Reader Redesign: One Rockin’ Family Room

When Erin and her husband Ben sent their before and after pictures our way we couldn’t wait to share the eye candy. Here’s their letter:

I read your blog every day and love your style, your thriftiness, and your wit! My husband and I have lived in a 1925 Arts & Crafts bungalow for almost two years, and have been making it our own one room at a time. After three and a half long months of our entire first floor in total disarray, we’ve finally finished our family room project, and I wanted to share some before and after photos. We are really proud of our handiwork, and are thrilled to finally relax in our new space – we’re taking a bit of a break before our next big project! It was long and hard but we managed to remove the old built-ins and build new ones, strip all of the original oak woodwork, and tile the entire fireplace with ledgestone veneer over the course of about 70-80 hours (we lost count after a while). Thanks so much for letting us show it off! Sincerely, Erin & Ben

Here’s the room before their makeover magic:


And here it is now in all its gorgeous after glory:


And for all you Curious Georges (or Georginas) out there, here’s a source list– fireplace ledgestone veneer: Dutch Quality Natural Blend Ledgestone from a local dealer, paint: Valspar Martha Stewart Signature Barn Door Red & Valspar Churchill Hotel Wheat, new blinds: Levolar Real Wood Blinds from Lowe’s, floral curtains: Pier 1, leaning media center: Crate & Barrel, overhead lighting: Two-Tier Round Chandelier from Restoration Hardware, bookshelf lighting: IKEA, sofa: Crate & Barrel, chairs: IKEA, coffee table: Crate & Barrel, red side table: Target, rug: carpet remnant from local warehouse sale, pillows: all from Crate & Barrel.

Is that not a seriously amazing transoformation? And the fact that they did most of it with their own two hands (especially that breathtaking stone fireplace) is seriously inspiring. Thanks so much for sending the unbelievable before and after pictures our way Erin and Ben! We hope you find some time to relax in that lovely new room… before you move on to making over the next one.


  1. richard says

    TERRIFIC job!! I especially dig the curtains–SO perfect in the arts and crafts room! I also am happy to see so much return to the room after the makeover. Way to make what you have work in your new design!!

  2. Melissa says

    Wow!! This is so inspiring! I love the mix of natural colors and textures, with the bold graphic curtains. Please share more rooms when you have them finished!

  3. says

    Oh man, I read “removed the old built-ins” and almost had a heart attack, until I scrolled down and saw the beautiful work they did with them! I especially love the stone fireplace – much more lovely than brick. The new light fixture makes a huge difference as well.

  4. says

    Agree with Richard in that I’m glad to see so much return after the really amazing make-over – and that they did this almost all themselves!

    And even happier to see carpet remnants mentioned… I’ve heard a lot about getting inexpensive rugs this way but have no idea how to go about it. Can anyone (Erin and Ben? the youngsters?) tell me more about where to find remnants and just explain the process?

  5. Christin M says

    Wow! That room is fantastic! I absolutely love the fireplace, all the colors compliment eachother so well(way to go using a great red color like that in a room). I hope you share more before and after shots as you continue working on your house – very inspirational!

  6. Jen Z. says

    Beautiful room. The fireplace is really the focal point in the room now. What a great job. Love that you brough back most of the stuff you already had. Great way to be Green. and thos bookcases (built-ins) just goregous!

  7. says

    Ok, this makeover is freaking me out a bit, because I’m almost positive this is the house I lived in in high school! I wish I could be certain – they did a beautiful job.

  8. Sarah says

    I totally love seeing pictures of houses with non-white woodwork. My house is 1914 and has all the original woodwork. I don’t want to paint it. Raised by an architect, all hear in my head is “Let the house tell you how to wants to look. Don’t fight it.” My house is old and warm and begs a darker pallet than the more modern white woodwork. Love the pics! Love them. Thanks for the inspiration!

  9. says

    This is a great makeover! My first instinct would have been to paint the trim, but this is a great example of how wooden accents CAN work in a room if they’re pulled together properly!

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