It’s probably one of the most ambitious things you can do in life: purchase a brand new house off a blueprint.
Think about it. You’re asked to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars for your potential dream home – based on a smooth flyer that features a two-dimensional layout. Sure, you have measurements, and if you’re really creative, you can picture where your furniture will go. You can almost see it. A cozy family home which is everything you wished for, and more.
But then, blueprint becomes reality. And your dream home looks *slightly* different than you had envisioned.
I’ve been there. In 2006, my then-fiance and I purchased our very first home together, in an up-and-coming subdivision scheduled for occupancy the following summer. I remember pouring over blueprints in the sales office, certain that I could easily fill the home with gorgeous-yet-functional furniture. In fact, so confident was I in my interior design capabilities, I completed shopping for the major furnishings before we took possession. And once inside, I was pleased that my eye for style was bang on, reveling in the way my brand new furniture filled my brand new house.
Yet something was off.
My main floor, an open concept layout, was adequately sectioned to create “rooms” based on the blueprint. A living room upon entry, followed by a cozy dining area and then a long, spacious family room. However, just six months in, we quickly realized that although our home was furnished, we spent 100% of our time at the back of the house in the kitchen/ family room area. The front – designated for a combined living and dining room – was absolutely, completely wasted space. We were not living in our home.
The funny thing? It actually never occurred to us when initially purchasing our decor to make the most of our living space. We decorated based on what the blueprint told us to do; hence, if our living room was 15.5ft x 9 ft at the front of the house, that’s what we assumed it was – not thinking that a living room not lived in would be a colossal waste of effort. A bar area? Puh-lease. We rarely drink!
The bar area blended into our dining room, which was completely ornamental. Oh wait – it *did* have a use – to collect junk mail, bills and shopping bags as they made their way through the front door. In other words, our dining room became a mess room.
And then one day, I came to my senses. I decided to rage against the blueprint and redesign my home in a way that made sense to us. Hence, the dining room became the living room and the family room became the dining room and the living room became the family room. In other words, we played musical chairs with our layout, and everyone won.
In fact, if you’re a faithful reader, you may have caught my family room makeover. Courtesy of Urban Barn, our new Carradine Leather Sofa Chaise is sleek and sophisticated, giving the room an airy, open feel. It lends a touch of modern flair while being comfy and inviting; the perfect place to lounge and watch television with the family.
(And since I know you’ll ask, the Strike Coffee Table ($499.00) is easy to clean, made of durable fiberglass, 97% child-proof and stylish as hell. For moms that have been looking for a table that is functional and safe for wee ones, I urge you to stop what you’re doing and grab the Strike coffee table. You will NOT be disappointed.)
Finally! We were living in our home! The comfy sectional provided the perfect television viewing experience, and we began to spread out on our main floor: myself in the kitchen or reading a book in a comfy chair; the boys watching their favourite movie on the couch; my husband tapping away on his laptop at the dining table.
Of course, our decision to live in our entire home was mirrored by Candice Laughlin, architecture & home design expert, Urban Barn. If you recall my #livein: The Evolution of the Home post, her #1 tip –
“Rethink your room: Set up your furniture in a way that caters to your family’s personality and needs – you don’t have to stick to the traditional floor plans, styles or colour schemes. Do what works best for your family and you will get the most from your space.” Done and done!
Speaking of colour schemes – at some point in 2012, I got a little adventurous and painted an accent wall for the “sitting room” –
So what about the dining room? Well, even though the physical location moved, the furniture was too mod, too stuffy for our new “lived in” house. The fact is, my husband still yelled at the kids when they streaked a car across the tabletop, and I counted to ten every time juice was spilled on the white chairs. But could we do it? Could we really #livein our entire home?
Stay tuned as I reveal my brand new dining room, courtesy of Urban Barn.