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If You Build It, He Will Come

Updated: Jan 4, 2022

There are a lot of LifeForm homes in The Woodlands, which if you are familiar with the builder, it can mean a lot of ledges and asymmetry to contend with. The 90’s brought it‘s own set of unique architectural elements and while some are welcomed lIke the soft archways, others needed to be tackled right away. For starters, the fireplace and built in shelving space with no actual way to decorate it had to be addressed first.

I took a step back and envisioned the potential that the space had but knew it had to be done in phases. 1st phase was to bump out the top left corner wall to be flush. This accomplished two very great things: (1) created extra square footage for a large custom desk in the office upstairs with additional shelving storage and (2) allowed us to do a fireplace feature all the way to accentuate the high ceilings.

Once this part of the phase was complete, it was apparent the header running between the windows on the left wall had to be removed. This was an add, but I’m SO glad we did it as it really opened the space up. Funny how the small things like that can make such a difference and are well worth the cost.

Next we had to re-work the shelving and cabinetry. I wanted an enclosed space for toy storage; you can see from the many photos the toy chaos was constant. While I enjoy vignettes for decorative items, it’s not as cool with toys unless in a playroom. And let’s be real, the kids aren’t going to put them back in their decoratively preferred locations! So cabinets we chose. But the upper shelving I felt was a bit much to try and keep styled and keep my interest so I wanted something more simple and impactful.

Kyle agreed to give my vision a go and I drew up the design for the nook complete with angles measurements (my experience as a geometry teacher was quite helpful here). I know not all walls are comprised of 45 degree angles, but we could adjust as needed.

After removing the shelves and resurfaced the drywall, we painted our new nook with the same green from the dining area. We picked up the trim from Home Depot and he cut the pieces and then as we went he would measure, mark, and cut so that it would work with the existing angles as they were.

We contracted out the hardiebacker installation and custom fit the TV. We also had sourced the stone to tie in to the exterior rock and had found someone to install this as well. It is a VERY heavy rock so the hardiebacker was a must. They had to puzzle the pieces together while I watched and would sometimes give feedback but in the end, it turned out amazing! And it really draws the eyes up and makes the room feel much bigger. This is now an obvious focal point in the room and I couldn’t be more pleased.

The hardest part in this whole process was no doubt sourcing the rough hewn mantle! I didn’t want the veneer since you would see the ends from the entry and nook, I wanted it to be a solid beam. I had visited a few Houston-area lumberyards but nothing was exactly what I was looking for and with the amount we were spending, it didn’t feel right. Finally I was able to get just want I was looking for and customize the dimensions with the extra help of HewnAndForged from Etsy in Minnesota. Highly recommend!

As part of one of our last phases, we painted the cabinets white. But it still wasn’t quite finished, so I added some wallpaper to tone down all of the white surrounding it. That’s right, I wallpapered the doors to have the appearance of the cane doors without the actual transparency and ability to see the toy mess behind them! The backing is a silver (also avail in gold) and the light reflects off of it making it look authentic. Only think left to do is add the hardware add a vase and some beautiful pampas and we are done! (Pampas were also purchase off Etsy from LuxeBPampasGrass, she is amazing to work with and has real and faux options). We still need to update the flooring, fireplace insert and surrounding tile but we’ll get there…that’s another future phase. :)

Now it’s ready to showcase all of those Christmas Decorations. Our first Christmas after this project was completed, a little interior decorator named Tartan aka “Mouse in the House”, showed up in the nook and each night would surprise us andbegin to fill our home with Christmas cheer. Whether it is garland, some mistletoe or homemade snowflakes, he really helps make our holidays extra special. Of course he also helps out with other things like cookie supplies, Christmas cards for coloring, and reading books for the girls too. He’s a thoughtful, cheerful mouse and we love him and all the magic he brings to our home.

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