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Carla’s Family Room Makeover

My friend Carla is a talented writer. So when she asked if she could write an article about Jill and me, we were humbled and incredibly flattered. As part of her article, she asked us to come into her home and help make her family room more functional. The way they were using it was somewhat of a pass-through room. Not really as a space that her family and friends could gather, relax, and play.

So Jill and I met up with Carla and her family at her house and got to work. The goal was to use existing items from around her home, so that we didn’t have to spend any money. It was so fun walking around Carla’s house to see all the great pieces she had already. We found a perfect area rug in her master closet of all places, and a really cool settee in her play room.

The goal was to brighten up Carla’s space while making it functional for her family of four. Here are the before and after’s.


Carla's Family Room - Before

Carla’s Family Room – Before

We used some throw pillows from my storage closet, rearranged furniture, and stole stuff from other rooms.

Family Room Progress

Family Room Progress

And after. With a rug to ground the space and furniture balanced on either side of the fireplace, we were able to create a focal point around the mantel.

Carla's Family Room Makeover - After

Carla’s Family Room Makeover – After

Mantel before

Mantel Before Shot

Mantel Before Shot


Mantel After

Mantel After

Entry before

Entry way before

Entry way before

Entry before - gallery wall

Entry before – gallery wall

Entry after

Entry after

Entry after

Entry after - gallery wall

Entry after – gallery wall

We also reorganized her beautiful antique cabinet to showcase their family’s meaningful items more. Before, those special pieces were lost. We wanted to help keep the cabinet functional while still allowing their memories to shine. I obviously am doing a good job supervising here while Jill does all the had work.




One of the things we found while reorganizing was this adorable basket in the shape of Mississippi, where Carla is from. Jill had a brilliant idea to hang the basket on the wall with their heart-shaped hook in the middle for holding keys. Get it? Carla’s heart is in Mississippi? It’s so clever and cheesy that it’s fabulous! And it’s one of Carla’s favorite personalized additions to her room.

Heart is in Mississippi

Heart is in Mississippi

Without having to spend any money, we were able to help Carla get a family room that felt balanced, family-friendly, and stylish. She had great pieces all over her house that ended up being the perfect fit for her redefined space. Since the makeover, she said that her two, unbelievably cute daughters love having tea parties at their coffee table. Love hearing stories like that. And, I mean, how cute is Carla???

Carla's Family Room Makeover

Carla’s Family Room Makeover

Thank you so much Carla, for letting us share an evening of redesign fun with you and your family. We are so incredibly flattered that you shared our story with your readers of 435 Magazine. Next, we’ll tackle the mancave!

435 Magazine - Redefine Your Living Space

435 Magazine – Redefine Your Living Space





Hilary’s Challenge

Remember our friend Carla? After her article in November, her friend Hilary contacted me and Jill to see if we could help her out as well. Hilary has a gorgeous home near Kansas City’s historic Plaza. It’s a Tudor with tons of character. I mean, look at her front door???

Hilary and her husband have two young kids, and she’s basically challenged with the same issues that all of us with young families have: how do I make my space fit my style but also really functional for my everyday life?

There are two things we really had to figure out during our time with Hilary.

1. What is their family’s style? This was hard for Hilary to articulate. And that’s OK. Many people can’t really “define” their style. That’s part of the process Jill and I go through when we walk through someone’s house and talk with them about their family. During our tour, we were able to nail down a few design themes in their home:

  • Mission-style furniture
  • Paisley
  • Colors of navy, light blue, salmon, and minty green

2. How do they want their main floor to function that best fits their everyday life? This is always a lot easier for people to articulate because they can really just explain their day-to-day activities. The biggest challenge Hilary had was their family room. The location of their TV sort of dictated where furniture could be placed. And because it is a long rectangular room, they had a hard time defining the various sections of it. They wanted to figure out the best flow for the space.

So in this first phase, we needed to rearrange the family room using existing items around their house. Here are the befores.

When you looked into the room, the couch was blocking the path to the sun room.

And it was pushed close enough to the back french doors, that it didn’t make it very inviting to open them regularly. Aren’t they beautiful? I love her archways and all the woodwork!

Most likely, the reason they did this was because they felt that the couch should sit at the natural end of their long rug. But after talking through it, they were totally fine with moving it in a bit.

And here you can see the TV constraint because their armoire needed to stay where it was located. We talked about the possibility of mounting the TV above the mantel in the future, but they weren’t ready to go there yet.

With the way the furniture was set up, you can see that the fireplace was getting lost. They don’t really use it, but it’s still a focal point of the family room that needed to be brought out a bit.

And here are the after photos.

By simply moving the furniture around and reaccessorizing, we were able to create a natural seating area that highlighted the fireplace a bit better but still allowed for ample TV viewing. We pulled the couch in a bit and moved the table from behind it over next to the fireplace, where it fit really well.

Now what we need to finish off this space are the following: a smaller area rug to bring in some color and help ground this space a bit; a storage ottoman that can act as a coffee table; and new artwork for the right wall (next to the armoire). We’re going shopping with Hilary this weekend, so hopefully we can finish this space off!