Big awkward spaces, reupholstered benches and where to put the dog bowls…

So…. as much as I love our new house, I gotta admit to having a difficult time figure out where to put the furniture in the cavernous family room. The space where the sofas are has come together nicely, but behind the sofas is a wide space that shares the door to the backyard, a breakfast bar/counter area, a built-in desk and a space for a small breakfast-nook type table. The problem is that it’s just a big, wide… space. With a door.

Here’s a lovely pre-curtain and paint picture –  you can see my test paint swatch there on the left side of the door!

You can also see one of the other difficulties on the right side of the door. Where should I put Lucy’s food dish and water bowl?

I wanted something furniture-like to go between the door and the window. Preferably, a little on the tall side. A mini-armoire. I STALKED craigslist for a week or so, trying to find the perfect piece that would work in the space, but the only things that appealed to me were WAY too pricey and didn’t really provide a dog bowl solution.

I looked at a few dog feeding stations with built in drawers (like this one), but I’m trying to eradicate particle board furniture from the house, not add in new stuff! Plus – the drawer based hidey holes for dog bowls always confuse me. Don’t most folks leave water out all the time for their pets?

And then I came across a cute little bench in an antique shop and a new plan hatched in my head! Behold!

Ah, what a difference some paint, burlap, new blinds and curtains makes!

The bench was only $20 and was upholstered in a not-terrible fabric. I think it’s a sewing bench that had become separated from its sewing machine. I didn’t take a TRUE before photo, but here’ the original seat fabric sitting on top of the reupholstered bench…

I have a ton of burlap sitting around, so I just found a reasonably clean piece and recovered with that. We  won’t actually use the bench for seating much, so I went for looks over function. Real burlap would be super itchy to sit on for any length of time, don’t you agree?

Here’s another before and after!

I hung our trombone and flute prints a bit on the low side so it would look more balanced. I don’t love how they aren’t really centered on the wall, but that darn light switch was right in the way!

I was a little concerned that the cross beam would make it hard for Lucy to get to her bowls, but she doesn’t have any problems – she’s already so short! In fact, odd little dog she is, this morning she was gobbling from the short end by the door, not the more practical long end.

The door looks very different from when we moved in. I removed the icky-dirty-mauled by the previous owner’s dog-blinds, painted the door black and then installed some off-the-shelf matchstick-type blinds from Home Depot. Here’s how the new blinds look unfurled.

I don’t think we’ll actually unfurl the blinds that often, but Mr. Bug feels more comfortable knowing that he CAN get privacy if he needs it. The door is some sort of metal and it’s difficult to drill holes in, so rather than attaching the cord anchor piece, I just tuck the cord neatly out of the way – it fits in the upper part of the blind where there’s a sort of modesty panel to hide the innards!

I really like how this little area turned out! Upon entering from the front door, there’s a pretty straight line of sight to this part of the family room. I love seeing the trombone and flute prints first thing when I come through the front door!

OK, the basset hound’s the first thing I usually see when I come through the door…

Whew! We’ve still got more work to do in this odd space. Painting the door and adding the bench helped a lot. Mr. Bug and I are DETERMINED to get the curtains up in the breakfast nook’s windows! The whole corner is rather spare right now.

In addition to hanging the curtains, I think that swapping out this table (an Ikea number that has served us well) for a round table will help ‘fill’ this space a bit better. I don’t necessarily want this space cluttered up, I just really feel like the whole room is unbalanced because it’s so empty on this end!

I was particularly entranced by this little photo of a breakfast room I found on Cote de Texas…

I’m not a huge fan of tablecloths, so I’d probably skip that. I don’t like feeling like my legs are being eaten alive and with the furball in residence, any cloth touching the ground usually drives Mr. Bug (head vacuum operator) batty! Instead I’m hoping to find some similar woven/wicker style chairs and a table with these lines:

I can for SURE find a table like that on Craigslit for under $100 and then, depending on the finish, either paint it white or go with the unfinished/limed look (like this one) that I’m absolutely in love with! I’m hoping that, plus a few barstools at the counter will help make this end of the room feel more finished.

1 Comment

  1. BethS says:

    it’s looking gorgeous Patty! yay. Love that it looks so cool & inviting. Freak that I am, I’d replace the switch plate cover with a wooden one & paint it to match the wall. then it just sort of goes away. (but note that i’m a freak.) –beth

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