Our Mudroom: Making the Most of an Awkward Space

Most likely, you have a space in your house that feels awkward and uncomfortable. Maybe it's a short wall that feels hard to decorate or a nook in your kitchen that won't fit a table. For us, the awkward middle schooler of our house is a big 6 foot wide, 12in tall dip in the ceiling in our basement. Early on in our house living, I was not so good at taking good "before" pictures (or good pictures at all; let's be honest. Please don't dig too far into our archives.), but this photo from the house listing before we purchased it may help you see what I'm talking about. This is looking from the back of the basement toward the exterior door and the staircase.

The main part of the basement which we now use as a living space (although it is about to undergo a little makeover) is a little over 7 feet tall. Certainly not a vaulted ceiling, but it's normal for a basement. That big stretch of ceiling toward the front, however, is about a full foot shorter than that. My 5'11" husband just fits beneath it. 

Our realtor told us that he felt like that little part of the nearly 1,000 sq. foot basement was responsible for the fact that this house didn't sell very quickly before we bought it. 

For two years, we tried to figure out how to make the most of it. We wanted to raise the ceiling, but the amount of duct work would make it nearly impossible. We tried putting a game table there and making it a hangout spot. We tried putting a recliner in the midst of it, but the pole got in the way. 

I want to encourage you not to give up hope if you feel like there's an awkward space in your home that you don't know what to do with. There may be a solution you haven't encountered yet. 

For us, it was building a wall. 

Rather than trying to make this awkward area part of the bigger basement living space, we decided it would be better served by completely sectioning it off from the rest of the room and making it more functional in and of itself. Luckily, the location by the back door (where we enter and exit 99% of the time) makes it perfect for a mudroom. 

So Jeremy decided to extend the living room wall to that metal support pole, encase it, and create a little nook that is perfect for tossing shoes and hanging purses. That low ceiling area isn't great for living, but it is just fine for a place to unload after coming in the back door. 

Also, when people come downstairs to our basement now, rather than commenting on the awkward ceiling height, they immediately make a comment about the shiplap or the cute bench Jeremy built. 

Last week, I had fun styling the mudroom for summer and using some of my birthday presents (the Hunter boots, dough bowl and alarm clock). 

I also have some fun photos of how I have styled this space for Fall and Christmas. 

Don't give up hope on your awkward spaces. There is hope for them yet. 

2015 Home in Review

Every year, it feels so improbable that yet another year has come and gone. The hours feel so long and the years so short. I am enjoying the end of this year because I think 2015 might be one of my favorite years yet on a personal level, and it has been the most trans-formative year for our little red brick ranch house.

We have a new master bedroom and closet, an updated and renovated basement, a fresh white kitchen and repainted living space, and a new sitting area/patio outside in the carport. Let me jog your memory about some transformations and renovations from the year.

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We transformed our kitchen by painting all the cabinets and adding hardware Before (Was it ever that ORANGE?) After (We are so enjoying our new kitchen)

  Oh and then Magnolia Market (Joanna Gaines of Fixer Upper) shared a photo of my kitchen on social media and I felt famous for a day! 

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Our basement went from this 

  To this 

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  We created a cozy seating area in our existing carport...

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We finished off the year with a Christmas home tour to recap it all...

It's been a lovely year of updating for the Quarles home! Tomorrow I will recap our life adventures from the year!

Christmas Home Tour 2015

One of my favorite Christmas traditions is spending time alone at home making wreaths, hanging ornaments and decorating every corner of our home while I watch corny Hallmark movies and listen to Christmas music. I love the stillness of the empty house and the time alone with my thoughts as I reflect on the year and put my hands to work crafting and being creative. I was reflecting today on all of the Christmas-y things that I so love to do and enjoy. The lights, the shopping, the events, the parties. Yesterday, after a day of celebratory events, I ended the evening thinking about how I didn't feel as much of the "Christmas magic" as I should have.

The reason is that no matter how many beautiful decorations I hang, cups of hot chocolate I drink, or movies I watch, I will still be left with an emptiness if not for one thing.


I have kept such a busy schedule that I have cut down time with the One person we are celebrating. Today I sat down and just spent some time with my Savior, and that "magic" I was looking for came not from lights and scheduled activities but from the richness of His word and time with Him.

He truly is the reason for the season, and he shines much brighter than the lights on my tree.

But I love that I get to decorate in celebration of that :-) That said, welcome to my Christmas home. (You can also check out my 2013 Tour and 2014 Tour).

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We got a new Christmas tree this year from Home Depot. The little pencil tree is exactly what we need in our living room.

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I used a lot of accents of black and white this year. Come on into the eat-in kitchen. Our newly renovated white kitchen is such a great backdrop for the traditional red and green.

Now come on into the reading room where I've decorated my antique mantel with metallics and greenery.

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Now I wanna take you to the basement (which underwent some major renovation in the last year), but I want you to come in through the carport door, so let's walk around back of the house.

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I filled this vintage box (an early Christmas box from my mom) with some twinkle lights, free greenery, and sticks from the yard. Come on in. This mudroom is new this year too!

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I made the little wreaths from boxwood clippings and free greenery from the tree lot on a simple wire hanger base. I found those cute vintage cards at a local boutique. They were selling the whole set for a dollar! We have been spending a lot of time in this basement space lately. It's fun to have such a cozy spot! This is the blog debut for our new organ that Jeremy got for FREE. No house tour is complete without my shadow, Jack the Cat.

Thank you so much for stopping by!

Fall Home Tour 2015

Fall means warm meals cooked with love in the kitchen, cozy nights at home cuddling under blankets, cool mornings outside with a cup of Trader Joe's pumpkin coffee and my journal, and evenings hanging out with friends who feel more like family. Fall means drives in the country and fresh beginnings. Fall means beauty and warmth.  I believe decorating a home for the seasons means creating a place to invite the joys of the season into your house. Yes, I love all the seasonal decor like flowers in the spring, pumpkins in the Fall, and greenery during Christmas season, but it's about more than that. It's about a place to make memories. And  I have to admit, I love staging things and making them look pretty, too.

Also, let's be honest, our house doesn't look like this all season long. Sometimes life gets messy. Also, I reused pumpkins in different places for this house tour. I say that because I've learned something recently about blogging and taking photos. It's ok to gussy things up and make them look beautiful, and it's also ok to understand that things aren't always picture perfect. But there's something important about enjoying the pretty little things for the sake of it.

So, come on in. In keeping with what I said earlier, I kept things pretty simple. I focused on mixing in some warm colors, making throw blankets available, and dotting pumpkins around the house. 

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Come on in to the reading room!

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Come on downstairs to the basement. Let me show you our new mudroom.

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Now, I'll give you a peek into our master bedroom. Ever since the grand reveal of this room transformation, I haven't shown it off a whole lot, but today I set it up for breakfast in bed and added decorative pillows to the bed and window seat which I haven't done before.

Thanks for coming around and checking out our home all decked out for Fall. I can't wait to show you some outside spaces soon! We are working on a new space outside that I think you will love!