Our sun porch, a modestly sized room on the back of our house, has seen a lot of change since we moved into our home nine years ago. Upon our arrival the room boasted hideous tile floors, was the site of the structural damage disaster, and it's seen three different paint colors just since we took ownership. But in spite of elevating the decor substantially in the space, I was ready for a change. Well, truth be told, I think I really f&@#ed it up.
Does anyone remember our list of New Year Resolutions that we put out there for all to see (and hold us to)? One of the items on this list for 2012 is "redecorate the sun porch to remove the tired floral window treatments, and to better incorporate the wine fridge into the furniture layout." I'm happy to report that I've made a lot of changes, but not happy when I say that I hate the space more now than when I started.
Let's start with how it looked in the beginning. Here's a look at the 8'x10' space when we first bought our house. The tile was ugly and cracked, the walls were a dingy grayish white, and the room had zero personality.
Approximately a year after we moved in, we had done a bit to spruce it up, but not a significant amount. We were focused on other parts of the house at the time, so we applied a coat of soft yellow paint to match the kitchen, threw some existing odds and ends in the space to furnish the room, and called it "good enough."
Following the discovery of massive leak/termite/structural damage in this room (more on that disastrous experience here), we took out the offending wall, opened up the doorway between the kitchen and sun porch, installed a new beam to support the floor above, and finally had a more open flow between the two rooms. In addition to the removal of the doorway, the next phase of the room featured new custom window treatments and floor paint to hide the ugly brown tile. We were still using furniture odds and ends that were childhood pieces or outdoor furniture from our apartment. The look was greatly improved, but we still had progress to make.
The next stage of improving this space didn't require a lot of time or money, but seemed to make the biggest impact. With the addition of a sisal rug on clearance from Home Goods, bringing in a larger lamp that we already owned, and adding a few IKEA purchases (the new wicker planter and storage cubes that Mel is lounging on in this photo), we were really happy with the space.
We lived with it like this for many years, and it served our purposes well. This room has been great as an extension of entertaining space between the kitchen and back yard. We use the room as our bar area during our annual Halloween party, a quaint place to eat breakfast in the morning sun, and it's often a room that's perfect for guests to relax in and talk to the person cooking. The problem here is that wear and tear took its toll over the years, and the introduction of canine crew members and new wine storage have had a pretty negative impact.
So here's a look at what the room looked like at the start of 2012. It doesn't look terrible in this picture, but you can't really get a feel for how tight the space feels with the new wine fridge jammed in the corner by the table, nor can you see the pet stains that we couldn't scrub out of the sisal rug, nor the damage Oliver caused to the wicker love seat when he decided he would try it out as a chew toy. I had also grown tired of the floral window treatments, and a not so nice (but completely honest and justified) comment on our Apartment Therapy home tour kicked my desire to replace them into overdrive.
Because our ultimate renovation plans involve flip flopping the location of the kitchen and family room, the current sun porch makeover is a temporary fix for the next few years until we get to that point. So what I'd like to do is make a big change for not a lot of money and moderate effort.
So what improvements have I made this time around? For starters, after looking for over a year for a new rug, I purchased an 8'x10' wool looped rug from Home Goods. It was a great price (on clearance!) and I was tired of my search looking for "the one." So I loaded this bad boy into our new Volvo SUV -- it was my first trip I was really glad I didn't have the old Mustang -- and brought it home.
Next up, we repainted the baseboards and areas of painted tile floor that might be visible around the edges of the rug. They were scuffed and nasty, and in dire need of a fresh coat of paint.
We pulled down the curtains, opting to replace them with an inexpensive set of bamboo blinds from The Home Depot. Here they are, mid-installation (and right after I nearly ripped off my thumbnail in a DIY mishap).
We also decided to replace the IKEA storage blocks that we were using as an end table because Oliver had chewed those up as well. So using the second brass platter we purchased at a local estate sale and a new base purchased during my first Black Friday adventure last November, we put together a one-of-a-kind furniture piece.
Hmmm. I'm not sure that the table is working. Actually, the room itself isn't working right now. What I've done is taken it from a little tired to a comatose state. Here's the current, despicable (in my opinion) look.
My initial plan was to create a relaxing lounge area on the left and wine area on the right. I had intended to purchase a leather storage bench where we'll keep all of the shoes and pet supplies neatly hidden away, accent pillows for the back of it, and use the new "end table" next to the bench by the window. Sadly, I think the table will be much too tall to use as a companion to a storage bench.
On the right, we moved the wine fridge to the middle of the room because we have plans to build a custom top for it, pull stools up under it, and use it as a fun little wine tasting area/breakfast nook, but that's going to take some time and effort to build.
With all of these plans you'd think I'd be more enthused with where this room is heading, but I'm just not in love with any of the changes we've made so far. The bamboo blinds feel too stark and masculine, I'm not sure about the design of the rug, and the darker color actually seems to show dirt and leaves tracked inside way more than the sisal rug used to.
I thought I'd be able to make the existing paint color work, but clearly that idea falls into the category of cutting corners.
At this point, I feel paralyzed by indecision. I've already invested substantially in the new rug and window treatments, so I don't want to just scrap them. But on the other hand, if they're really not working, there's no sense in keeping something that will forever mar the space.
So I need your help here. Am I being one of the clients that HGTV designers complain about, who decide they don't like the improvements mid-project because they don't have "the vision"? Or have my changes gone horribly awry? What I'm asking is "do I need to start over and come up with a better plan?"
If only I had learned to stay in love with those darn yellow curtains we wouldn't be in this pickle.