Designing from Blank Slate to Reality

White dining room by Amber Creswell BellThe Design Files

As I mentioned this week, it’s pretty fun to pull my furniture around and start to “live” with the rooms arranged closer to what I envision. But at the same time, it’s a bit frustrating to have to wait to really see everything I imagine! I don’t want to be patient, ha, I’m ready to DO. Everything seems like it takes so long, at least here in our house (TV shows spoil us, I guess).

I know it can (and will) take years to get this house the way I really want it (many of you will relate to that), but I feel really good to finally have the vision in my head of what it will become. A blank slate of a house brings its own challenges, so it was not always an easy feat to get my mind wrapped around the vibe or how to pull it off in this house and on a reasonable budget (and at a pace and scale that we can handle).

Cheery Breakfast Room - by Amie Corley InteriorsAmie Corley Interiors

But now that I actually can visualize the house and am already at the point where I have many of the details are decided and a few more are getting close, it’s just a matter of starting what we can do right now, working with the budget (darn budgets) for bigger projects, setting reasonable timelines for what should be done in what order, finding the right contractors and things like that.

It’s like a full-time job to remodel a house, even simple projects can be more complicated than you wish they were. I feel like this house already gave us a good head start, though, with its solid bones and amazing light pouring in the big windows. It will just be up to us to maximize what we have and enjoy it both how it is and how it unfolds over time.

Today I’m sharing a round up of some lovely breakfast rooms! Some of these rooms have elements I can see for our dining room and some not-as-much, but I hope you find some ideas here to inspire a project or style for your home!

Do you listen to your home before you make bigger remodeling or decorating decisions?

Built In Bench Dining - Amanda Peet for Vogue LivingAmanda Peet’s Home / Vogue Living

Hughes Lake Kitchen - Barbara Westbrook - Photo by Erica George DinesWorkbook / Design by Barbara Westbrook / Photo by Erica George Dines

Lexi Westergard Design - Breakfast Nook
Lexi Westergard Design

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The Dining Room {Refining the Vision and Experimenting}

The Inspired Room - Rearranging Furniture - The Dining Room

When I last was brainstorming on the blog about our kitchen and dining room, and what the main floor plan might feel like, basically the conclusion was to leave the kitchen in the kitchen and keep the dining room as a dining room, rather than swapping the two rooms (BRILLIANT IDEA, right?).

With all my brainstorming and planning, I’ve been able to feel more at ease knowing at least something is for sure. The kitchen is going to stay where it is. I don’t like living with indecision. I love brainstorming ideas and making them happen. That’s fun. But the in-between stuff and the waiting isn’t my favorite.

While I feel great about leaving the kitchen where it is, the specifics like whether or not we will change the location of the sink like we thought or remove walls or spring for the addition of a mudroom, are still up in the air. But now that we’ve lived here for nearly seven months, I am starting to feel more like I can get in my groove now. I’m ready to make changes and am more confident about making decisions about what I really need or want to change.

The style of the kitchen and the bathrooms and the overall vibe of the house are going to evolve and change, that I know for sure. We’ll paint, we’ll add paneling here and there, we’ll change light fixtures, we’ll update the kitchen and the bathroom and somehow update the look of the fireplace and even change two exterior doors to Dutch doors. I am committed to finding ways to incorporate our style and make our home comfortable for us to live in.

The Inspired Room - Dining Room Furniture Rearranging

But here’s something else I’m SUPER SURE OF!  I want to make changes that will cause the least amount of disruption to our family. We moved here to be close to our family, so we could spend more time together. I wanted our three kids to live close by each other for sibling bonding times (our girls moved to Seattle years ago and our son, their brother, still has a few years left in school).

I didn’t move here to design a house, but rather, we came to create a home for our family. There’s a difference, and I feel at peace with the fact that the decisions I make will need to reflect our need for simplicity and family time in this season of our life. I don’t want to create more mess or stress than necessary to achieve our goals.

Moving furniture around is an affordable way to alter the look and feel of your space, so that’s something we will also do for sure! Probably many times. I mentioned the other day that we moved our glass cabinet from the living room to the dining room.

The Inspired Room blog - Rearranging Furniture in the Dining Room

Forgive the unstyled room and the fact that there are pictures hung incorrectly above it, okay? :) This is real life here and I just didn’t take the art down yet or restyle this room. I know I’ve shared probably a million different ways we could set up this dining room, and ways to open the wall or enlarge the doorway to the kitchen (if we decide not to completely open the wall, the archway idea is still a strong contender!). But as you might recall our latest plan was to pull a table up to the window to create a banquette with a view!

Moving the table to the window was a great first step. The vision for this room makes sense to us and feels right when you are in the room even now. It will likely take a lot more changes and layers to make how it feels in our minds more obvious in the photos, but bare with me until I can get things rolling.

Right now we are working with the furniture we have in the dining room, so we’ll have to play around with it to really see what works or consider what might work better. But at least we can have fun trying new things and enjoying the space in the meantime.

The Inspired Room - Rearranging Furniture Dining Room

We took the leaves out of the table and even though it is on the small side, round feels really nice in this room. We definitely need a light fixture and maybe some other changes to fully make sense of this arrangement, but I can see it working.

A reader mentioned the other day that with some of the mid-century influences of the design, changing the location of the furnishings might be helping to “balance the space.” She is so right! We’ve been playing around with that balance in our living room and we definitely sense how the placement of the furnishings impacts how comfortable and cozy the rooms feel, which is pretty cool.

The Inspired Room - Dining Room Rearranging

The room feels quite inviting this way, almost like it is a pleasant breakfast room off the kitchen. There’s enough space to expand to create more of a dining area for bigger family meals or holidays, but I have to say we love the idea of considering it a charming breakfast room with a view! Yesterday I enjoyed sitting down to work at the table for awhile (if you saw my Instagram pic!), it was wonderful!

The Inspired Room - Rearranging Furniture in the Dining Room - Glass Cabinetremember the art won’t go on the wall there, this is just an in-process pic!

Our next step with this room will be to have this entire space repainted. I can’t wait! Even if we eventually widen the kitchen doorway or remove the wall entirely, we can take this room in baby steps. We might add some paneling to give the room more character and are still considering the idea of a built-in bench/bookcases (remember our ideas for built-ins? We may have changed the location of the table but built-ins could still work in here, even if we wait on them for awhile).

The Inspired Room - Rearranging Furniture in the Dining Room

We have also already looked through samples of blinds and selected our favorite, so I’ll be ordering blinds in the next few days (I’ll share which ones soon)! The sun is so bright already in the later part of the afternoon! I love it, but blinds are going to be a must for summer.

The Inspired Room - Rearranging Furniture

That’s the latest in this room! I’ll keep you updated and I know I still have to show you my painted bedroom (so many delays on the simplest of projects, ha!). It takes awhile to get in the groove in a new house, but once you do the whole process of creating a home starts to become more fun!

More Posts:

Built-in bookshelf inspiration for the dining room

Inspired By: 8 Charming Banquettes

Rearranging Furniture in the Living Room

Open House in Seattle - The Inspired Room

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend! After a few way-too-busy weeks I finally took a couple of days to just do fun things. My sister and nephew came up for the weekend and we had a great time shopping and eating and drinking coffee. :) On Saturday my girls, sister and I had a blast making our own candles! So much fun! Candle making is definitely going to be a new obsession.

We also went to a couple of open houses in our Seattle area, just to be nosy. Even though we have no reason to be house shopping (we just got here!), I can’t stop myself!

Open House in Seattle - The Inspired Room blog

We saw a really cute one, too (in the photos above). But while there’s always that moment when you can be tempted to fall in love with what you don’t have (especially when it is all remodeled, painted beautifully and professional staged and yours is still in its awkward not-staged or painted phase), looking at houses also affirms that we made the right choice for us. We have a long way to go to make our house feel the way we want it to, but we love our house and know it’s going to be everything we need.

Last week we did a little rearranging in our living room and dining room. I was just ready for a change, or more like it, I was just ready to feel settled. I kept putting off rearranging the room because I wanted to paint the room and deal with the fireplace first, but I’m trying to not wait for perfect conditions!

I didn’t feel like the living room or dining rooms were as cozy as I wanted them to be, so moving furniture around seemed like a no-risk way to try something new.  I’m still toying with the idea of painting our fireplace (or regrouting it) as a low budget improvement or a first step makeover (see some painted fireplace inspiration photos and my own fireplace here), but I knew the furniture arrangement could make a difference in the room now, so there was no reason to wait.


Above: Our living room at Christmas, before we moved the glass cabinet to the dining room!

To get started, we moved our glass door cabinet to the dining room. It made sense that it would be in the dining room, but for some reason we previously determined it was going to be too big for that room. We also had thought we needed to have that piece in our living room to hold lamps, since that room doesn’t have any overhead lights. But, we decided to just try moving it and see what would happen. I’m so glad we did, we immediately LOVED it in there! I’ll show you the dining room arrangement in another post.

Without that cabinet on the wall, we were free to try a new arrangement. However, without that cabinet, we really didn’t have much furniture. Our leather sofa felt a bit small as a main sofa for this room, so we pulled a few chairs around to simulate what it might feel like if we got a new larger sofa (one of the potential hazards of rearranging is when you discover that you actually don’t have the pieces you need, ha).

The Inspired Room - Testing Out New Living Room Arrangement

We wanted to make our living room cozy and comfortable, but also open and inviting. The goal is to orient this space around the view, but also to center the furniture around conversation. It’s tricky when you have more than one objective. Originally we tried our leather sofa facing the fireplace to be cozy and put the cabinet against the only full wall, but it just felt closed off and not really welcoming.

But surprisingly, when we set up a new sofa simulation with chairs facing the view, and put the leather sofa back where it was before facing the fireplace, the arrangement felt perfect. Not closed off, but cozy and inviting while still fully incorporating the view as a main focal point. It all felt right. All it took was a new “sofa” against the wall. :) A chair angled at the fireplace toward the sofas will complete the conversation area.

We’ve lived with this arrangement for a few days and so far, we love it. We still need lamps, tables and a new sofa, but now we can at least visualize what we want. We’ve found a couple of potential sofa options already and can’t wait to continue making our living room a really comfortable space!

Have you done any furniture arranging lately?

PS. We paused the Love Your Home Challenge over Easter weekend, so we will post the remaining few challenges this week! Feel free to continue following along with the challenges on Instagram!

Living Room Sources:

Leather Nailhead Sofa

Blue and White Rug

Gray Coffee Table

Related Posts:

Updates to our basement family room

Our house floor plan

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