Repurpose formal dining room into kid room?
Sue So
March 12, 2013 in Design Dilemma
After great feedback on two other rooms in my home, ya'll have helped me to decide to re-purpose our formal dining room to something that would be used every day (versus twice a year). Again, would appreciate your help on furniture placement and contemporary decor. Pics from two angles and different times of day are below. Functional needs/wants:

- Will serve a teen, tween, and preschooler
- Study space with flexibility for projects vs. reading vs. homework
- Function like a mudroom to store their shoes, backpacks, electronics (for charging) but be hidden behind doors
- Supportive of creativity and informal

Structural options?:
- cover up the cut outs (either lower and/or upper), replace window with a high clerestory window (would only see sky from this angle) and install built in cabinets underneath. OR, keep window and build under stair storage. OR, buy stand alone lockers and bench for the stair wall and hope it doesn't look like an eyesore. (Last one would be most preferred due to cost - but am willing to invest because we'll probably live here for another 14-15 years.)

The only item that must stay is Elvis, the elk head. (Hubby is very proud of him, and my apologies to the anti-hunters out there. I assure you he is deeply revered in our household).

Would like to keep the artwork (probably hang lower once cut outs are covered) and use yellow or green as accent color.

Will be replacing curtains - and purchasing rolling desk(s), chairs, bench or settee (something soft and loungey to sit on) and storage for school supplies. Will likely remove the chandelier to keep the space informal.

Ideas? Thoughts? Please be brutal if need!
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Wow! Fun to be your kids!

I see a computer desk on the stair landing where the plant is. Below where dining table is I would add lots of "fluff" to absorb noise: large area rug, upholstered furniture to lounge on, cork over the wall cut outs. Perhaps even a suspended "ceiling" to create a more intimate feel.
1 Like   March 12, 2013 at 2:57PM
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Sue So
@pcmom - funny, i have tried putting the computer in every nook, wall, space of the house and THAT has never occurred to me! Biggest problem is there's no outlet and we'd need a power strip, but I'll find a workaround and give it a try. Or maybe just have a desk and chair there for isolated homework. Thanks!
0 Likes   March 12, 2013 at 3:03PM
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If nothing else, power cord can be put up the wall in the corner to reach the landing. There are cord covers that work well to hide!
0 Likes   March 12, 2013 at 4:17PM
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MyCraftWork, LLC
Just received some pictures of my cooperative's latest Beni Ourain collection from Morocco. Let me know if you need some assistance!
0 Likes   March 12, 2013 at 5:02PM
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What is a study area but a table, chair and a place to put things away?

You have the table: for projects, it's nice to have room to spread. Instead of a china cabinet you would have storage/bookcase to hold supplies, some open for books and a few decorative items, some closed for supplies. Computer desk could be incorporated into storage.

Not sure what the dimensions of the room are, nor what is across from the window, but storage/desk unit could be against stairs - taller cabinet about 3' plus desk 3'. Do you have 6' wide and 30" tall on that wall? Or against the wall where cut-outs, if you are going to fill them in.

You might want to cover the table to protect it - an inexpensive table cloth will do - or custom made table covers - or a glass on top of your existing table. Something that wipes clean and that you don't mind the occasional scratch or permanent marker. And on those one or two days a year, you change the table cloth and you have your dining room back.

You can still fill in the pass through windows, if you desire. But you don't have to have a major construction project to change your dining room into a study hall.

[houzz=Vancouver: Connie+Nick]

[houzz=Computer Desk & Hutch - American Drew Sterling Pointe Collection 181-935R]

[houzz=Greenwich House Addition]

Something like these desks and cabinets would do. You could buy free standing (I'm sure Ikea would have a sysytem that would work) or built-in.

Mudroom furniture - another storage unit or armoire or bench plus hooks on walls. Obviously the two sets of cabinetry need to work together, even if not exactly the same.

Elvis is cute - in your house! When our basement is finished the 2 dead fish will be rehung - they came with the husband!
0 Likes   March 12, 2013 at 5:43PM
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Sue So
@kmkh Love the ideas! Love the dead fish comment - they are a package right? We tried using that table as an activity table already and it has been dinged up. ha! But like the idea of being able to keep it b/c it is a great surface with a cutout on the top that reveals a tub - supposed to be for drinks but we could use it for crayons and supplies.. Maybe add casters for flexibility and be done?

Just wondering if you have any thoughts on lounge seating b/c the teen seems vulnerable to gravity and prone to laying down as much as possible (is that a teen boy thing?).

Dimensions of room are 11' wide on the Elvis wall, 12' deep. I'm attaching the 3rd wall not visible in the above photos.

Would still like to fill in the walls b/c the piano/music room is on the other side. It gets really loud!
0 Likes   March 12, 2013 at 6:12PM
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Wish I knew how to post pictures. Oh, well! For lounge area you could do two twin mattresses butted together into the stairway corner (L shape). Have a carpenter create a base with open storage below or pull out drawers and put mattresses on top. Cover with fitted denim or white duck covers. Store bedding below (or other things), top with a few large pillows. Great lounging and makes more sleep space for extra overnight guests!
0 Likes   March 12, 2013 at 6:43PM
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I think these are sooo cool, but I'm not a teen.

0 Likes   March 12, 2013 at 6:47PM
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Sue So
Love all the lounge ideas! Maybe small desk, chair or two, small table and chair for youngest, and two loungers? So this all seems low to the ground. Any thoughts on addressing the double ceiling height? Was wondering if I should add a horizontal rail at ceiling height to help bring it down. Or paint stripes...?
0 Likes   March 12, 2013 at 7:14PM
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So Sue, yes - the husband and the dead fish were a package deal! The parents-in-law kept them(the fish - I kept the husband!) until we owned a house. Now every house has to have a spot for the fish. Thank goodness for basements!

Yes - teenage boys prefer to be horizantal as often as possible! The question is, do you go with the flow and let him lounge, or try to encourage "proper study habits"? Good luck changing ingrained habits though.
0 Likes   March 12, 2013 at 9:28PM
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Sue So
@pcmom &KB Definitely leaning towards super comfy lounge seating based upon your ideas. And love the "fluff" idea too. Ikea sheepskin strewn about sound great - and my kids love "petting" it whenever we visit Ikea. ha!

@kmkh Hilarious! (the fish - I kept the husband) We recently looked into moving and the same thing...had to make sure Elvis would have a home that didn't pose danger to its inhabitants. We decided to stay in our house because it holds lots of good memories.

the teen is my bonus son (married dad and his two boys 5 years ago) so I have limited capital to strong arm him into proper study habits (which would be my pref). So...trying to bring the study vibe down to the lowest horizontal level sounds like the best compromise. Love the third photo you posted where we could "hide" the computer. My biggest peeve about having the computer in such an open room has been the clutter, but didn't want a heavy armoire. Gonna look into a "closet" modular system for this. yay!
0 Likes   March 13, 2013 at 7:42AM
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