Lee’s Second Design Dilemma

Lee is still putting the finishing touches on her front room makeover (pics to come!) but she’s back for help with the 10 x 10 space right off of her kitchen. Here’s her letter:

We love the mood board you made for our front room (pics coming soon!) and we’re thinking that for the room off of our kitchen we’d like to go for a warm but casual style that still looks pulled together. When we first moved into the house it was a 10 x 10′ dining room but it quickly became a walkway between the front room and the new great room behind it. The great room has a dining room/eating area so this room no longer needs a table. The room has also become a very random (but visible) area for extra kitchen storage, water and soda bottles, extra spices, homework stuff, mail. A total hodgepodge. It’s open on three sides (to the front room, the great room behind it and the galley kitchen) yet is serving tons of purposes. I think it needs an identity and should catch up with the rest of the house in terms of design. Everything can go. It would be really great to have more counter space, a place to store water/soda bottles and more kitchen gear plus a place for mail maybe? It might be nice to have a little desk or counter for homework too. We had given thought to making it a breakfast nook but the wall sizes don’t allow for that. I’d also like a new wall color. I think we should stay with kitchen-like colors and something that will look uniform or coordinate since we want it to feel like an extension of that room. Mostly we want it to look far more presentable and pulled together than it does now. -Lee

Here’s a floor plan for you:

Here’s a shot of the room from the kitchen:

We’re excited to turn this mismatched space into a room with tons of function and form. Here’s the plan:

And now for the mood board breakdown.

1. Lee’s kitchen is full of medium wood tones along with grays and browns so we selected a color palette full of tans, sands, and creams to complement those nearby hues while adding a little pop of color here and there with some emerald green accessories. As for the walls, we’d love to see them get a creamy coat of paint (Benjamin Moore’s Barbados Sand 1094) along with the walls of the kitchen so everything is open and seamless looking. We’ll also bring a deeper splash of cool tan (Benjamin Moore’s Fairway Oaks 1075) just behind the bookcases that we’ll be adding for a chic and polished accent that works effortlessly with the colors in the kitchen.

2. Lee mentioned she’d love a place to sort & store her mail, and a simple wooden organizer placed on the desk we’ll be bringing in will create a great little drop zone for bills and other incoming letters.

3. Here’s our big idea for this space. They’re actually three pieces that are all the same height so they can be lined up to create a seamless built-in look on a serious budget. The two end bookcases are simple Expedit shelves from Ikea (just $89 each) while the middle unit is the coordinating Expedit work station (just $139) which comes with a desk that will create a nice little peninsula in the 10 x 10′ space but still leaves plenty of room for passing through. The grand total for nearly a wall of custom-looking storage? Just $317- which is a pretty amazing price for three large bookcases plus a coordinating desk.

But what about storing all those items that Lee would rather keep out of sight (like extra soda bottles, water bottles, spices, and homework supplies for the kids)? Well, custom fitted doors and drawers (see the two we added to the bookcase on the left?) are available for all Expedit bookcases, so Lee can create little concealed storage cubbies full of anything she’d rather not have out in the open. And by leaving a few of the cubby holes open with decorative objects like baskets, vases, frames, platters and other pretty display pieces, the entire look will feel elevated and elegant (and no one will know that soda bottles and tattered notebooks are also stored among the pretty objects). And we can’t forget our accent color that will be painted just behind the bookcases (since they’re backless, any cubbies without drawers will frame the deeper tan wall color for a sophisticated look).

4. And speaking of sophisticated, since this room is right off of the kitchen (which would also look lovely with emerald green accents like bowls, art, glasses, etc) we loved the idea of displaying kitchen-ish things like these brilliant glass salad platters (just $10.95 each!) on a plate rack or two in the open shelves in the new bookcases. At $10.95 a pop they’re super affordable decorative accessories that double as art in the space (and bounce around tons of light). Oh and while we’re on the subject of the adjoined kitchen, another reason that we jumped at the chance to add almost an entire wall of storage to Lee’s room was to balance the height of the kitchen (her upper cabinets add a vertical element in that space so introducing tall shelves to the adjoining space will really create a cohesive and balanced feeling).

5. We’d love to see this clean-lined pendant light mounted in the center of the room (hanging about 35″ above the desk to add warmth and style – plus homework’s easier to do when you can see it!).

6. Beyond the white doors and drawers that Ikea created for their Expedit system, they also have chic little baskets that fit perfectly and add texture and warmth, so Lee can grab a few of these and pepper them in among the other items for an eclectic and totally functional look.

7. This great 6′ round rug (just $84!) will ground our little desk area when it’s centered under our circular light fixture overhead. We love mixing soft round shapes with angular storage pieces like our bookcases for a balanced and sleek look. Plus this natural fiber rug ties into the one we recommened for Lee’s front room so it’ll contribute to a nice seamless feeling.

8. Bringing in other storage boxes in green and even slate blue and orange (a few more cheap scores from Ikea) will tie into the accessories in both the adjoined front room and the great room beyond this 10 x 10′ space, plus the colors will also work with the tones in the kitchen to really pull all four spaces together.

9. Pretty decorative touches in bright sleek white will also really pop on the white shelves with the rich tan wall color behind them. We especially love how these two vases feel like estate sale finds but they’re just $19 and $24 a pop.

So there you have it. A multifunctional room full of style and storage. We can’t wait to see what you guys think!

Update: Woo to the hoo! Lee actually sent us after photos of this space so click here to feast your eyes on her amazing mood board makeover.

Update #2: We sadly can no longer find the time to take on client commissioned mood boards (we now whip up general inspiration boards instead) but if we ever reinstate them we’ll make a big announcement!


    • says

      No way! The price went up! The good news is that we know Lee already ordered it back when we sent over the mood board last week so it sounds like she got the discounted price!


  1. Kari says

    Ok, youngsters, props to you! You know you’re doing something right when you have repeat customers!

    I love, love the shelving units…if only there were an IKEA close by… *sigh*

  2. julia says

    Love it! I really like the round rug under the round light fixture. I also like the bookshelves/storage/desk – so functional! Sherry, would it be possible to post a picture of the kitchen? I’d like to see how this room will tie in with the kitchen.. thanks!

    • says

      Hey Julia,

      We actually don’t have the photo on hand of the adjoining kitchen to post, but because we recommended a new paint color to carry into the kitchen, here’s hoping Lee sends along afters of both areas so we can share how they flow!


  3. Loren says

    This is probably my favorite makeover I’ve seen so far. Love the shelves, (probably because I have a whole wall of bookshelves myself).

  4. Jaclyn says

    This is my favorite makeover so far….LOVE it! I love the natural color scheme. And, all of the organization space…wow! We actually have the Expedit bookshelves in our girls’ bedroom…it’s WONDERFUL!

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