The Great Front Room Redo of 2013. (Or 2014.)(Whenever.)

The week before Christmas, as I was straightening out the small front room that serves as office and very-messy-playroom, Kim happened to bemoan the fact that we couldn’t renovate it. It’s the last room that’s undone – there are other rooms I might like to redo, but the front room doesn’t even have any paint on the walls. “Maybe you’ll have money saved up by the time I visit in the summer,” she finished.

“Oh, I have the money saved up,” I told her, “I thought we weren’t doing it because you’re only here for two weeks and it’s Christmas and everything is everywhere.”

Kim’s face sort of lit up and I had a feeling that I was, at the very least, getting paint on my walls. She might have mentioned something about the greenlight for the project being the best. Christmas present. ever! Or something.

So, while I was away at work during those four days between Christmas and New Year’s, Kim found paint samples, got approval for one of them, and then surprised me by having the entire room painted. Even the up-high bits. The woman was afraid of heights – coming home to a room that required zero painting from me? Especially given my kidney stone? Best Christmas present ever! (Me, to Kim: “This is how the gift of the Magi was supposed to work out!”)

I checked with the Ex to see if he wanted any of the furniture we were ditching, and then listed it all on Craigslist. The bulky armoire that housed the computer, the three-by-three cubit, the small bookshelf, the glider/rocker that I really didn’t need… All of them went quickly with minimal Craigslist craziness. (Well, except the 3×3 cubit, and that’s because I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to post it.) We moved the wire shelving unit that used to hold all of the games into the garage, and the room was empty. And biiig. So of course we headed to Ikea.

After hours of mulling things over and price-comparing the higher-end bookshelves with the ones from Target that I had in the living room, and then finally found a display of the Billy bookshelves that didn’t look cheap, I settled on the Billy set. We picked out two wide shelves (and a set of doors for one of them), and three narrower shelves that we could use to bend around the corner of the room. I found red knick knacks (vases and some frames) and swanky lighting that makes the bookshelves looks like they belong in a library or an art museum. Best of all, Ikea had the furniture delivered the next day. For the win!

The Thursday after New Year’s, Kim and I picked up a cable box (hey, did you know I can get up to four free cable boxes? Me, either.), a small flat-screen T.V., fabric to cover some boxes, oversized letters, oh, and a desk that we found for wicked cheap at Staples that just happens to perfectly match the bookcases. A small red media hutch and two oversized floor pillows in a red swirly pattern from Target completed the necessities. We just had to put it all together.

It took every minute away from the kiddos that we had, but somehow (thanks, mostly to Kim) we pulled it off. I did have to have the cable guys come out to troubleshoot the box (silly lady at the cable box store gave me the wrong cable), but we were ready for the big reveal Saturday at lunchtime. Oh, did I mention that while the girls knew we were redoing the front room, that they didn’t get to see it? They had no idea what we were doing, beyond painting. They were stunned.


It’s not a great shot of the entire room (and hello, it’s from Christmas morning), but this gives you a sense of how scrambled everything was. The computer armoir was a holdover from when the girls were little and we needed to be able to shut the doors and kidproof them. It was lovely while we needed it, but obviously has long outlived its use. The cubit was great to hold all of their toys, but it didn’t really go with anything. And the wire shelf (not pictured) was great for function, but not part of the long-term plan.


See how pretty? The doors aren’t exactly attached yet (I have to drill the holes to attach the hardware), but the games are all hidden behind there. The girls’ books (or most of them), my research, toys…so much storage! The lighting is all set – and happens to be Bee’s favorite part, because she can dance in a spotlight. heh. My favorite part is that we now have a separate space where the girls can go off and watch their TV programs that is away from me. And for no extra monies!

There isn’t much new in this pic, but this is the other corner where the bookcases end. Eventually, we’re going to turn that closet into a reading nook. We’ll take the door off, add a chest in there with hidden storage, build a trap door in the back that opens into the laundry room, and paint the walls…um…some sort of color. Also of note: see that Dora CD player? The girls have had it since Gracie was two. Bee asked if we could donate it and get a “big girl” CD player – she is too big for Dora. I liked that she was disappointed that it wasn’t something new, but didn’t demand a new one or act put out. I told her she could save her reward marbles and trade in her jar when it was full. And then goodbye last-Dora-item-in-the-house!

This is just to the right of the doors when you walk in, where the wire shelves used to be. I like that my desk is an island onto itself (and that it’s perfectly positions to watch some TV). I’d like to replace the chair with something upholstered, but we couldn’t find anything we liked in time. The printer right there on the window ledge worked out perfectly! And I was so proud of myself for untangling the mess that was all the cables back behind the desk and moving everything, somehow, in working order. (That crap hadn’t been touched since my IT-involved Ex moved out. Talk about intimidating computer networks.)

Best part of the room reno? We did it all for less than $1200. I am the master! Okay, Kim too.


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One Response to “The Great Front Room Redo of 2013. (Or 2014.)(Whenever.)”

  1. Kathy Says:

    Gorgeous! I am so jealous. I need a Kim and the money to re-do rooms. Someday . . . That’s what I keep telling myself anyhow.

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