Cozy it's not
May 20, 2012 9:48 AM Subscribe
Highly functional large room ideas for a small family of three?
This is a (very) long interior design (not decorating) nerd question.
We live in a large midwestern city where big older homes have cheap rent. We actually rented this place sight unseen (almost four years ago) on the advice of another mefite who had lived here before with the same amazing landlord.
It's just me, my husband, and our five-year-old in 2,000+ square feet of space. It's a brownstone style, kitchen-parlour-livingroom-1/2 bath downstairs and 3 bedrooms and a bath upstairs. Full basement (unfinished) under and full attic (unfinished--though there is actually an old servant's quarters up there--unheated) over so there is an embarrassment of storage. The rent is way cheap and our landlord takes fabulous and timely care of the property; he regularly spends money on upgrades.
For all those reasons, even though we're just about done with the grad school (June) that brought us here and both have obtained jobs in our fields in this same town, we're not moving in order to (for example) purchase a home. We were home owners previously, on the west coast where we came from.
Sounds awesome, right? But we've been rattling around in this space for almost four years and it seems like we just can't figure out how to make the space functional for us--AT ALL.
I'm asking for any and all ideas for making every room functional when one doesn't need so much space. I hate 'catch-all' spaces and rooms, and with so much accessible storage, rooms that fill up with piles of random that no one cares about is depressing. I'd like to be able to work all the spaces as hard as we did with our 1/2 as big no storage bungalow on the west coast.
*The kitchen was most recently upgraded to include a powder room and new cabinets. The powder room ate up what was the eat-in breakfast area. There is almost no counter space. There is a small 5-foot bit of wall near the kitchen door that maybe could be mudroom like? There is room for a small eat-in table. We tend to work on things at the kitchen table but it gets crazy and crowded in here. We need a new kitchen table and storage/function ideas.
*The parlor is huge with a bump-out niche that has three full-size windows, a door that leads to the front porch, and can be separated from the living room via pocket door. We've been using it as a kind of playroom, but our sibling-less kid plays there very little since that would mean hanging out in a giant room by himself when he can just as well look at books and draw where we are. To give you an idea, right now there is a full-size tent set up in there, just because. Otherwise, there are three toy storage shelves and a thrifted chair. This room is kind of a black hole we use for almost nothing.
*The living room is also big. The walls are all curved in there, so it's hard to put anything against them. We have a small sectional and a little futon couch facing it, and that's it. It has a windows and a fireplace, so it's nice to sit in. We don't have a TV (we use our laptops to watch what we want).
*Upstairs is a master, and that's pretty sorted (but I do like better-living master bedroom ideas). A smaller bedroom for kiddo (and I'd love good kid bedroom ideas, especially for one entering school this fall), and a huge sunporch-like third bedroom that's kind of a office/sewing room but not totally functional for either. It's giant, and seems like it could be a his&her office space but it is warm in summer/colder in winter.
*Then, there is the main bath, which barely holds a clawfoot tub, toilet, and pedestal sink. You can easily rest a large body part on all three at the same time. There is a linen closet just outside the bath, but there is no "getting ready" or storage room in the bathroom. It is overrun with product bottles and bath toys. The tub is huge and amazing when you're in it, so I would like to not hate this bathroom on sight.
Weaknesses: piles. maintenance of such a big place with a busy family schedule. assigning function.
Strengths: not a ton of stuff/furniture so sort of starting from the bottom. space to burn (and feels spacious--hardwood floors, tall ceilings).
Extra needs: guests? (where). My office-y space should accommodate computer work/sewing habit. He is a researcher who is a messy worker with the computer/books/papers/beer bottles.
Thank you! I know many of you are way smart about this kind of thing and likely think I am missing the obvious, so I appreciate, doubly, your patience and ideas.