Banishment of the game room blinds

We moved from a suburban neighborhood where I could see into 5 other people’s homes from my back deck, out to the country where we have more than an acre of privacy and tons of trees (and if you can believe it, we paid a lot less for this house than the previous one). One of the perks is that I can’t see into anyone’s house from my backyard (and no one can see into my house). Because of the awesome privacy I was able to take the blinds down in our family room and not worry about any Peeping Toms.

I have enjoyed being blinds-free in our family room so much that I got a wild hair and took down all the blinds in the game room as well! (The fact that they were broken and completely disgusting made the choice a lot easier.) Our game room also faces the backyard, so we have a lot of privacy (I will keep the blinds on the front of the house though because you can see into our house from the street).

I think removing the blinds has made a big impact already. Here’s what the windows looked like when we bought the house. We quickly took down the curtains, but the blinds stayed up for several months afterward.

I am planning on hanging curtains in the game room though because it is nice to be able to make it darker to watch movies or play video games. Also, whenever we have people stay over, they sleep in the game room, so they might not want the sun to wake them up at 6am. I have to figure out what curtains to hang, but I really love the way these red curtains from ikea looked in our last game room when we staged the house to sell, so I might do this again. (They will need an extra black-out layer added though.)

Anyone else blinds-phobic? I never thought I’d be the type of person to remove all my blinds, but seriously, I love it. The sun just flows in freely now. And I don’t know about you, but the weather really affects my mood so the more light the better.


Ben’s office 4-month progress report

Ben’s office is usually such a wreck that it’s hard for me to share it with you guys. However, we recently painted the room and it somehow got clean/organized enough that I could snap a few pictures. Come on in and check it out so far…

The day we closed on the house a little over 4 months ago, the room looked like this:

Neon green walls, sheer neon green curtains, cream baseboards, worn carpet…

The first thing I did was rip out the carpet and spray all the baseboards with a paint sprayer. You can read about that here.

When the carpet guys were putting in all new carpet we had them put vinyl flooring in Ben’s office. Ben insisted on not having carpet in there, and 4 months later, we are still very happy with the vinyl.

Here’s the office about two weeks after moving in. We didn’t have time to paint any walls before moving in, hence the neon green walls!

It seems like it takes us months of shifting things around after moving before we finally find the perfect home for all of our stuff. We purchased 4 of these big metal garage shelves for our previous home, but our new home has built-in shelving in the garage so now we are left with these 4 shelves. While we save cash to buy new furniture for the office, we figured we might as well use these garage shelves in here for storage.

Ben works from home about 30% of the time (he use to work from home 100% of the time, but now he goes into an office most days) and really needs his own private office at home. When he’s home working he is on conference calls a good portion of the day so I can’t share a room with him (plus he’s too messy for me to want to share).

First, we ripped all the built-ins out of the closet. After patching up the 50,000 holes, we painted the closet (and the room) Accessible Beige from Sherwin Williams.

After measuring first, we realized we can fit two of the garage shelving units in the closet almost perfectly. Ben scooted the first one into place, and then got stuck.

I had a lot of fun laughing at and taking pictures of him at his expense.

We had to scoot the shelf back out a little, then he climbed out and we put the shelf back in place. After that we wedged the 2nd shelf into place. A perfect fit! Now he has ample storage for all of his work equipment.

During our painting and shifting crap around mode, we painted all the walls and gave the ceiling a fresh coat of Alabaster (in flat) from Sherwin Williams. I love bright white flat-finish on the ceilings.

In case you are wondering what the heck Ben has all this random equipment for, he’s a secret spy and uses it to tap peoples houses. Just kidding… he works for a big cable company and is on their team implementing a brand new security and home automation product line. He has to test the security equipment all the time, so in addition to our house being wired to the hilt (including fun things like glass-break detectors, motion sensors, and live-feed cameras), he also has several additional security testing systems in his office. He’s on the software side but uses the hardware to test changes they make.

The big change/addition we made to Ben’s office is his very own small weight room corner. He loves working out and is into Body for Life. He blogs sporadically about his fitness on his blog and has a pretty impressive before-and-after picture you should check out.

He purchased the bench on Craigslist and the floor mats, weights, and weight racks from Academy.

The little workout area isn’t totally finished yet though. We need to get a big mirror to attach to the wall. For now he has a box and a chair holding up two dressing mirrors. Pretty lame, but it works temporarily.

One final cutesy thing I did to help the room feel a little more comfy (until we can really put the time and money into the room to make it look amazing) is create a little gallery wall. He has this big boring whiteboard that he uses all the time, so I added some meaningful art around it.

I hung up his diploma, two name plates from previous jobs he’s had, a photo of him and the chicklets, and two pieces of kid art they made for him. I really love the kid art and daddy/kids photo. I’d much rather have memories on my walls than the perfect expensive art piece. It also makes the kids feel good when we actually display the little art projects they’ve made for us.

That’s the 4 month progress report. It’s come a long way! We still have a lot to do (replace the ceiling fan, hang new blinds, reattach the window sill that fell off…) but at least the place is more soothing thanks to a neutral greige paint job.

Before and after:

One last before and after:


A family room update

Hey guys! I realized I haven’t updated you on the family room – where we spend the majority of our time – since we moved in.

Here’s what it looked like when we moved in:

I have spent 4 months moving chairs around and decrapifying all the piles of decor and frames that got dumped in there. Coming up with a chair configuration was making me a little insane. You can see from all the before pictures that I kept moving chairs in, then out, then swapping them, then changing their angle, etc.

In this photo from the house tour everything has been moved around again. It’s always so hard to get your furniture to fit properly in a new house. Sometimes it takes me several tries. (I have moved my office and craft stuff 5x times already.)

About a month ago I pulled down all the blinds in the family room. We left them up for a few months just to see if I would ever want to close them, but we realized we love the huge windows and all the light pouring in, so I took them down. Here’s a picture before removal.

My little DIYer-in-training helped take them down. He is almost 12 now and is quickly becoming a great little side-kick when I tackle projects. If it involves a screwdriver, or climbing a ladder, or using a power-tool, or better yet, doing anything that he thinks is out of the ordinary, he is all over it. His favorite? Any reason to get on the roof. Eek.

Removing the blinds made a huge difference. The windows now have cleaner lines, and even though it was only about 6-inches-tall worth of blinds, the light just seems to pour in so much more now.


Here is how the room currently looks:

I added a few new pieces of furniture, and then raided my accessories stash. I think just adding a coffee table, some decor, and a few pillows really takes a room from boring and unfinished looking to polished. And ps, yes, I realize the rug is ridiculously too small for the space. I’m workin’ on it!

Granted, I have loads of work to still do in here. As you have probably noticed by now, I am trying to pick a paint color for in here. Because of all the natural light, the colors look very different throughout the day. A color I thought I would love looks great at 10am but I hate it at 3pm. This is a tricky room! I am pretty sure I have chosen a color though, so now I need to start painting.

In addition to needing to paint the walls, I painted the back door black and the trim around the door a new coat of white. The black still needs a second coat so don’t look too closely. This picture was taken while standing in our piano room (it’s suppose to be a dining room but we are using it as a piano room).

Like I said, I purchased a few new pieces of furniture to give the room a more finished look (it still has a long way to go, but you know what I mean). I bought the bookshelf next to the tv, and the coffee table and side table from ikea. I quickly stuffed a bunch of chachkies and decor on the shelf, but it is in no way finished being “styled”.

And here’s one more of the family room, but from the opposite angle looking towards the front door and piano room. Do you spy my orange curtains? I temporarily tacked them up yesterday to see if I will like them in there (I do!) so once that room gets a fresh paint job I will permanently hang those curtains again. Did you think I would leave them at the old house? Heck no!

And just for fun, here are the official MLS photos of the family room. Isn’t it so crazy how two people can make a room look so different? I obviously have very different (and less formal) taste than the previous owners.

I love seeing the befores and afters next to each other so I don’t have to keep scrolling up and down, so here you go!

previous owner & currently:

before & after:

before & after:

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