Another project we’ve been working on in bits and spurts is the layout of the back room. Getting on that project has been a real priority for us, but it still falls way behind a lot of other things so it’s been slow to progress. I have tried to tackle little pieces related to it as I find time so when we have a bit of time we could wrap this thing up.
The back room is complex, primarily because we want to do a lot of things within a small amount of space.
At its heart it’s another bedroom, so some type of closet is needed. We don’t really need to use it as a bedroom though, but the closet space is always welcome.
We also need a TV room. We’re not really a TV family – or at least, let me explain that. We don’t have the TV on if we aren’t sitting down to watch something specifically. It’s not background noise. So we don’t really need or want it in the living room, but we do want a cozy place to watch a show or movie if we want. We don’t have cable, but we do enjoy watching good cable series TV via Netflix, and the occasional movie that way as well. The girls watch very little TV, but we want a space where we can all cozy up and watch a movie every once in awhile. And M and E need a space where they can catch up on their Myth Busters and Top Gear fixes occasionally. I also want to be able to close off the TV and not see it if it’s not on.
We really, really need a small studio space to house the computer and the various projects we have going on at any given time. And we need the storage space to organize the materials for those projects so we know better what we have on hand and what we need to get for any given project.
The bonus for this room is the balcony adjacent to it, and our plan is to screen in that balcony so the door and window that open onto it can be opened and the bugs don’t overtake us. I think of this room as a family room – not an immense, soaring great room – but a room that I think will get a lot of use, despite its small footprint.
I still hold onto the dream of adding a modern addition off the back of the house for a new kitchen space that opens to the back garden. If we did that in the future, some of the uses for this room might move to the first floor. So the space needs to be flexible over time, and grow with us.
With all this in mind we’ve been laying out the room to accommodate these needs and to allow for flexibility for the future. Modeling the room in Sketchup has really helped us understand the space limitations and the type of furniture best suited for the room. And then we got lucky and found some floor model chairs for a steal and picked them up. They are still wrapped in plastic, waiting for the painting to be finished – They comfortably hold a grownup and a kid – so they are oversized, but not overscaled. We like to put our feet up, but don’t want to fill the room with a coffee table, so easy to move ottomans like the woven ones from CB2 would be nice.
On family movie nights the girls can bring down their bean bags and camp out on the rug. Speaking of rugs – I have lots of Flor tile samples just waiting for the chairs to get unwrapped and set up in natural light to make a choice. This room suffered the greatest extent of damage from a missing roof, prior to when we purchased it. M patched the floor as much as possible at the entrance, but the room does need a good carpet underfoot to make it more comfortable.
I think we’ll use a system like elfa for the back wall, although none of their shelf lengths work for our space so we’ll have to make our own. I’d like a nice wood surface for the desk and white shelves above.
On the closet wall we’ll probably do built-in’s like the rest of our house – maybe over the door, maybe not. Still trying that out. These will make great closets, but for now could house the TV – now you see it…
…now you don’t. The opening to the right is to the balcony – I haven’t built a door or transom in the model, and the stair beyond is really an open stair – just not that open!
Here’s one of the chairs still wrapped up, and on its side.
And here’s some excitement – every night this week M’s been throwing on the work clothes and priming, sanding, caulking, and soon painting the trim in the room. See the difference in the picture below with a coat of primer?
Finding the time to do this is scarce, and finding the motivation to do it at 8pm on a work night when you’ve been up since 5am is even harder. But there’s an energy in the house of a different nature this week, and that’s been fun. Sometimes I miss those old days of night projects. Hearing the radio on with the baseball game, seeing the glare and the shadows of shop lights, the sound of a ladder and a caulk gun moving around the room and the second shower of the day… this was so much of our life in our early days together. It’s fun to come back to it now and then.