Family Room Renovation

Until March, the space outside our office was a rarely used teen zone/music/random crap space.

And then everyone came home, and we needed every square inch of space. Jonah did his college classes down there. Ian logged minutes of exercise for his online gym class on the little television there, because it was hooked up to the wii-U. A few feet away in the office, Steve was logging into his Wall Street firm, and I was trying to get writing down.

Then we had a big sewer disaster in the beginning of July. And there was a big mess.

Over the next few months, we rebuilt the room — new floors, all new paint, a new wall with a hiding place for the Internet connection and a wall mounted television. We sold the vintage sofa and put in a desk for Jonah and his lap top. We mounted a larger tv on the wall.

Because we are cheap, we didn’t spend more than we got from the insurance company. So that meant we used vinyl tiles, rather than wood or porcelain tile. The sectional was previously in our living room. The dark traditional rug, a hand-me-down, is still there. Here’s what the room looks like now.

18 thoughts on “Family Room Renovation

  1. It looks lovely, Laura.
    I’m just jealous of all the *space* you have. A whole extra family room, and a large office, as well as your usual living spaces.
    It seems as though – outside the shoe-box-size apartments in NYC – US houses run a lot bigger than standard houses here in NZ.


    1. Ann said, “It seems as though – outside the shoe-box-size apartments in NYC – US houses run a lot bigger than standard houses here in NZ.”

      It depends on the area and the vintage of the housing, but yeah.

      It’s been really nice to have space during the pandemic (we have a nearly 3,000 sq. ft. house for 5 people) but a) our house is pretty open and sound travels amazingly well through the public areas (if I want a private word with my husband I invite him to the laundry room when the washer is going) and b) for some reason, everybody wants to cluster in the living room, even if they want peace and quiet for their work. (I count 3 sets of headphones in the living room.) My people are all back at school and work in-person right now, but the college freshman and the professor husband are home a lot.

      Outdoor space is also nice. The neighbors that we share a back fence with have three little girls and an outdoor trampoline and co-host a small school pod (3 families total?) and their trampoline is in use for HOURS every day when the kids are home.


      1. LOL, yeah a *lot* bigger. Average size of a new house here is 680 sq ft (had to run away and do the calculations – we measure in metres) – although, of course there are bigger builds. And also much smaller ones (and excluding apartments)
        Mine is about 1/3 smaller than that – older 1930s bungalow – when we all lived in much tighter quarters 😉
        But there are plenty of large extended-families living in much more cramped conditions (including in garages, and sleepouts), so absolutely not complaining…..

        And, we’re not tripping over each other, either. I work from home 4 days a week (one in the office) in my tiny slip of a home office. Mr 13 is on his long summer vacation – and in holiday programs most days. But when he’s home and gaming, he’s exiled to the dining room (he talks out loud when he’s online, which drives me nuts!)


    2. We have a fairly standard mid-century split level, but the previous owner put on two extensions, which doubled the size of the place. Luckily, they covered the entire space with ugly wallpaper, so nobody else wanted it; we were able to get it for a relative cheap price.

      Another problem: they were old and stopped doing renovations back in the 80s, so we’re still doing basic maintenance. Our next step is to put new siding on the house. The stuff on the house now is so old that we have woodpeckers putting holes in it looking for bugs. It’s going to be a big expensive project. We found the contractor and set aside a stack of cash. I think work will start in a couple of months.


      1. A perverse side effect of the pandemic, here, has been that everyone and his cousin is doing renovations – so it’s just about impossible to get any tradies (or at least any reputable ones).

        I need to look at re-roofing and re-painting and would like to add a deck (as well as some minor but rather urgent maintenance tasks) – but have decided to grit my teeth and wait for this surge in demand to run itself out.


      2. Ann said, “I need to look at re-roofing and re-painting and would like to add a deck (as well as some minor but rather urgent maintenance tasks) – but have decided to grit my teeth and wait for this surge in demand to run itself out.”

        I bet everybody wants a deck right now.


    3. I think your calculation might be slightly off unless my googling was inaccurate – if the average new build in NZ is 156 m2 then that is around 1600 square feet. Slightly bigger than my mid-century colonial style. 1500 is ballpark average for middle of the 20th century, these days that has gone up to 2500, and of course fancier suburbs exist with lots of 3500-5000 sf houses.


  2. I love your cable free mounted television. Sometimes it feels like our house is a mass of cables. I’m looking at my desk right now, and in my defense I do have ten hard drives, two monitors, and two computers (photos + backups). But, there’s got to be a better system.

    (at the very least, I should move the stack of hard drives under the desk. But, I’m always scared to move them, because only bad things can happen when you move a working system.


      1. 🙂 yes. External ones that is. The two computers have their own hard drives. Half are backups, though. I am a data hoarder and throw away very few pictures (it’s harder to figure out which ones to throw away rather than just keeping them). And, I keep the RAW versions of photos and take time lapses. So there’s an explanation.

        But, also, I’m a data hoarder. Say for example, I should throw away the raw files of cloudy skies taken on an automatic time lapse, but that takes time and energy and care to make sure I don’t mistakenly throw something away.

        And, I didn’t tell you that the 10 hard drives are each 8 Terabytes, so we’re talking 40 terrabytes of photos (and their backups).


      2. That’s a lot of images. I once had to copy the archive of images from a large national study (MRI, x-ray, CT, etc). I think we only used 16 TB. Thousands of people followed for a decade.


      3. Yes, feeling a bit of shame and thought about deleting some cloud pictures. But then some of them were pretty, and I didn’t. I think it’s not as bad as hoarding newspapers (no fire risk, or rats, and even 10 hard drives don’t take much space). Might try to work up more courage soon.


    1. bj said, “Sometimes it feels like our house is a mass of cables.”

      That’s probably the least photogenic aspect of our living room. My husband tells me that the cables all do something important…

      Sometime down the road, we need to fix the media storage situation in our living room and pay somebody to help us make the cables go away. We really, really need more closed storage…

      At least it’s not this spring, where we also had our scanner/color printer installed in the living room and constantly in use for scanning the kids’ school work. (But good thing we had a scanner!)


    2. I feel your pain over the proliferation of cables on the desk
      Mine looks like a rats nest – and is getting worse with every piece of tech-needing-recharging which enters the house!


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