Southern Challenge: NC – Family Room

I’d like to call it southern comfort, but it’s definitely not yet comfortable – in part because it’s a pretty enormous home, with an add on here, and there, and over the years, nearly everywhere. The warren of corridors, hidden closets, tucked away bathrooms, miscellaneous sinks inside closets. What the heck was that for? There were some real head scratchers here, and more than one instance where I quietly closed the door, pretending I was Scarlet O’Hara as I whispered to myself: “I won’t think about that now….I’ll think about it tomorrow”.

Family Room . Street facing view.

The spaces that must be addressed today are still voluminous and the builder is waiting for the paint schedule so decisions must be made. I’ve already submitted my list of pull this up, tear this out, extract, re-wire, patch, and repair. While that might sound like a lot, the home is really lovely, it’s just been under the care of a single owner for nearly three decades. It’s ready for a refresh where nothing stands in its way.

Family Room . Cabinet Wall

There are three significant factors that are contributing to the dark interior. First the trees leading up to an old entrance are overgrown. They block the natural light from filling a whole slew of rooms that line that side of the house. One of these rooms has been dubbed the family room, and will likely be used a good deal of the time, and so really needs to be a happy, welcoming space. Factor number two is the knotty pine paneling that abounds in this room and many more in the home. Not only does it give a dated look to the space, it contributes to the moodiness of the room. Finally, the heavy curtains that adorn the window, may be a southern staple, but they had to go. I was only there for 7 hours, but before I left, they were on the floor. In case you are wondering, that alone made a huge difference.

In the above scenario the dark grey . Benjamin Moore’s Nickle is to appear on all the wood work and the ceiling. The pale grey . Benjamin Moore’s Mineral Ice is to appear on the walls. The Ballard Design Antelope Carpet is to sit atop the sisal – which can be found on

The home owners have a large collection of Chinoiserie which will be displayed on the book shelves and be off-set beautifully with any of these palettes.

I’m going wild with the paint in this room – the ceiling in black will get a coat, the walls and all the paneling will be painted as well, and trust me – it will make a world of difference.

Pallette 2: All Paints by Benjamin Moore: Left: Hale Navy – All woodwork Middle: Bright White. Walls and Ceiling Right: Dior Gray. Floor.

Aside from tossing the curtains permanently, my suggestions for this room include removing the existing wall to wall carpet. It’s tired. Now this can be costly so I have an interim solution – though eventually I would like a wall to wall sisal in this room, with a smaller oriental on top – my temp solution is to rip up that carpet and paint the VCT tile that sits below it. Now some of you are probably asking why I don’t just rip that up too. There is no way to know what lies beneath that. It can get messy and costly. By simply giving the existing VCT a light sand, thorough cleaning using TSP solution, followed by Porch and Floor Paint in your selected color, and then 2 – 3 coats of Varathane Satin Polyurethane, you’ll have one tough floor to stomp on until you are ready to purchase your second phase flooring option.

Scenario 3: Benjamin Moore’s Chantilly Lace on all woodwork and ceilings. Walls in Benjamin Moore’s Old Navy.

Which of these three color palettes would you vote for? Think family of five, two boys, a girl and a mom and dad.

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