Tackling the Ugliest Room in our House

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Living in a Victorian duplex has its charms! But a hundred and thirty plus years is a long time, ripe for inflicting careless and questionable "updates" on a once grand original design. When you factor in its multi-family dwelling and non owner-occupied status, all bets for tasteful preservation are off.

At some point, like many other stately domiciles of its kind, our duplex had been turned into two separate apartments. To create a unit upstairs, the three original bedrooms were all opened up to each other to form a living room, dining room, and kitchen above their downstairs counterparts. Some time later the home went back to being a duplex, but that previous reconfiguring left a disjointed footprint and some, uh, quirky design details in its wake. 


Current Floor Plan: 

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One of the most notable quirks is that you now have to walk through the middle bedroom to get to the other two. This hasn't really been an issue for us since it's just Luke and I living here. I turned that middle room into my office because it doesn't require privacy and our bedroom is situated through the (non-original, but cute!) attached set of french doors. 

But there's one more room I've never shown you and truthfully in the almost five years we've lived here never intended to even attempt decorating. Some rooms are just too ugly. And this third bedroom really received the brunt of bad bedroom-to-kitchen-and-back-to-bedroom-again effects. 

Until very recently it's been my junk room piled high with all the thrifted furniture and accessories hoarded in hopes I might one day find a use for, played host to an underused treadmill, and even served as my woodworking/staining workshop when the weather necessitated. If you follow me on Instagram you might have seen the video walk-through I posted in my stories detailing this room's shortcomings, but let's dissect them a bit more here, shall we?

First off, I'm pretty sure you enter through what was originally the middle bedroom's closet – the only explanation for that strange vestibule. It's also the only room in the house with wall to wall carpet most-likely a cover for the ancient filthy linoleum I try not to imagine is lurking underneath. The carpet itself isn't horrible. It's not plush or cozy underfoot and definitely not a color I would've chosen, but it is neutral, so that's something.   

The real criminal, though, is this wall of remaining upper kitchen cabinets. Sure, built-ins can be great, but without any base cabinets to ground them they're like a domestic apparition hovering near the ceiling. Why keep them in place and not give the room back its rightful 12 inches? And what happened to the base cabinets? Were those deemed acceptable to remove so long as a wall connecting the space between countertop and cabinets could be built in their stead??! I JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND??!

Then there's this little cubby to the right of the cabinets. I always thought it'd make great built-in shelving,... but wait, right next to a wall of shelving? That won't work.  

On the other side of the room is this characterless exterior door that leads out to an upper deck. Unfortunately, at some point the deck floor was removed and a questionable rubber liner is all that remains (sadly our landlord prohibited its use all together). We've also had the displeasure of having it leak like crazy into the room below. 


I've ignored this room for years because it had too many bad design elements working against it. Sure, it was useful square footage, but the effort required to overcome the range of aesthetic and architectural grievances was just too great. I couldn't see any way to create a great transformation, so why expend the energy? I realize this probably makes me sound like a brat. Am I alone here? I think it's pretty common to hedge your losses and not take on something you can't perfect, right? Right??

Regardless, now that we're eagerly awaiting our newest family member (arriving at the end of this month!) I can't keep overlooking it. So follow along over the next few weeks as I no doubt overindulge my affinity for bright colors and flashy patterns attempting to transform this sad space into a cheery nursery.