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1.31.2014

Family Room Progress

I've told you about the three big purchases I've made for this room (here and here), now let's take peak at how it is starting to come together.

To refresh your memory we started off pretty bare bones (more pictures here).
And now it looks like this!
Please note that I am a terrible photographer.  I took these pictures at night too, which didn't help anything.

Anyway, the drapes on the wall of windows are still there, and we have not touched the fireplace or painted walls yet. We tucked Bill's telescope next to the fireplace.  It surprisingly works well there visually, and he's used it a bunch already - so I'm fine with where it is.  I just plopped a painting we already had on the mantle - totally temporary, but better than nothing for now. The little "fire" in front of the fireplace is a toy we got from the Land of Nod (still available here).  I got it on sale over Christmas, and the kids love it.  We've had the ottoman for awhile too - it's from Target (still available here).  It's temporary too, but works great with kids as it is round, padded, and provides storage.

Here you can see the new media console and rug a little more.  We have some very bare walls to deal with yet.  I cleared out all the toys except for the campfire too.  We definitely need to figure out some attractive toy storage solutions for this room still.

Finally, here's a shot of the new couch (and my dog, Banshee!!).  It's working out great so far - really comfortable.  I think I'm going to stain the legs darker though.  The natural wood is bugging me.  The little orange table we've had for awhile.  It's the martini side table from West Elm (still available in other colors here). The leather chair was one of our big purchases from our first home.  It's from a local store in Milwaukee called Rubin's (not sure if it is still available - link to store here though).

So, it's starting to come together, but we still have a lot to do. I cannot wait to paint this place.

Here's the budget breakdown so far.

Sofa -      $639.42
TV Unit - $242.58
Rug -       $913.13
Total -    $1,795.13

The chair, side table, and ottoman that we already owned probably add another $1,800 to the total.  That's just shy of $3,600 to furnish this one room.  The good news is that I think I'm done with furniture in here for awhile.  The only other thing I can think of is maybe a bookshelf next to the chair for some height.  The rest is all paint and accessories.  The bad news is that's the hard stuff for me.  Paint will be okay, but accessoring - not my strong suit.  In the past that is why my rooms have never felt finished.  I get all the big pieces, then never quite finish up.

1.29.2014

Kolorful Kilim

I've been thinking long and hard about what type of rug I want to put in the Family Room.  Rugs are big decisions.  Besides finding the right pattern and texture, finding the right size can be really difficult too.  Plus, the expense.  The smaller sizes are usually reasonably priced, but then they jump exponentially higher once you get into the 8'x10' and larger category.  I didn't want to make the wrong decision, as the rug (unlike the couch and media unit I talked about here) is not a temporary piece.  I wanted something I would like for a long, long time.

My initial thoughts were to go navy blue.  I figured a grey couch and a navy blue rug would be classic, but still bring in color which I crave.  Then I thought, but what if I get tired of blue?  What if in a few years I'm really into green? Plus, I really think the room would look cool with a touch of fuchsia or hot pink.  So, I tried to really analyze what colors I have consistently loved for a long time - turquoise, navy blue, emerald green, royal purple, raspberry.  Basically, I love jewel tones and always have.  I don't see that going away. So, I started to think about patterned rugs that would have lots of my favorite colors in it.

From there I started thinking about texture.  I knew I didn't want anything too thick or heavy, so I started looking at thinner rugs and discovered Kilim.  They're light weight, woven rugs from places like Turkey and such, and come in a lot of bright colors.  I found all sorts of different ones - some looked more Moroccan and some more Aztec.  I was worried though, that it would bring a very "Southwest" vibe to the house that I didn't want. Our house is very Southwest - all the houses here are, but I didn't want to bring it into the interior if I could help it.  I really love Mid-century Modern, and I was afraid things were going to start clashing if I mixed the styles.

So, I started browsing Pinterest for Mid-century Modern / Southwest (see my full board of inspiration here) and found this room.  Suddenly I had my inspiration.
I could still get my colorful Kilim rug without sacrificing Mid-century Modern style.  If I'm careful and make the right decisions my house can have a touch of Southwest while still being Mid-century Modern in style.

After finally figuring out the style and look I wanted; I just had to find the perfect rug.  After another long search, I finally decided on this rug.
It's from Shoppe Amber Interiors, and I instantly fell in love.  Then I panicked because I realized I hadn't run any of this by Bill.  What if he hated it?  I mean, there's pink in it afterall.  Luckily, Bill liked it, so I pulled the trigger.

I can't wait to show you pictures of it in the room.  It looks great - no buyer's remorse as of yet.  

So, am I the only one who takes this long to make a decision about something as insignificant as a rug?  I'm still a little surprised that I actually bought it so quickly (the day I found it).  Usually I just stalk things online, then they become unavailable, and then I curse myself for not just buying it when I had the chance.  In the long run, my over thinking probably saves me a ton of money, so it's probably not too bad of a habit to have.

Room photo source - here.
Rug photo source - here.

1.27.2014

Couches and Consoles

We've unpacked all our stuff, and are technically moved in.  However, as is always the case with a new place, not all the furniture will work as it did before.  Case in point, our Family Room.  We had a sectional couch in our old house, that does not work in the Family Room.  We realized a new couch was a top priority for this room.

Side Note:  The sectional couch is now in our Living Room.  It doesn't work perfect in there either, but works better there than it did in the Family Room.

But what do you do when you just moved in and a) don't quite know yet the needs of a room, b) don't quite know yet how you want to decorate it, and c) don't have much cash?

Answer - You go neutral, and you head to IKEA!!

I was so thrilled to discover there was an IKEA near us in Arizona.  Did you know that there is not one IKEA in Wisconsin!?! The closest one was in Illinois, so for my entire young-adult-apartment-living and newlywed-first-house-living life I have gone without IKEA.  The horror, I know.

We tested a number of their sofas, and decided on the Karlstad Sofa in Isunda Gray.  The size was right.  It wasn't too deep. The fabric is durable and hides dog hair - plus it's a slip cover so I can wash it.  Best of all, it's super comfortable, which was a top priority for us.
Photo source - ikea.com
We also needed something to put our television on.  At our old house it was mounted on the wall, so we didn't have anything to put it on when we moved in.  I think we eventually would like to mount our television above our fireplace, but that's going to be an involved process.  So, for now, we picked up the Bestå Burs TV Unit in high gloss white.  It's low to the ground with two big storage drawers and three small cubbies.
Photo source - ikea.com
The budget breakdown for these two pieces were:
Sofa -       $639.42
TV Unit -   $242.58
Total -      $882.00

That's not a small chunk of change, especially considering these two pieces are technically temporary. However, temporary for me is probably going to be at least a few years.  We'll get a lot of use out of them, and they are neutral enough that they aren't going to dictate any major or permanent design decisions in the room.  I'll share pictures of them in the actual room soon.

What about you guys?  Do you buy temporary furniture, or do you just save up for what you really want even if it means you do without for awhile.

This was not a paid for or sponsored post.  I just like their store a lot and wanted to share.

1.24.2014

Fan Girl - Outlander

I'm currently re-reading one of my favorite books right now - Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.  The historical fiction/sci-fi/romance series is amazing and book number eight is coming out later this year.  Diana Gabaldon tends to go years in between books, so I'm refreshing my memory by re-reading them.  They're very long books, but so interesting that you'll fly through them.  I cannot recommend this series enough - read them now!!

In related news, Starz is adapting the books into a television series!!  I'm so excited.  They just released the trailer.  I think they cast a perfect Claire.

I believe it's going to air sometime this summer. I will definitely be watching. Will you?

1.22.2014

Disney Project - Snow White

Something you should know about me...I love lists.  Is that a weird thing to love?  It seems like it would be, but I love them.  It gives me great satisfaction to make lists and subsequently cross things off them.  So, with that preface, we'll get to the point of this post.

Madeleine loves Disney.  She would happily watch Disney Junior all day if I let her.  I actually love Disney too.  Besides the animated movies I grew up on, I really like their live action movies too.  When I was pregnant with Seamus I was so sensitive to subject matter that I could only watch lighthearted programs, and Disney movies fit the bill.  If you're in the mood for something lighthearted or inspirational they always deliver.

Since Madeleine and I both like them, I thought, "Wouldn't it be fun to have Movie Nights and watch all the Disney movies?"  Then I thought it would be even funner to watch all the Disney movies in chronological order.  Then I thought about what a nerd I was, and then said screw it, I'm going to do it anyway.  So, last Friday, we all sat down and watched Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
Photo Source: amazon.com
Bill and I both commented that we probably hadn't seen this movie in over twenty years.  It's funny re-watching it as an adult.  We could not get over Snow White's voice and how they probably auditioned a ton of women for her voice, and that is the one they picked.  That was what was considered a good voice back then!?!  Madeleine liked it - a few parts were scary for her, but she also had us all dancing around with the dwarfs too.  She's a very interactive movie-watcher.

If you're a nerd like me, and interested in watching all the Disney movies in order (both animated and live action) - here's the list I'm working from.

1.20.2014

Step in the Right Direction

I feel like my family is right on the verge of being in a very good place.  The craziness of the cross-country move has worn off, and we're settling in.  Seamus is closing in on a year.  He's sleeping consistently and our days of formula and bottles are coming to an end.  I can finally start focusing on me again (maybe...please).  Don't get me wrong - 99% of my time is still spent being a mom and working, but I think I'm starting to have energy again to do other things with my 1% besides nap (although I do really love a good nap).

This past year (maybe even longer) I really haven't given much thought to my appearance.  We're talking bear minimum.  It's funny how motherhood changes you.  How I look used to be really important to me - then suddenly it just wasn't.  I was just too exhausted to care.

I realized around age 33 that my face was starting to look older.  I suddenly really felt my age, and felt I looked it too.  I never gave much thought to skin care before.  I wash my face in the shower with body wash, and that's about it.  I had read about in Vogue (and previously tried a sample set of) the Wexler products from Bath and Body Works.  So, a few years ago I decided to give that a try.  It's not working for me though.  There are too many steps for me to use consistently, so I'm not getting the benefit.  I still have quite a bit of it though, so I'm going to use it up (it's too expensive to waste), but I'm on the hunt for a simple and effective anti-aging system for my face.  I think I can only handle washing my face and applying a cream.  If there are more steps than that it's probably not going to work for me.  I've always wanted to try La Mer, but it's so expensive.  It's on all the celebrity must-have lists I see in magazines though.  Cindy Crawford has a brand too called Meaningful Beauty.  The infomercial is compelling, but I think it might be that Cindy Crawford is just crazy gorgeous.

I'd love to know what system you guys are using.  Or maybe I just need one great face wash and one great anti-aging moisturizer - not necessarily the same brand.

Anyway, it's not just the skin on my face that needs attention.  The heels of my feet are truly awful.  Years of high heels and almost never wearing socks has done them in.  They're hard, dry, and cracked, and frankly, I'm embarrassed by them.  I did a bit of research, and Origins Reinventing the Heel kept popping up on various "best of" lists, so I decided to give it a try (despite costing over $20 for only 5 ounces).

Photo Source:  origins.com
I'm so glad I did!  I've applied it every night before bed for the last two weeks, and have seen a noticeable difference.  They still look dry, but they are not cracked anymore and getting softer.  I couldn't be more pleased.  I keep the bottle on my bedside table, and it's starting to become habit to just put it on my feet before bed.

I know it's not much, but my feet are a tad better looking as I take that first step in the right direction.

Oh, and it's crazy dry here in Arizona, so the whole family is dealing with some dry skin issues lately.  If you have any recommendations for quality body lotions for men, women, and children shoot them my way as well.  Our knees and elbows will thank you for it.

Just for the record, this was not a paid for or sponsored post (I wish).  I think this is a good product, so I just wanted to share.

1.17.2014

House Tour - Backyard

Here's the backyard...otherwise known as the reason we bought this house.  One thing we quickly realized while house hunting was that lot sizes in Arizona were small - like really small (especially compared to Midwest standards).  Many houses only had a concrete patio with or without a pool in back.  I get it...it's the desert, but that was not going to work for us.  I wanted enough space for the kids and dog to be able to run around a bit.  I knew we weren't going to get acres like we probably could have found in Wisconsin, so our backyard criteria became simply a pool with some natural space - which was still really hard to find.  I went to Arizona on what was supposed to be a scouting mission, and saw this house the morning it went on the market.  I knew it was the one the moment I saw the yard.  I did a quick FaceTime tour with Bill, and we put in an offer on the spot.
It's really working out well for us.  There's a big patch of grass on the right, and a smaller on the left.  Then there is a pool tucked in the back corner surrounded by rocks.  Oh, and it already had a fence around the pool, which was an added bonus.
Here's a closer shot of the pool.  I've only been in it once so far.  During the "winter", even though it is nice and warm here, the pool water is pretty cold for swimming (around 50°).  That's why the yard space was so important for us.  Madeleine is three and Seamus will be walking soon.  I wanted a space for them to run around in when it was too cold to swim.  We have played outside literally everyday since moving in - it's wonderful.
This is the view facing the back of the house.  You can see we have a covered patio right off the Family Room.  Then, there's actually a lot of space surrounding the pool that is just rocks.  We have a few big ideas for this space, but for right now we'll probably just work on landscaping it a bit.

It really is quite lovely as is, but there are still a few items on the old "to do" list.

Backyard
- furniture - dining set for patio, lounge chairs and umbrellas for the pool area.
- address the pavers - either adding rocks to make it more level (tripping hazard) or replacing with something more our style
- storage - we need at least two storage pieces for outdoor toys and pool toys
- landscaping - bring in some more desert plants and/or plant a citrus/avocado tree

That's it for the tour!!  Those are the new digs!!  We're all moved in (well, almost), and we've even bought a few pieces of furniture already.  I'll be sharing all the decorating decisions and progress along the way, but let's start talking about other stuff too.  See you next week.

1.15.2014

House Tour - Master Suite

We're nearing the end folks.  Here's our Master Suite.  This is the largest bedroom I've ever had, and the first time I've had an attached bath; so I'm very excited.
I could not for the life of me photograph the true look of the walls.  They didn't do the best job painting, but trust me, it does not look to like this streaky mess to the natural eye.  I may actually put some color on the walls in here - grey(?).  The heavy velvet curtains (again with the velvet) will be going, and we need to replace the ceiling fan.  I'd like to get one that has a light - it's a big room to only light with bedside lamps.
This is the wall that the bed is against.  We have a queen size mattress that sits on a metal frame.  We need at least a headboard, and I'd like it to be fabric. 
This is the wall opposite the bed.  It's painted a different color.  We just recently purchased some dressers - one of which we put against this wall.  We need to style it, add some art, and maybe another piece of furniture (chair?)
We just bought a tall dresser to go on this half wall, and I'd think I'd like to put a full length mirror in the little alcove.  You  need at least one full length mirror in a house, right?

There's another door in the alcove that leads into the Master Bathroom.  It has a large glass block window, separate tub and shower, double vanity, and the same slate floors that are in the Kid's Bathroom.  For some reason, I keep coming back to painting this room blue with white towels, black and white art, and a few touches of yellow.
At the back of the room is the entrance to our walk-in closet.
Here's the view facing the other way.  There's a lot of counter space, which is another first for us.  Again, I'm not digging the black faucets or cabinet tone.  I think I'd also like to frame the mirror for a more built-in look.
Across from the shower, tucked in a little nook is the toilet.  There is the ugliest cottage style cabinet above it that doesn't match anything (and is falling apart) - it is definitely going.  I'm leaning towards chunky, wall to wall shelves.  I also want to remove the towel bar and put up towel hooks instead. 
Bill (the husband) and I are both enjoying having so much room to ourselves.  We've never really had the relaxing, romantic retreat bedroom, so I'm excited to tackle this space.

Master Bedroom
- paint walls and trim
- remove curtains and figure out a different window dressing solution
- buy headboard or bedframe
- replace ceiling fan with a model that includes a light
- style dresser tops, add art, and mirror

Master Bathroom
- paint walls and trim
- remove curtain
- remove above toilet cabinet
- switch towel bar for towel hooks
- stain cabinet
- replace faucets
- frame mirror
- hang art

1.13.2014

House Tour - Kids' Bathroom

Just a quick post today to show you the Kid's Bathroom.  It's a narrow room - only as wide as the tub, and has slate flooring.  Not my favorite, but it looks descent enough.
 It's very builders grade, with a huge mirror, dressing room lights, and a basic cabinet.
The mirror is too big.  I'd much rather get one no wider than the vanity.  Then, I can hang hand towels above the toilet.  Not one of the three bathrooms in the house has a convenient place to hang hand towels (driving me crazy!).  I'd like to switch out the light and faucet, and the cabinet will either get painted or stained - probably stained.  As far as color, I'm sticking with white - but adding bright colors in all the accessories.  I want lots of aqua, yellow, pink, and green.  It's a kid's bathroom, so it should be bright and cheerful.

Kid's Bathroom
- paint walls and trim
- buy shower curtain, bath mat, towels, and sink accessories
- stain cabinet
- switch faucet (chrome or brushed nickel)
- replace mirror
- replace light
- hang new towel bars
- hang art

1.10.2014

House Tour - Loft

We didn't get the fourth bedroom we were hoping for, but did end up with a little extra square footage by way of this loft space.  The "Red Monster" from the living/dining room continues up and into this space, so that will be gone at some point whenever we repaint the downstairs.
We're currently using the loft as an office, but long term I'm picturing it as a cool place for the kids to hang out doing their homework or playing video games.  They're a ways away from that stage, so it's an office for now.  Although really it's become the dumping ground for all our stuff we don't know what to do with yet.
I'm picturing a comfy couch (fold-out?), desk, and bookshelves.  Maybe one of those large computer monitors that is as big as television for watching movies or playing video games in there too.  I'd also like to put a few of Madeleine's larger play items in here (her kitchen), so they don't clutter up the downstairs.

Loft
- Paint the walls white
- Paint the trim
- Hang curtains or shade

Not much work to do in this room either, but we'll need to spend some money on furniture items.

Almost done with the house tour.  Sorry if you're getting bored, but I want to have a nice record of the "before".  Stay tuned next week for the Kids' Bathroom, Master Suite, and the piece de resistance...the Backyard!!

1.09.2014

House Tour - Kids' Bedrooms

Let's check out the kids' rooms!

This is Seamus' room.  He's 10 months old and a boy, so even though it's far from my taste it sort of works for now.  His room presents some interesting challenges though, as it's actually hexagon shaped.  Some of the walls are not very wide - which makes furniture placement a challenge.  We currently have his crib against the short wall pictured below.
I'd like to remove the wood rail going around the room (although it's proved convenient for hanging his hats and his towels after baths).  As far as color, I keep coming back to gray walls with pops of red, teal, and yellow in the furniture, accessories, and linens.
Another short wall next to the closet - bookshelf maybe?
This is the wall we have his changing table dresser against currently.  I want to take the curtains down.  I usually love curtains, but for his room I keep imaging some sort of tailored shade instead. 

Now my daughter's room.  Madeleine is 3 and ready for her official big girl room.  This is also the room we are designating for guests, so it has to accommodate a full sized bed too.
The chair rail is going in this room as well.  I want to paint it white with pops of orange, pink, and mint green.  I think I might actually paint the ceiling of this room mint green, and I already purchased some cute curtains that will bring in the pink and orange.
The lighting in her room is terrible.  The baseball ceiling fan will definitely be going.
I want to bring lots of fun art on the walls in here too.  I'm thinking some wall shelves as well.  Because of the full-sized bed - floor space is at a minimum.  I want her to have as much play room as possible.

Seamus' Room
- Remove wooden rail
- Skim coat and paint the walls
- Paint the trim
- Switch light out for ceiling fan

Madeleine's Room
- Remove chair rail
- Skim coat and paint the walls
- Paint the trim
- Replace ceiling fan

These rooms don't actually have much to do before I can dig in and start decorating them.  I have a very clear vision for Madeleine's room too, so I'm looking forward to tackling hers.  I'd like them to have fun and comfortable spaces for themselves sooner rather than later, so they're at the top of my list.

1.08.2014

House Tour - Half Bath/Laundry Room

Today we have the first floor bathroom and laundry room.

The half-bath on the first floor is very, well...blue.  Seriously, it's very...very...blue.  A coat of paint will do wonders in this room, but there are a few other updates I'd like to see as well.
I plan on getting this room skim coated.  It's so small, dark, and textured that it would probably be just as much work to prime and paint around all the little obstacles.  I'm going to remove the large mirror and replace it with a medicine cabinet.  Then, I'll hang a towel rod above the toilet for hand towels.
This is the view you get while you do your business in there.  This towel bar will be removed.  I'm thinking either fun art or shelves with decorative accents.  As far as the color of this room, I'm not sure yet.  Since I'm going for a lot of white in the main living areas, I'm thinking this would be a fun room to add some color too - maybe yellow?
 Moving onto the laundry room.  We obviously need a washer/dryer, but besides that I'd really like this room to be fun and functional.  This is the way we enter and leave the house, so we are passing through here multiple times a day.
It also needs better storage.  All the laundry/ironing supplies need to be stored in here, but I don't want to see them.  There's not much space though.  I definitely want cabinets above the washer/dryer, but we do also have this small space to work with too. 
This is the entrance to the garage.  I want to paint this door with chalkboard paint.  It would give the kids something to do when they want to "help" me with the laundry, as well as serving as a great reminder/message board.  It's literally the last thing we see before leaving the house, so it's the perfect spot for it.
There's not a ton of space, but it would be great to have a place to hang coats and bags in here as well.  We need something a bit more functional and strong than this little thingy currently on the wall.

Half-Bath
- Remove mirror
- Skim coat and paint walls
- Paint trim
- Move towel bar from wall opposite the sink to above the toilet
- Buy and install medicine cabinet
- Hang art or shelves on wall opposite the sink
- New faucet (?)
- New vanity (?)

Laundry Room
- Buy washer/dryer
- Paint room and trim
- Paint door to the garage with chalk board paint
- Install cabinets above washer/dryer
- Utilize space next to washer to maximize storage
- Install heavier hooks on wall opposite washer/dryer for coat/bag storage

That's it for the ground floor.  Stay tuned for the second floor!!  I'm sure you can hardly contain yourself.  I know I can't!

1.07.2014

House Tour - Family Room/Kitchen

Today we're taking a look at the Kitchen and Family Room.  There's a lovely archway that separates this space from the Dining Room.  Essentially the Living Room/Dining Room/Kitchen/Family Room make the shape of an "L".
So, now that you have your bearings (yeah, right) - here's the kitchen.  It's bigger than any kitchen we've ever had before.  I am loving the counter space.  In fact, the counters aren't bad either - Silestone I think.  They are dark gray with little shiny flecks in them.  The backsplash is slate subway tile.
Here's a little closer look.  The counters are okay, the backsplash is okay, and the appliances are okay.  I definitely want to change the color of the cabinets.  We'll either be staining them darker or painting them white.  Right now they are the same color as the floor, and I'm not digging it.  The fluorescent light box and chandelier will also be going.
If you stand in the kitchen facing out you get this view of the Family Room.
I love the wall of windows, but we're bummed that only one part of it is a sliding door.  The drapes are really heavy too.  They're good to block the sun at certain parts of the days, but I wonder if we could get away with something lighter.  We'll see how hot this room gets come July.  There is a fire place with the same slate tile as the kitchen backsplash and a weird drywall mantle that is not at all functional.  A new mantle is definitely on the list.  I like having the ceiling fan in this room, but just not this one - so that will get replaced as well. 
Here is the last corner of the room.  The wall directly to the right of the fireplace is the logical spot for the television right now.  The last wall on the right will probably house a loveseat or a chair.  We'll need to address toy storage in this room too, as this is where the kiddos play a lot right now.
So, to recap, here's what is on the initial To-Do list for these rooms...
- Paint the walls (most likely white again, I'm digging white lately)
- Paint the trim white (refresher coat)
- Paint/Stain the kitchen cabinets
- Remove fluorescent light box
- Replace chandelier
- Replace our kitchen table and chairs
- New drapery
- New fireplace mantle
- Replace ceiling fan
- Hang art
- Come up with a toy storage solution
- Accessorize and style!

We spend a lot of time in this room, so my goal is to make it super comfortable and kid friendly - yet pretty.

1.06.2014

House Tour - Living/Dining Room

Let's start with the Living/Dining Room, shall we?

This is the "living" part of the Living/Dining Room combo.  The ceiling slants up (short end on the right below), and creates a great room feel - even though it's really not that big.  I have a feeling once the furniture goes in it's going to go all shrinky-dink on me.
Anyway, I like the front door, large window, and tall ceilings.  I want to paint the walls white, then bring in a ton of color with the furniture, accessories, and art.  I need to switch out the heavy, short drapery with something light, breezy, and longer.  We're talking starting above the arch and going all the way down to the floor.  Speaking of the floor, it's pergo.  I don't love it, but I don't hate it either.  Most homes in Phoenix have tiled floors (nice and cool).  Done well, they look really nice, but most of the homes we saw were not done well - so I'm just happy that we're not dealing with that.  The pergo is fine for now.   
As we pan right we start to see the beginning of the "Red Monster."  It speaks for itself, really.  I don't want an accent wall (especially not a red one).  The white walls I'm thinking of will continue on through here.  I'm not quite sure of furniture placement yet, or if I'll have enough room - but I'd like this wall to be full of art and maybe an upright piano.  That's a big maybe though, as I really don't think there will be enough room.
As we continue right we enter the "dining" portion of the room.  It has an even bigger window, and even taller ceilings.  You can also start to see the full extent that is the "Red Monster."  Bwah, hah, hah (that's my evil laugh).  I will defeat it!!

Anyway, again, white walls and super tall drapes.  I definitely want a different chandelier too.  We have no dining room table either, so I'm on the hunt for that as well.
Next, we see the entrance to the Family Room and the stairwell.  The loft space above actually overhangs the Red Monster about a foot.  I think it would be really nice to put a built-in buffet of sorts there.  The house seriously lacks storage, so anyway we can bring in more we're going to do it.
Finally, there's one last big, blank, beige wall.  I'm picturing a wall of bookcases here.  We have so many books that need a home.  This is another tall wall, so anything vertical will help fill up the space.

That's your 360° tour of this room. It's different than anything I've ever had before.

What do you think? Any suggestions?  Please don't say we should keep the "Red Monster" - it's not gonna happen.