Going to School with The Decorologist

kristie barnett

kristie barnettIn the part of the country where I live, there are many families who decide that homeschooling is the best option for their children.   I have had multiple clients over the last few years who homeschool and have particularly challenging decorating dilemmas.

kristie barnett

 

This particular family has been successfully educating their 5 children in their home for many years, but their surroundings had been less than inspiring.  This is the front room of their home as it was before The Decorologist stepped in:

 Before – Homeschool Room

 

It was lined with bookcases full of books and curricula, a few tables and chairs (most of which were too small for their growing children), and various toys and other items.

 Before – Homeschool Room

 

Such a big room with untapped potential.  It seemed that there might be a more effective way to use this space to better-suit this family’s needs.

 Before – Homeschool Room

 

This smaller room adjacent the homeschool room was their dining room – it was also where the older kids did their schoolwork.

 Before – Dining Room and Workspace

 

An important part of a decorator’s mission is to marry function with beauty.  Is that possible in these two rooms where so many needs must be met?  I certainly believe it is.  Before I reveal the transformation of these rooms, I must explain that a lot of discussion and planning went into making these rooms not only more visually-pleasing, but also more functional for this busy family.  This wasn’t just about creating pretty spaces – it was about creating pretty spaces that WORKED. Now, here again is the larger of the two rooms in its “before” state:

Before – Homeschool Room

 

Ready for the “after”?  Now the larger of the two rooms is a roomy and inviting dining room with a table that easily seats 10.  The pair of overhead lantern lights adds warmth and character to this transformed space.

the decorologist

After – Warm and Welcoming Dining Room

 

The paint color is Benjamin Moore’s Boca Raton Blue – a perfect foil for the dark wood tones.

dining room by the decorologist

 New Dining Room/Workspace

 

We purchased the beautiful dark wood furniture from my friends over at Merridian Home Furnishings on 8th Avenue in Nashville.  This trestle table is gorgeous but doesn’t have to be handled with kid gloves.  The older children do most of their schoolwork here and have plenty of room to spread out.

kristie barnett

Trestle or pedestal tables accomodate more chairs than tables with four legs at the corners.

 

This is a room the whole family truly uses now – both for homeschooling and for dining together as a family.  It also is a great place to entertain and display their beautiful family china, which was previously stored away behind cabinets.

Family China on Display

 

Here again is the adjoining former dining room/homeschool workspace before:

Dining Room Before

 

The wallpaper and border went bye-bye, and white beadboard wainscotting was installed below the chair rail.  We decided on a rich expresso color – Benjamin Moore’s Clinton Brown, as a backdrop to all the white bookcases that hold schoolbooks and supplies.

 After:  HomeSchool Room

 

All the furniture was existing – this smaller table and chairs were moved in from the kitchen.  Pairing down and relocating all the school supplies into this lesser-seen room made a lot more sense than continuing to squeeze this family of 7 into a dinner table for 6!

bookcases

New HomeSchool Room

 

The younger kids now do their school work in this happy, cozy area.  I love this candy bowl on their work table!

“The Best is Not Too Good for You”

 

There’s no reason why functional, multi-use spaces can’t be lovely and inspiring.  The children in this home even help keep these new rooms organized and clean, because they enjoy working in beautiful, peaceful spaces as much as their parents enjoy having such a lovely home to live in!

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Sindy
Sindy
8 years ago

Mmmmmm! So awesome Kristie! You absolutely did it–beautiful and functional! LOVE those homeschoolers, too–so much to be admired there! Wow!
Sindy

amy@maison decor

Awesome transformation Kristie!! I had to look three times!

Mariana Garcia
8 years ago

Hi Kristie,

I am getting ready to move and wanted to move and while looking for paint colors for dark furniture on google your blog came up. I love it! I was wondering what paint color this is as it would be perfect for our den. Thank you and hope you have a great weekend!

Natalie A.
Natalie A.
8 years ago

Great job! Incredible transformation.

Michelle L.
Michelle L.
8 years ago

Love it! Me next, me next! (And those lanterns over the dining table are gorgeous!)

Kelly
Kelly
8 years ago

Great job Kristie! Looks much more inviting to sit and work in. Pretty amazing transformation!

Kelly
Kelly
8 years ago

Amazing job, Kristie! So much more than just a pretty space. I am sure your clients are thrilled.

And thanks for mentioning that this “makeover” took lots of planning. I can see that it did – but well worth it, right?

Bravo.

Hannah Dee
8 years ago

Awesome update! The tidy schoolroom with everything in it’s place makes my OCD self very happy!

carolsmyth@thedesignpages
8 years ago

Hard to believe it’s the same space. Great transformation!

Holly
Holly
8 years ago

A switcheroo – that thought didn’t even cross my mind. How brilliant! And I agree that much planning should go into the functionality of the space as much as the untapped decorating potential. Do you believe wainscoting added into a room adds warmth or do you consider it to be more for the look and wear/tear? I’m always curious what would be a good situation to include it into a space. Or is it a matter of keeping the space bright but balancing with some color on the top half? Thanks Krisite – I enjoyed this post!

Paula Van Hoogen
Paula Van Hoogen
8 years ago

Good Morning Kristie! I appreciate so much what you said that it was about making those spaces “work”! But they did come out sooo pretty! Bet the family was so happy & content & school work gets done even better now that Mom’s happier!….I will be 65 this fall and we just took my wonderful 14 yr old grandson in to live with us. He asked to be home schooled, so we are INTO it!! I like to say I am the “World’s Oldest Home School Mom!” My whole dinning room is also the school room! We are not tooo… Read more »

Paula Van Hoogen
Paula Van Hoogen
8 years ago

Thanks again, Kristie….it WILL all be accomplished BY HIS GRACE!!!!

sonia
8 years ago

Wow, you did amazing Kristie!
Have a lovely day, xo

I left you a message here
http://sonia-daigle.blogspot.com/2012/01/i-love-shoes.html?showComment=1328025931012#c1317694702791078355

Coley
8 years ago

Your transformation was amazing! Most people can create a pretty room, but meeting functionality AND pretty is a talent. Wonderful job!

Susie
Susie
8 years ago

You truly have a gift!!!!!! Amazing transformation Kristie!
P.S. I so wish you were local!!!!!!

D
D
8 years ago

What a fabulous mix of form and function! What a great designer you are to LISTEN to your clients and meet their needs stylishly!

Sheila Zeller
8 years ago

What a wonderful transformation. I totally love the new dining room, especially those lanterns! Great job, Kristie!

Allison
Allison
8 years ago

Love it!!!! Just curious where the piano and all the toys went. Did they get rid of them, store them, or put them somewhere else in the house?

Melanie
Melanie
8 years ago

Beautiful! I was wondering where you purchased the light fixtures?

Jennifer @ The High Heeled Homeschooler
Jennifer @ The High Heeled Homeschooler
8 years ago

This was so great I had to share it on my blog! Thanks, Kristie!

Melissa S.
Melissa S.
7 years ago

Hey Kristie,
I really enjoyed this post. We are currently looking for a dining table, and I really like the trestle table you found. Where did you get it?

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