Laura and Mitchell are a creative young couple living in an old house with a new baby. Laura loves to paint and do crafts, and Mitchell likes to tinker with tools. And baby Beatrice? Well, she loves to play with about a zillion baby toys that are scattered throughout their small living room and dining room.
Old homes have character, elegance and charm, but there’s one thing they don’t have — storage. I aimed to fix that by creating an eclectic and welcoming living room, alongside a multi-functional dining room that doubles as a studio. The trick to this transformation would be reorganizing, repurposing and remaking the space to fit the needs of this busy young family.
I started by turning things upside down, so to speak — the living room moved into the dining room, and vice versa. With the addition of a modern comfy sectional sofa and some of Laura’s repurposed antique furniture pieces, the larger room just inside the front door became an inviting living room where the grown-ups can relax.
We gave Laura’s rustic old dry sink a fresh coat of paint; color for this piece was inspired by a custom stone top, transforming this one-of-a-kind piece into a functional media console. On the far wall, we hung a graphic black and white wallpaper with layers of frames sized perfectly for photos or small pieces of artwork — what a fun way for this creative family to personalize this space!
A warm color scheme that includes shades of berry reds, golds, greens, cream and brown is picked up in the sofa, area rug, throw cushions and custom draperies. A unique glass-topped end table doubles as a display case for small pieces of art, and a narrow wooden trunk serves as a coffee table with storage, while including warmth to this space. New track lighting can be perfectly positioned to shine on Laura’s artwork.
Next, we tackled the multi-purpose dining room/studio. This space needed lots of storage options, along with improved lighting and a table that could be dressed up or down, depending on whether it would be used for crafting or for entertaining.
We added an uber-functional countertop running along under the window, which can double as a work surface or a sideboard. At one end, we positioned an antique factory task lamp, rewired and repurposed to shed light on all of Mitchell’s projects. A bench slides neatly under the counter, but can be pulled out to add extra seating around the table for large gatherings. And, speaking of the table, we found the perfect piece — rustic, durable and expandable, but with a hint of elegance in the style and color of the legs.
The dining room had a great view of a brick wall, so we dressed up the window with an automated blind that still allows plenty of light into the room, while softening the view. New closed storage cabinets (and open shelving above) flank the window, while the opposite wall is cleverly designed for the arts and crafter. Two work surfaces are topped by an expanse of magnetic white board — the perfect place to display all of Beatrice’s artwork. And speaking of Beatrice, there are narrow counters here, so she can work side by side with mom. A tall, glass-fronted storage cabinet displays interesting pieces of art while also providing a home for more supplies.
To add vibrant color to this space and encourage creativity we selected brightly striped carpet tiles. Above, a crisp white ceiling with new crown molding and trim is brightened up by recessed lighting and a fun custom-sprayed, antler-themed chandelier.
Laura and Mitchell love the charm of their old home, but the living room and dining room were in desperate need of a makeover. A severe lack of storage combined with baby toys and art supplies to create a perfect storm of disorganization. But with the help of the three R’s of design — reorganizing, repurposing and remaking — these rooms were reborn. Now, this couple has a place to relax, and a separate room where they can get creative to their heart’s content.
Oh, and on holidays and birthdays they’ll have a functional dining room, too. The perfect definition of multi-tasking!
Interior decorator Candice Olson is host of HGTV’s “Candice Tells All.” For more, visit: