Uncharted Territory…

Just like we did in our first house, we find ourselves bouncing around from project to project and from room to room (we’ve tackled the living room, guest room, nursery, master bedroom, kitchen, dining room, office, laundry room, patio, deck, etc). But there are still a few completely untouched spaces after two whole years of living here (other than slowly filling them with clutter in some cases)!

Up until about a month ago they were:

  • the sunroom
  • the playroom
  • the hall bathroom
  • the guest bathroom
  • the basement
  • the carport (which we want to convert to a more curb-appealing structure)
  • the front porch (we want to frame out the columns, remove the scalloped trim, etc)

Those are a lot of spaces to leave completely alone (or fill with clutter) for nearly 24 months! But thanks to some scurrying in the past four weeks, we’ve actually started in on the hall bathroom and the basement, which just leaves:

  • the sunroom
  • the playroom
  • the guest bathroom
  • the carport
  • the front porch

That’s still a bunch of areas that’ll keep us busy, but it feels better to only have five untouched zones on the list instead of seven. And ya know what will feel even better? Starting on the sunroom. Whoop whoop!

And yes, we’re getting excited to tackle Clara’s big girl room, so that’ll be happening pretty soon too. You know us in the winter, it gets cold and we get all crazy and bite off a ton of stuff (as seen here with an update that we also gutted the kitchen last Christmas).

There’s nothing like looking a room square in the eye (the wall? the trim? the window?) and saying “dude, we’re getting on that.” So we officially did that to the sunroom. And then we got started. First here are some shots of the sunroom as it looked yesterday when we started. This is the wall that looks out to the upper patio:

This is the wall to the right of that which overlooks the patio we added on the side of the house (this terribly-out-of-scale sketch of our lot might help orient you more):

This is the brick wall to the right of that with a window that looks into the kitchen:

And this is the wall to the right of the brick wall that looks into the living room (here’s a floor plan of our house that might help orient you too):

Not much to look at, eh?

And since we all know I’m nothing if not long winded and thorough, here’s a video for ya, just to capture our “before” in 3-D. Well I guess it’s still 2-D, but it paints a better picture than the pictures, if that even makes sense at all. Maybe not? Oh and the video explains why we can’t remove that window between the kitchen and the sunroom since we get that question semi-often:

So the first step after standing in the sunroom and declaring “dude, we’re getting on this already” to no one at large was to draw up a little plan. Not to scale, just more like a brain dump on paper. It looked like this:

We knew the daybed only worked on one wall (we moved it around a lot when we first moved in and the brick wall just makes the most sense layout wise) and we thought adding a bar overlooking and patio through those giant windows would be cool and then bringing in some sort of storage for the completely bare wall across from them might make sense. We also want to reuse the jute rug leftover from our bedroom and the bright blue stools leftover from our kitchen along with a few other items that we already have (like floor pillows, daybed pillows, etc) because you know we love to work with what we have. Of course there are major things that have to happen like painting and adding window treatments, etc – but in this case we thought figuring out a layout that worked trumps paint, so that’s what we started with since we had so many existing pieces that we wanted to work in.

The first step to seeing if our little floor plan rendering would make sense in real life was to clear out the clutter and either craigslist, store, or donate anything extraneous. After about an hour in there we were left with this:

And then after moving some items that would go back into the room into the living room, just to get the room bare enough to look at/place the rug, we were here:

Yup, it looked like move-in day all over again. Except without the snow.

Then we brought the rug in and laid it down with a bit of it going under the daybed to ground everything. It’s a nice size for the room, the jute makes sense in a sunroom, and it cozied up the cold tile floor so we were sold. Although with the butter-cream color of the walls it’s a little off, we’re sure once we paint and add accessories and otherwise complete the unfinished 99% of the room we think it’ll all come together.

Then because I’m impatient, I tossed down the floor pillows, placed the coffee table, and played with a plethora of pillows. You guys know about me and my pillow problem, right? Oh but don’t mind the orangy-brown drawers to the right of the daybed (those will be craigslisted – they’re leftover from our kitchen reno) and those stacked tables to the left of the daybed (we’ll figure out where those really go someday).

Next we brought in the stools that we envisioned for the bar against the bay of windows overlooking the stone patio and it was like a DJ slammed their hand down on a record. Screeeeech. It just didn’t work. No matter if we scooted the rug over, moved the daybed, or even removed the rug and tried the daybed on another wall – in person they just felt way too cramped and not-really-functional there. Sad face.

But as we’ve learned about a million times before, sometimes the first idea that pops into your head for a room isn’t the right one anyway, so thinking things through thoroughly (especially in the middle and the end of a project- more on that here) seems to yield a room that works the best (and looks the best). So we have plans to use the stools in another way that will hopefully make more sense of the room and actually be functional without getting all jammed up on the rug/heating unit by the window. And they won’t sit on either side of the daybed, I just stuck them there for now.

Wouldn’t they look sweet in the corner with a bar-height table in an old beat up wood finish? I think I’ll shimmy the rug under the daybed more to give that corner more room so it doesn’t look quite as squished in there. Unless we change our minds for the third time and things end up somewhere else, which definitely could happen. Sometimes you just have to let things shake out as we like to call it. Haha.

I know it’s hard to picture, so we’ll just share photos and details as we go! So excited to be starting in on yet another untouched space. Smells like teen spirit progress. Are you guys starting in on any formerly untouched rooms? Do you ever sketch things out and then try them in real life and it completely doesn’t work? Oh and do you like how the brick wall stops about seven feet up right at the top of the window? This used to be the exterior of the house and that’s where the slope of the roof started, so there’s no more brick above that. Boo! Wish it went all the way to the ceiling! But we have a few ideas to make it look less jarring and more integrated. Will keep ya posted!

Psst- Wanna see what a typical Thanksgiving looks like for us? Here’s Clara’s rundown on Young House Life.


  1. Anne says

    Love this kind of post (well, I like all your posts). It’s just neat to read about your thoughts as you work through creating a room. :-)

  2. says

    So glad that you finally have a chance to tackle the sunroom! I love it from the pics you’ve shared. All that sun coming in and the view of the wooded back yard – love it! Can’t wait to see what you come up with next!

  3. Carolyn says

    Do you really drink so much you need a bar in your home?

    Also, it’ll cut those lovely windows in half and force people to sit with their backs to the room. Also, people sitting in a row is not conducive to conversation.

    Those blue stools are so bright and beautiful but home bars are just depressing (my own personal opinion, of course).

    Love to read here every day and am buying your book on my Nook today!

    • says

      Remember that a bar with stools doesn’t have to mean alcohol – think of a breakfast bar. I think that a bar in the sunroom would be intended as more of a great place to put out appetizers for Clara’s birthday than a place to sit all evening with a series of martinis and manhattans.

      Also, I will say that even as a person who hosts friends every week to try new cocktails, and who is just finishing up renovating a basement bar/kitchen after flood damage, I can say that the main use we get from our bar is as a surface to spread out and work on projects.

  4. says

    I am so looking forward to reading/seeing more about this room. It really is a room with such potential, and all of that beautiful light is gorgeous! And it looks like you’re surrounded with all sorts of foliage, too! Really, really wonderful.

  5. Jennifer S says

    Thanks for the tip about the Nook Book. I already have your hard copy, but I’m excited to now have it wherever I go!

  6. Meg says

    We live in a 3 bedroom house and have not really done much with our “back” bedroom. Ours has been evolving, and so has the one that we use as an office/den/music room, but the back room has gotten pretty much no love. When we first moved in, a friend of our lived with us and that was his room – so for over a year now since he moved out I feel sort of ashamed to say that it is in a holding pattern.

    The bright side is that I have slowly been collecting the things that we will need in there (we have a bed, a dresser, and a smaller dresser to use as a nightstand) so the love should start to flow soon! I firmly agree with your policy of saving pennies and doing what you can with what you have!

  7. Jessi says

    Thanks for the heads up on the nook sale! Even though I have your hardcover book, I went ahead and bought the nook version so I can have it with me on my iPad at all times! :) Plus it makes me feel better, since my dog got her paws on your book and chewed the corner of the spine within the first few days of me owning it. I was upset, but luckily had some turquoise duct tape on hand to fix the bind, and it blends in quite nicely lol!

  8. Nicole says

    I sent this once, not sure if I sent it right :(

    Cement scraped onto a brick wall in spots more then others is a wonderful way to show a aged look. Better then painting for sure since you already like the brick, just will tone it down some. Very New Orleans/ Spain.

    • nicole says

      I can understand using a white-wash on walls most of all on wood!

      On brick, A white wash makes more “sence” since it is easy.
      Putting more time into it with cement will turn that wall into a work of art! Molding awesome also.

      I seen white wash, and paint on bricks. As a interior designer, it cheep looking.

      Have you been into older homes where you seen the sheetrock, or plaster broken off of the wall leaving the brick showing, yet still keeping the broken sheetrock almost gone; yet left alone?

      There is something so wonderful about that. says history, art, statement, It says home!

    • nicole says

      Sense it’s your home, what do you want it so say about your-self, and your family.

      I don’t know anything about you, this was on my feed today and got my eye. I very glad I did.

      I know this much, the easy way out never works in life.

      I wish you and your family the best re~design. It’s so much fun to do things on your own, I know I love it.

      Have a wonderful holiday season, your room might not be ready, but well worth the wait!

      Very Nice talking to you today

  9. Heather says

    Have you considered installing white beadboard above the brick? If you do that and white wash the brick wall, it might help the wall make more sense.
    You could also continue the beadboard to the ceiling, but that might be overkill.

  10. Allison says

    I was also at the book signing last night – first in line crew wahoo! – and I honestly thought with the small store and the huge turnout they really handled it the best that they could. I actually went in planning on buying three extra books, but ended up only buying one extra (I brought my own as well) because I didn’t want to be a line hog haha
    I just wanted you to know that I thought overall it was a really positive experience, even though I couldn’t think of anything to say once I finally got to see you! You guys are awesome!

  11. Kearney says

    i have been in my 1950’s brick ranch for 20 years now. many rooms have been done and re done with the exception of the guest room which is still the same off white the landlord painted it when we were just renting the place. if i could just decide on a paint color, the hubs is ready to paint. this place has been and will always be a work in progress. this time last year we were tearing out our kitchen. christmas will be merrier this year without all the construction dust!

    love your blog & can’t wait til you come to charlotte!

  12. Michele says

    Got very excited when I saw your book was the Nook deal today — then found out it’s not available for Kindle, which is what I have. Any idea if it will be available for Kindles in the future?

    • says

      We hear that Kindles don’t play well with picture books (they lend themselves more to type books and not image-based books) so I don’t think Kindle is making a version of our book. So sorry!


  13. keegan says

    SO great to meet you guys last night! I almost chickened out since I was coming alone but am so glad I didn’t! And sorry about the super awkward request for the U-V-A photo, I panicked and didn’t know what to say! My face is soo embarrassed in the picture haha but I’ll stick it on your fb page once I’ve recovered!