Monday, 25 February 2013

The Dark Corner Project

There's a big corner of the house that is always in a shadow, and it sucks the cheer right out of me.  It's my new WIP (*work-in-progress) this year and I've called it...

This is what it looked like when we moved in.  I loved the architectural detail on the ceiling, whatever it's called.

If I were gutsier I would have done some wild idea to play with those shingles in our 70s-style bar area, but my father in law would disown me.  No emotional bank account yet!

Back then I wasn't so brave, and just desperately needed to modernize the look.  This was just plywood  attached horizontally and brown paint in between each board:

The area is made to be the dining room, so when we moved in we inherited a big table for that space.  But since we're still a small family we didn't really use it much.  Except for a workspace area like this:

Even though it's morning, it's so dark in this corner that the night time lights are always on.
And if you're noticing all the robots, now you know that love of play is from both sides of Ladybug Girl's parents.
I think it's both the lack of use + lack of sunlight = gloomy.

Ladybug Girl does her play away from the dark corner, nearer to where the sun hits the other side of the house.

It was obvious that things weren't working when Ladybug Girl started her toddler years.  More and more we started using the area like this:

For a long time, this garage-sale playhouse find was squished into the dining area

One side gloomy, the other sunny
I knew the big dining area was just wasted space.  So I cut down its huge footprint and used a hand-me-down outdoor cafe table until I find the perfect-sized round table:

Also moved it to the sunny side of the house.
But still, the space was just way too dark to be a proper play area.

Last year we also changed the jalousie windows to modernize the place even more.  And with the outside duplex wall being more visible, I even tried to cheat a little green life in an attempt to brighten up the view.

No, huh?   I think fake plants will be my answer eventually (like here)

Which finally brings me to how ugly it got during my home purge over the Christmas holidays.  I even lost the 'view' due to the construction going on next door.

This is really as bad as it gets
When January rolled around, I knew I had to get busy on it.  Awesome Guy took pity and investigated a solution to install large picture windows on the wall.  Even my dad-in-law got involved and looked for old blueprints of the house to see if the foundation would be sound.  It wouldn't.

So that left DIY-ing to the rescue.  Here's a little progress so far based on the solutions I researched on:

1.  Too much brown/wood makes a room depressing and dull.

White paint is instantly bright and wonderful.
Click here to see what the grills look like from the outside.

What it looked like before painting.
Notice the robot displays were trimmed down to two stands, which is a small miracle in itself.

2.  Contrary to common-sense that more overhead lighting would do the trick, it's actually uplighting that gives the illusion of a brighter space by bouncing up light to the ceiling.

By golly, I think that does work - even though those aren't even floor lamps

I had the fading brown sofa slipcovered white I few weeks later.

Now the finishing touches like filling in the glass stands, putting some green life and art, finding the perfect table and linens will probably take me another... oh... one year or so.  Such is the life of a DIY corporate mom.

At least it's serviceable now, and I love that all it took was rearranged furniture.

It even got used today with some family coming over for lunch.

Although I have to suffer through Awesome Guy's hirits when he catches me moving furniture.

Him: "It's like a movie!"
Me: "What is?"
Him: "The Never Ending Story!"
Me: (amused silence)
Him: "You know, because --"
Me: "I get it."

Have I ever mentioned that the man knows me a little too well?

Follow the dark corner project progress here.


  1. So THAT's what was wrong with that area!!! Couldn't quite put my finger on it. Lovely end product!!! I missed Sunday. :(

  2. It looks really lovely and cozy! I'm not a fan of "finished" rooms either-- you know, when the whole room looks like it came out of a Mandaue showroom or something. Homes should be a work in progress! =)

    1. Hate to break it to you but your lovely home looks magazine worthy!

  3. OMG! I love the outcome! You just semi-made it girl! lol. I understand the feeling of not being able to get things done completely pero atleast.. maganda!

    Btw, I am your new avid fan.. I read all of your entries already. Nandito na ko sa mya Feb.. so March and April na lang nyan.. It is so nice to meet you and to know you!

    You may wanna spend a little time on my site as well.. I'll introduce you to my family!
    See you around!

    Inggit ako dahil you can still manage to do these DIYs ..sigh..

    Joan E of 26 with 4 kids


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