Home Is Where My Story Begins

Loving What You Have

When we moved into our house 5 years ago I had grand plans right away. My hubby and I thought the area above the three car garage would be a perfect space to add a bonus room.

We spent quite a bit of time discussing layout, how to reconfigure the hallway, and design from the outside. I even started collecting pictures so I’d have some ideas to show an architect someday.

Everyone wants a bonus room, right? You have the family room connected to the kitchen (where you spend most of your time), a formal living room for entertaining, and a bonus room for movies, video games, kid clutter, craft projects. I had images of Pottery Barn Kids dancing in my head.

One day I was watching HGTV and my friend Genevieve (okay she doesn’t really know me, but I feel like she’s my BFF because we spend so much time together) told me that I really don’t need any more space than I already have.

She said that so many people think they need to build an addition, when really they just need to learn to use the space they have. Hmmmm, I was thinking she may be on to something. We went from a 1,500 square foot house to a 2,600 square foot house and I thought I needed more room??? Time to rethink.

This aha moment happened last summer around the same time as the CHAIR incident. That’s when I decided to let go of the formal living room. I sold the formal lamps and replaced the “look but don’t touch pillows” with kid friendly pillows. I did some rearranging and was able to fit a cabinet with the kids’ games and puzzles in the space. One year later, I find that it’s a favorite spot to curl up and read books in the evening. There are usually an assortment of princess puzzles on the floor. The open space is perfect when you need to build yourself a fortress as protection from Nerf gun bullets. Mom doesn’t yell, “Not in the living room!” Now the living room is a room to live in, messes and all.

The idea of building a bonus room has now been crossed off the To Do list. Just like that we have saved ourselves $50,000, a lot of headaches, and a ton of stress. We are perfectly content to love what we have, live in all of our space, and enjoy our home just the way it is.

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The Comments

  • Ellie
    August 23, 2010

    Oh, that's so refreshing! I love this attitude. And your house is gorgeous!

  • Leanne
    August 23, 2010

    Well said Becca! And your home is beautiful!

  • Angie@Echoes of Laughter
    August 23, 2010

    Love your 'living' room! Now that you live in it! At this point in my life, I have stopped wishing for a bigger house. A bigger house=more cleaning +organizing, more maintenance & upkeep costs. No thank you! I only wish my laundry room was on our second floor and NOT in the basement! Great post!

  • Room to Inspire
    August 24, 2010

    I am a firm believer in living in your house the way YOU live! If you don't need the formal living room – make it a playroom, another den, a craft room…our dining room is now my office/craft room and I use it every single day!


  • gena
    August 25, 2010

    WONDERFUL post ! I grew up in a house with formal spaces and I think I've been in my mother's living room less than 10 times in 48 years.

    I started out the same way here and we only used the living room for Christmas – what a WASTE of space ! When we re-did our home for our son's new life we gave up a family room for a PT gym. The big tv is hanging on the kitchen wall and I replaced the kitchen chairs with loveseats – perfect ! Now I'm on a quest to "de-formalize" the living room and dining rooms… not easy in a Victorian home. But you've inspired me to re-think and re-hash what we ALREADY have !

    THANK you !


  • beeandboosmom
    August 29, 2010

    I laughed out loud at the Genevieve part! 😀


  • Faith, Trust, and a Little Pixie Dust
    September 2, 2010

    Love this post. Great job "thinking outside the box"!
    Warmly, Michelle