The Lowe’s spring makeover wrapped up not that long ago, and today, we’re excited to share the entire story with you! From start to finish, the experience was exciting, exhausting, challenging and celebratory all at once, but isn’t that always the case when something is worth it? We landed late on a Friday evening at the Orange County airport, began our Saturday before the sun was up and called it a wrap with just enough time to watch it set on Sunday evening. We might have slept for a couple of hours in-between.
Our goal was to create a welcoming, relaxing and enjoyable family room for a newly-multi-generational household. Akiyo and her family – husband Brandon, son Bruce and teeny pup Katsu – recently moved in with her dad, back into the home she grew up in. This room is truly the backdrop to their lives; it’s where they sing songs, practice their dance moves and snuggle to a Netflix marathon. It’s where 5-year-old Bruce crafts and colors, and it’s where the family gathers after long work days and equally long commutes. After a quick tour (and coffee and doughnuts!), we wasted no time divvying up the paint cans and brushes, ripping open bags of potting soil, photo framing, spray painting, wood staining and furniture assembling. We had an impressive crew of Lowe’s volunteers, and Akiyo’s friends and sisters popped over to help, too!
Day one moved way too quickly, but it saw a lot – and I mean a lot! – of progress. While we knew everything from the walls to the trim would get a fresh coat of paint to start, we also had plans to create a unique treatment along the former wall of mirrors using Timberwall planks. These planks have a heavy duty adhesive strip on the back (sort of like a giant sticker) that push into place. The planks are provided in two different thicknesses for interest, and although they come in a wide variety of styles and shades, our idea was to paint them the same color as the rest of the walls. We weren’t looking for this accent wall to shout, rather, our hope was for a fun, subtle surprise. (Spoiler: Turns out, it is The Statement in the room, and we’re okay with that!)
While our original plan was to stack them in a brick lay pattern, both Akiyo and I got starry-eyed when we saw the suggestion for a herringbone pattern on the instruction pamphlet. Two brave Lowe’s volunteers called dibs! on the challenge, which was without a doubt one of the heftier tasks of the entire weekend.
The morning of day two was spent finishing up the Timberwall, installing shelves made from 2 x 10s (stained in Special Walnut and protected with two layers of Polycrylic), wiring sconces and hanging curtains. We cleaned up any imperfect paint lines along the freshly painted baseboards, sucked up fireplace soot, mopped the floors and shined all those windows!
Around 1 o’clock, we promptly kicked out all the Lowe’s volunteers (with hugs and thank yous and there’s no way we could have done all of this without yous) and we told Akiyo, Brandon and Bruce to take as much time as they needed to eat lunch and enjoy the afternoon. As soon as the door closed behind them, we hit ‘play’ on a high energy playlist, we arranged furniture, and we hung a gallery wall. We shopped from the family’s personal collection of special mementos, photos and knick knacks, and we debated the placement of each and every item – this-way versus that-way, one inch to the left and back again.
Do you remember how it looked before? Here was the view when you first walked into the living room, followed immediately by the room right now!:
Facing the fireplace, before and after:
The door to the right of the sofa leads to their laundry room, and any other adjoining doors to the room (plus all trim!) received fresh white paint, making all the difference. Above the sofa is a collection of favorite prints and family photos, including Akiyo-made art and (the world’s cutest) drawings that Bruce worked on leading up to our arrival:
Looking back towards the formerly mirrored wall, the room is almost unrecognizable! Replacing a dated accent wall for a new one lends a playful and more modern vibe to the room. The herringbone pattern was a lot more work than a more traditional brick lay pattern, but the results were well worth it. No longer is all the furniture in the room ‘under arrest,’ yet there is more seating than ever before. Everyone in the room has a place to sit – hooray! (Imagine me saying, you get a seat! You get a seat! You get a seat!)
Let’s talk details. The 2 x 10 shelves are strong and sturdy, spanning 4′ and supported on both ends with these brackets. Any exposed screw heads were touched up with a cotton swab and a dab of white paint for a seamless finish. The pots and plants hail from Lowe’s, some of them being ready made succulent gardens! Their selection is so beautiful right now.
While we were pulling the room together, we spotted a stack of board games in their garage, and we threw them in a basket Akiyo had on hand. There’s plenty of room under the shelves to grow their collection with more baskets, more games and more toys:
We hung these sconces above each set of shelves and disguised the plug in cords with cord covers painted the same color as the wall. (This is definitely an affordable solution if installing new electrical isn’t immediately feasible!) And see that black frame in the photo below? We cut the former owners’ owl drawing out of the drywall and framed it for display, keeping the sweet memory alive.
During the initial stages of the design planning, we had an electrician remove a wall junction box and relocate it to the center of the ceiling. Before, there was no overhead lighting, and we went one step further by installing this clean, simple ceiling fan:
Moving over to the accent wall, the idea was to create a separate little nook for Bruce with a kid (but still adult) friendly rocking chair and reading lamp. The map is a favorite print of theirs to track their travels, and the black frame plays nicely against the painted Timberwall. Perhaps one of our favorite parts with the Timberwall is that it’s not immediately noticeable when you first walk into the room; it’s an unexpected surprise. Finishing the corner is a pretty curtain backdrop that spans the entire length of the window wall! We DIYed the curtain rod from steel pipes (just like this!) that were spray painted black and installed with anchors.
While adding one accent with the Timberwall, we downplayed the stone fireplace by giving it a coat of fresh paint. Akiyo admitted that no one was attached (or attracted) to the finish, so although we debated paint versus natural, in the end, well, you can see what won! The original brass screen had become almost unusable, and in the eleventh hour, a Lowe’s team member found this fireplace screen that added a nice black contrast with a much better fit for the room’s aesthetic!
Although plans shifted and changed throughout the course of the weekend, in the end, the room turned out to be everything we all hoped for – cozy but fun, casual and spacious. We took their family photo albums out of hiding and stacked them on the table where they could be enjoyed. The chairs and couch are deep and inviting for snuggling, movie watching and napping. A new smart television hangs above the mantel on a swivel mount, allowing for it to turn towards the couch, chairs – or the outdoors. Overhead and task lighting spans throughout the room. New wood-look tile floors add an amazing amount of depth and warmth. Katsu even received his own doggy door that was installed directly into the patio screen!
By 4 o’clock, we welcomed the entire family back home to show them the space every one of us had worked so hard on. Not surprisingly, I cried. Akiyo cried. Bruce bounced around the room, wrapping himself in blankets and pointing out his favorite parts, and we all took a moment to really look around and soak it in.
As we were saying our goodbyes, Bruce had already begun laying out his toy cars. His favorite chair was claimed, and Katsu was so sweet to walk us to the front gate.
This was truly a team effort from so many. I was feeling very goofy (loopy?) by Sunday’s end (see exhibit A, above!), but the room came together exactly how it was meant to be. Akiyo, we hope your whole family enjoys this room for many, many years to come!
1. Sherwin Williams Infinity in Eider White | 2. Harbor Breeze Mazon 44″ ceiling fan, nickel | 3. Timberwall Landscape in Arctic White | 4. Lite Source 6.25″ swing arm sconce | 5. Allen + Roth purple/blue low ceramic planter | 6. Alligator bookends | 7. Garden Treasures blue/green ceramic planter | 8. Safevieh Bohemian dark blue rug | 9. Allen + Roth brass floor lamp | 10. Allen + Roth 84″ gunmetal curtain panels | 11. Allen + Roth bronze swing arm wall mounted lamp | 12. Style Selections natural porcelain floor tile