Buddies,  coffee!coffee!coffee!,  domesticity,  unpackamania,  Washington D.C.

Bethany’s House: Done!

dining room view from living room

I wish I had taken more “before” pictures but I didn’t. I thought I did but when I went back to look for them, I guess they were in my imagination. So just imagine boxes everywhere. Bethany has some on her flickr stream too which might help for reference.

This is Bethany’s dining room. I love the wood floors and how the giant sliding-glass door reflects on them. Someday, before I die, I want to live in a house with wood floors. The house I grew up in had them and so they always make me feel sentimental. Also, Bethany has some pretty neat antiques like that old rocking chair. It’s not comfortable to sit in at all but it’s beautiful and memory-filled so they keep it around.

Notice the latté on the kitchen counter to the right. That would be mine. I’m caffeine-fueled.

picture wall

This is Bethany’s living room as viewed from the front door. I LOVE her picture wall. She’s been wanting that for a long time and finally this house had the right wall to do it on. Eventually, she’s going to fill the whole wall with black-framed photos so symmetry wasn’t important. Good thing too! ‘Cause everybody knows I’m terrible at measuring and being exact about things. (Troy is probably rolling his eyes and sighing heavily if he’s reading this.)

You can also see her new couch here and the IKEA expedit bookcase behind it. We were looking and looking for a small table to go behind the couch and then found that the bookcase she already owned worked perfectly! Even better, it’s a super handy place to stash shoes and purses when you walk in the door. I kinda wish I had this set-up at my house!

living room

Here we are walking into the house a bit and standing by the photo wall. I’m not crazy about the fireplace (or the mess of cords! Ack! Ack! Ack!) but when you rent, you have to work with these things. The roof is leaking right over the mantel and until the landlord fixes the leak, we couldn’t move the tv to the center of the mantel. Also, Troy plans on wiring the cords through the wall in some sort of magical way. I can’t wait to see that.

living room looking towards front door

Here’s a better view of Bethany’s living room and her new couch from IKEA that I helped pick out. (No, IKEA is not paying me for these links. I wish they were.) It was such a good deal. It has a bed that pulls out that is most excellent for relaxing and watching tv on. I should note that this couch is perfect for watching tv with three people. Something important for, you know, guests like me who like to come over and watch Chuck and Castle.

That is Bethany’s friend Rebekah there on the right, modeling how comfortable the couch is. She should know since she’s very tall and pregnant. The only thing wrong with this couch is that it attracts lint. Thankfully, that is easily remedied with a lint brush that can be stored in the secret compartment under the sectional on the left! How cool is that?! Not only does this couch turn into a comfortable bed (read: it has nice firm foam with no awful metal beam that sticks you right in the middle of your back like most sofa-beds) but it has a GIANT secret compartment for storing blankets and pillows and whatever else you might need to stash. I love that couch.

Bethany visiting with Bekah in the living room

I also love Bethany’s big front window and the new rug. We fretted about that rug a lot and made several trips to IKEA to figure out what would work better. In the end we got used to the shape and now I think it’s perfect. It’s very soft and only moves around minimally when the little kids dance around crazy on it. I know the movement will bug Bethany but I think it’s not that bad.

built-in bookshelf in the dining room side view of photo wall

Here is a little built-in bookshelf in the dining room. I love the old-fashioned touches like this in this house. We never really got around to arranging things perfectly in these shelves but I think the randomness befits it. I’m sure things will change over time. I bet Bethany has rearranged the books alphabetically, by subject, or even color order by now. She does that with her books.

Also, above is another view of the photo wall. I love how some of the frames are thicker than others. It kind of has this 3D texture that makes it more interactive or something. Not like you want to touch them and bump them off the wall or anything but it makes looking at them more interesting from different angles, if you know what I mean. I could just be blathering on…

coffee nook of kitchen

Here is a picture of the “Coffee Nook.” Best spot in the house if you’re me!

I don’t have any photos of the kitchen as a whole because there were dishes on the counter waiting to go into the running dishwasher. I know, everybody has dishes and clutter on their counters but I hate taking pictures of them! Now I wish I would have. Anyway, the kitchen is really small but cute. I love the white wooden cupboards. The combination of small gray and blue square tiles with the mottled countertop is a little crazy on the eyes but you get used to it after you’re there for a while.

This kitchen was a challenge. Bethany usually unpacks her kitchen by herself because she is the expert chef and baker and has particular places she wants things to go but this kitchen even threw her for a loop. For starters, it was about four times smaller than her last kitchen. It really made her miss the miles and miles of empty cupboards she used to have. She had to downsize a lot and find new and interesting ways of storing things.

It also had four lazy susan corner cabinets that were murder on unexpecting fingers. YOWZERS! I nearly lost a finger or two. They are a great use of corner space but watch out for your digits!

I will say, that even though this kitchen is very small, it is functional. Even with two or three bodies in the kitchen, I never found myself waiting terribly long for someone to get out of the way so I could get to the refrigerator or the dishwasher or the sink. I never felt blocked to do one chore or another like I do in my own kitchen. I think a guy designed it (The tile/marble combination and beer-bottle opener attached to the wall was my tip off) and he must have put a lot of thought into the functionality. Or maybe it was a color-blind woman with an expense account at Home Depot…who knows. They did a good job on a small space.

Annalie's bedroom

Moving on, here is Annalie’s bedroom. I didn’t take a picture of it completely done (it was a bit messy due to kids playing and you know, my aversion to photographing clutter…) but just imagine one of those neat mosquito nets hanging over her bed and the curtains hung on both sides of the window instead of just slung over one side.

master bedroom

And here is Bethany’s room. This poor room is probably the most neglected room in the house but don’t feel too bad for it because Bethany is planning on buying a new bed spread that won’t clash with the Palm Beach Fake Tan wall paint. And, I think Troy is planning on mounting a flat-screen tv somewhere…but we’ll see. I think a new bedspread will make it look 10 million times better. Either that or a gob of brightly-colored throw pillows to blend the vast color difference and some of those hanging Moroccan lamps…but I think Bethany will just go for a new bedspread. She’s not a huge fan of the bed pillows.

music room looking towards playroom

Next, we go downstairs to the basement. I like to call this room the Music Room even though it is just one half of the basement. It’s not completely done so you’ll have to ignore the mess of cords (Ack! Ack!) and imagine a piano bench at the piano.

So get this: Bethany has a full bar in her basement. I’m serious. It’s just like a restaurant. In fact, some kids came over and thought it was a restaurant. It even has a working phone booth too. I didn’t take a picture of it but it’s right there behind the giant elliptical machine.

playroom and defunct bar

Here’s a better view of the bar. It’s pretty neat. However, Bethany and Troy aren’t really big drinkers so it’s kind of a waste of space. On more than one occasion, we looked at the beautiful bar and wished the giant elliptical machine could fit in it but it couldn’t. So that’s that.

The basement is now the playroom and library. I think it’s cozy. It’s also right next to my room! I mean, the guest room. Har har. I do plan on returning so I can sort of call it my room. I didn’t take any pictures of my room because my suitcase crap was all over and the futon bed wasn’t really assembled yet. But you get the idea: a room with some windows and a futon bed couch thingy.

view from the play room

From the back of the playroom, looking backwards to the bar you can see…Katy the cat! And a little alcove where we stashed all the ugly plastic play kitchen components. It worked perfectly.

school room view to left

On the opposite side of the guest room (where we came down the stairs the first time) is the blue room that we called the School Room. Bethany is homeschooling Annalie so this is where we put all the art supplies and Annalie’s HUGE collection of educational coloring books and stickers etc.

school room view to right

Here’s the other side of the school room with the coloring book collection (second shelf up) and the awesome moon chair. I guess it’s called a video chair or something like that from the ’80’s but I’ve been working on Bethany to reupholster it to look like a moon. As you can see, she hasn’t quite bought my idea yet.

downstairs bathroom peace out bathroom

Lastly, the bathroom! Peace out man!

And that concludes my tour of Bethany’s freshly-unpacked house. Obviously, I’ve left out a lot like: the kitchen, the upstairs bathroom, the office, the gun room and the closet where they keep the attack ninja cats…but I don’t want to give any thieves the complete floor-plan so you’ll just have to use your imagination on the rest!

Edited by Bethany to add: You don’t have to imagine the kitchen any longer! Here is a view from the hallway:

kitchen view from hall

I was standing in the tiny square of hallway at the top of the basement stairs, with a pantry closet to my right. Annalie was getting a banana when I took this, which I thought was a nice designer-magazine touch.

kitchen view from dining room

Here’s the opposite view, from the dining room. You can see Lily the cat on her way to have a bite or two of kibble, and Annalie peeling her banana. You can also see clutter on the counters and stove, but I’m coming to terms with the fact that clutter in kitchens is just a fact of life. Or at least that’s what I tell myself so I don’t feel guilty about not cleaning it up more often!


  • Kuky

    Bwa ha ha gun room and closet full of ninja cats. At first I thought there was really a gun room but then I figured since it was followed by that dangerous closet I thought maybe they were both fictional.

    Bethany’s house looks so nice. I feel like I’m drowning in clutter here, everywhere I turn!! I’m sure my house would make you run away screaming. :-D

    SAJ: More likely I’d cackle with glee as I set to organize everything and then I’d drag you off to Ikea to buy baskets and bookshelves etc…

  • Ninotchka

    you girls did a fab job. I can’t believe it looks so homey and warm so soon after they moved in. it took me 5+ years to get that lived-in look. lol

  • Cathy

    Amazing! What a lovely home – great job. I think the bar downstairs should be a COFFEE BAR! :D

  • BeachMama

    What a great job. The house looks fantastic and I can imagine you setting each room straight before moving on to the next. I know the kitchen isn’t huge, but it sure looks nice and funky. A little bit of the beach feel that we are missing from ours with the white cabinets (we are thinking of spraying ours). I sure could have used you five years ago, but I think we have it all straight now, we are just in need of some decluttering and purging of baby things, something I am not quite ready for …

    Great job!!

  • a chris

    Clutter, you (Bethany) call that clutter? Sigh.

    Ack! Another confident, smart kid turns out to be home-schooled. I guess I have a couple of years yet to decide…

  • bethany actually

    Chris, yeah, it’s clutter. But not a LOT of clutter. It can get much, much worse. :-) Also, I know how you feel! That’s how I felt when Annalie was a few years younger and we lived next door to a family with the nicest, smartest, politest kids I’d ever met…and they were all homeschooled. That mom actually said something to me that gave me the confidence to try homeschooling, though. She said, “When you start homeschooling your kids in preschool and kindergarten, it’s all colors and letters and 2+2. You don’t start out with algebra and chemistry, you grown into those along with your kids!”

  • Christine

    It’s gorgeous. I love the first picture, of the dining room. And I think I want that sofa. I’m taking notes. (I mean, notes for my own unpacking, not for raiding Bethany’s gun room.)

  • Kassi

    They should make the downstairs bar into a “coffee bar” that would be kind of cool. Actually, that would be REALLY cool..and they could make all manner of coffee treats and biscotti, etc. If I had a bar, that is what I would convert it to. :o)

  • Johnny

    Lovely! Those Poang chairs from Ikea are some of the most comfortable chairs I’ve ever plopped my behind into/onto! We put one of the newish rockers in Baby’s room for storytime. :)

  • Ninabi

    I loved these photos. I like rearranging rooms, too and it was great fun to see the results of your hard work.

    I’d be playing Starbucks with the bar downstairs or using it like a drugstore counter from long ago and serving ice cream sodas to guests. What a wonderful house for Bethany and her family.

    Thanks for bringing all of us along on the HGTV style adventure!