before & after: our sun room

Of all the rooms in our house, our sun room has probably undergone the biggest transformation since we moved in.  The previous owners used it as a rather awkward family/tv room, but since Jared and I knew we'd be putting our TV in the living room, we had to come up with an alternate use.  We had a couple of big things we had no place for - mainly our small kitchen table and the bar/bookcase set Jared's parents got us as a wedding gift (seriously awesome.)  So we decided to make the room into a combo breakfast nook/lounging/reading/music listening room.  It sounds like a disastrous hodge-podge of a room idea, but bear with me... Here's what we started with:

This room was built as an addition to the original house, and the previous owners went with builder's beige, bare trim, and polished brass hardware.  No thanks.  So before we even moved in we hired the very awesome Benjamin at Portland Painting & Restoration to spray all the trim (it feels like glass now) and paint the walls with low VOC paint (Cape May Cobblestone from Benjamin Moore.)  We normally try to DIY the painting, but the trim made this job way beyond our abilities.  Given how great it looked when Ben and his team were done, we know we made the right call.

I love how the walls play off the stone tile, and the painted trim really helps connect the room to the rest of the house.  The table is the same one I had in my kitchen growing up, but spruced up with dark brown paint and white Ikea Ingolf chairs.

See, this is how the previous owners had it set up.  Pretty lame, in my opinion.  What's the point of a sun room if you're going to block the windows with roman blinds and a huge TV?  Clearly we love and appreciate this house way more than they did and are most likely far superior people.  ;)

And here's how they had the other side of the room set up...

I'll be honest... I've always found it a little strange that they didn't even bother to straighten the pillows for their listing photo.  My friend Sarah would make such things illegal if she could.  Anyway, here's how it looks now:

This is the lounging/reading/music listening portion of the room.  Alcohol may also get consumed here from time to time.  The chairs are the black leather Tullsta chairs (covered with Blekinge white Ektorp Tullsta slip covers) from Ikea that used to occupy Jared's office in Seattle.  The ottoman and side table are also from Ikea, and the jute rug is from Pottery Barn.  We thankfully already had all of these items so it was only a matter of re-imagining and re-purposing to give them a new life in the sun room.  The green accents were added to coordinate with the green placemats in the breakfast nook (the pillows are from Target and the tray is from West Elm.)

I'm not quite sure what this wall was before...

The sconces seemed strange since the room gets so much natural light and has a fairly bright overhead light, so we took them out and patched up the walls before painting.  Here's how it looks now...

Much better!  Believe it or not, those shelves are currently holding about 500 CDs.  Stylish CD storage has actually been a bit of a challenge for me since Jared and I moved in together.  Jared is a CDs on display kind of person... I'd be content having everything digital.  He'd be content not having a million candles strewn about the house, so we compromise.  I got a bunch of leather CD cases from Ikea (are you noticing a theme yet?) which enabled me to stack nearly 100 CDs on each shelf.   We were both skeptical about how it would look, so we were relieved that it ended up working out so well.  Which I guess could be said for the room as a whole... what started out as an awkward room turned out to be one of my favorite rooms in the whole house!  All it took was a little imagination, a bit of re-purposing, and a whole lot of paint.