Family Room Preview

If there were awards handed out for the "longest/slowest remodel projects", we'd consistently win - hands down!  Our home renovation projects (especially DIY) seem to take forever life can do that to a timeline.  Nonetheless, it will all get done, one way or another!

Today, I'm sharing the current state of our family room - yes, the room we started to remodel at the beginning of the year.  This room has certainly come a long way, even though it's not completely done.

This is what our family room currently looks like:

98% remodeled and a blank slate!

Removing the dark wall paneling and non-structural dropped beams helped "open up" the room and provide the light and airy feeling that I wanted to achieve in the space.  Installing built-ins around the fireplace made this wall a more prominent focal point, while adding valuable storage in the process. Ripping out the dingy gray carpet and replacing it with wide-planked hardwood floors was not only practical, but it should add lasting value to our home's worth.

The pre-blog photo below is a true before shot of the room (what we inherited):

Still left to do...

Furnishing and decorating the family room (our entire house for that matter) will be done as our budget permits.  Needless to say, this is my favorite part of the design process!

A few more things we would like to tackle in the room eventually:

  • Install new door jamb or refurbish existing frame
  • Sand and paint dutch door; add new hardware
  • Possibly reface fireplace
  • Add wall trim detail
  • Replace single-paned sliding doors

It's a special, special deal!

With the holidays right around the corner, there is no better time than to start thinking about sprucing up your interior spaces!  Take advantage of this limited time special promotion on e-design services.  You'll get a complete e-design package - which includes a design board, product source list, to-scale space plan, and written plan description - all for $200.00!!!  For more information, visit my SERVICES page, or e-mail me directly at

Transitional Den Room Design with Sources

crate and barrel wisteria one kings lane noya decor west elm hayneedle etsy all modern


Please e-mail me directly for pillow fabric sources.

Interested in a customized room design?  Contact me for a complimentary design consultation and quote.


*Some affiliate links used.

Exterior Inspiration

We have totally dropped the ball on finishing up the front exterior.  At least the hardscaping got done!  We may have some home improvement "A.D.D." bouncing between the interior and exterior renovation projects... but the real culprit is our uncertainty with how to proceed (do we tackle the entire exterior the front and back at this point?).

Anyhow, there are three items that we definitely want to address out front: 1) add stone or extend the board and batten to more of the facade, 2) replace the front door and possibly add a transom window or "side lights", and 3) landscape.  The gutters could use some attention too.  In the future, we would also like to change the garage door and possibly "pitch" the roofline of the front porch (like that of a portico).  Some exterior inspiration...

vertical siding exterior inspiration modern farmhouse

White board-and-batten vertical siding

exterior modern farmhouse ranch architecture

Drought-tolerant landscaping

modern farmhouse exterior architecture

Front entryway side lights

black door board and batten modern farmhouse exterior architecture

Black front door, transom window, side lights

white siding board and batten black shutters

Black shutters

If there was one consistent thread among the inspiration photos above, it is that I seem to be drawn to white home exteriors with black trim! :)

Customizing the Kitchen Island

When designing our kitchen, I knew I wanted the island to appear more like a stand-alone piece of furniture one of the few design details I was decisive about.  I knew from the get go that I didn't want it to "mimic" the style of the perimeter cabinets, but rather, have it compliment it.  To achieve this, we:

1) Stained the island a dark espresso wood tone, a stark contrast to the white perimeter cabinets.

modern farmhouse island shaker cabinets trim detail quartz countertop

From the beginning, I knew I wanted a two-tone color scheme for our "modern farmhouse" kitchen design.  It provides interest and character, as well as added depth and dimension.  While I initially considered a gray or navy tone, I ultimately stuck with my instinct to stain the island in a dark espresso for a more classic and timeless look.  It is also more in character with the house.  We couldn't be happier with the result!

2) Selected a raised-panel door style to compliment the shaker profile of the perimeter cabinets.

3) Extended the side panel "legs" out to meet the width of the countertop, and added decorative finish trim to give it more "furniture-like" detail.

4) Installed chunky 4-inch moldings to the base of the island.  The base moldings elevated the look of the island and really gave it a more "finished" look.  (The same base moldings were installed on the "bookend" perimeter cabinets as well.)

Our contractor just wrapped up "his portion" of the kitchen construction.  After my handy hubby installs the to-be-determined backsplash and island lighting, the kitchen will be done!  In the meantime, I've started unpacking some of our kitchen essentials and have been enjoying the remodeled space.  The island has (expectedly) proven to be the hub of our kitchen!

To catch up on all posts related to our kitchen remodel, click here.

Sharing with: Home Stories A to Z, Wow Us Wednesdays

Pendant Chandeliers

Our dining room has been begging for a pretty light fixture to dress it up.  As I have been casually searching for the perfect fixture, I have noticed myself gravitating towards a certain style - the pendant chandelier.  I actually chose a pendant chandelier for our family room.  I think it's the "airy transitional" quality that I'm drawn to.

Here are some pendants that have recently caught my eye...


Birch Hill Interior Design


Never miss a post with free e-mail subscription.

Back at it in the Family Room

After a three-month hiatus of not being able to work on the family room, we are back at it trying to finish up the remodel (it was being used to store furniture during the summer construction).

Painting, built-ins, and fireplace makeover are in process...

Please excuse the "state" of our house in the photos.  We are not only busy trying to finish up the family room, but we are also working on wrapping up the final details in the kitchen!  My handy hubby installed all the crown molding, and I got to work on priming and painting the entire room AGAIN.

This room receives an abundance of natural light.  I played off the "light and bright" feeling by painting the room a fresh and crisp white.  It feels airy and refreshing, which is a big departure from its dark and heavy beginning.  Color, pattern, and texture will be injected through the decor.

On the positive, there is one completely finished element in the room: the floors!  We love how the new hardwood floors turned out.  They are currently covered up since we are working in the room, but you can see what they look like in the photo below.

Our Great Room (Kitchen, Dining Room, Family Room)

The fireplace makeover and surrounding built-ins are still in process.  I have been so indecisive about what to do with the brick on the fireplace.  Lately, I have even been considering something totally different on the fireplace...

Thanks for sticking with me through this super slow remodel.  Trust me, I am just as anxious to get it DONE!

Follow Carol @ CAD INTERIORS's board CAD: FAMILY ROOM RENO on Pinterest.

Have a wonderful weekend!  Special birthday greetings to my mom today. :)

Labor Day Weekend Highlights

Hello there!  Hope everyone had a wonderful Labor Day weekend.  Don't you wish 3-day weekends were the norm?!  I am departing from my usual "design-related" posts to share fun highlights from our weekend.

We did take advantage of the long weekend to (re)start projects in the family room.  But more importantly, we squeezed in some family fun!  We had a blast cheering on my alma mater at our season opener college football game.

That's my youngest son standing by the railing, mesmerized by the firework display during the second half.  We started taking the kids to games last year.  So much fun!

We also gathered to celebrate my mom's 75th birthday (on 9/11).  My mom is probably hyperventilating since I disclosed her age.  But I think it's a blessing to be graced with a full/long life.

My mom with all five of her grandkids.  They are her pride and joy. :)

I'll be back this week with some reno progress photos from around the house!  Enjoy your day.

Our Makeshift Kitchen

"How are you living without a kitchen?"  I have been asked this question A LOT.  We are actually living through more than just a kitchen renovation, but I get the gist of the inquiry. :)

Welcome to our makeshift kitchen, aka the most embarrassing and untouched section of the house!  I didn't even bother to clean it up before I snapped this photo. :)  We set-up a kitchen/pantry/eating area just outside our master bedroom.  For the most part, the toaster oven and microwave, as well as a kettle (to make hot water), have gotten us through the renovation.  The old refrigerator didn't fit back here, so it is stationed in a corner of the living room...

In the photo above, you can see where the new hardwood and original wood floors meet.  There will eventually be a wall there to delineate the areas since the empty space will become the master bathroom en-suite (the wall behind the folding table will be removed).  This area has definitely come in handy during our kitchen renovation.  We opted to continue the new wood towards the master bedroom since it comes off the hallway.

Here's the other side of the current makeshift kitchen/future master bathroom.  The wall behind the dresser actually housed a bathroom vanity before we moved in.  It was separated from the toilet and shower, which is behind that door/wall.  We didn't understand why the vanity was separated, so we removed it before we moved in and will address the entire bathroom layout when we build the en-suite.  We kept the plumbing lines exposed for future needs.  I placed a dresser there to "cover" up the pipes.  We also use this area as a mini mudroom (since we enter/exit the house through here) - which is why you see a pile of shoes and stuff strewn about!

One of the most difficult aspects of living through a kitchen renovation, aside from the inevitable dust and inconvenience, is not having a proper sink.  Paper plates have been a lifesaver during our kitchen reno.  But for the inevitable dishwashing that must still be done, we designated one of the two sinks in our main bathroom as the "kitchen sink" during the reno.  So glad we plumbed for an additional sink when we remodeled that bathroom!

In terms of meals, we keep things pretty simple - which is how we do meals anyway.  Breakfast and lunch are easy.  My kids do eat a "hearty" breakfast, but it's usually a combination of cereal, yogurt, fruit, AND some sort of fiber (toast, waffles, etc.).  We typically have pancakes and bacon on the weekends.  Lunch usually consists of sandwiches, soft tacos... or leftovers.  Dinner is the hard part.  I try to buy the "healthiest" frozen dishes I can find and pair it with veggies.  Rotisserie chickens, salads, fish sticks (for tacos), and anything that can be made in the toaster oven have pretty much been in our dinner rotation this summer.  I've cooked/broiled meat, chicken, fish in the toaster oven too.  We do eat out or pick up food a couple times a week usually weekends.  Thank you to our friends who have also prepared food for us!  (Tip: I highly recommend having a grill during a kitchen reno to help "cook" meals, assuming you don't mind washing dishes in the tub or a non-kitchen sink.  Unfortunately, we had sold our grill before we moved here, and have since gone without one.)

Fortunately, we are now over the hump with the main construction of the kitchen.  My kids/hubby have been troopers, but three months into the process, we are all definitely ready to have the kitchen back... SOON.