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Is it a family room or in eat in kitchen.... or can it be both?
familystover
January 16, 2013 in Design Dilemma
We bought this house knowing this room was a design challenge. After 3 years I am still struggling to figure out how to make it work for our family.

The family room/kitchen is the primary activity space in the house. We have a toy room basement but kids tend to be more in the family room near Mom. My design dilemma's include:

FIREPLACE
- dated country look of fireplace and too much brick darkening the room
- off center fireplace
- Should we paint the brick white? Cover it with sheet rock? What to do with mantel and off center fireplace? What about the hearth on the bottom, what to do with that?

USE OF ROOM
- room is slightly too small for both eat in kitchen and family room
- Where should we place sofa and/or kitchen table? We would like to replace the carpet and sofa, would a sectional be right for this space?
- should I just make it a family room and no kitchen table?
- create a breakfast bar in the kitchen that can seat at least 3-4 ppl?, (can't knock out that side wall due to HVAC there)

WINDOWS
- windows are very close to walls
- ideas for window treatments?

COLOR and MOULDING
- What kind of moulding should we do?
- Would a gray color paint on the walls look good?
- What type of art work or placement of framed pictures goes where? Over mantel?

KITCHEN
- Should we paint kitchen cabinets white to update kitchen or leave existing?
- What type of granite countertop would look nice?
- SHould we keep the backsplash or is that dated as well?

HELP!!! thanks in advance!!
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decoenthusiaste
I would paint the FP white and the rest of the room greige. Can you open that one side of the FP so it squares up and centers? How about putting a flat screen above the mantel? I'd move the table and chairs out, extend the bar by the vent far enough into the room to seat your family on barstools around it. Get an apartment sized light colored leather sectional with no chaise - just two wings - and float it on a much larger area rug in the center of the space. Add a chair and side table plus lamp where the table is now between the French doors and window. Put a sofa table and large piece of art where the sofa is now. Get some nice TV trays, or custom make some, for times when you don't want to eat at the bar. If you do the leather and an indoor-outdoor rug, you won't worry about food spills and kid damage. Check homedecorators.com for good looking large rugs and reasonable prices. Last step would be a round coffee table and simple drapery panels hung floor to ceiling each side of the windows and French door. Use color and pattern there and in some throw pillows. Might use the rug as a starting place to find your color to spark the room.
January 16, 2013 at 11:56am   
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Aja Mazin
WINDOWS - ideas for window treatments?

Roman shades, blinds [perhaps a colored wood], natural woven shades, cellular shades.
January 16, 2013 at 11:57am   
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Aja Mazin
FIREPLACE

Love the brick!
Please don't paint it.

The look can be updated in other ways.
January 16, 2013 at 12:18pm     
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Aja Mazin
A gray color paint on the walls look would look fantastic!

If you have space in the kitchen, then make the room a family room.

Granite counter tops are pricey and slipping in popularity.
Consider alternatives.

I would prefer a sofa and two chairs.

Add a couple of glass top end tables and use the ottoman for your cocktail table.

I love the fabric and style. .

The French doors need nothing.

Great kitchen cabinets! Add bold, new hardware.

Here are great rugs at low prices.
http://www.zincdoor.com/c/Rugs.aspx
January 16, 2013 at 12:37pm     
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PRO
The Creative Man
Big challenge is right. This is scheming to be what they called a keeping room (gathering space for relaxation, eating and socializing). First, try washing the brick with a color, rub it on and remove some. Change the color of the mantel once the fireplace is finished. New area rug, 1 large enough to encompass whole room. Try a new sofa that is smaller. Add 2 comfy chairs, a table and lamp. Add 1 or 2 ottoman's that can also act as a coffee table. Windows, sheer valance on lower half with a full patterned long drapes on either side of sliding doors.
January 16, 2013 at 12:41pm   
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pjtime
I agree Aja Majin. Gray on the walls would look so much better, and if you can find room to build a breakfast bar to eat at, I would do that. I would paint the walls light gray and then decide if you think the room is still too dark. I love the brick and really dislike painted brick. To me that's a big turn off. White washing doesn't look so bad, brightens the room up and still leaves a lot of character the brick offers. I guess I want first off to know if you use the fireplace. I love my fireplace and wouldn't live without it. I don't agree with TV's on the mantel. They are ugly and heat is bad for electronics. Maybe you could place it to the right side of the fireplace opening lower down for more comfortable viewing, but it's not bad in it's current placement. I'd place the sofa facing the fireplace and the table and chairs, if you have room, behind the sofa. If there's not room and it looks to me like there's not because it's a big set, just dispense with the table and chairs. Perhaps a smaller set of table and chairs would work? Or a table with leaves that drop when it's not in use? An area rug you love in front of the sofa between it and the fireplace. Put a decorative fireplace screen in front of fireplace opening when it's not in use and find a nice toy box that's not obviously a toy box for the children's toys or an old armoire entertainment center type thing to store toys in. I'd also get a couple of comfy swivel chairs for the wall the sofa is currently on, or place a chair on each side of the couch between the sofa and fireplace. If you end up disposing of your table and chairs, get a sofa table to back the sofa or you can actually get a dining table with drop leaves for when you entertain to use dual purpose behind the sofa as a sofa table and a dining table. For window treatments I'd use blinds on the windows and draperies on each side of the french doors, or opt for blinds on all windows and doors. You have a very nice kitchen (I love the cabinets) and I don't think it really needs anything. You have nice flooring and I like the brick fireplace. Yes it would be nice to have the fireplace all squared off, but it's not as big an eyesore as you think. Some real punch in color can be done with a rug, pillows, throws, accessories, and drapes on each side of the doors and can brighten the space a lot. A long narrow painting above the mantel in colors of your accessories will add to the punch.
January 16, 2013 at 1:50pm     
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familystover
Thanks for all of the feedback. One of the challenges is that the mantel is too high so there is not enough room to hang the television without straining your neck to watch. I am also worried about extending breakfast bar since that would then chop up the flow from the doorway to the outside doors to the deck.
January 16, 2013 at 6:21pm   
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sdrew
I would try painting the mantle black, and see how it contrasts with the brick. A Carmel paint for the walls would look warm.
What about 4 chairs arranged around a round table?
January 16, 2013 at 6:27pm   
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jjdesignkloos
i would start with removing the mantel; make built-in shelves on each side of the fireplace--for toys, tv, display; and also a new mantel. I would have 2 small loveseats facing each other--on each side of the fireplace. And a smaller table and chair set in the middle of the room--towards the kitchen end.
I would paint the walls in the kitchen and family room gray--to tie in with the countertops; and paint out the fireplace and new built-ins white--to tie in with the rest of the window and door trim. Then I would get some fun-print curtain panels for all the windows, including a valance to the ceiling above the sink; a colorful area rug under the 2 loveseats; and bright cushions on them. A livable, cozy space!
January 16, 2013 at 6:55pm   
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pjtime
Stylekloos! So cool! Yes I can see it! But I think I'd whitewash the brick instead of painting it. But this is an excellent idea for storage and the TV could be integrated into that shelving.
January 17, 2013 at 8:33am   
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decoenthusiaste
TV's can now be installed on a slight tilt so you don't have to strain your neck to watch. In case that idea appeals to you. Apartmenttherapy.com has some info on it if you want to read up.
January 17, 2013 at 9:47am   
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