After The Storm” print; Shallow Baskets; Faux banana leaf plant; Glass box; White Urchin; Brass Geometric Object; Faux succulent; Candlesticks; Ceramic Elephant
DIY Shiplapped Built-Ins: Finished and Styled! / A Playroom Update: Lighting and Rug / An Unexpected Source For Playroom Storage + A High/Low Option! / Bringing Wall-To-Wall Carpet Back / Tips For Choosing Wall-to-Wall Carpet in a Modern, Family Setting / How To Make An Outdated Fireplace Insert Look Like A Million Bucks / A Peek Into our Toy Storage in the Playroom / A Custom Sectional for Downstairs at an Attainable Price / Our New Sectional from Interior Define / How to Make an Indoor Swing! / DIY Pom Pom Curtains / Disguising Air Returns With Paint! / All The Playroom Plans! / Tips for Making Engineer Prints Look Their Best
Our wood grain Shaker cabinet fronts were designed for busy, high-traffic homes like ours. Clad with durable textured thermofoils, this line is compatible with Sektion, Akurum, Godmorgon, and Besta cabinets from IKEA. It's the perfect, practical way to add the warmth of wood to all the rooms of your home.
We have teamed up with Loloi to create a line of rugs that are as affordable as they are beautiful. This collection houses a great mix of traditional and modern rugs, in cottage-y colorways, as well as vintage-inspired beauties that you’ll want to roll out in every room.
We partnered with Stuga on a line of hardwood floors — The Ingrid is really livable, and the color is very neutral. It doesn’t lean warm or cool, it’s that just right in-between. We have really loved putting it everywhere in our house. It’s the best jumping-off point for design, no matter your interior style. In addition to being beautiful, Ingrid is really durable — we have three kids, and we always have a home construction project going on. Ingrid stands up to it all.
Looking for our favorite things? A place to shop our home room by room, or just catch up on what Julia's wearing / loving right now? Browse the CLJ shop.
Befores, afters, mood boards, plans, failures, wins. We’ve done a lot of projects, and they’re all here.
We have a long-standing relationship with DIY, and love rolling our sleeves up and making it happen.
Even when you don’t want to rip down a wall, you can make that space in your home better. Right now.
The next project we’re checking off our 2023 project list is the mudroom! This used to be the laundry room until we built out a much bigger, better laundry room upstairs. So, in the meantime, this space has been exclusively Cricket’s room. Cricket will still have a special space here, but we’re transforming this dingy […]
Another way for us to stay in touch! Joining our weekly newsletter gives you access to exclusive content, never-before-seen photos, your questions answered, and our favorite DIYs. Sign up below!
Make yourself right at home
Make yourself right at home