...because home doesn't happen overnight.

You may remember that I enrolled in the Sheffield Interior Design School months ago.  The program is targeted towards people who want to learn about interior design but have other obligations {work, family, finances, etc} that keep them from enrolling full-time at a typical college or university.  Students are given 3 years to complete the course at their own pace.  Good thing. Because so far, my pace has been similar to that of a turtle.  Slow and steady wins the race, right? Well, I intentionally took a few months off because I learned that part of my work as a Sheffield student is to design a room using the concepts learned through my studies. While the school intends for students to do this on paper, I thought it would be fun to try it in real life as well. And now that I have plenty of rooms to make over {thank you old, decrepit Underdog}, it’s back to the books for me!

I plan on giving each room of the Underdog a makeover, but I’d like to share the long, drawn-out, in depth process of transforming one particular room from start to finish here on House*Tweaking. Even better, I’d like you to tell me which room you want to see receive the design student makeover.  This will be the room that I work on {on paper and in real life although maybe not simultaneously} for my design student project.  I’ll share all my thoughts, plans, designs and rookie drawings throughout the process.  I’ll probably even change my mind a few times. Maybe seeing a room come to life from the first to final steps will inspire you, take the intimidation sting out of decorating, or just show you how bat @#$! crazy my mind can be at times.  Sound good?  Okay, let’s put it to a vote.

I’ve narrowed down the playing field to three Underdog rooms that meet the requirements for my school project.

LIVING ROOM – You immediately enter into the living room upon entrance from the front door. The room will be open to the kitchen.  Activities that will take place in this room are:  watching TV, relaxing, playing, casual entertaining and reading.  Pros:  the room has an original fireplace as its focal point and a large picture window that provides tons of natural light.  Cons: the room is small-ish for all the activities that will take place in it and needs new flooring.  I’ll need to figure out ways to add disguised toy/game storage, seat an optimal number of people comfortably, stylishly add in a TV and all its components, carve out a spot for guests to hang coats and bags, and arrange furniture to highlight the fireplace without impeding traffic flow.

DINING ROOM/MUDROOM/LAUNDRY ROOM – You immediately enter into this space upon entrance from the garage.  The room is just off the kitchen/living room and has sliders that open up to the backyard.  It also contains a closet will house the washer, dryer and radon mitigation system.  Activities that will take place in this room are:  dining {although everyday dining will most likely take place at the kitchen island}, taking off shoes/coats, hanging up everyday bags, emptying pockets, laundering, coloring and crafting with the kids, sewing, and passing through to the backyard.  Pros:  the room receives natural light from the patio sliders and is connected to the outdoors.  Cons:  once again, the room is small-ish for all duties that will be required of it, it needs new flooring and it has no existing focal point.  I’ll need to add dining furniture that will double as a sewing/crafting table.  Somehow, I’ve got to incorporate the laundry closet into the rest of the room without hiding it behind cumbersome doors.  A part of the room will be designated to mudroom duties:  shoe putting on/taking off, hanging up backpacks/purses, storing outerwear and dropping keys.  This room needs to provide storage for my sewing supplies {including a sewing machine}, kids craft materials and, ideally, even household staples {like toilet paper}.  And it needs to hold all of that stuff out of plain sight so that when the room is being used as extra dining space, it doesn’t feel like you’re dining in the laundry room/mudroom/craft room.  Whew.  That’s a lot to ask of one room.  Aesthetically, the room needs a focal point…other than the window A/C unit…and a new ceiling fixture.

MASTER BEDROOM – This room is at the end of a long, narrow hallway.  Activities that will take place in this room are:  sleeping, reading and dressing. Pros:  the room has two nice-sized windows in it {although one has a cracked pane}, is a decent size itself and has an adequate en suite bathroom.  Cons:  closet space is limited, the room has no architectural focal point or overhead fixtures, and the room needs new flooring.  In addition to a bed, we’ll need furniture to make up for a teeny closet.  I’d like to sneak in a dressing area if possible.  We’ll also need bedside lighting for nighttime reading.  More than anything, this room needs to feel like a safe haven at the end of every busy day.

Now that you know a little bit more about each room, tell me which one you’d like to watch get tweaked to life, in detail.

[polldaddy poll=”5188232″]

Vote until July 1st at midnight EST.

images:  Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

 

 

45 Comments

28.June.2011

My vote goes to the dining/craft/mud/laundry room. I am interested to see how you will get all those functions done in one small room and still have it look stylish! Phew, what a challenge that would be!!

You might have more fun in the bedroom though, since you have fewer challenges and can be more creative with the textures/colors etc. when you have fewer demands on the space.

:)

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28.June.2011

Have you enjoyed Sheffield’s program? I’ve been debating it versus continuing classes through the community college. Do you learn CAD?

Can’t wait to see how the Underdog turns out! Quite a project!

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replied on June 28th, 2011

Leila – No CAD is involved. There’s no business or bachelor degree earned but I will learn how to gain access to ‘trade only’ products and showrooms. Lauren Liess of Pure Style Home and Layla Palmer of The Lettered Cottage are both Sheffield grads, so I figured at least I’ll be in good company!

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28.June.2011

Looking to find my own “underdog” right now. When will you be available for hiring for design consult? :)

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28.June.2011

I’m excited to follow the process regardless of what room you decide. I’ve thought about doing this same program but I’m sceered :)

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28.June.2011

I vote for dining/craft/mud/laundry!!! We live in a similar home, but our laundry is in the basement (which is damp and unfinished)….

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28.June.2011

I’ve GOT to see what you do with that living room brick fireplace!! It looks damn-near just like mine, except mine extends the whole wall and I have no idea what to do with it. :)

And I like your idea of taking it room what room. We moved into an “new” older home (built 1973), and I have spread myself so thin in trying to get things done, that I think I need that same approach–just ONE ROOM to focus on. I’ll be watching and waiting! :)

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28.June.2011

My vote goes for the dining/mudroom/laundry. It looks like the most challenging and I’m interested to see how you configure the space to meet all of these needs. Of course, I can’t wait to see your progress on ALL of the rooms. Love what you’re doing with the “Underdog” and you have inspired me to look for our own house that would lead us to the road of financial freedom.

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28.June.2011

This post made me realize why interior design can be so challenging for those of us who are NOT in design school – there is so much to consider regarding functionality, flow, and furniture before even touching the realm of colors/textiles/accessories!

I’d love to see the dining room done, only because I can’t imagine how on earth you’ll squeeze so much into one space. But I’m hoping you’ll share them all with us! And if you happen to decide that none of your spaces will work for your project, I know one NYC apartment that is Calling. Your. Name. :)

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28.June.2011

I chose the dining/mudroom/laundry room/craft room… because it seems the most challenging. I am the most curious to see how you transform this room; it seems like quite the task, and I hope you choose this room even if it doesn’t get the most votes. We all have that difficult room in our homes – without a focal point, multi-purpose, imperfect – and this is that room for you. Your other two rooms are mundane challenges compared to this one – and I know you will do a fabulous job and can’t wait to see what you do!

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28.June.2011

My vote (and thank you for letting us give input into this process) is for the living room. You listed the fireplace and large picture window as pros, but for me (in my home) they are kind of cons, because they make furniture placement that allows for flow and function as well as style a real challenge, so you go first, I hope to learn much from you sensei. :)

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28.June.2011

Ooh, how excitiing! I’ve been detailing a master bath reno start to finish on our blog, but I’d love to see something larger scale.

My vote is the dining room/laundry room/mudroom to see the multifunctionality and how it’ll be utilitarian and still beautiful.

Good luck!

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28.June.2011

Dining Room/Mudroom/Laundry. Anxious to see how you work your magic on what seems like a difficult challenge!

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28.June.2011

definitely the living room. since you’re knocking down walls and completely changing the shape/feel of the room, it would be perfect for this project! love your blog and can’t wait to see what you do with the whole house!

AJ

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28.June.2011

I vote for the dining/craft/mud/laundry room. It is quite a challenge! I can’t wait to see what you do with it.

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28.June.2011

I agree with the other posters. It would make more sense to do the living room or master bedroom first, but I would love to see how you pull off the dining room / mudroom combo.

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28.June.2011

I voted for the living room, but would love to see the dining room happen too. Can’t wait to see which one you end up picking!

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28.June.2011

I know it’s not the popular choice but I would start with the bedroom. My husband and I are about to start our third house remodel; I have learned anything from the last two it is the value of a retreat. There will be days where you feel like you are constantly tripping over tools or materials and everything you touch is covered with sheetrock dust. Have one room that is clean and finished has been a real sanity saver. (In the last two houses the first room we finished was a bathroom. I would spend hours in the tub just to get away from the mess for a while).

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I voted for the dining room/mudroom because I think it’s a big challenge but I know you’re up to it. I’m interested to see how allow for dining and crafts in the same space. I think that’s a common constraint for most people and I know you’ll have some stylish solutions! Good luck!

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28.June.2011

I vote for the dining/mud room. The LR will already be a huge project but more common-sense for you since it is the most used room in the house for entertaining, daily multi-use, etc (tied to the kitchen, of course), so I think the dining/mud room is the biggest challenge.

PS: The master has an *en suite* bathroom…not *on* :)

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replied on June 28th, 2011

Dawn – Oops! Thanks. I was doing that phonetic spelling thing again… Fixed.

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28.June.2011

I vote for the dining/craft/mud/laundry room, because I think it’ll be interesting to see how you incorporate all those activities into a single room while keeping clutter at a minimum and “ugly” laundry room features hidden.

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28.June.2011

I can’t wait to see which room you choose to do first! I voted for the living room because of it’s frequent use & visibility when people enter. Also, itls function is closest to what I would need (wink, wink). I’m bound to get wonderful ideas from you! I’m also excited to see what you do with the dining room/mudroom area. Hopefully you’ll share all your tweaking secrets with us!

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I vote for the Dining Room! While the other rooms will be what they are intended to be, the Dining Room will be a awesome combination/multipurpose room, and I think a success with this room will be much more impressive than a nice Living Room or nice Master Bedroom. A lot of people have a “formal dining room” in their home that doesn’t get the use that it deserves, so it will be very inspirational! I can’t wait to see how you do it!

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28.June.2011

I vote for dining/mudroom. Looking forward to seeing your progress!

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28.June.2011

I voted for the dining room/mudroom/laundry nook. Although I am most interested in seeing the result of your living room/kitchen, I think it will be the easiest to design. I think transforming a den into a sewing/craft/dining/laundry/etc area will be a bigger challenge!

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28.June.2011

I’d like to see the Master Bedroom renovation because it seems very challenging considering the space (shape and size). Were queen and king sized beds the norm when this house was built as they are now? Just wondering

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can’t wait to see the results!!!

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28.June.2011

Would love to see what you do with the dining room!

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28.June.2011

Thanks, Dana! I’ll have to look into it more! I think Camila of Effortless Style is a Sheffield grad as well.

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28.June.2011

Living room…..mudroom…..living room….mudroom….living room…..mudroom…..I can’t decide.

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28.June.2011

Dana, your blog inspired me to remodel my guest room and home office. I’ve been wamting to do the living room but lost my motivation. So, go for the living room! No matter what the results of the poll, good luck!

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28.June.2011

I vote for dining/mud/laundry room just because I can’t wait to see how you’re going to configurate everything! I am a big fan of small houses – we occupy 912 square feet and although I don’t know if this will be our forever home, I love not having wasted space. Having grown up in a massive center hall colonial with rooms that people only sat and ate in on holidays, it was a big adjustment for me to start a family here. Still, I love how together we are. No one is holed up alone on a computer or hibernating on another floor. It humbles me that we have neighbors who have been original owners here since the 50s who raised four kids in the same size house. There just wasn’t a need for so much stuff and it’s inspired me to live a simpler life.

Your current home is gorgeous, and the Underdog is going to be doubly so because it’s bringing you one step closer to achieving your dream!

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29.June.2011

Love, love, love this idea. No matter which room you go with, I can’t wait to be inspired and read all about the process you employ to pull a room together! :)

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29.June.2011

I’m assuming we’ll see all three (and your whole house), but just one of these rooms in fine detail. If that’s the case, the room I want to see all the details of is the living room, because I can relate to that space in my own home.

We don’t have a room to devote to dining, crafting, mud rooming (ha, I created a verb!), and laundering. And a bedroom is basically a bedroom, imo. But the living room… I have that, and I have to fit a million functions into it, too.

I am curious as to how you’ll get your dining etc. room functioning, but I care about the living room details more.

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replied on June 29th, 2011

April – You hit the nail on the head! Of course, I’m going to share the progress of each room but the room that gets the most votes will be the one I use for my school project and I’ll show you more in depth details as to how it gets from the first to final step.

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29.June.2011

In real life, I would probably tackle the multipurpose room first, but the living room seems like a great design challenge, so I’d choose it for the class.

That reminds me, I forgot to mention that your new direction gave me the spark to go back to school! Back to gre vocab ;)

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29.June.2011

That’s great! I did an online design course too, and it taught me so much. It was great to be able to do it at my own pace and schedule, around my full time job and family. I graduated this last year and have been building my business. If anything, it teaches you so many things you can apply to your own home. I was slow on mine at times too, but that was ok, because that was the whole point of doing it online at home :) Good luck!!

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29.June.2011

I think the living room might be best for a school design project, especially if it is going to be the focal point of your home — where most of the “hang out” time is spent. The dining/multi-purpose room sounds awesome and I can’t wait to see what you do, but maybe too specialized for a school thing?

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29.June.2011

i vote living room! and am i the only one with a twelve year old boy’s brain who giggled when you went to list the activities for the master bedroom? ;)

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replied on June 29th, 2011

Lisa – NO! No, you are not the only one with a 12-year-old’s brain who giggled at the master bedroom activities. Wanna know who else chuckled? Handy Hubby, that’s who. When he read the post {in front of me}, he said I left out a bedroom activity…hot monkey you-know-what. I said we need to get some hot monkeys then. Hehe. Craziness. And here I thought I could sneak away by just listing sleeping, lighting reading and dressing as bedroom activities!

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I’d love to see the dining/laundry/mudroom just because I know it’ll be such a challenge to create a space with so many purposes. I know you’ll do a fabulous job no matter what space is chosen!

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30.June.2011

I vote for the Dining Room. Your ideas for making it a multipurpose room are so inspiring to me. Why hadn’t I thought of it before. I want a formal dining room and a craft room. I’d always assumed that they had to be two different spaces. Why can’t they be the same?? Duh! You’ve given me a **Light Bulb** moment. Love it!

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02.July.2011

I changed my mind and think I’d like to see a play by play of the dining room/mudroom/laundry room. That room has so many purposes I can’t wait to see how you creatively pull it together, which I know you will do very well. And haha, I didn’t mention it, but I too, was wondering about the bedroom activities. I thought maybe the renovation had taken hot monkey you know what by the tail – knowing though that you were just being thoughtfully modest!!

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31.October.2014

Did you finish the Design School course? Do you use it?

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