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/ January 31, 2020

Our family room remodel

I’m a “done is better than perfect” kind of girl.  So while I was going to wait to show you our family room until it was totally “perfect” I thought I’d show you where we’re at today (neither, done or  We still have chairs we’re on the hunt for, a bench for by the doors, and I’m not quite happy with our shelves yet.

But here’s the thing; it’s good enough! In fact, I still love our family room, even if it is a work in progress. I mean what’s not these days??

So I thought it would be fun to show all of you a little “before and after” of what our little family room has gone through the past six months, and where we’re at today.  How we’ve gone from this…

to this…

When we were on the hunt for our new home, sunlight was really important to me.  I wanted to find a house with a lot of southern and western exposures.  Rooms where the sun would flood in. And this space did not disappoint. 

So when we were deciding how to decorate this room, I knew I had to play up the brightness. Show off here best features. Keep it light and bright.

I also wanted this room to feel like a place where four little kids hang out.  A room that’s young and fresh.  Modern and cool, but still warm and inviting. A place you just want to “hang” and put your feet up.   

The first thing I had to figure out was what to do with all of this knotty pine!  I debated it for a while.  I love good woodwork, and this wood was gorgeous.  The original craftsmanship of this room is beautiful. But it hadn’t been well taken care of.  It needed A LOT of TLC.  The wood had started peeling and splitting in places and a lot of the outdated moldings had come down.  It needed a lot of work.  So after a lot of debate, and asking for a lot of experts’ advice on possible options, we decided to paint directly over the knotty pine paneling.  

But to do this, we had to find the best painter we could, which is why we chose Bill Fahey from Fahey Decorating.  Bill is probably the best painter you could find in Chicago and also happens to be one of the kindest too.  We worked with Bill on one of our last homes here in Chicago when he painted our kitchen cabinets for us (which turned out beautifully!).  So I knew he was our best choice when it came to this room.  

He is meticulous when it comes to his work, and the finished product shows.  The whole room had to be puttied (to fill in the “knots” of the knotty pine), sanded (multiple times), and then sprayed and sanded again (multiple times). But the final finish of the walls is stunning.  They’re silky smooth and have a gorgeous sheen (the photos don’t do it justice).  It’s almost impossible to tell what the walls are originally knotty pine.

We painted the entire room Benjamin Moore’s Simply White.  The paint color was one of our hardest choices, and we’re so thankful we had Bill to help guide us.  Our entire home is one color, so I knew I had to get this paint color right the first time because there was no repainting happening here.  Simply White turned out perfect in this space, it’s a great neutral white (not cool or warm).  If you need help on choosing a white paint color, you can read a full post I wrote all about “how to choose the right white” here.  

Once all of our walls were taken care of, next I had to decide on hardware.  I wanted something sleek and modern, but that still felt warm.  I chose these West Slope pulls from Rejuvenation in aged brass and love them.  I went with long handles on all of the cabinets (I went with 8″ on the smaller doors, and 12″ on the larger ones, so they feel hearty in your hand and just slightly oversized).  And then the coordinating West Slope knobs for the drawers.  They were a little expensive, but one hundred percent worth it.  Hardware is the jewelry of the room.  So after taking all this time to repaint all the wood, I wanted the hardware to feel equally as amazing.

Then on to all of the fun stuff.  The furniture!

So while I LOVE white (it is legitimately my favorite color), I’m kind of over the whole “all white” trend.  Painting our walls white was one thing, but I wanted this room to have a lot of life.  A lot of personality and color.  If I’ve learned anything over the years with decorating our homes, it’s that taking a little risk always pays off.  Every time I’ve chosen a bold or playful color, it’s always become my favorite thing in our home.

But we weren’t starting from scratch with this room.  We were reusing this Jonathan Adler Grand Lampert sofa we had purchased years ago when we were living in New York.  This sofa is one of my favorite purchases, ever.  I love it because it’s REALLY long.  It’s 105″ long, which makes it great for napping when you’re 6″1, and perfect for six people to line up and watch a movie.  Plus I just love the gorgeous peacock color.

Then we worked with Meg Made here in Chicago to find us this great Loloi rug and custom ottoman.  I wanted a rug that the kids could eat on, spill snacks, walk across in muddy boots, and I wouldn’t lose my mind (no matter how many times I say….and by “say”, I actually mean “yell”….. take off your shoes, someone always runs through the house with muddy boots!).  I love how practical this rug is, that it wasn’t overly expensive, cleans up great, and is bright and playful.

MegMade also made us this gorgeous custom ottoman, that I’m obsessed with. I love the rich, deep color and great texture.  Plus it’s the perfect size so we can all put our feet up and wasn’t expensive.  MegMade is great for custom upholstery like this and ships all over the U.S.  I can’t recommend them enough.  


To pull it all together we got some great pillows from Jayson Home and Garden (we have these Lola pillows in blue and black, and these Shay pillows with the bright pops of pink, gold, and teal), that I feel pull the whole room together.  The pillows were a little bit of a commitment, but a good pillow lasts years and can pull a room together.  They are by far, my favorite thing in this room.  With a close second being this oversized brass tray that I am obsessed with (which is usually overflowing with juice boxes and bowls of popcorn on movie nights).  A few great books (like this Vanity Fair 100 years), a few brass vases and bowls from West Elm on the shelves, and then, of course, a ton of plants.  

We’re still on the hunt for some great chairs and a few other odds and ends, and we still have to finish the “bar” area, but I’m really excited about where this room is going.  What was once a dark and outdated room has quickly become our favorite room in our home, and a place that makes us all feel happy.  

It might not be “perfect”, but we’re getting pretty close to “done” and I couldn’t be happier with the results.

Here are a few more before and after shots of our process….








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