Monday, June 4, 2012

The Front Room: Before and Way Before

My biggest goal to tackle during my so-called Little List Week was recovering a home office space in the front room.

The front room is a 15 X 9 foot space to the immediate right of the foyer, with an eastern window on the street front of the house. In the first year of living here, it has become the non-Hogwarts version of the Room of Requirement. If you're familiar with the Harry Potter series of books or movies, the Room of Requirement is both whatever anyone needs (broom closet, secret meeting room) or the perfect place to get rid of anything (ruined magic experiments, cursed objects).

While I can't claim to have used it as a secret meeting room or as a dumping ground for ruined magical items, the front room has become a jumble of backpacks, shoes, coats, brooms, books, and even a plastic sword or two. After a year of shifting piles of possessions taking over and retreating from this area, it was time to get it shaped up.

This room has wood paneling that used to be pretty nice. I'm not sure if it's cherry or maple veneer, but I believe it was installed in the 1960s, and was reasonably well done. I think it may have been stained darker than its original shade, and it is now unfortunately pretty messed up. I'll explain by way of giving readers one Way Before photo:

This photo is from the stash I found in the kitchen junk drawer, which I blogged about here. It's dated on the back "1968." As you can see, it was panelled with built-in book cases and cupboards to hold a TV. It stole space from a broom closet that originally ran behind the television wall. The dark panel across the top is a purple frieze fabric to cover stereo speakers. There are shelves to house the stereo components behind the cupboard door to the left of the TV. Note the Encyclopedia Britannica and National Geographics on the shelves, and the barometer on the wall!

Now one of my Before photos:

This is the same wall from a slightly different angle. One of the previous owners sawed an unfinished hole in the paneling to get a giant flat screen TV in the wall, and left it gaping when they moved out. In front is a love seat I've destined for another location but in the meantime became a mountain of winter coats, school backpacks, and......please don't look too closely. I'm appalled that I'm even putting this in a blog post. For lack of a better solution to that gaping sawed-out hole, I put a tension shower rod and an old bed sheet across it.

At the other end of the room I give you another Way Before:

There's a whole bunch I like about this photo: the tailored, swanky looking couch, the welted box pillows, and I LOVE that lamp. At the beginning of last week, my Before photo looked like this (I'm wincing with shame):

Um. Yeah. I let the filing get a little out of control. A little. To the left we have a printer on top of a vintage kitchen cart, which proves why open shelves are a bad idea for me. Also not liking the broken shutters.

What do we like about this room?

Well, the wood paneling we're learning to love. Honestly, it's growing on us. I'm still debating what to do with the sawed-out hole in the old television wall. And I'd kinda like the broom closet back. While I decide how to repair that, I've still got to make this a livable space.

We love the floor. It's vinyl composition tile in beige, brown, and white streaks, and in mostly good condition.

We also love the ceiling, which is vintage acoustic tile. I love the bubbly pattern and the ivory color, which keeps the room from being too dark and overbearing.

Later this week I'll show you my After photos with new curtains, some art on the walls, and things VASTLY tidier. Wednesday's Lamp Love will feature the vintage lamp that found a permanent home in the front room. Later this week I'll also blog about progress in the bathroom and the upstairs bedroom. Check in often!


  1. That is so cool that you have those old photos! Can't wait to see the after photos. :) And I've taken plenty of before photos that were similar to yours, so don't be too appalled that you shared them in a blog post. Most of us have been there. (Just not our mothers, LOL.)

  2. I REALLY love that you have those old "before" pics jealous! :D And I commend you for showing us the actual "before" pics of yours too, I know how you feel as it was hard for me to show some pics at Mom's condo when the place looked so crazy. Can't wait for the big reveal!!!

    1. Oh thanks! This was the room that I just allowed to get nuts because it seems like the house was bursting at the seams. I've decided in just one short year to be pretty darn forgiving of other people's renovation processes!