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After Sandy: A Room With A View

A few weeks ago I wrote about the third anniversary of Super Storm Sandy, mentioning my family and I had some damage to our home that wasn’t immediately known since there was no water in the house.

What we didn’t know, though, is the insulation under the house was soaked with water and seeped into the floorboards; creating a mold issue. We lost the carpets downstairs and once they were torn up we were able treat the family room floors for mold and re-carpet.

With new carpet came the opportunity to redesign the family room into something a little more grown up. Immediately, there were a few things I wanted to do, like change the position of the television. Our family room is large, but it isn’t as wide as it is long, which presents a few design challenges. The television was always placed on the only solid wall (the rest of the walls are mainly windows). This meant I was always left jamming our furniture into the shorter space. It also meant the sofa had to be in the middle of the room and we were missing out on our lagoon view.

At right, the living room after the carpet was removed.

The solution? Turn the sofa and other furniture into the longer space and free up the television wall for built-in cabinets (I will never say no to extra storage and neither should you). The flow of the room completely changed and I wondered why it took Sandy for me to make the change.

The sofa need

ed a new slipcover so I choose a neutral tone that wouldn’t clash with the “watery” green rug I choose. Next, I found an ottoman I could repurpose and decided to make that the item I’d slipcover in a bold floral print I’d carry through the rest of the room. With the same fabric, I made a valance for the sliders and some pillows for the sofa.

At left, the sofa and ottoman BEFORE the new slipcovers.

But I wasn’t done yet. I wanted to find a comfy chair to add to the furniture mix. And when I did I slipcovered it in a stripe that really punched up the bold floral print of the ottoman, valance, and pillows. I added a small footstool in the same stripe and made more pillows from the stripe fabric because you can never have too many pillows.

Now that the television wall was free, I wanted built-in cabinets that included space for toys and other items. I also wanted a desk for myself. At one time, I thought I might want to put a fireplace on that long wall but decided the money was better spent on the cabinets. I still wanted a focal point on that wall so I decided to add a bench into the design; this gave me even more storage and the opportunity to bring the bold floral fabric to this side of the room. I added a bench cushion, and you guessed it – more pillows.

The rest of the elements came together to create a more grown up family living space. My husband (a commercial diver) has a collection of bottles that are his sunken treasure salvaged over the years. I added a second shelfing unit to the corner to balance out that side of the room and allow me to spread out his collection. Now, his bottle glass became a design element. As a result, I purchased bottle glass lamps and added bottle glass pulls on the cabinets so that look is carried throughout the room. Above, the finished room.

The last thing I added was art. I brought a beautiful piece of art from my talented friend, Maggie Moran. The colors worked beautifully in the room. I also commissioned her to paint a custom piece for the room. She painted a sunrise to go on the east wall; photo to the left.

I used an old widow frame to showcase photos from our trip to Italy and hung it over the cabinet bench to create a “window with a view” on that side of the room (it’s a short wall with no windows).

By thinking about how this room would be used, I was able to incorporate very practical elements with the things my family and I love. This room really came together nicely. Now, we have a comfortable and inviting room to enjoy everyday. Check out a video of the redo here and the entire project on Houzz.

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