Another Edition of “If We Knew Then What We Know Now….”

I did one of these posts awhile back: reflecting on some of the projects we’ve done and house-related choices we’ve made and how we’ve come to feel about them in the long term. And then I got an e-mail a few weeks ago asking about the rug in the library and whether we regret going with such a light color, and it reminded me that it’s probably about time for another one. So here’s a list of five things that either I’ve been asked about or I think probably someone should be asking me about by now:

1. So what about that white rug in the library?


Well. It’s like I told the person who e-mailed me: yeah. We probably shouldn’t have gotten a mostly white rug for this room. It makes me especially sad when I post a picture of it all new and shiny like this. It’s a lot dingier now. This is a fairly heavily trafficked area and also the dogs’ favorite room to hang out in.

If you don’t look too closely, it’s not terrible. This photo is from just a couple of months ago (no fancy photo editing to make the rug look better):


But close up, you can definitely tell it’s not the rug it once was. I still really love the rug in here, and, in fact, I have trouble picturing anything other than a graphic black and white design in this space. So I don’t know that I’ll be dumping the rug any time soon….but I might be investing in a good steam cleaner at least.

2. Slate tile in the master bathroom:


When we first chose this tile, I admitted that it was something of a form over function kind of decision. I really, really wanted slate, so we bought it, even though this bathroom is over our uninsulated garage and tends to be the coldest part of the house in winter.

So….any regrets? No. I still love that slate too much to care how cold it is. I’d still like to find another rug for the space in front of the tub, which would help some (we don’t use the tub much at all; otherwise a matt or rug there would already be essential). We have a space heater that we use in here on especially cold mornings. And Dave makes a little trail with his clothes on the floor to walk on to go from the shower to the closet.

When this room was on Apartment Therapy, one person commented that the tile looked unsafe and should be smaller in a bathroom. But this tile actually isn’t what we’re stepping on straight out of the shower; there’s the hex tile that came with the house there:


3. Cane chairs in the dining room:

floral print teal fabric with squirrels

Maybe someday we’ll be the kind of family that can have cane chairs in our dining room. But now is not that time:


Oops. I don’t even know how this started: cats, kids, aliens? But this one is bad and getting worse, and I’m sure the others will meet the same fate in time. The other issue with these chairs is the arms. We sometimes need to fit ten people at this table, which is totally doable, but really tricky with all these ARMS getting in the way everywhere. Oh, and you can also see that we never got around to dealing with those weird little upholstered spots on the arms. At some point the caning started to get messed up and it seemed silly to put more effort into the chairs. It also has become clear that they should have had a few (hundred?) more coats of polycrylic. Fail all around.

It’s very sad, because the squirrel fabric is still amazing (I might hold on to one of the low chairs with the round back to use an accent chair somewhere), but sooner or later these chairs will have to go. The only problem is I have no idea what to replace them with. Any ideas?

4. Open shelves in the kitchen:

copper shelves in kitchen

Open shelves are always a controversial choice in kitchens, and I’d never had them before, so I didn’t know whether I’d like them long term or not. But I do! I’m so, so happy every time I look at them that this awful corner cabinet is gone (to our garage; we still need to figure out something to do with it. It may end up being part of our garage organization project later this year):


It does get dusty, but since it’s just the one small area, it’s really not that big of a deal. I don’t know how well I’d like a whole kitchen full of open shelving, but for this area it was definitely the right choice.

5. Abe’s tent is SO big:


I wasn’t really expecting to be second guessing this one so soon. But then Abe’s Little People phase started right around the same time this tent started taking up so much real estate in here, and the end result is a tent that isn’t getting used a whole lot and a really crowded with Little People rest of the room much of the time.

This is a tough one for me, because I love this tent; I love the way it turned out, and I love the way it fits in with the room. But I’m wondering if, at this point anyway, Abe isn’t using it enough to justify how much space it’s taking up. I had this idea that the tent was going to be the Super Fun Wow thing that made this a room a kid would love instead of just one that looked how I wanted it to look. I didn’t anticipate a situation in which an empty floor to spread toys out on would actually be MORE fun for Abe than an awesome tent. When he’s older he might appreciate the tent more, as a place to curl up and read or for pretend play or whatever.

So, anyway, we’re thinking of moving the tent out of here, at least for now. I’m not sure where it will go (Abe suggests moving into the hallway right outside his room, but I’m not sure this is practical). But it’s not all sad news if we move the tent out; I was always torn about the tent–even before we made it–because I also really liked the idea of using this chair, which currently resides in the office side of our bedroom, in there:


Which would also make for a nice reading area. It’d also be a lot easier to access the walls that are currently behind the tent if the tent were gone, and I have some ideas for those walls. And, of course, if later Abe is like, “hey! Where’s my tent?!” we can always rearrange again. So ditching the tent is my current inclination. Thoughts? (One long term goal is setting up a playroom for Abe somewhere in the basement, which would make a new home for the tent. It’s never been a big priority because Abe’s still very much in the phase where he wants a grown-up with him at all times when he plays, so I’d rather he do the bulk of his playing in parts of the house where I can get other things done at the same time.




Another Edition of “If We Knew Then What We Know Now….” — 9 Comments

    • It’s so tricky! I think I could learn to love a dark vintage rug in the library….maybe one with deep blues instead of a lot of red like so many of them have.

  1. Oh my, I’m sad to hear about your cane chairs because you put so much work into them! 🙁 Love these type of posts, though — and I would be 100% with you on the tile. My mom is afraid to get wood floors because it will be colder than carpet… I dislike carpet so much, I’d be willing to walk on an ice rink instead – ha. Maybe that is an exaggeration.

    • I’m with you! People talk all the time about wanting hardwoods everywhere except the bedrooms so it will be warmer in there (and that’s how our house is)….but I’d prefer hardwoods + some area rugs and a pair of slippers a million times over!

  2. I totally love this post. SO honest. And I actually relate to a lot of these choices.

    The tent – I bought a silly (expensive) teepee because I thought Henry would love it. Well, he likes it alright sometimes. But it is really big.

    The white carpet – The barn has FLOR tiles in white/gray pattern and they look horrible. I”m told you can bleach and spray them but that would mean taking them all apart and outdoors (in the winter). And that’s just simply not happening.

    • Apparently a lot of kids LOVE their tents. I guess you don’t know until you give up half of your available floorspace to one and see what happens…

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