If you know me well, you know I change things up around the house a bit. I don’t just rearrange furniture. I rearrange rooms. It started out of necessity. We were an eight-member family living in 1,100 square feet. In older homes, floor plans are more flexible. So, the living room had been a bedroom, a bedroom became a family closet, and the kitchen was often a laundry room. Now we are in a larger home, but an old one still, so there is lots of room for flexibility. I moved into this house thinking that since it was bigger, I would be able to have what “normal” people have in their house, and I would still have room for the kids. So we started out with a pretty living room with boring neutral colors. It is the biggest room upstairs, but it was supposed to be mine and Superman’s space, with the kids’ space being in a room off of the back of the house used as a playroom. Since it was a playroom, its walls were painted vibrantly, including one “pumpkin spice” colored wall, an almost turquoise wall, a nice earthy green wall, and the brick wall, still unpainted. It also had a really cool ramp in it from when my grandmother lived here. The boys loved rolling their cars down it and riding their ride-on toys down it.
I would have pretty things in my living room that would not be touched or broken because the kids would not be allowed in there except to watch t.v.- without toys and without food or juice cups. Yeah. You are exactly right in your assumption. It didn’t work. Our kids enjoy being with us, and we enjoy being with our kids. Not to mention, our dining room was small, and once we got a table in there big enough to fit all of us, you couldn’t take a breath too deep or you would crack the plaster wall behind you. So we changed it. Because you know what??? We live here. All nine of us, and ten now, if you count our college friend, Roomie. The people in the magazine don’t live here, so it doesn’t have to meet their approval. And while a certain relative of mine pours herself into making her house meet the latest trends and suggestions, she has no one come over to see it. Ever. What’s the point? So this is what we have in our house. The rooms may not be the same as yours, but that’s okay. We live here, not in your house, and you live in your house, not in our house. We have a living/family/play room. The kids still call it a play room, but it is where we veg on the couch, watch t.v., and just plain play. It is where we live, although our definition of living is so very different from many others’. The wall colors are still the same, and we are hoping to paint the brick a bright red to go with the other vibrant colors. It would match this beautiful fabric from IKEA.
We have an office in our former dining room. It has a love seat, two bookshelves, a desk with too many papers piled on top, and a file cabinet. It is open into the dining/school/music room. Superman’s great-aunts gave us a large dining room table with eight chairs, and we moved it into the biggest room we had- our former living room. We could move around the table and just spread out. The two leaves to the table stay in at all times, and we have extra chairs. We eat, craft, color, read, draw, play cars, and we will be doing school there in about two weeks, all around the big table. This room also houses our homeschooling supplies. It is the home to the player piano that my aunt graciously gave us, which I hope the kids will learn to play someday. We are also planning to do the majority of our school work in there, and we are hoping to build a nice bench seat in front of the large windows that look straight into the trees. It would give us somewhere to crawl up with a good book, away from the television. We’ll also use this room to teach the kids their instruments. It will be filled with sounds of the violin, recorder, and guitar in a matter of weeks. We have four rooms currently being used as bedrooms: the girls are downstairs in the biggest room in the house with three loft beds and their very own stage; three of the boys in the room my mom lived in after her sister went away to college, on two cool sets of bunk beds from IKEA; Roomie’s room, which is the room that belonged to my mom before she got her sister’s room; and our bedroom, which is also home to the baby’s bed. We have a spare room downstairs that is in need of some improvements that we have neither time nor money for right now, and the half of the basement that is unfinished, which houses our laundry and has the potential to become a great playroom one day. It is also where we store our extra refrigerator, our extra food shelves, and an upright freezer. Right now, it stores everything else that doesn’t have a home. We’re working on it.
We also have the potential for three bathrooms. They are small ones, mind you. Two upstairs, which work fine, but are ugly old tile and quite cozy, and a third one downstairs, which needs to be completely gutted and renovated. The two upstairs share a wall with the plumbing for the sink, so my dream is that we move the plumbing and knock that wall out to make one big bathroom. One day…
We do have a kitchen, which no longer has to be a laundry room, and we are hoping to one day knock out the wall between it and the office to increase our kitchen size and capabilities. Maybe by then, that spare room downstairs can be renovated and become our office.
You won’t find our house in a magazine, unless it’s a “This house needs a makeover” edition! But it works for us, and I guess since we are the ones that live here, that’s okay.