Before and After: Family Room

I pulled our old, nearly-dead (mostly dead?) computer from the closet this week and managed to extract all our old files from the hard drive. I was pleased to find a few grainy photos of the family room from when we first moved in. I'd described the look of the original "built-in" shelves in the first of the Great Family Room Remodel posts, but didn't know I had the photo's show them.

Late 2005: The prior owner's stuff, as they were departing.
While the photo's quality stinks, reality wasn't much better. My best guess is that this is a time warp back to the 1980's, television, massive audio speakers and all.

These built-in bookcases were created in five sections from 2" x 10 3/4" boards (2 x 12?) and a plywood backing. They were actually fairly well constructed. They were stained dark, with no protective finish. With the thick shelves and dark color, the unit appeared too heavy for the small room. It really gave it a basement cave-like feel. 

We moved into the house and just and lobbed our stuff up there. 

Early 2006: the dusty television years.
It's hard to believe this 6 year old, Alien Bounty Hunter is now a teenager.

We spruced up the shelves in 2006 with molding, bead board panels, and crisp, white paint. I built a custom TV stand soon after. In about 2008, we installed french doors. There the room sat for years, with its horribly, stained, way too low (7' 5") drop ceiling and the ceiling fan finial that hung 3/8" below the peak of my melon-shaped head.

The remodel finally happened. We loaded our beat up old furniture back into the room. Recently, we replaced the old sectional couch and added some accessory tables (IKEA). Finally, a proper reveal with the new ceiling is worth while. Compare the distance from the top of the bookcase to the ceiling; we went from 7' 5" to 8' 1", an 8 inch gain! I can't even hit my head on the ceiling fan when I jump. It only took 7 years!!!

It's a bit busy, but it's our main hangout. 
The kid infestation is still in full bloom.
I used a lightweight foam crown molding to cap off the book cases.
The french doors got capped off with the same dentil molding. We
used Jeld Wen doors with the built in shades from Home Depot.
I actually started the AZ DIY Guy's Projects blog with the remodel. You can see it unfold in seven exciting installments here, starting with my first post ever.  Things did not go entirely smoothly, but it's done. It's the project that was featured in the article (Yahoo finance and Fox Business).


  1. I love the drastic diference of the same room Get job !!!!!

  2. it is amazing how much better and different the same room looks

  3. This really did turn out beautifully! I love what you did with the ceiling! What luck to "inherit" those built-ins (don't know if it was worth it to inherit all of the previous owners' poor workmanship, but they really are great!).

    1. Thanks Gina. The ceiling turned out so nice that we've thought about doing some other rooms with the same material. You are right about the shelves, we inherited hundreds of dollars worth of lumber and hours of labor from whoever built them. It just took a re-skinning to get it where we love it. Thanks for the visit!