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Blank Slate Design Dilemma

July 7, 2007

I love my house but there is one room that I’ve never known quite what to do with or how to decorate it. It’s the front room. What would you do with this room?

This is the first room you come in to when you enter the house. (This is looking at the front door from the kitchen.)


Here’s how I had it decorated and I hated it. (This is looking towards the room from the front door.)


 (This is looking more into the room showing the window area and front door. Oh, and there’s an entry porch on the outside there.)


(And here’s the funny half wall that flanks the stairs. Eventually this will be replaced with ballusters and railing.)


I got rid of the table and chairs shown in these pictures, and I still have the bookshelves. However, I don’t much like the bookshelves because if you look closely, they aren’t deep enough to properly hold my scrapbooks. Not only that, they are dark, and my new flooring will be dark, very close to the color of those bookshelves. They tend to close in the room. The ceilings in this room are quite high – probably 15 feet or so. And then there’s that huge wall that will be empty without the shelves. What to do with that?

The real problem with this room is we don’t know how to use it, therefore I don’t know how to design or furnish it. As you pass through this room, you head to the back of the house where the family room, dining room, and kitchen are. This is where we do everything. The front room ends up being a huge dump site for jackets, backpacks, shoes, purchases, everything that doesn’t have a place – and there’s a lot of that crap around. (Granted, I’m working as you know on solving that part of the problem.)

Having a dining table there just was a magnet for everything. We never ate there as there was another dining table in the dining room. Go figure. Even now, with the room emptied out, it’s still a dump site for blankets and jackets and backpacks. AND I even hung up coat hooks, so I guess there is some habit retraining that needs to occur.

The model homes had this set up as a sitting area. I don’t have that many people over who wouldn’t just come into the family room, so that doesn’t quite work for me. I put the bookshelves in there as I thought I’d have that as a room for “crops” when I had my scrapbooking friends over using the table and having my supplies in the bookshelves. That didn’t work either. There just wasn’t enough room – the bookshelves took up too much space.

I like the gold color on the walls now – it’s a craftsman style color – and I really don’t want to repaint that, although I’m open to suggestions and I could even paint the cream colored walls something different.

Eventually I’ll add crown moulding to the ceiling. For the windows I envisioned high valances and long curtain panels for height, keeping the faux wood blinds behind the drapes.

The only other idea I had was to have some sort of dresser in the entry with closed drawers that we could use for doggie clothes, keys, loose stuff that has no home. Something like this:


Other than that, I have absolutely no idea what to do with this room, or how to decorate it. In the early mornings until about noon, the sun shines in through those windows, so I could maybe see setting it up as a reading nook area where I have my coffee and sit on the computer – kinda like I’m doing now.

My decorating style is leaning toward a mix of Tuscan old world and Tahitian tropical decor. I like the Hawaiian prints (barkcloth) as well as the warm tuscan colors. Anything to warm up a mostly gray and dreary climate.

I’m open to any and all ideas. For a really stunning idea that I end up using, I’ll send you some sort of prize or reward. (No idea what that is yet, but something nice, I’m sure.)

Anyone game? Anyone have any ideas? Fire ’em off this way, puhleeze…. I’m stumped.

  1. Gaylen permalink
    July 7, 2007 10:49 am

    Claire I love the idea of a sitting room. Nice comfy furniture, maybe a little bistro table in the corner by the winders for having morning coffee. I also like the idea of a dresser to hold doggie paraphernelia. I have a basket for leashes and hooks for collars (you know my dogs don’t wear them unless they are walking).

    I really enjoy my sitting room off the kitchen. The furniture is comfortable and it’s nice to just sit in there with the sun coming in enjoying a cup of coffee with either a book, some knitting that needs concentration or the laptop.

    let me know if you need a shopping friend. I too really like the warm Tuscan feel of things. I can’t wait to see the finished house!! g

  2. July 7, 2007 10:55 am

    I’m agreeing with Gaylen and her ideas. A nice room for YOU, to sit in, read the paper or a good book, enjoy the sunshine, and just relax.

  3. July 8, 2007 8:11 am

    my guess is the builder wanted this to be the “formal living room.” when we will let go of the antiquated idea of a formal living room? i have yet to meet the family who really needs one. anyone…sorry, personal peeve of mine…. our house has a formal living room. i didn’t want one, but realized if we ever wanted to sell this house, we had to have one. it sat empty for a long time. then we inherited some furniture. the sofa is rather comfy. every now and then, i would find one of the boys sprawled out on the sofa reading a book. when i asked “why here?,” the response was, “it’s quiet and cozy.” there could absolutely no one in the family room and they each have their own bedroom, so it isn’t a matter of trying to get away from the crowds. i think they like it because it is a room without distractions….no tv, no computer, no one else goes in there…. so, i have since made it more reader friendly….some nice pillows, a soft throw, better lighting, etc. i’m just happy to see the room get some use.

    as for your room….i would paint that half wall something dramatic….but i like drama. 🙂 make it focal point with some interesting artwork. for the backpacks & coats, you might look into some sort of storage thing. pottery barn has some that are very attractive. the other option is pitch a fit whenever someone dumps something. eventually the learn to dump it somewhere else. 🙂 a lack of horizontal surfaces helps. removing the coffee table from our family room was the best thing i ever did. the storage for doggie stuff is a great idea. we have really nice chest in our foyer. inside all those lovely drawers are computer parts, cables, chargers, etc. it keeps the stuff organized and out of sight.

    i agree with gaylen….make it a quiet little oasis. a place to read and relax away from the chaos. a chaise lounge would be decadent.

  4. Jessica permalink
    July 8, 2007 4:27 pm

    I like Mermaid’s suggestion a lot…I like the room because of the light from all the windows. It would make a nice relaxing reading room …I was thinking of a chaise lounge myself. Possibly a Tommy Bahama writing desk, rattan or cane chair , a palm like ceiling fan and a palm plant in the corner…..Just a suggestion.
    Nice home by the way. It is going to look great when your done.


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