Repurposing Adds Living Space

Lisa had a pretty big complaint about a couple of rooms in her home.  And, these weren’t just ANY rooms,we’re talking  prime space in her home, front and center.  Lisa and her family live in a two story home, with a center stairway.  Upon entering the foyer, you can turn left, turn right, or go straight up the stairs.  The two rooms  in question are on the left.   

 Very visible, very accessible, very pretty rooms.  

 So what was Lisa’s complaint? 

The two rooms were not being used. 

 They were not earning their keep as prime location in the house. 

 Technically,  these unused rooms would be labeled “formal living” and “formal dining.”  Lisa’s  family uses the entire back of their first floor continually as it houses kitchen, informal dining, and family room.  The spaces in question weren’t necessarily needed by the family, however   it seemed such a waste to have a large hunk of their floorplan used mostly as a hallway, providing a convenient bee-line from front door to kitchen.  

The “formal living” and “formal dining” were truly one long room, but several architectural features indicate they are two separate spaces.  The formal dining had a dining table and chair along with a china cabinet; holidays would find the family dining here. 

Lisa was to have the Dream Digs option, which includes an initial consultation.  After meeting Lisa, and having her explain all of these things to us, she showed Trish and I around her home. Besides the well-utilized kitchen, informal dining, and family room mentioned previously, the first floor included a  home office. This hardworking room was pulling more than it’s weight - housing both the family computer space and Lisa’s work-from- home office. 

After discussing, touring, etc, Trish and I suggested to Lisa: 

What about re-purposing these two rooms?

1) What if the current “formal living” space were to become the new ”formal dining” space?  The space has a soaring front window, cathedral ceiling.  Could be smashing! 

2) OK, so what becomes of the current “formal dining” space?  It morphs into an informal family spot, moving the family computer in.  Being directly off of the kitchen, kids could be on the computer while mom’s in the kitchen, or the chef could pop around the corner to check a recipe online.  Bonus: Moving the family computer out of the current home office would free up space in the office, allowing Lisa to spread out and claim that space as her own work space. YES!

Lisa was instantly intrigued with the repurposing suggestion and was sold on it pretty quickly.  Upon touring her home for potential “shopping”, we discovered a desk in the basement that would be ideal for the family computer space upstairs. It was super heavy, and super-sturdy (in fact, during tornado warnings the family would have their girls take shelter under the desk!) and Lisa said they would have the desk moved upstairs for us by makeover day. The pic on the left shows the room exactly as it was as we arrived on Makeover Day. Note the desk, it is actually  L-shaped, and turns the corner, but that isn’t visible here.  Also note the door going into the kitchen – you can see how easily accessible the computer will be to the kitchen. 

A couple of other things we discussed with Lisa at the consultation:

Draperies: The formal living space (soon to be formal dining space) has a beautiful, soaring window that looks out to the street.   We thought the addition of curtain panels would highlight the window beautifully.(it already had a really nice shade.) What would Lisa think of curtains?  She warmed up to the idea. We discussed, pondered, measured, considered options.  And, when we showed up on makeover day, Lisa had curtains! Yay!

 Lisa had a blue wing back chair in the space, and we spotted a matching twin in the basement.  She told us she likes the chairs just fine – but not so much the blue.We discussed slipcovers -and by the time makeover day rolled around, those wing chairs were proudly decked out in new and sylish neutral color slipcovers.  Go Lisa! (Very nice fit, Lisa got them and Bed, Bath & Beyond).  

So Trish and I were ready to roll.  This was going to be one fun job – we were excited about getting started!  We loved that these would soon be functional spaces, we loved how we hoped they would look, we loved that Lisa got curtains and slipcovers – we just knew this would be good!  Lisa and her family bid us farewell, good luck, see you at 7:00 PM, and all of that. 

The “new” formal dining began to take shape. 


 Table and chairs placed in the center, with large area rug under.  We moved the china cabinet in (from the “old” formal dining space) and arranged the pretties inside.  Adding interesting accessories atop the cabinet gave the piece real presence in the room (don’t forget to syle the spaces up high, such as above tall cabinets, pictures over doorways, etc. – adds up to lots of interest!


A  console table  from the basement was relocated to the new “formal dining”, and was dressed up by a large piece of art resting on it, as well as candles. And those twin wing backs were placed at the either of the dining table, becoming stately host and hostess chairs.  Wow!

The “old dining space” (below) was transformed into an informal family space Upon our arrival, Lisa already had the computer set up on the recently moved- in desk.  Moving the shelf unit that housed family pics into this space, we arranged the framed pictures. We added the antique cabinet that had previously been at the other end of the room, and again,added height by placing a large piece of art on top, resting against the wall (below).  A sweet, comfy chair with ottoman was added, along with an end table (below)  Area rug angled to highlight the walkway.  


The spaces look great! 

A sheet was hung across the doorway by the front door – to conceal until the Reveal!

Family arrives home – don’t peek yet!  They busy themselves with last-minute prep for their guests. 

Chocolate Torte (made by Trish) removed from pan, cut, slices set out on table in “new” dining space. 

Wine glasses set out on silver tray (snagged from china cabinet) in “new” dining space.

Candles placed and lit – we can hear wine being uncorked in the kitchen. 

Guests arriving  via side door and ushered into  kitchen. Anticipation building.  Ladies talking.  Ladies laughing.  Is everyone here yet?  Is it time yet?  Trish snapping”after” pics.  Oh no!  Camera broke!  Oh well, it’s OK…

And at last, everyone’s here, it’s time, gather in the foyer!  The sheet is dropped – and Lisa loves it!

So this family just added a big hunk of real living space to their home, that was there all along, using the stuff they already had!  How cool is that? 


And that’s what we do here at Dress Your Digs!


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